Roughly $500 million per year is spent on lobbying in Harrisburg over the course of the year. Most lobbying firms are not hurting for cash, but that didn’t stop some of them from applying for and accepting federal loans via the paycheck protection program (PPP). A recent report from WHYY detailed how much cash the Harrisburg swamp helped themselves to via the federal program. While reviewing the full list, two names stood out: Ridge Policy Group and Red Maverick Media.
The “Ridge” in the Ridge Policy Group is none other than former Governor Tom Ridge. His lobbying firm represented numerous nuclear power companies in their attempt to squeeze taxpayers for $500 million per year in 2019. Ridge Policy Group is also one of the firms representing Tides Advocacy in Harrisburg. Tides Advocacy is part of the George Soros network of not-for-profit entities.
Red Maverick Media is the lobbying arm of Maverick Strategies. Maverick Strategies is one of the main campaign consulting firms contracted by the PA House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC). The HRCC funnels candidates for office to Maverick Strategies in order to work on their election campaigns. Maverick Media then leverages the relationship with members of the House in order to lobby for Big Government special interests, including nuclear power firms (again) and a number of local and county governments looking for a bigger slice of the state funding pie.
Lobbying firms argue that they are no different than the other recipients of the PPP loans. However, the Small Business Administration (SBA) rules specifically barred firms who made more than 50 percent of their revenue via lobbying from receiving the PPP loans. The Harrisburg swamp firms who benefitted claim that they do not meet the threshold. We wouldn’t be surprised if IRS auditors pay these firms a visit in the near future.