White House taps Chris Cox for legislative affairs job

Gun Rights

Presented by the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA)

With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman

FIRST IN PI — WHITE HOUSE TAPS CHRIS COX FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS POST: The White House has hired Chris Cox, a longtime Republican lobbyist, as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs, according to a person with direct knowledge of the appointment. Cox is a principal at Navigators Global, a Republican lobbying firm, which he has represented clients including Delta Air Lines, UPS, Johnson & Johnson and the GEO Group, a private prison company, according to disclosure filings. He also worked in the White House legislative affairs office during George W. Bush’s administration. He is not to be confused with the former top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association of the same name.


Cox will replace Ben Howard, who recently left the White House to become a lobbyist for the Duberstein Group. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

FIRST IN PI — FORMER CBS TOP LOBBYIST STARTS HIS OWN SHOP: John Orlando, a former top lobbyist for CBS, is starting his own lobbying and public affairs shop, the Point52 Group. He plans to represent media and telecommunications clients, though he’s open to lobbying for clients in other industries as well. He’s also a former top lobbyist for the National Association of Broadcasters and an erstwhile Democratic congressional aide who worked closely with the late Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. How is the coronavirus affecting your firm or trade group? Are fly-ins and meetings getting canceled? Are you pushing Congress or the administration for action? Let me know: [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING K STREET: The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the flagship trade group for the industry, has canceled its April fly-in due to coronavirus concerns, according to Rich Masters, the trade group’s executive vice president for public affairs. The trade group plans to reschedule the fly-in as soon as possible. Edelman’s Russell Dubner, meanwhile, told POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman, meanwhile, that staffers in the public relations giant’s Washington office have been asked to work from home for the next week because one staffer “had direct physical contact with a person who tested positive” for coronavirus. The staffer is now in self-quarantine.

— And the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has closed its offices “for the remainder of the week after an individual exposed to coronavirus entered the group’s office on March 5,” STAT‘s Nicholas Florko reports. “‘Based on initial conversations with public health offices and out of an abundance of caution, PhRMA has closed our Washington, D.C., headquarters for the remainder of the week and will conduct a deep cleaning of all our facilities. We have also asked those individuals who were in the meeting with the diagnosed person to self-quarantine and not return to our offices until March 20,’ PhRMA spokesperson Robert Zirkelbach wrote in a statement.”

FIRST IN PI — KLITENIC RETURNS TO HOLLAND & KNIGHT: Jason Klitenic, who served as general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has returned to the law and lobbying firm Holland & Knight to start a new national security, defense and intelligence team. He doesn’t plan to register as a lobbyist. “Jason’s recent senior-level experience inside the intelligence community and many contacts within the relevant agencies will be a great asset as we continue to expand our capabilities in this area,” Rich Gold, who leads the firm’s public policy and regulation group, said in a statement.

MEANWHILE, IN LONDON: Ben Scott, a former tech policy aide to Hillary Clinton, has started a new lobbying effort called Reset, POLITICO Europe’s Mark Scott reports. Reset, based in London, has secured up to $10 million in annual funding from philanthropies such as Luminate and the Sandler Foundation. Scott “plans to target national capitals across Europe, North America and in Australia. His aim is simple: to provide an alternative to Big Tech when policymakers are seeking evidence and advice on how companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter shape people’s everyday lives. The message will go out via a barrage of on-the-ground lobbying, well-funded academic research and public calls-to-arms.”

WHITE HOUSE WEIGHS CRUISE CONTROL: “The White House is awaiting a cruise-ship industry proposal on preventing coronavirus before deciding whether to actively discourage Americans from boarding the vessels to prevent the further spread of the disease,” POLITICO’s Dan Diamond reports. “‘We are expecting a proposal tomorrow,’ Vice President Mike Pence said at a press conference on Monday night, listing policies discussed with the industry, like adding screening, formalizing evacuation protocols and taking other steps to protect elderly Americans who are perceived to be at highest risk in the outbreak. ‘We made it very clear that we need cruise lines to be safer.’”

— Some lawmakers, meanwhile, are open to aiding the airlines and the broader travel industry, POLITICO’s Sam Mintz reports. “‘This is something that’s going to be quite a hit to the airlines if it lasts, and it’s something that needs to be looked at,’ said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He said he was meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the issue. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the ranking member of the House Transportation Committee, said Congress should do something when airlines are ‘bearing the brunt’ of the economic hit from the virus.”

Jobs Report

FTI Consulting has hired Aldo Flores-Quiroga as a senior adviser, based in Austin. He’s currently a visiting scholar at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and previously worked in Mexico’s Energy Ministry.

Jim Mazzarella is joining the Global Innovation Fund, a nonprofit impact investment fund, as senior vice president for public policy and communications. He previously was senior vice president for public policy and U.S. government affairs at the World Wildlife Fund and before that worked for the National Security Council.

New Joint Fundraisers

Cartwright Victory Fund (Rep. Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania Democratic Party)

New PACs

Law & Justice PAC (Super PAC)

New Lobbying Registrations

Blank Rome Government Relations: Signature Bank
Emergent Strategies: American Property Casualty Insurance Association
Emergent Strategies: S&P Global Inc.
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Global Medical Response
Viking Navigation LLC: Pioneer Railcorp

New Lobbying Terminations

Asset & Equity Corporation: Klox Technologies
Basanite, Inc.: Basanite, Inc.
Washington Advocacy Group: American Continental Group Analytics

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