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How Skadden, the Giant Law Firm, Got Entangled in the Mueller Investigation

Skadden’s work advising controversial foreign clients was probably prompted by the same aggressive risk-taking that fueled the firm’s rise from scrappy upstart to top-grossing legal giant with a range of practice areas, said Lincoln Caplan, a research scholar at Yale Law School and the author of “Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire.”“The mentality is that Skadden wouldn’t be afraid of doing something like this, if there was a chance to utilize their skills and status to take advantage of what sounds like a very lucrative business, and they saw no legal or ethical proscription against their taking on the matter,” he said.Skadden’s work is part of a trend in recent years of lobbyists and lawyers earning increasingly larger paydays by marketing their connections in Washington to foreign politicians, countries and companies willing to pay hefty fees to burnish their reputations in the United States and on the international stage.Among those reaping windfalls are large international law firms like the Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which represents the governments of Japan, the Maldives, Nicaragua and South Korea, among others.Newer lobbying upstarts like Ballard Partners have won foreign clients by capitalizing on ties to President Trump. Founded by Brian Ballard, a lobbyist based in Tallahassee, Fla., who was a leading fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign, transition and inauguration, Ballard Partners has signed contracts with government entities or political parties in Albania, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo and Turkey, all since the inauguration.Those firms, which have not been accused of impropriety, disclosed the foreign contracts to the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law requires anyone who lobbies or does public relations for foreign individuals, companies, governments and political parties to reveal detailed information about their work and payments for it. The act is intended to prevent foreign actors from surreptitiously influencing American public policy.But for years, many American consultants have skirted the law’s requirements. Mr. Mueller’s inquiry has focused on such undisclosed lobbying among some of its leading practitioners, including Mr. Manafort, who helped pioneer the model for international consulting three decades ago. […]

Ties to the N.R.A. Leave Companies Scrambling for Cover

For companies like MetLife that are caught in the middle of these angry social media storms, actions tied to divisive social issues can be a lose-lose proposition. […]

Urbanists call for a non-aggression pact among cities competing for Amazon’s HQ2

They say that cities should compete on the basis of the underlying strength of their communities, not handouts. […]

New York Today: New York Today: Our City’s Rosa Parks

Weather.init(); }()); You knew it wouldn’t last. Our balmy weather is gone. Today will be cold, gray and wet. Expect rain, mostly after 9 a.m., and temperatures to fall to 39 by sunset. In the News • As the temperature hit a record high by noon, the Bryant Park ice skating rink in Midtown was covered in puddles, but skaters were undeterred. [New York Times] Photo The temperature reached 78 degrees in Manhattan. Credit Julia Gillard for The New York Times • A federal judge rejected bail for the former charter schoolteacher who was arrested last week for what the authorities called a bomb-making effort with his twin brother. [New York Times] • Seventeen people were indicted in a scheme to dominate the city’s towing industry, which prosecutors said defrauded insurers out of millions of dollars. [New York Times] • Representative Claudia Tenney, a Republican from Central New York, is being criticized after remarking that many mass murderers “end up being Democrats.” [New York Times] Continue reading the main story • JPMorgan Chase announced that it planned to tear down its Park Avenue headquarters and build a bigger, sleeker building in an effort to take advantage of new zoning laws. […]

Marco Rubio, Ivanka Trump, Ice Hockey: Your Thursday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview Smarter Living Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life. Continue reading the main story • “Natural” sounds great on a food label, but it doesn’t always mean what you think. • Want to get away? Here are 10 affordable European trips. • Recipe of the day: Pasta with bacon, cheese, lemon and pine nuts satisfies many tastes. Noteworthy • Americans win hockey gold The U.S. women beat Canada today in a shootout, 3-2, to capture their first Olympic gold in ice hockey in 20 years. The two countries have dominated the event since women’s hockey was introduced at the Games in 1998. On the slopes, Mikaela Shiffrin won silver in the Alpine combined event; Lindsey Vonn finished without a medal. […]

Gun Control, Billy Graham, Netanyahu: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview ____ Photo Credit CBS 10. Finally, Stephen Colbert cheered on the students protesting for gun control in Florida on “The Late Show.” “The adults aren’t cutting it anymore,” he declared. “I think we need to change the voting age […]

New York Today: New York Today: Albany Agenda

Weather.init(); }()); Warm and foggy. What kind of February weather is that? The record for this date is 69 degrees. We will come close, with a high of 65. […]