19 July 2019 — Issue #55
THREE THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK
1. URSULA VON DER LEYEN ELECTED EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: You already knew it, but we can’t ignore it. Winning 383 votes in a secret ballot, just slightly above the absolute majority of 374, Ursula von der Leyen was on Tuesday elected by the European Parliament as the next European Commission president — the first woman to hold the post. The slim win is a sign that von der Leyen could face a difficult task governing in partnership with a Parliament that is more diverse and divided than ever before. Via POLITICO.
2. FULL LIST OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND VICE-CHAIRS: The European Parliament has published on its website the full list of European Parliament committee chairs and vice-chairs. For a deep-dive into MEPs’ professional and educational backgrounds, VoteWatch Europe provides an overview.
3. FORTHCOMING EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORT ON GDPR: The European Commission is expected to present a report next Wednesday on the implementation of its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The report will outline the Commission’s own evaluation of the first year of enforcement of the new privacy rules. European Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová, responsible for implementing the GDPR, last month announced the EU executive is drafting updated legal clauses for companies to use when sending personal data outside of the EU, known as “standard contractual clauses” or model clauses. These clauses are currently under scrutiny at the European Court of Justice. Via POLITICO Pro. The European Council will also prepare an evaluation of the GDPR’s application by the end of the year, according to a document issued on Thursday by the Finnish presidency of the EU Council.
**Don’t forget to register for your free VIP access to the Global Public Affairs Forum in Paris on September 27. Our seventh expert speaker to announce is Lapo Pistelli, executive vice president of international affairs at the Italian energy giant, ENI. Pistelli will share insights on how to “adapt your global public affairs strategy to radical uncertainty”.**
NEW ON THE TRANSPARENCY REGISTER
EU REGISTER WEEKLY RECAP: It’s been a big week for lobbying registrations with 50 new arrivals on the EU transparency register, of which 26 were listed as “in-house lobbyists and professional associations”. Via the EU Transparency Register.
TRANSPARENCY TOP SPENDER: This week’s biggest new transparency listing is Stowarzyszenie Instytut Kościuszki (IK), “a nonprofit research center founded in 2000 with a mission to “promote the socio-economic development and security of Poland as an active member of the EU and NATO”. IK lists €836,176 in costs covered by the transparency register.
THE RUNNER-UP: EUREGIO, a transnational association dedicated to “simplifying cooperation between the Netherlands and Germany and achieving added value for both sides”, lists €670,281 in costs covered by the register.
LEYEN’S TRANSPARENCY QUICK FIX: To “protect democracy”, European Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen wants a law on transparency for paid online political advertising. Via POLITICO Pro EU influence.
WHAT CAUGHT OUR EYE AROUND THE WORLD
FRANCE — BRUNO LE MAIRE URGES G7 TO REACH GLOBAL CORPORATE TAX DEAL: France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire urged the world’s biggest economies to reach a deal over a minimum corporate tax rate ahead of the G7 meeting this week. France and other countries have been keen to set a minimum company tax rate, or a range of possible rates, but the U.K. and Canada are reluctant to commit themselves due to potential government changes this year, while Japan appears lukewarm. The U.S. has accepted the idea of a minimum rate for all companies, but objects to the French and European targeting of U.S. tech giants, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
U.S. — PHARMA STILL WINNING IN WASHINGTON: Boston Globe Media’s industry news publisher STAT takes a detailed look at how the pharmaceutical industry is still winning in Washington: “In the past month alone, drug-makers and the army of lobbyists they employ pressured a Republican senator not to push forward a bill that would have limited some of their intellectual property rights, according to lobbyists and industry representatives. They also managed to water down another bill before it was added to a legislative package aimed at lowering health care costs.”
EU — COMMISSION LAUNCHES FORMAL PROBE INTO AMAZON’S USE OF DATA: The European Commission said on Wednesday it had opened a formal competition investigation into Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace. EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager started looking into the e-commerce giant in September 2018. The EU probe comes hours after Germany and Austria announced they had ended their investigations into Amazon after it agreed to change its terms of business for sellers. The investigation sets the stage for a new transatlantic legal battle that will stretch well into the European Commission’s next five-year term. Via POLITICO Pro.
EU / U.S. — FACEBOOK’S LOBBYING FALLS FLAT: The social media giant is botching its dream of becoming a new powerhouse in finance, failing to win over lawmakers and regulators who say they are far from ready to allow Facebook’s ambitious cryptocurrency plans to move forward. The company is still struggling to wield influence in Washington and in the EU after controversies about its data privacy practices and its role in facilitating election interference, via POLITICO. Meanwhile in France, ahead of a gathering of G7 countries, finance minister Bruno Le Maire commented on Wednesday that any payment system that Facebook sets up must be regulated and face the same dirty-money standards as would apply in any currency, via POLITICO Pro.
U.S. — MORE FACEBOOK FALLOUT: The U.S Federal Trade Commission has voted to fine Facebook $5 billion for failing to protect its users’ privacy — a record-high amount that Democratic lawmakers nonetheless denounced as “chump change” and a “Christmas present” for one of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest companies. Worth more than $580 billion, critics said a penalty in that range would not be sufficient to force Facebook to change its ways in how it obtains and uses people’s data, the Wall Street Journal reported last Friday.
U.K. — JOHNSON’S CAMPAIGN CHIEF’S FIRM TIED TO TOBACCO LOBBYING: Crosby Textor Fullbrook Partners lobbied local authorities on behalf of Philip Morris International, seeking to get the tobacco multinational involved in voluntary moves to curb cigarette smoking, as opposed to more onerous statutory efforts. There is no suggestion that Mark Fullbrook was personally involved in the lobbying or was advising Boris Johnson to adopt a more friendly policy to the tobacco company, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
**This is the last GPAC Weekly Round-Up newsletter before a month-long summer break. We will be back with fresh news and insights on August 23. Happy holidays!**
MOVERS & SHAKERS
ENI: Fabio Marchetti, head of EU affairs for the Italian oil and gas company Eni, is leaving, replaced by Luca Giansanti, a career diplomat. Via POLITICO Pro EU influence.
MOODY’S: Lisa Rabbe, formerly of Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, has joined as chief government and public affairs officer at Moody’s in the U.S. Via BusinessWire.
ASSOCIATION OF EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS: Kip Eideberg has been promoted to senior vice president for government and industry relations at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He was previously a vice president. Via POLITICO Influence (PI).
BOLDT: William Hummel is joining BOLDT consultancy as a director in Amsterdam. Via POLITICO Pro EU influence.
MILLER STRATEGIES: Jessica Mandel has left Credit Suisse, where she was an in-house lobbyist. She will join Miller Strategies as a principal. Via PI.
NOSSAMAN: Michael Stroud and William Powers has joined Nossaman as partners in its public policy practice group. Stroud was previously a lobbyist at Federal Advocates. Powers previously worked for Rubin and Rudman. Via PI.
COVINGTON AND BURLING: Jeremy Newell has joined Covington and Burling’s financial services group as a partner. He was previously executive vice president, general counsel and chief operating officer at the Bank Policy Institute. Via The Hill.
LEAVITT PARTNERS: Mark Hendrickson has joined Leavitt Partners as a senior director. He was previously the senior director of sciences and regulatory affairs at the Association for Accessible Medicines, a trade group for the generic pharmaceutical industry. Via PI.
U.S. CABINET FULL OF LOBBYISTS: There are more than a few former lobbyists on team Trump. There’s Patrick Pizzella, now acting labor secretary, a former lobbyist at K&L Gates. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler are also former lobbyists, as is Mark Esper, Trump’s nominee to replace Jim Mattis as defense secretary. Via POLITICO Pro EU influence.
WHIRLPOOL OF FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVES TURNED LOBBYISTS: Meanwhile, a bunch of former public servants have entered the ranks of lobbying firms. Former Representative Peter Roskam lands at Sidley Austin, as a partner in the government strategies group. Roskam is the latest lawmaker who lost reelection or chose not to run last year to head to a lobbying firm, along with former U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and former U.S. Representatives Luke Messer, Kevin Yoder, Jeff Denham, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lamar Smith, Michael Capuano, John Culberson, Joe Crowley, Bill Shuster, Dave Reichert, Tom Rooney and Barbara Comstock. Not all of them plan to lobby. Via PI.
WILKINSON BARKER KNAUER: Nicholas Alexander has joined Wilkinson Barker Knauer as a partner. He was previously staff attorney and manager in the Wireline Competition Bureau of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a special counsel in the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy and a legal adviser to three members of the FCC. Via The Hill.
FULCRUM PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Aaron Trujillo will join Fulcrum Public Affairs as a vice president. Trujillo was chief of staff at the U.S. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and before that was associate director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Commerce Department. Via The Hill.
B. RILEY FINANCIAL: The financial services firm has added former U.S. Representative Mimi Walters to its board of directors. Walters lost reelection last year. Via PI.
MILLER STRATEGIES: Jacie Coressel has been brought on as director of operations at Miller Strategies. Coressel previously served as congressional liaison and scheduling director to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Via PI.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s GPAC weekly round-up.
We are taking a summer break, but stay tuned for the next edition on August 23!