Americans for Transparency and Accountability, a Merrifield, VA-based nonprofit that works to promote increased transparency in U.S. foreign policy, has hired a series of D.C. lobbying outfits this month to advocate on Capitol Hill for H.R. 4189, also known as the “Homeland and Cyber Threat Act.”
Introduced last year by Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), H.R. 4189 would hold foreign governments accountable for committing cyberattacks against U.S. citizens.
Foreign cyberattacks against U.S. citizens, government agencies and policy groups have become common headlines in recent years, many of them sponsored by governments such as China, Iran and North Korea that seek to steal personal information, disrupt operations or destroy infrastructure.
High-profile incidents in recent years include China’s cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management, North Korea’s hacking into systems owned by Sony Pictures and Russian-backed attacks against everyone from American military spouses to the DNC.
In February, the Justice Department announced that U.S. prosecutors had charged four Chinese military hackers over the infamous 2017 data breach of credit reporting bureau Equifax, which exposed the personal data of 143 million people, nearly half the U.S. population.
Those hackers are reportedly part of a Beijing-backed cyber espionage group that has also been accused of hacking into networks belonging to Hewlett Packard, IBM and NASA, among others.
According to lobbying registration documents filed with Congress in February, ATA hired Washington-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson the lobby on issues related to H.R. 4189.
The ATA account will be led by Darryl Nirenberg, who was formerly chief of staff to Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), counsel and deputy staff director to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a staffer to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; and Douglas Kantor, former deputy chief of staff and special counsel to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
ATA has also hired government relations firm McGuireWoods Consulting to advocate on behalf of H.R.4189.
A three-person team at MWC handles the account: Robert Wasinger, who was previously chief of staff to former Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback; Paul Reagan, who was chief of staff to former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and former Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb; and Edward Hill, former legislative assistant to congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).
McGuireWoods Consulting is the public affairs unit of law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods LLP. MWC staffs more than 1,000 lawyers in 23 offices worldwide.