Bottom Line

Bottom Line
© Greg Nash

EDUCATION. The student loan company Navient added Bockorny Group to its roster of lobbying firms. Navient has been accused in a class-action lawsuit of misleading borrowers about how to qualify for student loan debt forgiveness. The company is also facing several other lawsuits, including one by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others alleging the company gave misleading information to borrowers and pushed risky subprime loans. Navient has denied all of the allegations. In addition to Bockorny Group, the company has The Kutler Group, Van Scoyoc Associates and Holland & Knight on retainer. It terminated its contracts with Empire Consulting Group and Mercury late last year.

AGRICULTURE. Lobbyist Mark Rokala signed the Organic Farmers Association to work on the reauthorization of the farm bill, which begins this year, and organic foods policy. Rokala, a longtime lobbyist with an expertise in food policy, is a board member of Sustainable Farm Partners, a “private equity partnership focused on acquiring high quality conventional farmland and converting it to a sustainable organic status.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also in the process of analyzing an Obama-era proposal regarding the labeling of organic foods.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. The U.S. Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces, has registered with the Justice Department to lobby federal officials. “The legislative agenda of the U.S. Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council will involve efforts to better equip the army of Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS); improve the region’s counter-terrorism apparatus to meet the needs of the post-ISIS era; end the Turkish occupation of Syria; allow the DFNS to operate an international airport; and increase humanitarian aid to the region,” disclosure documents say. “The registrant plans to disseminate informational materials to policymakers at the federal level in order to implement this legislative agenda.”