Pair of top Senate aides heads downtown
With help from Daniel Lippman
SCHUMER SPOX LANDS AT SKDK: Justin Goodman, the former top spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is joining progressive public affairs juggernaut SKDK as an executive vice president. Goodman worked for Schumer for close to a decade, first as an intern and then at the Schumer-led Democratic Policy and Communications Committee before moving over to Schumer’s press shop when he became the Senate Democratic leader.
— Goodman announced his departure from Schumer’s office earlier this month, and his hiring only serves to deepen the firm’s ties to the Democratic establishment in Washington just as the party performed better than expected on Election Day. That’s thanks in some part to SKDK, whose clients have included top Democratic campaigns, in addition to corporate giants such as AT&T, Amazon, Lyft, Starbucks and Pfizer.
— In a floor speech a few weeks ago, Schumer eulogized Goodman as “one of my most trusted staffers” who’d become “one of the people I lean on most to get through the day.” Schumer added that “to call [Goodman] indispensable would be an understatement” and that he would “always, always, always be part of the family here in Schumerland.”
— Anita Dunn, who represents the “D” in SKDK, is a longtime adviser to President Joe Biden who has popped back and forth between the firm and Biden’s political operation numerous times in recent years (right now, she’s at the White House), while scores more SKDK alumni are scattered across the White House, Biden administration and Democratic party, and vice versa.
— And Goodman will be far from the only Schumer alum at SKDK. The firm’s outgoing chief executive Josh Isay is a onetime Schumer chief of staff, and Mike Morey and Jason Kaplan are also veterans of Schumer’s press shop.
Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send K Street tips: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
TUBERVILLE CHIEF, DOJ ALUM HEADS TO K STREET: Stephen Boyd has joined Horizons Global Solutions, the boutique government relations firm founded by fellow Trump DOJ alum David Lasseter, as a partner focusing on aerospace, defense, intelligence, law enforcement and investigative issues.
— Boyd is wrapping up nearly two decades in the public sector, most recently serving as chief of staff to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Before that, he was an assistant attorney general in the legislative affairs office at the Justice Department and served as former Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-Ala.) chief of staff. He was also a longtime aide to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his time in the Senate and as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, where Boyd handled comms during two Supreme Court nomination fights.
— Boyd said in an email that while he was glad to help Tuberville launch his new office following his time at DOJ, “an opportunity to build a great consulting firm with a friend and former law school classmate and DOJ colleague doesn’t come around very often,” especially with Republicans taking over committee chairships next year.
— Boyd will remain in D.C., while Lasseter runs the firm from Huntsville, Ala., a major defense and aerospace hub home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the new FBI HQ2, and the likely U.S. Space Command headquarters.
INSIDE GOP MEGADONOR’S NONPROFIT: Restoration Action Inc., the dark money group backed by the far-right financier Richard Uihlein, brought in more than $20.5 million in revenue last year, according to an IRS filing by the group obtained by The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger — “double what the group raised in 2020, and light years beyond its $64,000 haul in 2019.”
— “As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Restoration Action doesn’t have to disclose the names of its donors, though it is tied to the larger Restoration of America network, funded almost exclusively by the Uihleins,” who were the biggest overall GOP donors in the midterms. “And the document shows that in 2021, one anonymous donor accounted for $19,860,445 of Restoration Action’s total revenue.”
— “More notable than the influx of cash, however, is the spike in spending. The nonprofit not only doubled its income from 2020 to 2021, it also began handing out more money. In the year after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Restoration Action gave more than $9.6 million to conservative causes, most of them laser-focused on so-called ‘election integrity’ projects. The year before, that number was a little shy of $1.4 million.”
— The filing also reveals that the nonprofit hired Arizona Republican Gina Swoboda as an executive director last year and paid her $108,750 in salary. Swoboda is a former Trump campaign official and current Arizona GOP vice chair who now serves as “election integrity” coordinator for defeated Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. She also runs “a wholly controlled offshoot called the Voter Reference Foundation (VoteRef), the Center for Responsive Politics reported.”
— “While Restoration Action isn’t required to list its donors, it does disclose the groups it funds. And they’re associated with fringe causes, including election deniers.”
CIVIL RIGHTS AND LGBTQ GROUPS PUSH BACK ON KIDS SAFETY BILL: A coalition of more than 90 progressive activist, civil rights and LGBTQ advocacy groups is urging Senate leaders not to wrap the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act into any year-end omnibus package.
— In a letter this morning to Schumer and Senate Commerce leaders Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), groups including Fight for the Future, the ACLU and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, asked the senators “not to move KOSA forward this session, either as a standalone bill or attached to other urgent legislation.”
— While the letter’s signatories “believe that the privacy, online safety, and digital well-being of children should be protected,” the bill from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) “would undermine those goals for all people, but especially children,” the coalition argued.
— They write that the bill would rely on “forcing providers to use invasive filtering and monitoring tools” and could incentivize more data collection on children and adults while weakening schools’ ability to use certain education technology and potentially empowering state officials to curb access to LGBTQ resources for minors.
— KOSA advanced out of the Commerce Committee unanimously this summer, and has been mentioned in chatter about tech legislation that could move during the lame duck or under a divided Congress next year.
ZELLE PARTNERS MULL COMPENSATION FOR DEFRAUDED: “Some of America’s biggest banks are devising a plan to compensate customers who fall victim to scams on their Zelle payment network,” The Wall Street Journal’s David Benoit and AnnaMaria Andriotis report, a move that follows scrutiny from Washington over rates of fraud on the service.
— JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America are in “advanced discussions to create a playbook for refunding customers and each other for illegitimate transfers, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea is to boost security and consumer trust in Zelle, the peer-to-peer payment system jointly owned by a consortium of banks, the people said.”
— “Banks on the Zelle network have their own policies for dealing with scams. Some already refund customers who were tricked into sending money into an account other than their own. The conversations they are having now center on standardizing refund procedures, according to people familiar with the matter. By agreeing to share liability inside Zelle’s system and guaranteeing to reimburse each other, the banks hope more customers will get their money back, the people said.”
— “The new refund rules could kick in as soon as early next year, the people said. The banks are running tests to make sure the changes wouldn’t result in a fresh surge of scams, they said.”
— Jennifer Friedman is now vice president of government affairs at Outset Medical. She most recently advised HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on issues related to Medicare and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
— Jordan Vivian is now director of advocacy at FIGS. He previously was associate director of government relations at American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
Lady Liberty PAC (Super PAC)
Lahoud Fund (Super PAC)
South Jersey Republican Coalition (PAC)
Ejk, LLC: Center For Near East Policy Research, Ltd
Optical Society Of America: Optical Society Of America
Revere Federal Strategies: Clarifai Inc.
Tiber Creek Group: Micron Technology, Inc.