Bottom Line

•ROYALTIES. SoundExchange has hired Farragut Partners to push against congressional action on a measure that would maintain an exemption for FM radio stations on paying royalties to artists. SoundExchange is a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes digital performance royalties to featured artists and copyright holders. AM/FM radio stations do not have to pay artists for songs that stations broadcast, and that policy would be continued under the Local Radio Freedom Act. SoundExchange and others opposed to the current system say that it creates an uneven playing field with internet and satellite stations. Supporters of the bill say that royalties aren’t needed on AM/FM stations because the broadcasts provide free advertising for artists.

•PENCE. Bill Smith, the former chief of staff to Vice President Pence during his time as Indiana governor and U.S. congressman, has signed his first lobbying clients. He is working through the firm Fidelis Government Relations, run by a friend, Politico reported first last year. Smith has now picked up some of the firm’s clients and one of his own. His K Street shop is called Sextons Creek, and disclosure forms show he is lobbying for Aflac, General Dynamics, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T, for whom he is advocating on their proposed deal with Time Warner. 


•IMMIGRATION. Georgetown University, the private university in Washington, D.C., hired law and lobby firm Covington & Burling to urge the Trump administration to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, implemented by the Obama administration with an executive order in 2012, temporarily protects certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. Trump said during the presidential campaign that he would shut it down. However, the White House has not made a move on the program amid Trump’s other immigration crackdowns. Layth Elhassani, who worked in the Obama White House, and Richard Hertling, a former Justice Department official during the George W. Bush administration, are lobbying on the account. Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderSenate panel dukes it out over voting rights Progressive groups announce M voting rights effort Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE also works at Covington but is not a lobbyist.