Top Tillis aide heads back to K Street

Top Tillis aide heads back to K Street

With help from Daniel Lippman

THORN RUN ADDS TILLIS DEPUTY: Kyle Sanders is headed back to K Street to join Thorn Run Partners as a senior vice president. Sanders has spent the past half decade working for Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), most recently serving as his deputy chief of staff. His role included managing the economic development and transportation and infrastructure portfolios for Tillis, who was one of the chief negotiators on the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last Congress.

— Prior to Tillis’ office, Sanders worked briefly at Chamber Hill Strategies and for Reps. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Andy Harris (R-Md.) and John Carter (R-Texas).

K STREET KEEPS POWDER DRY FOR NEW 2024 GOP ENTRANTS: Last weekend’s FEC deadline offered the first glimpse into the campaign finance landscape for the nascent race to be next year’s Republican presidential nominee. A look at the fundraising data for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, the two first-time White House hopefuls who launched campaigns prior to the Q1 filing cutoff, shows that the D.C. influence community hasn’t been racing to throw cash into the race.

— The GOP primary is still very much in its infancy: Aside from frontrunner and former President Donald Trump, other big names like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence have yet to formally announce their campaigns while others like South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially launched their exploratory committee and campaign, respectively, in the last few weeks.

— So the dearth of K Street money thus far isn’t too surprising, given the small sample size and condensed fundraising timeline for both Haley and Ramaswamy — and considering that, apart from Haley’s stint in the Trump administration, neither she nor Ramaswamy have extensive ties to Washington.

— PI did find a few K Streeters in Haley’s filings from this weekend. Phil Musser, the head of government affairs for utility giant NextEra, gave the maximum of $3,300 to Haley’s campaign two days after it launched. Susan Neely, who leads the American Council of Life Insurers, also maxed out to the former South Carolina governor during launch week, according to the filings.

— Meanwhile Robert Trivett, a vice president at GOP digital firm Targeted Victory, has given Haley roughly $270 spread across numerous contributions, according to the filings. And though he’s not a lobbyist, Chris Slaughter, the chief executive of law firm Steptoe & Johnson, has given Haley around $1,200. (As CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reports, megadonors in the business world looking for an alternative to Trump have been less shy about opening up their wallets to Haley so far.)

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A message from the Association of American Railroads:

America’s economy relies on freight rail to deliver 1.7 billion tons of goods every year. And the communities we serve expect us to do this safely. We take this commitment seriously, which is why we’ve taken extensive action for decades to reduce accidents—leading to a 44% drop in mainline accidents since 2000. And we won’t stop there. Today, we’re taking decisive steps to further prevent accidents and minimize potential impacts to the communities we serve. See what we’re doing now.

O’MELVENY SNAGS KLAIN: “Ron Klain, two months after leaving as White House chief of staff, today will ‘return home’ to the global legal giant O’Melveny as partner in its Litigation Department, based in Washington and New York, and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee,” Axios’ Mike Allen reports.

— “Klain, who was an O’Melveny partner from 1999 to 2004, will have the flexibility to be an informal senior adviser to Biden’s reelection campaign.” He’ll also lead the firm’s strategic counseling and crisis management practice, where “he’ll advise C-suite executives and boards of directors in complex industries — including technology, healthcare, infrastructure, national security, transportation, and finance.”

KLEIN/JOHNSON ADDS A REPUBLICAN: Kelli Briggs is joining Klein/Johnson Group as a principal, where she will run point for the firm’s outreach to House Republicans. She’s currently the head of government and industry affairs for health care AI startup Olive, experience likely to be key as the push for federal regulations around artificial intelligence intensifies.

— Briggs also has a wealth of experience working on tax policy — a resume that could come in handy as more prized provisions in the 2017 GOP tax law begin to sunset over the next few years. Prior to joining Olive, Briggs was a senior vice president at Washington Tax & Public Policy Group, and before that she served as chief of staff to former Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

THAT WAS QUICK: TikTok has parted ways with SKDK, just months after retaining the White House-linked consulting heavyweight amid ramped up pressure from Washington, The Washington Post’s Cristiano Lima reports.

— Last month, POLITICO reported TikTok had managed to hire the Democratic firm for strategic communications help as momentum for banning the popular video app was building on both the Hill, throughout the Biden administration and in statehouses — a coup for the social media platform especially since SKDK turned TikTok down during the 2020 campaign over the same China ties causing TikTok heartburn now (even as SKDK founder-turned-White House aide Anita Dunn was urging surrogates to tout Biden on the app).

— Prior to last month’s contentious congressional hearing featuring TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, the Chinese-owned platform shuttled dozens of its top creators to D.C. to push back on calls for a ban over potential security risks, and the counteroffensive did get some backup from Democratic lawmakers.

— But the firm “wrapped up its work for TikTok in recent weeks after assisting with its campaign to bring digital influencers to Capitol Hill,” a person familiar with the matter told the Post.

TIKTOK’S GLIMMER OF HOPE: Following Chew’s widely panned performance in last month’s hearing, bipartisan criticism of TikTok appeared to reach a fever pitch in Washington. But our Brendan Bordelon reports that the shifting political winds are “coming up against a stark reality: Even a politically united Washington may not have the regulatory and legal powers to wipe TikTok off American phones.”

— “Interviews with lawmakers, legal and national security experts and former officials in two administrations — including some directly involved in the TikTok effort — suggest that a ban may simply face too many hurdles to ever work. Some insiders are even starting to worry that the government may never be able to meaningfully restrict TikTok’s use — and are considering alternative approaches to mitigate any threat it poses.”

— “With an estimated 150 million monthly American users, talk of a TikTok ban has prompted fear of a political backlash. The social media giant has also hired plenty of lobbyists since its tussle with the Trump administration, making it an even tougher nut for Washington to crack.”

— “But in this case, the politics may almost be a sideshow. The real story, say those who have looked ahead to the practical steps of a ban, is the U.S. government’s constitutional inability to shut out any digital platform that hasn’t already proven a clear threat.”

FLY-IN SZN: The American Cleaning Institute will host a reception on Tuesday with the Congressional Chemistry Caucus as part of the industry’s push for a national standard to govern cleaning product ingredient labeling. The caucus, which is co-chaired by Reps. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), will host expected attendees from Arxada, BASF, Church & Dwight, Clorox, Ecolab, Henkel, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt and the American Chemical Society.

— And Pine Belt Cellular will meet with members of the Alabama congressional delegation, including Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell and GOP Rep. Jerry Carl, on the sidelines of NTCA’s policy summit in D.C. this week to push for increased funding for FCC’s reimbursement program to “rip and replace” telecom equipment from companies like China’s Huawei and ZTE. The internet company recently hired Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney to lobby for decoupling funding for the program from wider spectrum debates.

— Courtney Titus Brooks has joined the Retail Industry Leaders Association as its new vice president of tax. She was most recently director of federal government relations at the National Federation of Independent Business.

— Katelyn Bledsoe will be joining Americans for Prosperity as managing director of external affairs. She was previously managing director of strategic initiatives at Stand Together.

— David Ransom has joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a shareholder in its tax policy group. He was most recently a partner at McDermott Will & Emery and is a Steny Hoyer alum.

— Crossroads Strategies has added Cheryl Jaeger as principal and Ivelisse Porroa-García as senior vice president. Jaeger previously was a principal at Williams & Jensen and is an Eric Cantor alum. Porroa-García previously was director of government affairs at Ferox Strategies and is a Congressional Hispanic Caucus alum.

— Kate Ledesma has joined Dragos, Inc. as head of public policy and government affairs. She most recently led government affairs at SecurityScorecard and is a CISA and State Department alum.

— James Fitzella has joined Ferox as a director. He was most recently a director at The Vogel Group and is a House Rules alum.

— Michael Brasseur is joining Saab as vice president and chief strategy officer. He recently retired after 26 years in the Navy, where he was the founder and first commodore of Task Force 59, an organization dedicated to the rapid integration of robotics and artificial intelligence into 5th Fleet operations.

— Dana Jacobs has been promoted to deputy director of communications to lead Carbon180’s public affairs work. She was previously a senior communications associate there.

— Holly Iverson Hayden is now director of public policy for Nomi Health. She most recently was a local and state government relations and community engagement manager at Verizon.

— Max Moll is joining Cornerstone Government Affairs in their Houston office. He was most recently chief engagement officer at the Houston Independent School District.

— Leela Najafi is leaving Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, where she’s been nominations director and helped oversee hundreds of nominees getting confirmed by the Senate. She’s joining a startup financial firm in NYC.

— Yevgeny Shrago is joining CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero’s staff as senior counsel and policy adviser. Shrago was most recently policy director at Public Citizen and is a White House, Treasury Department and CFPB alum.

— Lem Smith is joining Chevron to work on its international and federal affairs portfolio and to lead the D.C. office on federal and international tax matters. He currently is vice president of federal government relations at the American Petroleum Institute.

— Tyler Evans is now a design coordinator at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He previously was design director with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Senate campaign committee.

— Samantha Russell is now a research analyst at the Financial Technology Association. She previously was a policy adviser at the House Rules Committee.

Jeffries Clark Aguilar Victory Fund (Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, Pete Aguilar)

1859 PAC (Hybrid PAC)
The Advocacy Voice For The Voiceless American Hybrid-PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Stealth (Super PAC)

A message from the Association of American Railroads:

Actum I, LLC: Intuitive Machines, LLC
Actum I, LLC: University Of California, San Francisco
Actum I, LLC: University Of Connecticut
Actum I, LLC: University Of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine
Alva Elliott Partners, LLC: Aquia Group, LLC On Behalf Of High Earth Orbit Robotics Pty Ltd
Apex Advocacy LLC: Clark Hill Plc On Behalf Of Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Wilmer Hale Obo Abc Technologies Holdings Inc.
Cascade Associates: Heat Is Power Association
Delta Development Group, Inc.: Clarion County Board Of Commissioners
Delta Development Group, Inc.: Community Progress Council
Delta Development Group, Inc.: Ywca Of Lancaster
Erin Moffet: National Cannabis Roundtable
Holland & Knight LLP: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Holland & Knight LLP: Suburban Mobility Authority For Regional Transportation (Smart)
Innovative Federal Strategies, LLC: Accuweather
Innovative Federal Strategies, LLC: Torch.Ai
Isthmus, LLC: Windward Strategies On Behalf Of The University Of The Virgin Islands
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP: Pvp Advanced Eo Systems
Kyle House Group: Ginkgo Bioworks
Kyle House Group: International Fertilizer Development Center
Kyle House Group: Open Philanthropy
Mehlman Consulting, Inc.: Xylem, Inc.
O’Hare Infrastructure Strategies LLC: Carpi & Clay Inc On Behalf Of Marin County Transit District
The Cormac Group, LLC: Global Arm
Venable LLP: R1 Rcm
Village Practice Management Holding Company, LLC: Village Practice Management Company
Whitmer & Worrall, LLC: American Cleaning Institute
Woolf Strategic Solutions Group: Rehope
Woolf Strategic Solutions Group: The Exodus Road

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP: 7-Eleven, Inc.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP: Acera Surgical
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP: Bruin Biometrics
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP: Colorado Regional Health Information Organization
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Pc: Optimum Power Holding Co., LLC
Capitol Counsel LLC: Specialty Equipment Market Association
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Pharmaceutical Researchers And Manufacturers Of America (Phrma)
Ferox Strategies: Enhanced Compliance Solutions, Inc.
Ferox Strategies: Lkq Corporation
Ferox Strategies: Maze Environmental
Ferox Strategies: Self-Insurance Institute Of America, Inc.
Haley & Associates: California Dried Plum Board
Hawley LLC: Mla Associates On Behalf Of Brainscope Company
Hogan Lovells US LLP: Mercedes-Benz USa, LLC
Hogan Lovells US LLP: Rustavi Steel LLC
Holland & Knight LLP: American Clean Power Association
Holland & Knight LLP: Charter Schools USa
Holland & Knight LLP: Firstenergy Corporation
Holland & Knight LLP: Partnership For Conservation
K&L Gates, LLP: Aleutian Maritime Lc
K&L Gates, LLP: Apex Clean Energy
K&L Gates, LLP: Astranis Space Technologies Corp.
K&L Gates, LLP: Financial Accounting Foundation
K&L Gates, LLP: Strategic Vaccines, LLC
K&L Gates, LLP: Unlock Aid
Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, LLC: Adt, LLC
Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, LLC: Association For Accessible Medicines (Formerly – Generic Pharmaceutical Assn)
Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, LLC: Fmc Corporation
Mr. Edmund Graber: American Concrete Pavement Association
Ms. Alexis Tkachuk: Tremont Strategies Group, On Behalf Of Tree Care Industry Association
Ms. Jennifer Mcgillicuddy: African Development Bank
O’Neill And Associates: Association Of Professional Flight Attendants
Scott Cullinane: Razom, Inc.
Thorn Run Partners: National Premium Financing Association
Tiber Creek Group: Everglades Protection Alliance, Inc.
Tiber Creek Group: Prevent Opioid Abuse
Tiber Creek Group: Quidnet Energy, Inc.
Tiber Creek Group: Scor Reinsurance Co.

A message from the Association of American Railroads:

For decades, America’s freight railroads have gone above and beyond federal safety requirements to ensure we remain the safest way to move goods over land. This includes using advanced technology to inspect and assess our network, helping us ensure our infrastructure and equipment remain sound. Despite these efforts, recent incidents have shown that there is more work to do, and we will take the lessons learned to get safer each day.

Proactive, transparent and collaborative measures with communities and policymakers are key. That’s why we’re installing an additional 1,000 hot bearing detectors, providing even better training and support for first responders, and improving collaboration across rail companies so we can make informed decisions based on shared data. These broad industry-wide steps are only the first of many we’re taking to make the rail network even safer. Read more about our commitment to the communities we serve.