With Daniel Lippman
TOOMEY, RYAN, MALONEY ADVISING COINBASE: Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., has launched a new global advisory council headlined by Washington heavy hitters amid a showdown with finance cops and lack of regulatory clarity that has Coinbase threatening to move out of the U.S.
— Pat Toomey, who served as the former top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, is part of the council, which a Coinbase spokesperson said will work “closely with members of our executive team to support ongoing efforts to navigate the complex and evolving regulatory landscape and help inform our work with policymakers, regulators, and our community.”
— Other big names on the advisory council include former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, a former member of House Democratic leadership; former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio); longtime Democratic operative and crypto VC executive Chris Lehane and John Anzalone, who was one of President Joe Biden’s top pollsters during the 2020 race.
— Toomey was one of the industry’s key allies while in office, and Maloney and Ryan also worked on crypto issues on the Hill. Coinbase’s advisory council is also not Ryan’s first foray into crypto advocacy since leaving office — last month he announced plans to lead a Bitcoin policy group alongside Club for Growth President David McIntosh.
— They’ll work with another crop of finance and regulatory heavyweights new to the exchange’s bench of advisers as a result of Coinbase’s acquisition in March of the crypto hedge fund One River Digital. The academic and regulatory advisory council includes former White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett as well as former SEC Chair Jay Clayton — whose former agency Coinbase sued last month ahead of the SEC’s own expected charges against Coinbase.
— The former policymakers are the latest D.C. insiders to join the ranks of advisers to major crypto companies seeking to shape how the industry is regulated. Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, which is in the midst of its own legal and regulatory troubles, tapped former Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus and famed Democratic strategist David Plouffe for a similar advisory body last fall.
TGIF and welcome to PI. Send lobbying tips and gossip: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
WHERE THAT $1.6B HAS GONE: The New York Times’ Rebecca Davis O’Brien reports that “a deep-pocketed nonprofit organization founded by the conservative activist Leonard A. Leo gave away $182.7 million in a year’s time, a new tax filing shows, demonstrating how aggressively it has worked behind the scenes to prop up other groups and causes on the right.”
— Marble Freedom Trust, which was formed in 2020 and was the entity that received electronics executive Barre Seid’s now-famous $1.6 billion contribution, “gave $153.8 million to the Schwab Charitable Fund, a manager of donor-advised funds, which allow people and entities to direct their deposits over time into charitable organizations, including some politically inclined groups and institutions,” according to tax filings for the year ending April 30, 2022.
— “Another $28.9 million went to the Concord Fund, a conservative advocacy organization. Formerly known as the Judicial Crisis Network, the group has acted as a funding hub in the past, giving tens of millions of dollars in grants to allied nonprofit groups and supporting in-house projects, including opposition to Democrats’ attempts to expand voting access. From those two organizations, it is impossible to directly trace where the Marble money went.”
— “During that approximate time period, according to Schwab’s tax filings, Schwab gave $141.5 million to another group linked to Mr. Leo, the 85 Fund — a nonprofit organization that says its mission is ‘to educate the public and support activities that highlight the relationship between structural limits on government power and the protection of our dignity and our freedom.’”
— “Some of the money that flows through Mr. Leo’s network of nonprofit groups goes to for-profit companies he controls. In 2021, the 85 Fund paid $21.75 million to CRC Advisors, a consulting firm run by Mr. Leo, according to the 85 Fund’s tax filings.”
MEANWHILE, IN MAINE: Maine’s chief elections officer this week admonished No Labels over the centrist group’s efforts to win ballot access for a third-party presidential campaign in the state, accusing the deep-pocketed organization of “misleading” potential voters while soliciting support, the Portland Press Herald’s Eric Russell reports.
— Secretary of state Shenna Bellows “sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday to Nicholas Connors, director of ballot access for the group No Labels, expressing concerns that their efforts have confused voters who think they are merely signing a petition but are enrolling in a new party.”
— “‘Over the past few months, municipal clerks have received reports from numerous Maine voters who did not realize that they had been enrolled in the No Labels Party,’ Bellows wrote. ‘These voters have provided similar accounts of how they came to be enrolled in the party: that they were approached by No Labels Party organizers in public places and asked to sign a “petition” to support the new party. These voters have further stated that No Labels organizers did not disclose – and the voters did not understand – that No Labels was asking them to change their party enrollment.’”
— Bellows’ office also sent letters to more than 6,000 voters notifying them that they’d enrolled with the No Labels party, but No Labels, which is looking to raise $70 million to support a unity ticket in next year’s presidential race, maintained in a statement to the Press Herald that its organizers had been clear with prospective voters.
— “‘Every No Labels organizer in Maine was given crystal-clear instructions that they are asking citizens to change their party affiliation,’ the statement read. ‘We take no issue with the secretary of state notifying these signers that they are now members of the No Labels Party in Maine. We have operated under the guidelines provided by the Maine secretary of state, according to both the letter and spirit of the rules, and we have total confidence in our transparent engagement with Maine voters.’”
YELLEN HUDDLIN’: “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with top Wall Street bankers in Washington next week as the Biden administration and Republican leaders scramble to reach a deal to avoid a debt default,” our Sam Sutton and Ben White report.
— “Treasury said Yellen will talk with board members of the Bank Policy Institute, a lobbying group whose board is led by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and includes Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, to discuss the impasse over raising the government’s borrowing limit.”
— “The meeting comes at a pivotal moment in negotiations, with both sides deeply divided and no clear path forward. … People close to the leaders of some of the largest banks — including JPMorgan, Citi and Goldman Sachs — say that up to now they had not received any direct outreach from Yellen. Neil Bradley, lead lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday he was ‘not aware of specific conversations’ that she’s had with his members.”
— “A Treasury spokesperson said Yellen — along with Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo — has spoken with Fortune 500 CEOs in the financial services and retail sectors over the past two weeks to hammer home how a protracted battle with Congress over fulfilling the federal government’s obligations to bondholders would damage the economy.”
— “Despite their sway over markets, Wall Street has largely held off on direct engagement with policymakers in the debt limit fracas. But executives like Dimon and Fraser have warned repeatedly that a default would be disastrous. The research arms of several institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have also been sounding alarms about how little runway the U.S. has left before the X-date, which could come as soon as June 1.”
SPOTTED at a “Cocktails + Comms” launch event for the Democratic Women Communicators’ Network, per a tipster: Kirsten West of Cornerstone Government Affairs, Cynthia Redmond of Samsung, Maddie Carlos of Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) office, Simone Smith of Meta, Eileen Rivera of Maximus, Margaret Mulkerrin of Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office, Brianna Frias of Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) office, Abbie McDonough of the Levinson Group, Khadijah Davis of Planned Parenthood, Channing Foster of Invariant, Natasha Dabrowski of Sen. Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) office, Kate Frischmann of Microsoft, Katelyn Thorpe of the House Appropriations Committee and Staci McCabe of Precision Strategies.
— And at a 23rd anniversary party for Peter Mirijanian Public Affairs at Morton’s Steakhouse, per a tipster: Elizabeth Moeller and Greg Laughlin of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Kate Beale of Crowell & Moring, Bobby Cunningham of Vogel Group, David DiMartino of Seven Letter, Chris Sheeron of Grayson & Co., Irina Petrossian of Marriott, Sam Tatevosyan of McDonald’s, Randy DeCleene of kGlobal, Karen Green of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Mike Hacker of TikTok, Brad Holsclaw of TCH Group, John Nolan of UBS, Josh Tzuker of DOJ, Gerry Harrington of Capitol City Group, Anu Rangappa of Monument Sports & Entertainment, Kevin Ryan of GLS Partners, Nate Tibbitts of Qualcomm.
— Edward Cafiero has joined ExxonMobil as director for issues and advocacy. He was most recently senior vice president for communications and public affairs at Marathon Strategies.
— Alma Asay is now chief innovation and value officer at Crowell & Moring LLP. She most recently was senior practice innovation and client value director at the firm.
— Campbell Millum is now vice president/head of communications and external affairs for youth transportation company HopSkipDrive. She most recently was head of global communications at Bird and is an alum of Lyft and DoorDash.
— Madison Oakley is now advocacy and member engagement coordinator at the American Retirement Association. She previously was a senior associate at Molly Allen Associates.
Committee of Republican Electors PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Texas Mainstream Coalition (Super PAC)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Fix The Tix Coalition
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: The Council For Global Equality
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: The Madison Group (On Behalf Of Standard General)
Cgcn Group, LLC: American Retirement Association
Holland & Knight LLP: Benworth Capital
Holland & Knight LLP: Zimeno Inc. D/B/A Monarch Tractor
Manatt, Phelps, And Phillips: The Wistar Institute
National Down Syndrome Congress: National Down Syndrome Congress
The Roosevelt Group: Ita- International
The Roosevelt Group: Pemdas
The Roosevelt Group: Str
Tropicana Brands Group: Tropicana Brands Group
Williams And Jensen, Pllc: Kiko Strategies On Behalf Of Aclu