Bottom Line

• TECHNOLOGY. Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn) is lobbying for Airbnb through the public affairs firm Mercury. Weber will be representing the company on judicial matters and policy areas such as antitrust, e-commerce and economic development. Airbnb has come under fire from the hospitality industry and some cities, which argue the website is helping people illegally rent properties.

• MEDIA. News Corp. has registered in-house lobbyists for the first time in more than a decade. Todd Thorpeand, who formerly worked at Bockorny Group, and Joanne Dowdell will be representing the media conglomerate. News Corp. spent $282,500 on outside lobbyists last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company includes several major print, cable and broadcast media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, movie and television production companies like 20th Century Fox and the book publishing company HarperCollins. 


• HEALTHCARE. Squire Patton Boggs recently signed three new clients, including UnitedHealth Group. Former Sens. John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former Rep. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonTrump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot Trump's budget targets affordable, reliable power MORE (D-Utah) are all on the account, according to disclosure forms. UnitedHealth Group recently ended its membership in an industry trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and says it will be having its advocates talk with policymakers about “issues related to Medicare Advantage” and healthcare issues generally.

• FOREIGN AFFAIRS & TRADE. The law and lobby firm Venable registered with the Justice Department to represent the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, the trade group for Malaysian palm oil growers. The firm will provide the council with “corporate and regulatory advice,” forms say. Specifically, Venable will be working on “potential state and federal food labeling and advertising requirements, and developments with respect to nutritional issues. The registrant will also advise the Malaysian Palm Oil Council in connection with potential state and federal requirements and developments with respect to the use of palm oil in the production of biofuels, as well as general corporate and employment issues.”