Brian Smith provides strategic and legal advice on matters that require substantial political, reputational, or government relations considerations. He represents companies and individuals in high-profile or high-risk investigations, particularly congressional investigations, criminal investigations with political implications, and investigations related to political law compliance. He has significant experience in crisis management, where he advises clients facing combined legal, political, and media relations risks. His practice also includes the development and execution of government relations initiatives, including securing the U.S. government’s political support on behalf of U.S. companies facing international legal issues.
The influential Washington publication, National Journal, published this week a lengthy examination of two exceptions to the congressional travel rules. The exceptions have permitted Members of Congress to participate in extensive overseas travel, paid by outside interests and often organized by registered lobbyists, in spite of earlier reform efforts designed to restrict privately organized and … Continue Reading
Thomas Edsall recently published an interesting op-ed in the New York Times about the changing nature of lobbying in Washington. Edsall, who spent twenty-five years covering politics for the Washington Post, writes about the decline of direct lobbying based on relationships with policymakers, and the corresponding rise of consultants who provide strategic communications advice and … Continue Reading
On August 8, 2013, we reported that federal prosecutors in Chicago unsealed a criminal complaint alleging that two men violated U.S. sanctions by lobbying on behalf of Zimbabwe. In the earlier post, we noted that the defendants’ alleged activities appeared to have also violated federal law related to unregistered foreign agents, and we speculated that … Continue Reading
On August 6, federal prosecutors in Chicago unsealed a criminal complaint against two men alleged to have worked on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe to generate political support in the United States to lift the U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe. The two men – Prince Asiel Ben Israel and C. Gregory … Continue Reading
In September 2012, we reported that Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a complaint filed by several registered lobbyists that challenged the Obama Administration’s policy barring lobbyists from federal advisory boards and commissions. Although Judge Jackson acknowledged potential implications for rights guaranteed by the First Amendment … Continue Reading
Immediately after being sworn into office in 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13490, which barred federal lobbyists from service in his administration (on issues or in agencies they had formerly lobbied). Then, in September 2009, the White House announced that it was encouraging federal agencies to follow this practice for appointments the agencies controlled, … Continue Reading