Jon Kyl, a former senator who has been a registered lobbyist since 2015 and pushed the agendas of several clients including major corporations, the pharmaceutical industry and defense contractors, will replace John McCain in the U.S. Senate.
As senior of counsel with Covington and Burling LLP, Kyl helped dozens of corporations and interest groups further their agendas before the federal government, including the Senate. As a senator, Kyl could vote on issues that he lobbied on for his private-sector clients as recently as earlier this year.
One of Kyl’s major clients was microchip maker Qualcomm. In the first quarter of 2018, Kyl lobbied the Senate for Qualcomm on issues including patent reform, intellectual property, and antitrust. Several major bills on these issues are currently pending in Congress.
Kyl, who retired from the U.S. Senate in January 2013, has also lobbied the chamber for the drug industry’s top trade association—Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, which spends tens of millions on lobbying and campaign contributions each year. Kyl’s lobbying for PhRMA touched on several bills currently before Senate, including the Protecting Medicare from Executive Action Act of 2017 (S. 251) and a Joint Resolution Approving the Discontinuation of the Process for Consideration and Automatic Implementation of the Annual Proposal of the Independent Medicare Advisory Board under Section 1899A of the Social Security Act (S.J. Res. 16), according to lobbying disclosures,
Kyl has also lobbied the Senate for top defense contractors, including Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, both of whom spend millions on lobbying each year. Issues discussed with members of Congress at his lobbying meetings for those companies include major pieces of legislation like “tax reform” as well as niche causes, like “Issues associated with U.S. government’s response to Poland’s request for proposal for missile system,” according to disclosures.
Other prominent clients of Kyl’s include H&R Block, the biotechnology company Celgene, Anheuser-Busch Companies, software company SAP America, and JW Aluminum.
Kyl’s selection is being praised by major Republican political donors.
“It is fitting that the former minority whip returns to fill the shoes of his colleague and friend,” said oil company CEO and Republican donor Dan Eberhart. “Senator Kyl is a safe choice for Gov. Ducey as he tries to balance his re-election and the McCain and Trump factions of the Arizona Republican Party.”
Recently, Kyl was selected to serve as “sherpa” for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. As sherpa, Kyl has been tasked with grooming Kavanaugh and guiding him through his senatorial meetings and confirmation hearing.
In 2017, a 501(c)(4) “dark money” group called the Judicial Crisis Network paid Covington & Burling $215,000 to have Kyl and another of their lobbyists, William Wichterman, work as unofficial sherpas for Trump’s last Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch.
Now, as the Judicial Crisis Network is spending millions of dollars on ads supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Kyl will move from guiding the confirmation to actually voting on it as a member of the Senate.
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