• FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The Government of Morocco hired four new K Street firms to represent its interests in Washington in a shifting of its lobbying roster. JPC Strategies, a firm run by James Christoferson, has subcontracted help from three other public affairs firms, splitting a $75,000 per month retainer among Glover Park Group, SGR Government Relations and Iron Bridge Strategies. The firms are keeping an eye on U.S. federal government issues affecting Morocco. Last year, the Moroccan government terminated its Moroccan-American Center for Policy, a government-run lobbying arm, according to Justice Department disclosures. Edward Gabriel, former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, had led the center’s advocacy efforts.
• NUTRITION. Hummus maker Sabra Dipping Company hired its first lobbying firm, The Russell Group, which represents many agricultural and food companies. The firm will be working on “issues related to nutrition and food safety,” according to disclosure forms submitted to the Senate. The company, which is partially owned by PepsiCo Inc., sells more than half of all the hummus purchased in the United States. In 2015 and 2016, Sabra recalled products because of listeria bacteria contamination scares.
• FITNESS. Exercise company CrossFit registered its first in-house lobbyist, Brett Ewer, after terminating an agreement with the Podesta Group last year. (Podesta Group business began to wind down after founder Tony Podesta stepped down from the firm and CEO Kimberley Fritts left to found her own shop.) The forms say that CrossFit will be discussing “conflict of interest policies governing federal researchers and scientists” with federal policymakers, in addition to “ensuring level playing field in the fitness industry.” Ewer had worked at the Podesta Group starting in July 2015.
• PHARMACEUTICALS. Shortly after a Federal Drug Administration (FDA) panel voted to oppose the approval of a testosterone-replacement therapy from Lipocine, the company turned to K Street. Early in January, the panel of experts summoned by the FDA expressed concern about effects on blood pressure and heart health if the treatment was approved for widespread use. Lipocine then hired Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney for “federal government relations service, strategy development and implementation relating to company’s status of FDA action on [new drug application] NDA for oral testosterone.” The FDA must now decide whether to approve the treatment.
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