A prominent Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.
why it matters: If pressure from the White House to vote against reimposing sanctions on a Russia-backed natural gas pipeline wasn’t enough, Democrats who back such legislation would also be at loggerheads with one of their party’s top funders.
Running news: Vincent Roberti, a former Connecticut state representative, has given the legal maximum $5,800 to censors Katherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Patty Murray (Wash.).
- He also made $2,900 – the maximum primary contribution – to Sen. Maggie Hassan (DN.H).
- Both Cortez Masto and Hassan will face a competitive re-election battle next year.
- Roberti’s firm, Roberti Global, has been paid $8.5 million for its Nord Stream 2 lobbying work. lobbying disclosure record,
Between the lines: robertie Has long been a prolific Democratic fundraiser as well as a regular donor.
- According to his company bio, he retains honorary titles in the Democrat House and Senate campaign arms — titles reserved for his top financial backers.
- He has also donated to each of these senators in previous cycles while working for Pipeline.
What are they saying: “Hassan supports strong action against Nord Stream 2, including voting for sanctions in 2017 and as part of the FY20 and FY21 defense authorizations,” a spokesperson told Nerdshala.
- “Sen. Blumenthal is opposed to the Nord Stream II pipeline,” said his spokesman. “Sen. Blumenthal has been a strong supporter of Ukraine in the Senate and supports Sen. [Robert] Menendez’s amendment would trigger severe sanctions if Russia escalates action against Ukraine, including Nord Stream II.
- “Sen. Cortez Masto opposes the Biden administration’s decision to allow Nord Stream 2 and the pipeline to proceed. He has consistently supported legislation and sanctions to block it,” an aide told Nerdshala.
- Schumer has not spoken to Roberti about the issue, his spokesman said.
- Roberti did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Roberti isn’t the only Democratic heavyweight on the side On the issue of pipelines.
- McLarty Inbound, the foreign lobbying arm of McLarty’s consulting firm, is representing five companies. Financial stakes in the Nord Stream project,
- McLarty, former President Clinton’s chief of staff, has himself this year named Schumer of Virginia and Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine, Jackie Rosen of Nevada, Michael Bennett of Colorado, Pat Leahy of Vermont and Chris Koons of Delaware.
- According to Richard Burtt, managing partner at McLarty Inbound, he is not involved in lobbying on behalf of any of those five companies.
- When asked about Nord Stream in the context of their lobbying work, which “includes advocacy related to”Russia sanctions issues,” Burt said to Nerdshala, “you should talk to the people representing Nord Stream 2.
big picture: President Biden’s decision to let Nord Stream 2 go ahead, as well as its efforts to block the Nord Stream 2 ban amendment from being added to Congress’ annual defense bill, have sparked a fierce battle on Capitol Hill.
- In turn, this has put a potential Senate vote under the spotlight.
- Republicans have blocked Dozens of Biden’s foreign-policy candidates in response to the administration’s actions.
- They are also threatening to block the National Defense Authorization Act if Schumer doesn’t agree to put the sanctions amendment on the floor.
Background: Democrats and Republicans have for years opposed Nord Stream 2, which would bypass Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany.
- Biden waived sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 operator in the spring to help improve US relations with Germany.
- The White House argues that the pipeline was already close to completion for the blockade, and sanctions would undermine “transatlantic unity”.
- Ukraine, however, sees Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat that would eliminate one of the country’s final barriers against a Russian invasion of its territory.
go in: The fight over Putin’s pipeline devoured Congress.