Numerous former aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have reportedly transitioned to working as lobbyists for companies which have sought benefits from legislation related to the coronavirus, making a bundle of money for their firms in the process.
The Washington Free Beacon examined federal disclosure records and found at least seven of those aides, including Pelosi’s former chief of staff, Nadeam Elshami, senior policy adviser Anne MacMillan, and special assistant Shanti Stanton, have represented over 50 different entities in 2020. The Beacon added, “Their firms received over $2 million from these clients during this time. These fees were for lobbying on multiple issues in addition to coronavirus legislation and policies.”
The primary focus for the lobbyists was apparently the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Stanton, who is registered to lobby for at least 22 clients with regard to the coronavirus issue, lobbied on behalf of Delta Airlines, Facebook Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc. Delta received $5.4 billion last month. The Beacon noted, “Those clients paid her firm over $1 million combined in the first quarter of 2020, according to records.”
Elshami is registered to lobby for at least 10 clients, including the U.S. Travel Association and Walgreen Co. The Beacon noted that his firm has garnered $260,000 from those clients in 2020.
MacMillan has represented Bayer Corp., McDonald’s Corp., and Apple Inc., among others, with her firm reportedly making $620,000 this year.
Other former aides include Arshi Siddiqui, a former senior policy adviser to Pelosi, Pelosi’s former senior counsel Joe Onek, former senior adviser Dean Aguillen, and former staff assistant Christopher Matthiesen.
In late April, The Washington Post targeted former officials in the Trump administration in a piece titled, “Well-connected Trump alumni benefit from coronavirus lobbying rush.”
The Post wrote, “As lobbyists blitz Washington for a piece of the massive federal response to the global pandemic, a group of former Trump administration officials and campaign alumni are in the center of the action, helping private interests tap into coveted financial and regulatory relief programs.”
The Post pontificated, “The barrage of activity shows how, despite Trump’s repeated claim that he would ‘drain the swamp,’ his former aides and onetime administration officials have embraced Washington’s lobbying world — and are now providing firepower for companies eager for coronavirus relief.”
In late March, The New York Times opined of the trend to capitalize on the coronavirus:
Across the country, companies see a chance to cash in, do some good for the country or both, making virus outbreak response one of the few thriving sectors of the economy. And because so much of the business runs through Washington, the rush has created new opportunities for those who can offer access, influence and expertise in navigating bureaucratic hurdles and securing chunks of the relief package Mr. Trump signed into law on Friday.
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