Sphere adds former Pompeo aide
With David Beavers, Aubree Eliza Weaver and Daniel Lippman
SPHERE ADDS FORMER POMPEO AIDE: Sphere Consulting, the public affairs firm founded by Jim Courtovich, is adding Patrick Fleming as a vice president. Fleming was previously a senior policy adviser to former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and also worked as director of transition after President Donald Trump nominated Pompeo to lead the CIA. Fleming is also a former aide to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the Freedom Caucus. He’ll be working on transportation, financial services, aerospace and defense issues, according to the firm, in addition to some international work. Mahmood Abu-Rubieh, a recent George Washington University graduate, is also joining Sphere as an associate.
A NEW SUPER PAC IN NEW MEXICO: Joel Riter, a longtime GOP operative, has started a new super PAC called “For a Better New Mexico.” Riter is a former aide to Josh Mandel, the Ohio state treasurer, and has helped start a number of super PACs since working with a nonprofit called the Government Integrity Fund that backed Mandel’s unsuccessful challenge to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2012. It’s not clear who For a Better New Mexico is backing, but it may be one of the Republicans running to replace GOP Rep. Steve Pearce, who’s running for governor, leaving his Republican-leaning district wide open. Riter didn’t respond to a request for comment.
IF YOU WEREN’T READING POLITICO ON FRIDAY NIGHT: “Months after Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, quit the lobbying firm he co-founded after the 2016 election, he appears to be working with a new one, reviving questions about whether he is still cashing in on his relationship with the president,” POLITICO’s Theodoric Meyer and Daniel Lippman report. The firm, Turnberry Solutions LLC — a name that calls to mind Trump Turnberry, the president’s Scottish golf resort — is staffed by two lobbyists who worked for Lewandowski’s old firm. While Lewandowski has denied any link to the firm, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.
— Lewandowski was on a recent conference call between Turnberry and one of its clients, according to the client, and Turnberry also created an email address with his first name on it. A source familiar with the firm told POLITICO that Lewandowski also traveled to Poland earlier this month with two of Turnberry’s lobbyists to pitch the firm’s services to the Polish government.” Still, Lewandowski says he isn’t working with Turnberry. “‘Get your facts right,’ he said in a brief interview on Friday. ‘I have nothing to do with Turnberry Solutions.’” Full story.
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PENCE PAC RAKES IN CORPORATE MONEY: Vice President Mike Pence’s “new political group raised money from at least three dozen corporate PACs in June, July and August,” POLITICO’s Maggie Severns, Matthew Nussbaum and Ben Lefebvre report. “Some, like General Motors and Merck, gave to Pence’s Great America Committee just days or weeks before their CEOs moved to dissolve Trump’s business advisory councils after his controversial remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. The companies — including giants like AT&T, Boeing, FedEx and General Electric — are eager for access to the vice president and have embraced his leadership PAC as a way to win favor with the White House, according to interviews with a dozen Republican fundraisers and lobbyists with ties to the business community.”
— “Donating to Pence’s PAC ensures the door to the executive branch stays open, one donor said. And having trusted Pence aides decide how to dole out the money to Republican candidates — as opposed to an unpredictable president who has threatened on Twitter to challenge sitting Republican senators — is an added bonus. ‘There’s certainly a lot of people interested in connecting with Pence. He’s familiar, a Washington face, a steady hand,’ said the donor, who has given to both Pence’s Great America Committee and to Trump.” Full story.
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SOME CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS ARE ACTIVE STOCK TRADERS:Members of Congress aren’t the only ones who engage in ethically questionable stock trades. “A POLITICO review of federal disclosures for 2015 and 2016 found that some senior aides regularly buy and sell individual stocks that present potential conflicts of interest with their work,” POLITICO’s Maggie Severnsreports. Daniel Swanson, a Judiciary Committee aide to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), “dropped somewhere between $4,004 and $60,000 in Mylan stock from his and his child’s portfolios” days after the committee sent a letter to DOJ suggesting the pharmaceutical was breaking the law. Full story.
ON THE AIRWAVES: Robert Stryk, a lobbyist featured prominently in Nick Confessore’s story in The New York Times Magazine on lobbying a few weeks ago, chatted with Confessore for The Times’ “New Washington” podcast. Stryk is the founder of SPG, a lobbying firm that’s signed New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Kenya and other countries since Trump took office. Listen to it here.
MIKA THROWS OUT FIRST PITCH AT TIGERS GAME: Matt Mika, the Tyson Foods lobbyist who was seriously wounded in the shooting at congressional baseball practice in June, threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game on Sunday. Mika is a Michigan native and an avid Tigers fan. He told Detroit’s WXYZ that he’s still recuperating from his injuries, though. "My ribs are still recovering. My left hand, I don't have feeling yet in my hand," Mika said.
SPIES, SPIES EVERYWHERE: Hiring a new in-house lobbyist? Make sure your applicants aren’t Breitbart moles. BuzzFeed News’ Joseph Bernstein reports that Steve Bannon considered trying to plant a mole inside Facebook last year before taking over Donald Trump’s campaign. The idea to infiltrate Facebook came to Bannon from Chris Gacek, a former congressional staffer who is now an official at the Family Research Council, which lobbies against abortion and many LGBT rights. ‘There is one for a DC-based ‘Public Policy Manager’ at Facebook’s What’s APP [sic] division,’ Gacek, the senior fellow for regulatory affairs at the group, wrote on Aug. 1, 2016. ‘LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings.’ ‘This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB," he continued.
— “'Milo,'" of course, "is former Breitbart News Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, to whom Bannon forwarded Gacek’s email the same day. ‘Can u get on this,’ Bannon instructed his staffer.” Full story.
— Volvo has hired Will Otero as government affairs director for the Americas. He was previously director of federal government affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and before that worked for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He’ll report to Katherine Yehl, Volvo’s vice president of government affairs for the Americas.
— The Corn Refiners Association has added Allison Cooke as director of food policy. She previously worked for Kellen, where her clients included the Calorie Control Council, the International Food Additives Council and the Infant Nutrition Council of America.
— Marcus Rayner has joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a director of public policy. He was previously president of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute.
— Alexis Gilman is joining Crowell & Moring’s Washington office as a partner in the antitrust group. He was previously as assistant director at the Federal Trade Commission.
— Kami Spicklemire is joining Education Trust as a communications manager. She was previously a campaign manager at the Center for American Progress.
— The Insured Retirement Institute has voted to add Joe DeSilva of ADP and Dan Guilbert of Symetra Financial to its board of directors.
SPOTTED: At Alabama Power’s “Power of Leadership” reception at the Mellon Auditorium on Thursday night, according to a PI tipster: Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.); Stacey Plaskett, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ House delegate; Mark Crosswhite, Zeke Smith, Quentin Riggins and John Hudson of Alabama Power; Robert McGheeof the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; and Roland Martin of TV One.
NEW JOINT FUNDRAISERS:
CenterMovement.com (Super PAC)
For A Better New Mexico (Super PAC)
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS:
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: MDIF Media Partners I, LP
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Pinnacle Transportation Systems, Inc.
Capitol Legislative Strategies LLC: Tegrity TH1, LLC
Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting: Medical Transportation Access Coalition
Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting: National Council for Behavioral Health
Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting: Solidarity HealthShare
Impact Management Group: Advantage Capital Partners
Invariant LLC: Safer GVW, Inc.
Jamison and Sullivan, Inc.: SAS
Live Oak Bank: Live Oak Bank
McDermott Will & Emery LLP: Indian River County
McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP): AmeriHealth Caritas
McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP): CHS, Inc.
Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Inc.: Project Firefly
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP: Melaleuca Inc.
Robert Lehman: National Election Defense Coalition
Summit Strategies Government Affairs: Islabikes
This article was taken from POLITICO. http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/politico-influence/2017/09/25/sphere-adds-former-pompeo-aide-222467