Solar power gets K Street boost

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2016

Major solar power companies have expanded their presence in the influence industry.

West Front Strategies LLC has signed up to lobby for both SolarCity and Sunrun Inc., according to lobbying disclosure records released by the Senate this week.

Records show the firm has been lobbying for both companies on “legislative and regulatory issues related to solar energy” since Feb. 1.

The firm’s team of lobbyists working for both companies includes former congressional aides to powerful leaders on Capitol Hill, such as Malloy McDaniel, once a policy adviser to then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Shimmy Stein, ex-senior policy adviser to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.); and Cindy Brown, former chief of staff to Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

SolarCity already has a well-stocked stable of lobbyists. The company has the Podesta Group, Roberti Global and the Smith-Free Group on retainer. SolarCity spent $560,000 on lobbying last year, according to records.

Sunrun hasn’t had any outside firms lobbying on its behalf since it parted ways with Davis & Harman LLP in March 2015. The company spent $250,000 on lobbying last year, less than half of SolarCity’s K Street spending.