Gig companies continue to expand D.C. footprint – Politico

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With Daniel Lippman

GIG COMPANIES CONTINUE TO EXPAND D.C. FOOTPRINT: The contingent of companies that dispatch their workers via an app is continuing to build out their presence in D.C. as the Biden administration continues to signal hostility toward gig companies’ efforts to block classification of their workers as employees. Shipt, a local delivery app owned by Target, hired its first Washington lobbyists last week, according to a disclosure filing. The team from Rasky Partners includes Sarah Neal, a former aide to now-Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

— And the food delivery app Grubhub, which hired its first federal lobbyists at Finsbury Glover Hering (previously Glover Park Group) late last year, today announced two new additions to its government relations shop: Ashley De Smeth, a former head of public affairs for Postmates (which was acquired by Uber last year) and Obama administration alum, will be director of federal affairs. Grubhub also added Becca Martin, a Cargill alum, as senior director of government affairs, leading state and local government relations efforts. Grant Klinzman, a Grubhub spokesperson, told PI that the company’s most immediate concerns are more pandemic relief for restaurants and “future of work” discussions, which has become industry shorthand for worker classification.

— Grubhub and Shipt are the latest delivery apps to scale up their operations in the capital in the past year, and especially in the months since President Joe Biden was elected and the industry notched a key victory in the worker classification fight last November in California. Along with those companies, delivery apps GoPuff and Instacart disclosed their first in-house lobbying teams.

— Several app-based companies teamed up in November to form a coalition aimed at amplifying their worker classification message more broadly. A few members of the group, the App-Based Work Alliance, have snapped up lobbyists with ties to the administration — which has in turn made clear where it comes down on the issue of worker classification. DoorDash last month hired a team from Ballard Partners that includes a former Walsh aide. Uber also retained a lobbyist who previously worked for Walsh, and Lyft hired a former Biden aide after November’s election.

— Biden’s budget request released a few weeks ago denounced “the abusive practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors” and asked for a 12 percent increase in funding for the Labor Department division that deals with worker classification, POLITICO’s Benjamin Din reported. Last week, Biden tapped a vocal critic of gig companies to reprise his role leading that division.

— That’s on top of the White House’s support for the PRO Act, which would allow gig workers to unionize and Walsh’s nullification of a Trump-era rule that made it more difficult for gig workers to be classified as employees, with the benefits that go along with it. In an interview with Reuters earlier this year, Walsh for the first time said he believes that “in a lot of cases, gig workers should be classified as employees.”

Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send lobbying tips and your predictions for the next uber-wealthy person to go to space at [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

MONEY MANAGERS BACK CALLS FOR CLIMATE AND DIVERSITY DISCLOSURES: “The asset management industry's top lobbying group today urged the SEC to force companies to disclose their contributions to climate change and the demographics of their workforces, giving a major boost to Democrats' efforts to expand corporate transparency rules,” POLITICO’s Catherine Boudreau reports.

— The Investment Company Institute, whose members include BlackRock, Vanguard and JPMorgan Chase, and manage more than $34 trillion in retirement and investment accounts, “made the recommendation to the SEC in response to the agency's call for public input on how to revamp climate-related financial disclosures ahead of potential mandatory regulations,” and comes after G-7 finance ministers this weekend also backed the push, which has hit resistance from other business groups and Republicans.

— “‘Mandating disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and workforce diversity will give fund managers the consistent, comparable and reliable data they need to better assess current and future sustainability-related risks,’ ICI President and CEO Eric Pan said in a statement.”

NICKLES GROUP ADDS GOP HEALTH AIDE: Brett Baker, a top health adviser to Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Republicans, is leaving the Hill after more than a decade to join The Nickles Group’s health care practice. Baker “shaped health care policies that have touched every sector of the health care industry” while he was on the Hill, former senator and Nickles Group founder Don Nickles wrote in an email to clients obtained by PI.

THE STORY OF BOB DOLE’S FIGHT TO WIN RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE: The former senator talked with The Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia about the root of his decadeslong push, which finally came to fruition in April. “While he was in office, Dole was never able to achieve that goal, blocked by Senate colleagues and a White House loath to anger Turkey, which continues to deny that there was a genocide.”

— “But Dole had planted a seed. And so it was with a quiet joy that he recently got the news that President Biden — a Democrat and foe on many things, but an ally in the Armenian-genocide debate while they served together in the Senate — had accomplished what Dole waited so long to see: Biden formally recognized the mass killings of Armenians as a genocide, making him the first U.S. president to acknowledge this reality since Ronald Reagan, who’d used the term fleetingly.”

THE DAM IS BREAKING: “Business PACs, many of which paused donations earlier this year amid fallout from the violent Jan. 6 Capitol attack, have begun to send more money to lawmakers, including to the 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the presidential election results of some states,” Roll Call’s Kate Ackley reports. “Political action committees from defense, agriculture and other business sectors have led in donations to such lawmakers, including to House GOP leaders and rank-and-file members on committees that regulate their industries, a CQ Roll Call analysis of campaign finance data shows.”

— “Still, PAC money is down,” especially to Senate committees. “Donations to both parties’ House and Senate campaign arms dropped significantly in the first four months of this year when compared with the same period in the previous two election cycles,” records show. But while PACs have “decided to reengage after Jan. 6 … lawmakers and candidates also are increasingly returning to in-person fundraising events, luring corporate and lobbying interests eager to mingle.”

CHIPPING AWAY AT CHIPMAN: Gun rights groups are stepping up their attacks on Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, homing in on former ATF agent David Chipman’s “support for stricter gun laws and previous work as a policy adviser for Giffords, a gun control group,” The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom reports.

— “After launching a lobbying campaign with expensive ad buys ahead of Chipman’s confrontational confirmation hearing in late May, gun groups are now focused on moderates who could swing the outcome, namely Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.). ‘It will come down to a couple of votes, and we all know who,’ said Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.”

— The group is “trying to dissuade Democratic senators from supporting Chipman by making the case that his confirmation would lead to the politicization of ATF,” while noting to Senate offices that it is not reflexively opposed to just any Democratic nominee and supported former President Barack Obama’s 2013 nominee to lead the agency. Gun control groups such as Giffords and Everytown, meanwhile, are spending six figures to counter gun rights groups on TV and digital with ads featuring retired ATF agents.

Teddy Schleifer is leaving Vox to join a new startup media company launching this summer where he’ll cover America’s wealthiest people. In the meantime he’s starting his own newsletter.

Carter Burwell is now counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton and a member of the firm’s white collar and regulatory defense practice. He most recently was counselor to the secretary of the Department of Treasury for terrorism and finance intelligence.

Sayee Srinivasan will be chief economist and head of research for the American Bankers Association. He was most recently deputy director of risk surveillance for the CFTC’s Division of Clearing and Risk.

Roberto Munoz has joined Fannie Mae as its vice president of external communications. He was most recently a principal at Munoz Communications.

David Wilezol is launching Seventh Floor Strategies, a ghostwriting and strategic communications firm, per Playbook. He previously was chief speechwriter to Mike Pompeo and Rex Tillerson at the State Department.

Gottheimer Luria Torres Victory Fund (Reps. Elaine Luria, Josh Gottheimer, Ritchie Torres)

Congressional Pro-Life PAC (Super PAC)

End the New Apartheid (PAC)


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