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By CAITLIN OPRYSKO
With Daniel Lippman
POSSIBLE JCPA INCLUSION IN NDAA TRIGGERS SWIFT PUSHBACK: A broad coalition of groups opposed to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act sprang into action on Monday after draft text began circulating indicating the bill could be tucked into the compromise version of the NDAA set to be unveiled at any moment.
— The swift pushback against including the measure, which would allow media outlets to collectively bargain with tech platforms like Meta and Google over payments for their content to appear on those sites, was headlined by a blistering statement from Meta threatening to yank news content from its platforms altogether, should the JCPA pass.
— The company’s argument, issued through spokesperson Andy Stone, basically boiled down to this: News needs us more than we need news. Stone warned that the company, which followed through with the same threat over similar legislation in Australia — if only temporarily — would not “submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”
— “No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue,” Stone said, alleging the bill would result in “a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities.”
— The bill’s supporters rushed to condemn Meta’s ultimatum. The News Media Alliance, which represents thousands of publishers including POLITICO parent company Axel Springer, denounced the threat as “undemocratic and unbecoming,” while pointing to the success of similar policies elsewhere.
— “Meta’s efforts to blackmail Congress prove again why this monopoly is a threat to democracies worldwide,” said Matt Stoller, the director of research at the progressive American Economic Liberties Project. Stoller urged Congress to “quickly pass” the JCPA, calling it “a vital lifeline to media outlets that are being eaten alive by Big Tech’s business model.”
— Still, much of the reaction united groups that are typically at loggerheads — including on other high-profile pieces of antitrust legislation aimed at reining in tech giants — in opposition to the JCPA.
— The conservative tech lobbying group NetChoice quickly announced plans to roll out a six-figure ad buy set to begin today on Fox News, cable and online within the Beltway, labeling the push a “power grab” by congressional Democrats “to bail out their allies in the liberal media” and “silence conservative voices” — though one of JCPA’s key backers is Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).
—The Koch-backed Americans for Tax Reformissued its own plea aimed at Republicans, warning against “greenlighting collusion between Big Tech and legacy media under the flimsy guise of ‘protecting local journalism.’”
— The left-leaning tech lobbying group Chamber of Progress and the Computer & Communications Industry Association also called on lawmakers to think twice about wrapping JCPA into the NDAA. But they were joined in their letter to congressional leadership by groups like Fight for the Future, a progressive advocacy group that has been among the most vocal organizations pushing for antitrust bills, the ACLU, the libertarian R Street Institute and more.
Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send K Street tips: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
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RIVERA HIT WITH FARA CHARGES: “A former Miami congressman who signed a $50 million consulting contract with Venezuela’s socialist government was arrested Monday on charges of money laundering and representing a foreign government without registering,” The Associated Press’ Joshua Goodman and Terry Spencer reported.
— “David Rivera, a Republican who has been marred by scandals stretching back to his days in Congress from 2011 to 2013, was arrested at Atlanta’s airport, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.”
— “The eight-count indictment alleges Rivera at the start of the Trump administration was part of a conspiracy to lobby on behalf of Venezuela to lower tensions with the U.S., resolve a legal dispute with a U.S. oil company and end U.S. sanctions against the South American nation — all without registering as a foreign agent.”
— Rivera’s indictment shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise — a U.S. subsidiary of the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.sued the former congressman back in 2020 for breach of contract related to his consulting work for the oil company, prompting calls from lawmakersand watchdogs alike for probes into whether Rivera violated FARA.
— Still, the indictment handed down by a grand jury signals the department isn’t yet letting up on its aggressive enforcement posture, including for high-profile targets.
FTX’S OTHER BIG DONOR: FTX’s co-CEOs Sam Bankman-Fried and Ryan Salame got much of the attention for their fast ascensions into political megadonor status, but another executive at the since-collapsed crypto exchange also dropped some serious coin on campaigns in recent years, as chronicled by CNBC’s Brian Schwartz.
— “A year after Nishad Singh became the company’s director of engineering, he quietly emerged as a reliable political donor for Democrats,” donating “more than $13 million to party causes since the start of the 2020 presidential election, according to state and federal campaign finance records.”
— “Singh donated $8 million to federal campaigns in the 2022 election cycle, and all of it went to Democrats, according to the nonpartisan campaign watchdog OpenSecrets. He was among a handful of former senior officials at FTX who were deeply involved with financing the 2022 midterms.”
— “The sum makes him the 34th highest donor to all federal campaigns across the country during the latest election, ahead of other party donors such as billionaires Tom Steyer and angel investor Ron Conway, OpenSecrets said. Singh’s only recorded campaign donation before he took the senior role at FTX was a $2,700 contribution in 2018 to Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., a member of the House Financial Services Committee.”
RODNEY DAVIS’ TOP AIDE HEADS DOWNTOWN: Bret Manley has joined Elevate Government Affairs as an executive vice president after around 15 years on the Hill. Manley was most recently chief of staff to Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), who is leaving office at the end of the year after losing a primary challenge. Manley also worked briefly at the Association of American Railroads and before that was an aide to former Reps. Jeff Denham and Gary Miller.
ICYMI — CONTOURS OF A CANNABIS DEAL COMING TOGETHER: “The package of cannabis legislation built around the SAFE Banking Act will reportedly include the HOPE Act and the GRAM Act, according to three people familiar with the discussions,” POLITICO’s Natalie Fertig reports.
— “The HOPE Act would create grant funding for states to expunge cannabis-related records, and the GRAM Act would protect gun rights for marijuana users in legal jurisdictions. A bipartisan group of senators led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have been working on a package around SAFE, with hopes of including it in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to come to the floor later this week.”
— “While senators on both sides of the aisle say the votes are there for the bill, it must pass the difficult test of receiving sign-off from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is not a strong supporter of any cannabis legislation,” and who earlier today threw cold water on the notion of including cannabis provisions in the defense bill.
MORE ARTISTS BACK RADIO ROYALTIES BILL: Ahead of a markup tomorrow on the American Music Fairness Act, which would grant performance royalties for plays on broadcast radio, another 40 artists have thrown their support behind the measure.
— Harry Belafonte, Randy Travis, Elvis Costello, Common, Jack White, The Roots and more added their signatures to a Nov. 1 letter asking Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to take up the bill in his committee. The original letter was signed by five dozen musicians.
— The House Judiciary Committee announced last week that it would mark up the radio royalties bill, a major step for the push from the recording industry but one that is likely to come too late for passage in both chambers of Congress before lawmakers finish their work for the year.
— In a statement last week, the National Association of Broadcasters’ Curtis LeGeyt pointed out that a resolution opposing such royalties has more than 250 co-sponsors in the House, signaling that the American Music Fairness Act wouldn’t have the votes if the bill made it to the floor.
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— Stephen Rickard is leaving the Open Society Foundations, where he is executive director, after two decades. He is going to GeorgetownLaw, where he’ll serve as a fellow at the Human Rights Institute.
— Boundary Stone Partners has added Dan Birns as a vice president supporting the batteries team and Rachael Grace as a vice president in the buildings and industrial decarbonization practice. Birns was most recently a senior adviser in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department and Grace was most recently senior policy director at Rewiring America.
— Kenneth Moton has joined Actum as a senior vice president on public affairs and media strategy teams. He was most recently a correspondent at ABC News.
— Jonathan Gold is now senior associate director of post-acute payment policy at the American Hospital Association. He was previously director of government relations at the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association.
— Susan Askew is now PAC and political advocacy director at AdvaMed. She was most recently executive director of ICSC PAC, the political action committee for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
— Cassidy & Associates has hired Virgilio “Lio” Barrera as a senior vice president. He was most recently director of government and public affairs at Holcim and is a Martin Heinrich and Mark Udall alum.
— Matt DeLuca has launched MD Digital Strategies, a digital marketing management consulting firm. He previously led advertising and digital marketing efforts at Golin, Edelman, AARP, Engage and Boeing.
— Tommy Mattocks is now senior press representative at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He most recently was director of comms at the Aerospace Industries Association and is a POLITICO alum.
Community Solar Action Fund (Hybrid PAC)
LABOR PARTY of TEXAS (PAC)
Banner Public Affairs, LLC: Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District
Downs Government Affairs: Community College Alliance For Agriculture Advancement
Eb Consulting: Francis Energy
Fgs Global (US) LLC (Fka Fgh Holdings LLC): National Rural Water Association
Franklin Square Group, LLC: Biofire Technologies Inc.
Grassroots Political Consulting LLC: Amerivita Home Care
Holland & Knight LLP: Peak Minerals Inc.
Horizons Global Solutions LLC: Transcend Engineering
Husch Blackwell Strategies: Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP (On Behalf Of Silgan Containers)
Kadesh & Associates, LLC: The O Team, LLC
Patterson Earnhart Real Bird & Wilson LLP: Standing Rock Housing Authority
Potomac Strategic Development Company, LLC: Cymantix
Potomac Strategic Development Company, LLC: Plasan North America
The Roosevelt Group: 202 Group Bluevoyant Federal
The Roosevelt Group: Dish Wireless
The Roosevelt Group: Global Technical Systems
The Roosevelt Group: Matrix Design Group On Behalf Of The State Of Arkansas
Tiber Creek Group: Nvidia Corporation
Von Batten-Montague-York: The Clan Leaders Of The Sool, Sanaag, And Cayn Regions
Williams And Jensen, Pllc: Clark Street Associates On Behalf Of Hid Global
Guarding Against Pandemics, Inc.: Guarding Against Pandemics, Inc.
Phoenix Global Organization Incorporated: Tesla Global Holdings Corporation
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