According to a report from Politico, the economic collapse that is a direct result of the botched White House response to the coronavirus pandemic is leading to mass firings of lobbyists in Washington whose services are no longer needed as money gets tight.
The report notes that the pandemic has hit K Street hard and massive cost-cutting is underway — including as high as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “which recently doled out millions in bonuses to executives and was feeling so flush in December that it seriously considered purchasing a Super Bowl ad.”
“K Street is in cutback mode: The International Franchise Association, the U.S. Travel Association and the National Rifle Association have all laid off staffers since the pandemic hit. Several law-and-lobbying firms have cut pay across the board and at least one well-connected Washington communications firm has applied for a small business relief loan,” Politico reports. “A recent survey conducted by the American Society of Association Executives — essentially a trade group for people who lead trade groups — found that 35 percent of trade groups estimated they would lose at least a quarter of their revenue because of canceled events and conferences.”
Ironically some of the groups have seen their business increase due to a rush to grab billions aimed at the COVID-19 health crisis, but that hasnp[r stemmed the job bloodletting.
“The cuts have hit trade groups even as many of their lobbyists have been busier than ever, hustling to secure a piece of the trillions of dollars in coronavirus aid for their members. Doug Pinkham, president of the Public Affairs Council, said the pandemic had been ‘financially devastating’ for many trade groups,” with Pinkham adding, “Many of them rely very heavily on events for revenue, and that has just dried up.”
“The U.S. Travel Association, which has lobbied aggressively for more federal funding for tourism bureaus and travel industry businesses, laid off some staffers and cut pay across the board after being forced to cancel its Las Vegas trade show, according to Tori Barnes, the trade group’s top lobbyist. And the NRA — which had been enduring a New York state investigation and internal power struggles before the pandemic hit — has laid off more than 60 people,” the report notes. “Some trade groups that haven’t resorted to layoffs are cutting costs elsewhere. In March, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce slashed some outside consultants, including ones assigned to CEO Tom Donohue. The consultants are on hold indefinitely. The leading business lobby also asked staffers to find ways to cut their divisions’ budgets by 20 percent, according to three people familiar with the matter.”
As manufacturers cut back on employing lobbyists, some shops are turning to the government for help in the form of coronavirus stimulus money.
“The uncertainty has led at least one Washington firm, Precision Strategies, to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to Tom Reno, its chief operating officer. The firm was started by three alumni of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, including Jen O’Malley Dillon, who’s now Joe Biden’s campaign manager. (O’Malley Dillon no longer works at the firm.) Another consulting firm, Purple Strategies, is considering applying for one of the loans as well,” Politico reports.
According to Purple Strategies’ Steve McMahon, “We’re absolutely committed to keeping our employees on payroll and if a PPP loan is what it takes to do that, then we’re absolutely committed to pursuing one.”
Politico notes that “Neither trade groups nor firms primarily engaged in politics or lobbying are eligible to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans, though some of them are fighting for the right to do so.”
You can read more here.
Trump accused by ex-Defense Secretary of putting US on ‘the trail toward a dictatorship’
During an appearance on CNN on Friday morning, former Defense Secretary William Cohen - who also served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican -- denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, saying his use of military personnel against anti-police brutality protesters is a sign he has set the country on the path to a dictatorship.
To emphasize his point, he later called Trump the "dictator-in-chief."
Speaking with host Jim Sciutto, Cohen didn't mince words after the CNN host noted that the president and his former attorney called the protesters "terrorists."
"What does it mean for you to hear a sitting president dismissing a whole range of protesters, who in fact were largely peaceful around the White House, dismissing a whole range of them as terrorists? What does that mean to you?" the CNN host asked.
Trump ‘crossed the line’ with the military this week — leading retired officers to revolt: former general
Appearing on CNN's New Day with host John Berman, retired Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute explained that Donald Trump finally went a bridge too far this week with retired military officials when his administration deployed military police to turn on peaceful protesters in a Washington D.C. park.
Speaking with the host, Lute -- who also served as U.S. ambassador to NATO -- said tension between the president and military officials has gradually increased over the past three and a half years, but that the past week's incidents led to a "tipping point."
After host Berman read off a list of high profile ex-military officials who have either criticized Trump or defended their former colleagues from attacks from the president, Lute was asked what had changed.
Trump is bleeding support from the only voters who have stuck with him since 2016
President Donald Trump is losing support from his evangelical base as he lurches from one crisis into another.
Numerous polls show that religious Americans, like most other Americans, disapprove of the president's performance, and that could imperil his re-election chances, reported the New York Times.
Nearly 80 percent of white evangelicals -- a group that's already shrinking as a share of the electorate -- approved of Trump's performance in March, but his handling of the coronavirus pandemic has bled 15 points from their support, according to a new poll from Public Religion Research Institute.