Former GOP senator lobbying for Gorsuch's nomination

Former GOP senator lobbying for Gorsuch's nomination
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), now at Covington & Burling, will be lobbying his former colleagues to support confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, according to federal disclosures.

The Judicial Crisis Network has hired the firm to help move the process along, and the effort is being coupled with a multimillion-dollar ad buy in key markets.

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“This is an incredibly important nomination, and it’s the president’s most important campaign promise,” Carrie Severino, the organization’s chief counsel, told The Hill. 

Kyl, who served as the Senate majority whip and sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee during his time on Capitol Hill, “knows the confirmation process intimately, so he seems perfectly situated to assist us,” Severino said.

Kyl retired from the Senate in 2013, and he joined Covington that same year.

Bill Wichterman, a veteran lobbyist and former George W. Bush administration official, is also on the account.

Gorsuch is expected to move relatively easily thorough the Senate, as objections from Democrats won’t be enough to tank the nomination. 

Covington & Burling is the first K Street firm that Judicial Crisis Network has hired to do work on the federal level. The organization was founded 2005 to help usher then-President George W. Bush’s judicial appointees through the confirmation process.

The conservative organization has pledged to spend at least $10 million on advertisements to support Gorsuch. To date, it has spent more than $4 million, Severino said.

The first set of ads is aimed at painting a favorable portrait of Gorsuch and laying out his credentials. Part of that includes a TV ad featuring Jane Nitze, who spent a year as a law clerk for Gorsuch from 2008 to 2009, backing up his bona fides.

Introduced as a former attorney in the Obama administration she says, “I have to say, I am 100 percent comfortable with Judge Gorsuch becoming the next Supreme Court justice,” calling him “extraordinarily fair-minded.”

Another wave of ads, the Judicial Crisis Network announced earlier this year, will focus on Democrats who oppose Gorsuch, honing in on those who are vulnerable in the 2018 elections. There are several Democratic senators in red states facing tough reelection races.

Severino called it part of “the most robust campaign for a Supreme Court nominee in history.”

“We will force vulnerable Senators up for re-election in 2018 like Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' Iranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE to decide between keeping their Senate seats or following Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE’s liberal, obstructionist agenda,” she said in the announcement in January. “Any vulnerable Senator who signs up for Schumer’s obstructionist strategy will pay a heavy price in 2018.”

Liberal groups, including the People for the American Way, are launching ads opposing Gorsuch.