Valerie “Missy” Owens – the niece of Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden – departed her high-profile post in the Obama administration to become a multi-million dollar lobbyist for Coca-Cola. She lobbied a host of federal agencies including the White House office and saw then-Vice President Biden discuss her influence while he publicly praised her company and its involvement in a lucrative Obama administration initiative.
The unearthed information follows a trove of email threads and documents exposing Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s leveraging his father’s name to ink lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts, often with foreign competitors such as the Chinese Communist Party.
Under Joe Biden’s vice presidential tenure, Owens joined the White House, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Energy from 2009 to 2011 and later as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce from 2011 to 2012.
Immediately after, Owens departed her taxpayer-funded positions to join Coca-Cola as a Director of Public Affairs and Diplomatic Relations. She held the position for four years before becoming a Director for Federal of Government Relations for Federal and Diplomatic matters in 2016 – a position she still holds.
And Joe Biden was well aware of her efforts, referencing her affiliation with Coca-Cola in a speech from January 2014 where he “joked” about Owens’s influence over the company. Perhaps an example of Owens’s influence over the Obama administration, Coca-Cola earned praise from Biden for participating in a lucrative and market-expanding endeavor in Latin America:
“ExxonMobil, Santander Bank which I understand didn’t know how to tell Kathleen Kennedy Townsend “no,” Coca-Cola where my niece is here. I’m sure the only reason Coke is doing this Missy is because of you, thank you very much. That’s a joke by the way.”
The U.S government’s Lobbying Disclosure Act Database reveals nearly $20 million spent on lobbying efforts by the beverage behemoth.
And Owens is listed as a principal lobbyist on each million-dollar account, tasked with lobbying the U.S. Congress and a host of federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, White House Office, U.S. Trade Representative, and Agency for International Development.