Ad trades blast reworked data privacy bill
July 3, 2024

Ad trades blast reworked data privacy bill

With Daniel Lippman

FIRST IN PI — AD TRADES RIP LATEST PRIVACY DRAFT: The heads of two of top advertising trade associations are excoriating the latest version of Congress’ bipartisan data privacy legislation ahead of a markup of the bill set for later this week.

— The tweaked proposal, unveiled late last week by House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), “would eviscerate the modern advertising industry,” Association of National Advertisers CEO Bob Liodice and American Association of Advertising Agencies CEO Marla Kaplowitz argued in a letter this morning to the four corners of congressional leadership, McMorris Rodgers, Pallone, and E&C committee staff. ANA represents both client-side marketers as well as companies like GoogleAmazon‘s advertising arm and Meta.

— Liodice and Kaplowitz warned that restrictions on targeted advertising in an earlier draft of the American Privacy Rights Act would lead to an “unworkable” federal privacy standard. The CEOs did not mince words in their latest missive about changes to that language, accusing lawmakers of taking an “arbitrary and scattershot approach” to “this vital issue” without consulting stakeholders.

— “Put simply, the current draft of APRA treats advertising as a threat to the United States, rather than presenting a reasonable approach to data privacy,” the letter continues. It also signals a potential legal challenge should the bill move forward as written (though it’s not yet clear whether the measure will even come up for a House vote).

— “APRA makes online privacy a right for people and puts them in control over their personal information—something an overwhelming number of Americans want,” a spokesperson for the Energy and Commerce Committee told PI. “This bill restores individual liberty and ends the stranglehold data brokers and Big Tech have on our online data.”

SINEMA AIDE HEADS DOWNTOWN: Chris Phalen is leaving the Hill, where he’s been a senior policy adviser to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), to lead the energy and environmental policy team at the National Association of Manufacturers.

— Phalen spent the past three years in Sinema’s office, where his portfolio included energy, natural resources, environment, tribal affairs, agriculture and trade. He played a key role in negotiating and writing provisions on permitting reform, energy and mining in last year’s debt ceiling deal and the bipartisan infrastructure law.

— At NAM, he’ll work on many of those same issues, and plans on registering to lobby. Prior to joining Sinema’s office, Phalen did stints on the government affairs teams at Chevron and the mining giant Rio Tinto Group.

Happy Monday and welcome to PI. Send tips: And be sure to follow me on X@caitlinoprysko.
FIRST IN PI: A top spokesperson for a prominent American defense contractor moonlights as a political pundit who sharply criticizes the Biden administration’s foreign and defense policy and even demanded that President Joe Biden’s Defense secretary resign, Daniel reports.

— Since taking his job at Spirit AeroSystemsJoe Buccino has called Biden “foolish, weak and ineffective,” said that Biden has “abandoned” the principles of “decency and dignity” in supporting Israel’s “butchery” and slammed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for making “legit awful” comments.

— Spirit supplies critical components for numerous military airplanes and helicopters, including an aerial refueling tanker aircraft made by Boeing, a strategic bomber from Northrop Grumman and helicopters from Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft and Bell Helicopter.

— But its U.S. spokesperson isn’t a fan of the head of the company’s largest government customer, the Defense Department, or much of the administration’s foreign policy.

— Buccino started having conversations about working for Spirit on Jan. 5, he told PI, after a door plug the company had installed on a Boeing plane blew off mid-air. The next day, he wrote an op-ed for Real Clear Defense that said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “must be forced to resign” for his secret hospitalization episode and that “he cannot be trusted any longer.” The day he officially started at Spirit, he reiterated his criticism of Austin on a conservative radio show.

— Buccino told PI that he stopped doing TV appearances a month ago once he became a full-time Spirit employee, although he wrote an op-ed last week for Fox News’ digital site decrying Biden’s electric vehicle policy. He said since he wrote that op-ed, he’s not going to write new opinion articles while in his Spirit job.

— “Joe made these comments in his capacity as a private citizen and never identified himself as a Spirit employee,” Chuck Cadena, vice president of corporate affairs at Spirit, said in a statement. “His expressed comments do not reflect any official position by the company.” Cadena added that Buccino doesn’t work on the defense side of Spirit’s business.

— Buccino previously had a more than twenty-five year career in the U.S. military. He also was a spokesperson and communications adviser for former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan is now president and CEO of Spirit, which builds most of Boeing’s passenger planes and has been in talks in recent months to get reacquired by Boeing.

BIG BUSINESS’ TAX CUT HEADWINDS: “Corporations were among the biggest winners when Republicans pushed through sweeping tax cuts in 2017, getting a whopping 14-percentage point cut in their tax rate. But with lawmakers facing intense pressure to extend trillions in tax cuts next year that mostly benefit individual Americans, both Republicans and Democrats see corporations as a potential piggy bank to cover the huge hit to the budget,” our Brian Faler writes.

— “Such anti-corporate sentiment is running high among increasingly populist-minded Republicans, and former President Donald Trump’s recent proposal to shave a point off the corporate rate will face resistance from some GOP lawmakers.”

— “Business lobbyists are already blitzing Congress, making their case about the costs of higher taxes,” in a sign “that next year’s debate over whether to extend major portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could be very different from the one that created it.”

FLYNN CASHES IN: “Since leaving the Trump administration under an ethical cloud, Michael Flynn has converted his Trump-world celebrity into a lucrative and sprawling family business,” The New York Times’ David Fahrenthold and Alexandra Berzon report.

— “He and his relatives have marketed the retired general as a martyr, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a legal-defense fund and then pocketing leftover money. Through a network of nonprofit and for-profit ventures, they have sold far-right conspiracy theories, ranging from lies about the 2020 election to warnings, embraced by followers of QAnon, about cabals of pedophiles and child traffickers.”

— The Times “found Flynn family members had made at least $2.2 million monetizing Michael Flynn’s right-wing stardom in recent years, with more than half of that going to Mr. Flynn directly. … [N]o venture has become a family affair quite like America’s Future,” the decades-old nonprofit once led by the iconic conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

— Meanwhile tax filings for The America Project, another nonprofit Flynn founded with former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, show the group “continued to financially support … groups that have spread lies about the integrity of our elections as well as helped underwrite conspiracy-fueled legal battles, all told giving to more than two dozen organizations in 2022,” according to a new analysis from Issue One shared first with PI.

— That’s in addition to six-figure salary payments to a handful of prominent 2020 election deniers and a five-figure salary payment to Byrne himself, along with a six-figure check to a real estate company associated with Byrne.

FLYING IN: Congress may be out of session this week but that’s not stopping a number of different interest groups from fanning out across the Hill this week. That includes the Associated Builders and Contractors and the American Medical Manufacturers Association, which represents domestic PPE and medical product providers, who both kick off two-day fly-ins tomorrow.

— More than 500 ABC members will hear from House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ohio GOP Senate nominee Bernie Moreno at a breakfast before hitting the Hill to discuss concerns about the role of unions in awarding federally backed projects, workforce development, immigration and regulations.

— Leaders with AMMA are slated to meet with the White House’s Office of Pandemic Preparedness Response and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, along with members of their congressional delegations as well as various jurisdictional committees. They’ll talk about tariffs and strengthening other trade barriers, incentivizing domestic manufacturing, workforce training and ways to boost production via public-private partnerships.


— Michael Clauser has launched Ark, a government affairs and policy strategy firm specializing in early to growth-stage clients in enterprise cloud and defense tech. Clauser was most recently cybersecurity company Okta’s first government affairs leader and is a Pentagon and Hill alum.

— Ridge Policy Group founding partner Mark Holman will transition to senior adviser at the firm, which is led by former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge. Partners Jason High and Mark Campbell will succeed him to oversee the D.C. office.

— David Urban is joining Torridon Law PLLC as of counsel. He’ll remain managing director at BGR Group and is a ByteDance and ACG Consulting alum. Torridon is also adding Justin Romeo and Brett Katz as partners and the firm’s consulting arm, Torridom Group LLC, is adding John Ullyot as a senior adviser.

— Gina Mahony is joining Cogent Strategies as a managing director. She currently runs Domer Consulting and is a Steny Hoyer, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck alum.

— Kevin Harper has been promoted to head of government affairs at Teladoc Health. Harper was previously vice president of government affairs.

— Larissa Knapp is joining the Motion Picture Association as executive vice president and chief content protection officer. She’s spent the last 27 years at the FBI, most recently leading the bureau’s National Security Branch.

— Tyson Megown has joined the Alliance for Automotive Innovation as director of mobilization. He was previously director of external mobilization at the American Petroleum Institute and is a NextGen America and DCCC alum.

— Robert Matthews will be a chief program officer at Think of Us. He most recently was director of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.

— Jirair Ratevosian will be the inaugural Hock fellow at the Duke Global Health Institute. He also is starting as an associate research scientist at Yale University.

— Upland Workshop has hired Alex Barinka and Julia Verlaine as managing directors and Meredith Cash as a strategic communications associate. Barinka most recently was Big Tech and social media reporter at Bloomberg News, Verlaine previously was head of marketing and communications at the Rohatyn Group and Cash most recently was a senior sports reporter at Business Insider.