Legislative Director Marc Short Quitting to Join Lobbying Firm

Marc Short, who is President Donald Trump’s top Hill-outreach aide, will quit this month and join a D.C. lobbying firm run by establishment Republicans.

Media reports by the Washington Post and other outlets say Short will leave the White House by August after failing to win substantial funding from Congress for Trump’s border wall or to persuade Hill legislators to implement Trump’s election-winning immigration-reform plan. But Short did work hard to pass the 2017 tax cut.

Short’s departure comes just before Trump tries for the third time to win funding for his popular agenda in the annual government funding bill, due for completion on October 1. Trump is trying to get several billion dollars for wall construction on the border with Mexico, in the face of opposition from Democrats and passivity from the business-first, establishment wing of the GOP.

Short’s departure also throws into disarray a claimed White House push to persuade Congress to help end the catch-and-release rules which allow many migrants into the United States. Breitbart News reported that White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said:

The President is going to make a major legislative push this summer to have Congress close the dangerous catch-and-release loopholes in our immigration law.  These loopholes are exploited by illegal immigrants and put American lives at risk.

Short is a former top aide to the Koch network, which is still pushing for a bigger inflow of immigrant workers, consumers, and renters. Trump picked him to run his Hill outreach office at the advice of Vice President Mike Pence, who hired Short during the 2016 campaign, even though Short also helped to run a NeverTrump operation during the primaries.

In the White House job, Short did little to push Trump’s immigration agenda. For example, Politico reported in February that:

In his first year as Trump’s top liaison to Congress, Republicans say Short has been more of a facilitator, rather than an arm-twister. That role will become particularly critical on immigration – an issue Congress has spectacularly failed to resolve in the past.

“I don’t see him as the real deal-maker so much as the kind of go-between, the mediator,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who’s interacted with Short on a host of issues including health care, the opioid crisis and energy policy. “He doesn’t try to reshape our thoughts. He sort of takes it in, and then, I’m assuming, reports back to the White House.”

After leaving the White House, Short will join the establishment-GOP lobbying firm named Guidepost Strategies, a small lobbying firm which was co-founded by Phil Cox. The firm’s ties to the business-first wing of the GOP are highlighted by the firm’s website, which says:

From 2011-2014, Phil [Cox] served as Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association, serving as a senior political and policy adviser to the nation’s 31 Republican Governors, while directing more than $250 million in support to candidates in all 50 states. He currently serves on the Board of the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, which spent more than $150 million in 2016 helping to strengthen the GOP Senate majority.

The site says that another co-founder, Marie Sanderson:

began her public service career on Capitol Hill for United States Senator Thad Cochran in 2003, where she served as Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary on the staff of the Appropriations Chairman. Following her tenure on Capitol Hill, Marie began working for Governor Haley Barbour where she served as the Policy Director to the Governor.  From 2010-2015, Marie served as Policy Director for the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC)

A “principal” at the firm, Liesl Hickey is:

a veteran political strategist who has spent her career helping Republicans expand their reach in swing areas across the country. This election cycle, she has been an advisor to the National Republican Congressional Committee, [Jeb Bush’s] Right to Rise Super PAC, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Congressman Mike Coffman and Clear Path Action Fund.

Short’s quick departure suggests he is not needed to ensure confirmation of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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