NFIB TO SQUEEZE BATTLEGROUND SENATORS: One of the main trade groups representing the small business community is prepping an ad blitz aimed at ramping up the pressure on vulnerable Senate Democrats to permanently enshrine the small business deduction created as part of Republicans’ 2017 tax bill.
— The National Federation of Independent Business is going up with digital and video ads in 20 states urging lawmakers to back the Main Street Tax Certainty Act, which would make permanent the 20 percent deduction for qualified pass-through businesses.
— The provision, which has faced criticism on the left about whether wealthy taxpayers have exploited the benefit, is slated to expire at the end of 2025. Lawmakers are already working to craft a potential tax deal for this year to address a number of items from the 2017 bill that have begun to wind down or are set to sunset over the next few years, with Republicans on the House Ways and Means committee advancing their party-line opening offer earlier this summer.
— Radio ads from NFIB frame the deduction’s expiration as “a massive tax hike” on small businesses, and will be concentrated in states that are essential to Democrats’ hopes of maintaining control of the Senate next fall: Montana, Nevada and West Virginia, where Democratic Sens. Jon Tester, Jacky Rosen and Joe Manchin are in for tough races (assuming they all run for reelection).
— “From inflation to worker shortages Main Street has faced challenge after challenge,” one of the group’s radio ads says, arguing that letting the tax break expire would “lead to job losses and an economic slowdown.”
NEW BUSINESS: The coalition of banks, credit unions and credit card companies fighting to fend off curbs on the swipe fees they charge merchants for transactions hired a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last month as Wall Street waged an aggressive (and for now, successful) bid to keep language on the issue out of the chamber’s defense authorization bill.
— The Electronic Payments Coalition, which last week brought on the former longtime head of the Consumer Bankers Association, also retained Resolution Public Affairs, the firm run by former Schumer legislative director Heather McHugh, to lobby on swipe fee legislation, according to recently filed disclosures. In addition to McHugh, former Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) aide Ashli Palmer, former Nita Lowey and Schumer aide Elizabeth Stanley and former Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) aide Lea Fisher Sulkala are working on the account.
— Meanwhile Sean Farrell, the former chief of staff to Senate Commerce Committee member Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) who left the Hill last month to start his own firm, has signed up CTIA – The Wireless Association as his first client, according to a disclosure. Farrell’s East Capitol Advisors makes 22 outside firms on retainer with the trade group.
Happy Wednesday and welcome to PI, where it feels great to be back in the saddle (not so great: returning to East Coast humidity levels). Many many thanks, of course, to Hailey Fuchs and Megan Wilson for pinch hitting for me over the past week. Let me know what I missed while I was out: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on the platform formerly known as Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
STREAMING RULES TURF WAR?: Two top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee fired off a brushback pitch warning FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel over possible changes to how TV streaming marketplaces are regulated, Morning Tech reports.
— The fight between streaming platforms, major broadcasters and production companies (who oppose reexamining the marketplace rules) and smaller broadcast networks (which are pushing for new rules) has ramped up in recent months, with the two factions recently forming dueling coalitions to press their arguments — though there doesn’t appear to be any imminent action either way.
— “If the laws and regulations governing the video marketplace need to be reexamined, it is up to Congress to make updates, not the FCC,” full committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and telecom subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-Ohio) wrote in a letter Tuesday to Rosenworcel.
— McMorris Rodgers’ Senate counterpart Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is on the opposite side in the fight, but Morning Tech notes that Rosenworcel also seemed unsure of the agency’s authority on the matter earlier this year.
UTILITY SPLITS WITH GAS INDUSTRY GROUP OVER CLIMATE PRIORITIES: “New England’s largest energy utility, Eversource, has parted ways with the American Gas Association — a powerful industry group that environmentalists say has been instrumental in blocking efforts to address climate change around the country,” WBUR’s Miriam Wasser reports.
— “Eversource spokesperson Chris McKinnon told WBUR that the utility canceled its membership with the group in early 2022 as part of a broader, strategic effort to prioritize ‘decarbonization’ and reduce planet-warming emissions.”
— “‘Eversource is more than a natural gas utility,’ McKinnon wrote in an email. ‘It was a company-wide decision to withdraw membership from the American Gas Association and redirect costs to more targeted associations and memberships with a focus on decarbonization to support our company-wide operations.’”
— “Eversource’s departure appears to mark the first time a major utility has left the influential gas trade group over diverging climate agendas, a move some energy experts call ‘unprecedented’ and say could be a harbinger of things to come.”
NOT SO FAST: “Federal prosecutors in New York on Tuesday signaled their intention to hold embattled crypto executive Sam Bankman-Fried accountable for alleged campaign finance violations despite dropping the charge last month on a technicality,” ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Max Zahn write.
— After prosecutors hit FTX founder with a litany of charges last year, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and securities fraud, they said in July that they were dropping a charge for campaign finance violations against Bankman-Fried after learning that the charge was not included in an extradition treaty with the Bahamas.
— “In a letter to the judge on Tuesday, however, prosecutors said they intend to file a superseding indictment next week that will seek to incorporate Bankman-Fried’s alleged campaign finance scheme into seven other existing charges,” per ABC.
— “‘The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme as part of the fraud and money laundering schemes originally charged,’ the letter said. ‘The defendant’s use of customer deposits to conduct a political influence campaign was part of the wire fraud scheme charged in the original indictment. And as part of the originally charged money laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations,’ the letter added.”
MARCH FOR OUR LIVES LEADER LAUNCHING A PAC: David Hogg, the Parkland, Fla. mass shooting survivor-turned-gun control activist, is kicking off a new effort to back the youth organizers who are increasingly aging into eligibility to run for office, he told NPR.
— The March for Our Lives co-founder “is launching Leaders We Deserve, a hybrid political action committee backing candidates under 35 years old running for federal office and under 30 years old running for state office. The group — which plans to primarily focus on state-level races and a smaller number of congressional matchups — will target open, Democratic-held seats in the upcoming 2024 primary season.”
— “The move signals a widening political focus for Hogg, who has remained a prominent voice in the youth-led, grassroots movement to curb gun violence since he and his classmates survived a mass shooting at their high school in Parkland, Fla., more than five years ago.”
— “Some members of his activist cohort have already entered electoral politics, including first-term Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., who came to Congress after a background in organizing at March For Our Lives. The first Gen Z member of Congress, Frost is on the advisory board for Leaders We Deserve, and his former campaign manager, Kevin Lata, serves as the group’s executive director.”
— Judith Fenelus is joining the Alliance for Automotive Innovation as director of state affairs, leading state advocacy in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. She was most recently chief of staff to New Jersey Assemblymember Shavonda Sumter and chief administrative officer for the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.
— The Herald Group has hired McLaurine Pinover as senior director and promoted Jack Fencl to senior associate. Pinover was most recently deputy communications director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
— Forward Global has added Ted Anderson and Mary Taylor to spearhead the firm’s defense practice, and Thomas Mathiasen as a client manager. Anderson and Taylor were both previously at Signal Group and Mathiasen was most recently with FGS Global.
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