MARK KIRK STARTS A BLOCKCHAIN TRADE GROUP: Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is helping to start a new blockchain-focused trade group, called U.S. Blockchain Advocacy Partners. Kirk, who’s a founding partner of the new group, held an event on Tuesday evening in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to promote it with three others helping to start the group with him: Clark Fonda of Fonda & Associates, Mary Arnold of Arnold Consulting and Michael Volkov of Volkov Law Group. “We’re actively pitching clients and will register [to lobby] when appropriate, including Sen. Kirk,” Fonda wrote in an email to PI. They also plan “to create a PAC and be active on the political side,” he added.
— This isn’t Kirk’s first foray on K Street since losing reelection in 2016. He registered as a foreign agent earlier this year to lobby for the China-United States Exchange Foundation as a subcontractor to BGR Group. Lester Munson, Kirk’s former chief of staff, who’s now a principal at BGR, is also registered to lobby for the foundation. And U.S. Blockchain Advocacy Partners won’t be the first blockchain-related trade group in Washington. The Blockchain Association has been lobbying since last year.
SUBJECT MATTER SIGNS NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders has added Subject Matter to its lineup of outside lobbying firms. Two former Democratic congressional staffers, Barry LaSala and Stacey Alexander, and a former Republican congressional staffer, Whit Askew, will lobby on affordable housing, energy efficiency, immigration, tax incentives and trade, among other issues, according to a disclosure filing. The trade group retains two other lobbying firms, American Continental Group and the Lugar Hellmann Group, although the latter hasn’t lobbied actively for the association since last year.
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Every year millions of Americans seek assistance with their taxes, but far too many are harmed by fraudulent and incompetent tax preparers. Unfortunately, the IRS has virtually no authority to deal with this problem. That is why we support PTIN revocation reform to address identified bad prepares. Learn More.
GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION REBRANDS: “The Grocery Manufacturers Association is no more,” POLITICO’s Helena Bottemiller Evich reports. “The top trade association representing the food industry announced Thursday it will change its name to the Consumer Brands Association at the end of this year — a move that reflects the group’s pivot to represent the broader consumer packaged goods industry. The change comes after a rocky couple of years for the association, which represents heavyweights like General Mills, PepsiCo and the Kellogg Company.”
— “The group is about half the size it once was, in terms of revenue, following a mass exodus of members, many of which left the group over deep disagreements on policy issues. ‘The rebrand is simply the last step in better understanding who we are and what our opportunities are going forward,’ Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the association, told POLITICO.”
HOW CHRIS CHRISTIE IS MAKING A LIVING THESE DAYS: “Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a lucrative consulting contract with a pharmaceutical company less than a year after President Donald Trump’s bipartisan commission on opioids and addiction, which Christie chaired, recommended policy changes the drugmaker sought,” POLITICO New Jersey’s Sam Sutton reports. “Pacira BioSciences paid Christie $800,000, plus stock options, in 2018 and 2019 as it lobbied for new Medicare rates to boost the financial prospects of its flagship product, a non-opioid painkiller used in surgeries, according to a POLITICO review of the New Jersey company’s regulatory filings.”
KURT VOLKER’S K STREET TIES: NBC News’ Josh Lederman and Kristen Welker note that Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations, has “continued to work as a ‘senior international adviser’ at his old lobbying firm, BGR Group, whose website touts Volker’s ‘deep European experience and relationships at the top levels of the trans-Atlantic diplomatic and policy communities.’” BGR continued to lobby for Ukraine’s government after Volker took the unpaid position as a State Department envoy, although there’s no evidence Volker was involved in representing Ukraine.
— Steptoe & Johnson has hired Eric Solomon as a partner in the firm’s tax group, based in Washington. He previously was co-director of Ernst & Young’s national tax department.
— Ibn Salaam has joined FLIR Systems as director of government affairs and head of the company’s political action committee, POLITICO’s Morning Defense reports. He previously managed General Motors’ PAC.
— The Coalition for Lifesaving Epinephrine Access and Responsibility has hired Jennifer Bell, a founding partner of Chamber Hill Strategies,as executive director.
— Monument Advocacy has hired Noelle Jones as a director. She previously was an account executive at Ketchum.
— Catherine Costakos is joining Edelman’s financial communications team, Playbook reports. She previously was communications director for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).
New Leadership for Virginia (Super PAC)
Secure the Border SuperPAC (Super PAC)
Brody Group L.L.C. Public Affairs: Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM)
Kadesh & Associates, LLC: Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Liberty Partners Group, LLC: Intact Vascular, Inc. (CardioVascular Coalition)
Morrison Public Affairs Group: Support Alliance of US Immigrants
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.: BedJet
Subject Matter (fka Elmendorf Ryan): National Association of Homebuilders
DLA Piper LLP (US): Smalley Steel Ring Company
A message from H&R Block:
Every year, millions of innocent Americans are harmed by fraudulent and incompetent tax preparers, resulting in bad or stolen refunds and identity theft. We need a federal solution to stop preparers who are known to the IRS to file bad returns. Now is the time to pass common-sense legislation that grants the IRS explicit authority to revoke the PTIN of an identified bad preparer. Taxpayers’ financial security and personal privacy depend on it. Learn More.