Leader’s Edge managed to obtain a copy of this conversation through a key Russian intermediary who looked suspiciously like a disavowed KGB operative and drinks regularly with both of the Joels. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any knowledge of these emails.—Editor 

FAST FOCUS

Joel Wood:

Started in politics in 1972 putting up signs in rural west Tennessee for Richard Nixon’s reelection.

Came to D.C. in 1983 to work for a Reagan Revolution GOP Rep. Don Sundquist, R-Tenn.

Joined The Council in 1993.

 

Joel Kopperud:

Cut his teeth in politics working in the Colorado state House of Representatives in 1995 and joined Rep. Diana DeGette’s, D-Colo., first congressional campaign in 1996.

Came to D.C. in 1997 and interned on Capitol Hill, with President Bill Clinton’s pollster, for Vice President Gore’s presidential campaign and in various advocacy campaigns.

Joined The Council in 2008 after lobbying for a financial services association representing banks, insurance companies and securities firms.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 4:48 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Okay, JK, so you’re feeling really good about this right now, huh? Short of the Black Swan moment, looking like a good year for your candidate and for your guy Chuck Schumer becoming the Senate majority leader. I guess this is why we pay you to go to all of those little liberal séances on Capitol Hill.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 4:56 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

It’s true. I think my guys are starting to slowly exhale. Mind-blowing what’s happening with the Trump camp (he did, however, say he wanted to include support for gay rights in his immigration litmus test, lol). I still can’t stop thinking of Brexit, though, and the similarities of demographics and issues that drove that movement over the edge. But it is looking good for HRC at the moment. Did you see the Politico story about the Clinton camp’s anxiety over Democrats being complacent and not showing up?

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 5:08 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

By mid-October we’ll have gone through a dozen more major convulsions. Being the inside-the-Beltway, conventional-wisdom Washington lobbyists that we are, we’re probably going to be all wrong in any event. But let’s get right down to it. I know you were, like, 12 at the time, but remember Hillary’s 1994 response to the health insurance broker who asked her where she’d fit in to Hillarycare? “You appear to be a very bright person,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll find something else to do.” Whether it was the Affordable Care Act itself, or it was the Labor Department’s fiduciary duty regulations, or any number of other actions, we walk into the political headwinds every time when it comes to the Obama administration’s approach to intermediaries. I don’t think you want me to catalog them. Tell me why Hillary Clinton—in basically a third Obama term—is going to be a good president for insurance intermediaries?

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 5:23 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Clearly you don’t want to talk about Trump. Which is fine, I wouldn’t either. He’s the culmination of years of the Republican Party capitulating to the far right. Well, there you (white) guys go. This is your candidate—the one who grew out of the GOP’s inadvertent nurturing of the Tea Party. I will throw him a bone, though, on how poorly the press is covering this campaign. How the hell are the media supposed to objectively cover a race like this? The caliber of the crap that comes out of his mouth is so ridiculous (read: dangerous), that the only way the media can pretend to be balanced is to try to come up with something on Clinton. Nobody cares about her emails. Trump’s entire campaign is in bed with the Russians! Even you’re talking about what she said 23 years ago with your favorite quote about disintermediation. I was reading an article in The Economist this weekend criticizing her oratory skills and how she yells. It was so blatantly sexist. Somehow SHE is the candidate that yells between the two. Are you kidding me with this? lol. I mean, the press has to find something to be “balanced.” So it’s emails and yelling. Wonderful.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 5:41 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Speaking of yelling, clearly I hit a nerve—your response is as jumbled and contradictory as a Trump speech. I thought I taught you my first political maxim: The foot you step on today is connected to the ass you’re going to have to kiss tomorrow. But, seriously, we represent adults here—pretty serious executives, not the short-sleeve set barking at their television screens. Let’s compare and contrast the two candidates on our #1 issue—preservation of the employer-provided group health insurance marketplace. Granted, Hillary’s all about killing the Cadillac Tax. That was a sop to labor unions, not to us, but I’ll take it. But her number-one issue on healthcare—having tacked left to fend off Bernie—is to revisit the issue of the public option in the exchanges, a Medicare-for-all proposal. I’m not a Chicken Little guy, but that sure seems like a good way to jump-start a death spiral for the private health insurance marketplace. You were whooping and hollering in that Philadelphia convention hall. Did you hear how much demonization of the insurance industry was pouring out of the mouths of those speakers? As for Trump on healthcare, yes, he’s been vague—we’ll replace Obamacare with something yuge and awesome. But whatever a Trump presidency would bring on healthcare would be a policy prescription crafted in large part by Paul Ryan. I’d be very happy with that.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 5:54 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

You’re right. Sorry for that. I don’t mean to restate the obvious. Look, it’s a gamble with either one of these candidates in the White House when it comes to the future of employee benefits. But I’m not so sure we want to jump on board with the Ryan plan. He supports taxing benefits, and that tax exclusion is the Holy Grail to the market. He’s one of the guys who thinks that consumer-driven plans are part of the solution to lowering costs. If we think a President Trump would endorse the Ryan approach, then I think we’ll have a big battle on our hands.

Mind-blowing what’s happening with the Trump camp (he did, however, say he wanted to include support for gay rights in his immigration litmus test, lol).

Joel Kopperud

The cost drivers behind premium increases are complex, and Ryan is obviously a policy wonk on all this, but so is Hillary. And she’s shining the light toward the prescription drug industry as a major cost driver. For better or worse, Hillary supports employer-provided insurance. Maybe because she’s in bed with the unions or maybe because she’s a wonk and understands what’s politically palatable. But I would wager that she knows the real cost to taxing plans could end up being wildly expensive if employers jump ship or even move in droves toward high-deductible health plans, leaving their employees with a lot of new bills to pay. I fear that move is the one that would create an environment for single-payer momentum.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 6:45 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

It takes a very broad brush to paint Speaker Ryan as wanting to tax benefits. Historically, has he been one to extoll consumer-driven healthcare? Sure, and the plans our members sell are increasingly consumer-driven. But Ryan (unlike your congressional Democrats) has released a blueprint for tax and healthcare reform, and there’s only a vague reference to limiting tax benefits for very high-wage earners. That portends no death spiral, and I can’t fail to reflect on the irony that only Republicans are suggesting that the 1% take a hit on benefits.

Sure, with Trump I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to get (go ahead, remind me that Trump was for single-payer just a year ago), but I do know what I’ll get with HRC—a relentless focus on expanding the scope of governmental intervention at the expense of the private health insurance marketplace—more specifically, shoring up and subsidizing the public exchanges at every level.

I get that we have lots of Democratic friends on a number of issues and a handful who are heroically good to us, but as a general matter—and this applies across the board on property-casualty as well as benefits issues—we’re standing way back in the line. They’re for us but not if it gets them crossways with the trial lawyers. Or the unions. Or the consumer groups. Or any number of squirrel-kissers. Or, god forbid, Elizabeth Warren.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:52 AM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

And let’s see, every time the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act has come up for reauthorization, you’re saying Democrats have been the problem?

If Jeb Hensarling is still the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee next year, he will light himself on fire on the House floor before he simply reauthorizes the [flood insurance] program...

Joel Wood

At this point, Joel Wood engages in one of his expense account lunches on Capital Hill with very important people, totally ignoring Kopperud's jab. 

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 3:37 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

What? Your WIFI go down again at lunchtime? Or you just don’t want to talk about The Donald?
Regardless, next year is going to be big for us. Tax reform is teed up for movement with the goal of significantly reducing the corporate tax rate, but that money has to be replaced somehow. And taxing benefits is the easiest way to replace the lost money from corporate taxes. Preserving the tax exclusion will be a big fight for us—whether it’s part of the Ryan plan or not. I do think the shape of tax reform is altered if Democrats take the White House and Senate in November. And remember, one of the biggest battles for the next administration will be raising the debt ceiling, which will have to be done early on. It’s easy to envision a major financial deal associated with that package. I don’t think it will encompass the complicated tax reform legislation, but it will lay the groundwork for how tax reform plays out. And whatever the margin is for Democrats in the Senate (I don’t think there’s any way they get the 60 votes needed to let bills fly), it’s almost certain to be short-lived. In 2018, Democrats will have 25 seats up for reelection, and Republicans will only have eight. So there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Chuck Schumer to make some big deals if he’s fortunate enough to be the next majority leader.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 2:29 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Thank you. You’re now making my arguments. A decade of working for insurance brokers and you’re starting to think like a Republican.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 2:54 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Lol, there’s nothing partisan about that. Those are just the facts.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:03 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

I do agree that regardless of the election results, there will be a big budget bill and it’s going to be accompanied by significant tax reform, and that creates all sorts of opportunities and risks for us in the first half of next year. I’d love to think that prospective President Clinton would think and act like the actual President Clinton from 1999 and 2000. Even after we’d impeached his ass, he triangulated congressional Democrats, worked with Republicans and balanced the budget and achieved welfare reform. Instead, the day after HRC wins the election, she’ll face headwinds from the left. Unless the economy gets cranking, she’ll not only have a bad midterm election in 2018, but a Ted Kennedy-like challenge from the left. This doesn’t bode well for breaking the gridlock and dysfunction of D.C.

Tax reform…money has to be replaced somehow. And taxing benefits is the easiest way to replace the lost money from corporate taxes.

Joel Kopperud

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:19 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

I disagree. There’s nowhere to go but up when talking about gridlock. She’s a professional—I dare say that she’ll move things forward and work with the other side of the aisle, if they’ll let her. But I suspect they will. She’s not even elected yet and she’s reaching across the aisle. That’s what the Clintons do. If there’s any single issue that’s uniting Americans, it’s the distaste for gridlock and the current status quo. Who knows what the issues of the day will be in 2018, but it’s easy to see Clintonesque triangulation as she runs for reelection.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:30 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Puh-lease. I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Maybe in comparison to the Obama administration she may tack a little more center, but that’s about my highest hope.
One other issue to mention that will be big next year is reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, and I have no idea where HRC would be on this, or for that matter, Trump. But we already are seeing battle flags being raised. If Jeb Hensarling is still the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee next year, he will light himself on fire on the House floor before he simply reauthorizes the program and increases the borrowing limits without major actuarial soundness reforms. Same for Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:35 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Agreed. Except Richard Shelby’s title will likely be ranking member, not chairman.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:44 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

You really are excited about putting Elizabeth Warren into the majority.

At this point Kopperud attends a fundraiser for Hillary on K Street, shelling out money from his own wallet. Joel Wood has made it clear Council PAC does not get involved in the presidential election-especially not for Hillary. 

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 6:01 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

JK, hope your wallet’s now empty for a bad cause.

All you and I have is conventional D.C. lobbyist wisdom, which is quite often wrong, but I do concede that the chances are high that the Senate flips and that Schumer’s the majority leader, and that would most likely make Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio the chairman of Senate Banking. And one thing you and I agree on is that Sherrod Brown is a really great guy (though I do have to ignore many of his populist leanings). I say it’s 52-48 (counting Sanders and King, who are technically independent but really Ds), and that’s a tough spot for any majority leader. What’s your count?

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 6:30 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

For the sake of argument, I’m going to put the Senate at 53-47. But this could be a landslide. I don’t think Democrats get the 30 they need for the House. I bet they pick up 18 though. And as long as we’re wagering, I bet Amendment 69—the referendum on a single-payer health system that eliminates private insurance, even for workers comp—goes down in Colorado. By 12 points. It’d be nice if it’s more, but I think Colorado’s Bernice Sanders/Marijuana coalition (NO JUDGMENT) keeps the margin below 15 points. What do you think?

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 6:34 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

All you and I have is conventional D.C. lobbyist wisdom, which is quite often wrong, but I do concede chances are high the Senate flips and Schumer’s the majority leader, and that would most likely make Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio the chairman of Senate Banking.

Joel Wood

I love your Freudian slip of “Bernice” Sanders. I gotta tell you—I flipped out when I read the Gallup poll this summer that showed 59% of Americans said “yes” when asked if they supported single-payer government healthcare. Sure, I know that’s because everybody wants free stuff, but, still. You’re from Colorado and support the weed, so I defer to your judgment there, and we agree that it’s essential that Amendment 69 (insert your own joke here) be defeated by more than 20 percentage points so it doesn’t come back. As for the House, yes, my knees are wobbly. When Reagan was president, upwards of 70% of Americans split their votes down-ballot. In 2012, fewer than 30% did. As a nation, we’ve sorted so ideologically, and that truly sucks, for everybody. So if Trump goes down epically, it’s not outside the range of possibility that Nancy Pelosi is speaker … again. (By the way, do you guys ever switch out your leaders?) But I say Rs have a bad night and lose a net of 15 seats, making Paul Ryan’s job even more miserable next year. He’s in the same pickle that our friend John Boehner was in—commanding a plurality, not a majority, based on the number of numb-nuts in his caucus who vote no on absolutely everything.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 6:41 PM
To: Joel Wood
Subject: Re: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!

Sigh. We’ll push through it all. Thank god for Brittany Thune Lindberg and all her PAC contributors. Wouldn’t be able navigate this mess or move the needle on any of our issues without them.

From: Joel Wood
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 6:58 PM
To: Joel Kopperud
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut!
We end this agonizing dialogue on agreement! As Brittany says, if you’re not into politics but you’re in business, then politics is going to run your business. Just remember, Brittany’s dad is Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. We don’t want him to lose status.

From: Joel Kopperud
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 7:05 PM
To: Joel wood
Subject: RE: Joel, You Ignorant Slut! You win.
You did it to me again. You managed to get through this entire conversation by ignoring Donald Trump. You’re about the only in America.