Trump-allied group wants J6 committee staffers blacklisted

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A conservative non-profit group allied with former President Donald Trump urged “Hill staffers and their colleagues” to cut off meetings with any former Jan. 6 committee staffers who have since joined firms that lobby.

In a letter sent to hundreds of recipients on the Hill, the dark money group American Accountability Foundation listed the names of the former committee staffers and their titles — along with their new employers and links to their firms’ clients — all of whom they urged to blacklist.

“AAF has put together a cheat-sheet below outlining their new firms and the firm's clients so you can be sure you (and your staff) aren’t inadvertently taking a meeting with a company that hires staff that hates your boss,” says the memo sent by Thomas Jones, the group’s president and founder. In his letter, Jones noted recent reporting by POLITICO on the January 6 committee staffers being hired by law and lobbying shops.

“It is important to remember that even if one of these former J6 investigators is not listed as a lobbyist on this specific account, the billings brought in by the clients listed below benefit all staff at the J6 investigator’s new firm,” he added.

It remains to be seen how effective the gambit will be, as the letter was sent only this past Wednesday. K Street firms have a major presence on Capitol Hill and their hires include figures on all sides of the political spectrum. But the group’s play illustrates the intense desire that exists among some conservatives to exact political retribution for those staffers who helped unearth extraordinary evidence of Donald Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election.

Jones confirmed the authenticity of the memo in an email to POLITICO. He railed against the January 6 committee’s use of investigative power, claiming that the committee and the F.B.I. forced some to “spend tens — sometimes hundreds — of thousands of dollars defending themselves from an overreaching and weaponized government.” He argued that conservatives should not be taking meetings with these lobbyists’ clients.

“My email was just a short list of people and companies they should stop working with,” he said.

“Until conservatives are willing to fight back against the swamp — in this case cutting off the lifeblood of lobbyist access — the swamp will never be drained,” he contended.

Among those listed on the memo include Casey Lucier, former investigative counsel for the committee, who was hired at McGuireWoods, a firm that represents Hertz Global, Perdue Foods, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and others. Other names listed were Kevin Elliker, another former investigative counsel, who was hired by Hunton Andrews Kurth. That firm represents Koch Companies Public Sector, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, and Southern Company Services. Former committee staffers Marcus Childress, Heather Connelly, and Michelle Kallen had all been hired by Jenner & Block, the email noted, which represents T-Mobile and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

In his message, Jones also noted that the memo’s recipients were free to send over additional names.

Led by Jones, an alumnus of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) presidential campaign, and Matt Buckham, a veteran of the Trump White House, the American Accountability Foundation has taken on controversial tactics to undermine Biden’s nominees. The New Yorker reported links between the American Accountability Foundation and the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been affiliated with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Cleta Mitchell. Notably, Meadows' attorney George Terwilliger works for McGuireWoods, one of the firms listed in the memo.