John Dowd, one of the many former attorneys for President Donald Trump and a onetime partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, has registered as a lobbyist for the first time.
According to his federal disclosure form, his sole client is NCI Building Inc., now operating as Cornerstone Building Brands. The product of a recent merger between NCI Building Systems and Ply Gem Building Products, Cornerstone calls itself the “single largest manufacturer of exterior building products in North America,” particularly for metal building components.
Dowd has continued to make occasional headlines since resigning as Trump’s attorney last March, reportedly over disagreements regarding the legal strategy pursued by Trump’s team during the Mueller investigation. Accounts differ as to the details, with veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward detailing in his book “Fear” that Dowd resigned after grilling Trump during a mock cross-examination and concluding that Trump could not withstand the questioning without perjuring himself. This claim has been denied by both Trump representatives as well as Dowd himself. Woodward stands by his account.
As to his recent lobbying efforts, Dowd said that he is assisting Cornerstone in connection with claims of illegal dumping involving the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China. He declined to elaborate other than to say he was working to obtain an exclusion for the company, and his lobbying disclosure doesn’t specify the focus of his work.
Dowd’s registration comes at a time when the Trump administration is in the midst of negotiating the potential rollback of post-NAFTA tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports of steel and aluminum, key materials for Cornerstone, and less than three months after the U.S. Commerce Department announced an anti-dumping probe into steel imports from Canada, China and Mexico.
Dowd said that he had a previous relationship with NCI Building, but said that the details were “privileged.”
The merged company, Cornerstone, is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, but maintains a major presence in Houston, the former home of NCI.
Additional reporting by Mike Scarcella in Washington.