Mink and reptile breeders lobby up for China bill- POLITICO

Mink and reptile breeders lobby up for China bill- POLITICO

With Daniel Lippman

FUR INDUSTRY, REPTILE HANDLERS PUSH BACK ON CHINA BILL PROVISIONS: Two trade groups representing mink farmers and reptile handlers have turned to K Street to fight changes to federal conservation law that were included in the House version of legislation to increase economic competitiveness with China. The Natural Fiber Alliance and the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers both retained Joan Galvin of Capitol Connections earlier this month in a bid to block the changes, lobbying disclosures show.

— The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, which says it aims to “uphold the highest ethical standards in the keeping, care, breeding and sale of reptiles and amphibians,” is looking to strip language in the bill that would ban the interstate transport of species considered “injurious” by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The language would also grant the Interior secretary the authority to issue an emergency declaration of a species as injurious for a period of three years if the species poses an “imminent threat,” and would ban the import of new, nonnative species unless the Interior Department determines the new species does not pose a significant threat or risk of invasiveness.

— The changes have been cheered by animal welfare groups, but USARK has sought to mobilize its members against them, arguing the language could “destroy your options for pets, right to travel with animals and your businesses.”

— “If these changes become law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would have the authority to list a species as injurious immediately if it could possibly survive and breed anywhere in the U.S. and possibly cause any type of problem. The potential for spreading disease is another criteria for listing,” the group says in a flier it urges supporters to display in their stores or include in shipments (emphasis theirs).

— The Natural Fiber Alliance, which argues in part for more consumption of products made from natural fibers like fur, silk, cotton and hemp because of the environmental risks posed by synthetic fabrics, is looking to remove language from the House bill that would outlaw mink farming. The language from House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) has drawn fierce opposition from Congress’ Wisconsin delegation, which hails from the country’s top mink-producing state.

— The two lawmakers cited cases of Covid-19 among minks, dubbing a 2021 bill the “Minks in Narrowly Kept Spaces Are Superspreaders,” or MINKS, Act. The CDC has downplayed that risk, while in an op-ed for the Wisconsin State Farmer last week, the Natural Fiber Alliance accused the ban of being about “virtue signaling and cancel culture, not about public health and safety or even about the minks themselves.”

Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send some lobbying tips instead: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

ONLINE SELLERS’ GROUP PUSHES CHINA BILL CONFEREES TO DITCH SHOP SAFE: A group of more than 60 small business owners, led by the tech-funded group the Makers and Merchants Coalition, today urged lawmakers hashing out Congress’ China competitiveness package to strip language to hold e-commerce platforms liable for counterfeit products sold on their marketplaces.

— “By effectively allowing trademark holders to further contest product listings and increasing the liability threshold for online sellers, the onus for our country’s counterfeit problem will be shoved squarely on the shoulders of Virtual Main Street America,” the sellers, who said many of their wares are vintage or “creatively crafted,” wrote in a letter to congressional leadership.

— The letter is the latest salvo in a lobbying fight over a pair of bills aimed at cracking down at the proliferation of stolen and counterfeit goods sold online spearheaded initially by retail and manufacturing trade groups.

— The SHOP SAFE Act, which has attracted the lion’s share of criticism from tech platforms, would require online marketplaces to adopt a set of preventative measures or face greater liability for counterfeits purchased on their platforms. Makers and Merchants has not disclosed its members — though its website features various small sellers who signed onto today’s letter — but received funding from the now-defunct, tech-funded Internet Association.

— The group warned that SHOP Safe could result in a David vs. Goliath dynamic between small sellers and brands’ “best-in-class legal departments,” and could “inflict seismic damage on small businesses.”

— Another anti-counterfeit bill included in the House-passed China competitiveness legislation has attracted far less opposition. The INFORM Consumers Act, which would require online marketplaces to take steps to verify the identity of high-volume sellers and provide some of that information to customers, has won support from retailers and manufacturers, and online marketplaces including Amazon have come around to backing the bill.

— A separate coalition of online marketplaces that includes eBay, Etsy, Mercari, Poshmark and OfferUpjoined in a call earlier this month for the compromise China bill to retain the INFORM Consumers Act.

ANOTHER NEW FACE AT THE FEC: “The Senate voted 54-38 Tuesday to confirm Democratic political lawyer Dara Lindenbaum, whose clients included the gubernatorial campaign of Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, to serve on the Federal Election Commission,” Roll Call’s Kate Ackley writes.

— “An election lawyer with the firm Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, Lindenbaum will fill the seat of Steven Walther, an independent who was picked by Democrats and had been serving on a long-expired term. The agency, which enforces federal campaign finance laws, is designed to have three Republican and three Democratic commissioners and often deadlocks 3-3 along party lines, but in recent years it had too few commissioners to conduct official business or even hold meetings.”

— “When Lindenbaum joins the agency, five commissioners will have been confirmed since May 2020,” Ackley notes. “I know how important a fully functioning FEC is to federal candidates who need to avail themselves of the FEC’s guidance and advisory opinions. I also know how important the stability of the agency is to the regulated community,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday ahead of his vote in support of Lindenbaum’s nomination.

— “Robert Kelner, who chairs the election and political law practice at Covington & Burling, noted the lineup of recent commissioners. ‘The agency is gradually emerging from its long slumber,’ he said on Twitter.”

ROYCE, BEGICH LEAD FLY-IN FOR TERROR VICTIMS: A dozen U.S. victims of terrorist attacks including on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 are set to meet with congressional staff today to urge legislative action that would move billions of dollars seized from Afghanistan’s central bank during its takeover by the Taliban to a DOJ-managed fund for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

— At issue is an executive order signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year that would allow for a federal judge in Manhattan to distribute $3.5 billion to victims who had sued the Taliban for damages after the 9/11 attacks, which critics contend wrongly bypasses U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. That fund, which is overseen by the Justice Department, aims to compensate both non-9/11 and 9/11 victims of state-sponosored terrorist attacks in the U.S. and overseas, and has guardrails that seek to ensure compensation is awarded equitably.

— The meetings, which will take place virtually, were organized by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Doug Maguire, Ed Royce and Mark Begich and Crowell & Moring’s Jim Flood and Scott Douglas. Royce, a former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Begich, a former senator, began lobbying their former colleagues to try and change Biden’s mind on the issue in February.

— They’re now helping lead what the advocates expect to become a regular series of virtual fly-ins to ask lawmakers to introduce a legislative fix for Biden’s order. The group aims to hold some meetings in person as well, but many of the victims are elderly and therefore vulnerable to surges in Covid cases. The advocates have 16 meetings with offices in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle.

SPOTTED at a fundraising dinner hosted by Brownstein Farber Hyatt Schreck to benefit the NRSC, per a PI tipster: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Brownstein’s Marc Lampkin, Brian McGuire, Geoff Burr, David Cohen, Steve Demby, Leah Dempsey, Lori Harju,Charlie Iovino, Greta Joynes, Melissa Kuipers Blake, Bill McGrath, Will Moschella, Preston Rutledge,Ryan Smith, Adam Steinmetz, Heather Wadyka, Mark Warren, Ari Zimmerman, and clients and friends of the firm.

SPOTTED at an Aerospace Industries Association reception on Tuesday on Capitol Hill for the first time since Covid in the Russell Caucus Room: Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, former Rep. and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Eric Fanning.

Adam DeSanctis has been elevated to vice president of communications at the Mortgage Bankers Association, overseeing all of the trade group’s media relations. He joined MBA in 2018 as director of public affairs.

— The Motion Picture Association has promoted Tom Zigo to vice president of communications and public affairs.

LaShon Beamon has joined Clyde Group as a senior vice president in the health care practice. She was most recently associate director for state relations and communications in the Administration for Children and Families at HHS.

Paola Arellano is now scheduler for Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.). She most recently was an intern at the Home Depot government relations office through the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Global Leaders program.

Evan Dorner has joined Strategic Marketing Innovations as a director. He was previously the federal affairs director for California Life Sciences and is a Pete Aguilar alum.

Laura Nelson is now vice president for sustainability and policy at Southwest Gas Corp. She most recently was executive director at Strategen.

— Former Rep. Mike Rogers has joined the board of directors at quantum computing company D-Wave.

Dentons Global Advisors-Albright Stonebridge Group is adding Christina Hawk as vice president with the health practice and welcoming the return of Mark Feierstein as senior adviser with the Americas practice, Playbook reports. Hawk most recently was associate executive director at Sunrise Senior Living. Feierstein most recently was acting deputy USAID administrator.

Julia B. Mellon is now executive vice president for financial services at Weber Shandwick. She most recently was senior vice president and co-leader of the financial services practice at the Bliss Group and is also a FleishmanHillard alum.

NTIA has added Parul Desai as director of legislative affairs and Charlie Meisch as director of public affairs. Desai is an FCC detailee working with the House Energy and Commerce majority staff, and Meisch was previously the senior vice president of Crosscut Strategies.

Brigitte Schmidt Gwyn is now senior vice president for North America public policy and government affairs at PepsiCo. She most recently was president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.

HISPANIC LEADERSHIP TRUST PARTNERSHIP (Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Mario Díaz-Balart, Tony Gonzales, Carlos Giménez, Nicole Malliotakis, David Valadao, Maria Salazar, NRCC, Hispanic Leadership Trust)
Landsman Victory Fund (Landsman for Congress, Ohio Democratic Party)
Letlow Victory Fund (Rep. Julia Letlow, Start Rising PAC, NRCC)
Van Orden Victory Fund (Van Orden for Congress, Frogman PAC, Republican Party of Wisconsin, NRCC)

BOPAC (Leadership PAC: Bo Hines)
Just Reform PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Real Republican Reform PAC (Super PAC)
Victory for Schaumburg (Super PAC)

Capitol Energy Advocacy, LLC: Western Rare Earths
Clark Hill Public Strategies LLC: National Education Association
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: The Regents Of The University Of Colorado Obo University Of Colorado Anschutz
Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton LLP: Danimer Scientific
Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton LLP: Fidelis New Energy

Capitol Knowledge, LLC: National Down Syndrome Society
Center For Popular Democracy: Center For Popular Democracy
Mckinley Strategies, LLC: Danbury Senior Living
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Morris Kearney Associates LLC
Mr. H.R. Bert Pena: Asssag
Peter Damon Group LLC: Top Glove Sdn. Bhd.
Rock Spring Public Policy: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP
Water Strategies, LLC: Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District