With Theodoric Meyer and Daniel Lippman
FORMER TRUMP STAFFERS CONSULTING FOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Several former staffers in President Donald Trump’s White House who have left for the private sector have signed the same client in recent months: the Trump campaign. While it’s not unusual for White House staffers to leave to work on a campaign — Jim Messina and Stephanie Cutter left President Barack Obama’s White House during his first term to work for his reelection campaign, for instance — the number of former staffers who’ve worked for Trump’s campaign and for the outside groups supporting his reelection is notable.
— While some of those hires are common knowledge — Bill Stepien, the White House political director, and Justin Clark, who led the Office of Public Liaison, decamped for the campaign late last year — others haven’t been reported. Raj Shah, for instance, worked in the White House as deputy press secretary before leaving to lead the media group at Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm run by Brian Ballard, who’s also a fundraiser for Trump’s campaign. Shah also started consulting for Trump’s campaign on the side, earning $94,000 as a communications consultant through his firm, RS Consulting LLC, according to campaign finance disclosures. Shah left Ballard Partners last month to become a senior vice president at Fox Corporation and is no longer working for the campaign.
— Shah isn’t the only former White House staffer to work for multiple corners of Trumpworld. Stefan Passantino, a former White House deputy counsel, left last year and landed at Michael Best & Friedrich, the law firm at which Reince Priebus, Trump’s former chief of staff, happens to be president and chief strategist. Passantino was hired earlier this year to help the Trump Organization handle subpoenas and other requests from House Democrats. Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, has paid Passantino $60,000 since April for legal consulting done through a firm called Elections LLC. (Anna Massoglia of the Center for Responsive Politics tweeted the connection last month.)
— Other former White House staffers working for the campaign include Steven Cheung, a former White House spokesperson who also worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, who’s been paid $22,500 since April through Solgence LLC for communications consulting; Bobby Peede, a former White House advance director, who’s made more than $25,000 for advance consulting through his firm, Event Communications Group; and Jordan Karem, a former Trump body man, who has been paid nearly $20,000 since January for “strategy consulting” through his firm, Red Arrow Strategies. Shah, Cheung and Karem declined to comment. Passantino and Peede didn’t respond to requests for comment.
PELOSI TALKED USMCA WITH FARMER GROUPS: Representatives from Farmers for Free Trade and the Illinois Farm Bureau met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair to advocate for speedy passage of the Trump administration’s renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Pelosi told the farm groups that she wants to get to “yes” on passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, according to a source familiar with the meetings. Farmers for Free Trade, a coalition of agriculture groups co-chaired by former Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, has been traveling the country in a 25-foot RV since April, meeting with lawmakers and staff in support of the trade deal. A Pelosi spokesperson pointed to a statement from the speaker released by Bustos’ office.
Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. I’m pinch-hitting today and Friday. Send tips, vacation recommendations and general musings to email@example.com, and follow me on Twitter at @davidabeavers. Theo’s reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org and @theodoricmeyer.
BIDEN’S BROTHER RECEIVED LOAN FROM UKRAINE-LINKED DONOR: A donor with deep ties to Ukraine loaned Joe Biden’s younger brother $500,000 for a second mortgage on a multimillion-dollar vacation home while the then-vice president oversaw U.S. policy toward the country, POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger reports. John Hynansky, a Ukrainian-American businessman and longtime donor to Joe Biden’s campaigns, lent James and Sara Biden the money in 2015 as they faced financial difficulties over the purchase of the six-bed, seven-bath home in Southern Florida.
— “There is no indication that the loan influenced Joe Biden’s official actions, but it furthers a decades-long pattern, detailed in a POLITICO investigation earlier this month, by which relatives of the former vice president have leaned on his political allies for money and otherwise benefited financially from the Biden name.” A spokesperson for James and Sara Biden told POLITICO they had settled the debt with Hynansky in full.
EMAILS DETAIL STUDENT LOAN INDUSTRY LOBBYING: A trove of emails obtained by POLITICO’s Michael Stratford detail student loan groups’ lobbying efforts to block states from regulating the industry. “Jack Remondi, CEO of student loan giant Navient, personally emailed a top aide to [Education] Secretary Betsy DeVos in September 2017 urging the administration to ‘quickly’ declare that states lacked the authority to police the companies that collect federal student loans. … The Trump administration several months later agreed to Remondi’s request — which had been echoed in other emails by student loan industry groups like the Student Loan Servicing Alliance and the National Council for Higher Education Resources.”
ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS TRADE GROUP NAMES NEW CHIEF: The Electronic Transactions Association has named Jodie Kelley its new chief executive, effective early next month. Kelley currently is senior vice president and general counsel of BSA | The Software Alliance. She replaces Jason Oxman, who stepped down as the group’s head in January to become president and chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council. “I am committed to further expanding ETA’s already significant advocacy efforts, increasing our member-education programs and providing more networking opportunities,” Kelley said in a statement.
LATEST ON THE CRAIG TRIAL: Wednesday’s jury selection redo for the trial of former White House counsel Greg Craig, who has been charged with misleading the Justice Department about his work promoting a report his law firm wrote for the Ukrainian government, again showed how small Washington can be, POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein reports. A “former telecom lobbyist who said it would be ‘a struggle’ not to hold against Craig his work with” Paul Manafort was among the potential jurors U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson excused Wednesday. Also among the 120 potential jurors summoned on Wednesday was a Vox reporter who has covered the Craig trial; a Republican political consultant married to a senior Trump-appointed Health and Human Services official; and at least two former fellow White House officials who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama.
POTENTIAL LEWANDOWSKI RUN SPARKS TENSION: New Hampshire’s GOP establishment is in “near open revolt” over Corey Lewandowski’s prospective Senate campaign, POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt reports, after writing Tuesday that a top Trump ally released a poll aimed at convincing the former Trump campaign manager to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. “Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has relayed concerns about Trump’s controversial former campaign manager to party leadership,” ahead of a Trump rally tonight in Manchester, which Lewandowski is expected to attend.
— “Dave Carney, a longtime New Hampshire-based strategist who’s worked on an array of statewide Republican campaigns, called the idea of a Lewandowski candidacy a ‘joke.’ ‘He adds nothing to the ticket and doesn’t help the president or the ticket in any way,’ Carney said. ‘Corey is a political hack. Political hacks make bad candidates generally.’”
— Samsung has hired Jay Chittooran to join its government affairs team. He currently is manager of global public policy at SEMI.
— Staci Pies is joining communications infrastructure company Crown Castle as vice president of government affairs, POLITICO’s Morning Tech reports. She previously was senior policy counsel at Google.
— Human Rights First has hired Benjamin Haas as advocacy counsel for national security, Playbook reports. He previously was an associate at Covington & Burling.
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Carmen Group Incorporated: Samitaur Constructs
Carmen Group Incorporated: Starz Entertainment, LLC
Federal Hall Policy Advisors, LLC: Cline Strategic Consulting, LLC (obo Metro Transit Authority of Harris County)
Fidelis Government Relations: Harris Firm, PLLC
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Tellurian Inc.
K&L Gates, LLP: Clark Street Associates LLC on behalf of Aira
K&L Gates, LLP: Clark Street Associates LLC on behalf of Crossbar Inc.
K&L Gates, LLP: Clark Street Associates LLC on behalf of PSIQuantum
K&L Gates, LLP: Clark Street Associates LLC on behalf of Skywater Technology
K&L Gates, LLP: Cyanco International
Moonwalker Associates: Arizona State University
The EDW Group: New Stone M.B. Church
The Mondello Group LLC: World Anti-Doping Association (WADA)
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
Federal Research Strategies, LLC: Edington, Peel & Associates, Inc., on behalf of General Capacitor
Government Relations Group, LLC: SeaVee Boats, Inc
McNees-Winter Group LLC (formerly The Winter Group): Robindale Energy Services, Inc.