Matthew McConaughey is not leaving his emotional pleas for tighter gun laws up to chance and the appeal of his celebrity. He’s turning to K Street too.
Following a spate of recent mass shootings including the massacre last month in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers, the award-winning actor has retained a team of lobbyists at D.C. firm Avisa Partners to represent him in the nation’s capital.
The registration, filed on Wednesday, is under the name of an Encino, Calif., holding company registered to McConaughey, Barefoot Money Inc. The form also shows that the group of Washington veterans at Avisa Partners will lobby on issues relating to “responsible gun ownership.”
That description is identical to the careful rhetoric McConaughey deployed both in an op-ed and from the White House briefing room during a trip to Washington last week in which he implored lawmakers to come together to enact bipartisan gun reforms.
“We need to invest in mental health care, we need safer schools, we need to restrain sensationalized media coverage, we need to restore our family values, we need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership,” McConaughey said from the lectern, becoming emotional as he held up photos and shared stories about the victims of the Uvalde shooting.
The lobbying contract began about a week before McConaughey traveled to D.C. In addition to meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House and speaking at that day’s news briefing, McConaughey also met with lawmakers on the Hill, who at the time were just beginning negotiations to determine which reforms could garner the requisite 60 votes in the Senate.
Noe Garcia, a one time aide to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; John Procter, a former Pentagon press secretary; and Mike Rubino, a Trump administration alum, were retained to help coordinate McConaughey’s meetings in Washington for the whirlwind trip.
Avisa Partners declined to comment and a representative for McConaughey declined to comment on the record.
A group of congressional negotiators working on the issue announced this weekend that they’d come to an agreement on the broad contours of a reform package that includes expanded background checks for juveniles, closes the “boyfriend loophole” by broadening restrictions for individuals who have abused their romantic partners and would provide incentives states to implement so-called red flag laws, as well as new spending for mental health and school security.
The deal in principle appears to have enough support to bypass the filibuster. Though by Wednesday it had become clear that differences remain among the negotiations over specific language, including on the boyfriend loophole. If passed, the agreement would be the most substantial gun regulations in decades.