Archives: Lobbying Compliance

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Understanding H.R. 1 (Part 2): Changes to the Lobbying Disclosure Act and Foreign Agents Registration Act

With a growing chorus of support across the progressive landscape, the For the People Act of 2021 has emerged as a key legislative priority for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress. Envisioned as a “transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package,” the bill would enact sweeping changes to federal election laws along with important changes … Continue Reading

LDA’s Registration Threshold Increases By $1,000

Under the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”), an organization or lobbying firm must register if it employs an individual who meets the definition of a “lobbyist” and if its total expenses or income for lobbying activities meet certain monetary thresholds.  The two non-monetary thresholds determining when an individual becomes a “lobbyist,” discussed below, are usually … Continue Reading

President Biden Revokes Schedule F Order, Avoids Thorny Lobbying Disclosure Act Questions

Just two days after taking office, President Joe Biden reversed former President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13957, which had dramatically expanded the potential number of political appointees in the executive branch and stripped thousands of career officials of their civil service protections.  President Trump’s order created a new “Schedule F” of the federal excepted service, … Continue Reading

Contributions-for-Pardons Opinion Reveals DOJ Efforts, and Challenges, Prosecuting Lobbying Violations

An opinion by Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed yesterday has generated much attention for its discussion of contributions-for-pardons allegations in a case that is still largely obscured from public view.  But the underlying offenses at issue in the case also include an alleged “secret lobbying … Continue Reading

Guidelines for Interacting with the Biden-Harris Transition and the Biden Inaugural Committee

With the election over, attention now turns to the transition and the upcoming inauguration of the new Biden-Harris Administration. In this alert, which will be of interest to chief compliance officers and many others across the country, Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice Group provides insight into what promises to be a transition and inauguration … Continue Reading

New Executive Order May Significantly Expand Number of Executive Branch Officials “Covered” Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act

UPDATE (2/2/2021):  The Executive Order discussed in this post has been revoked by President Biden.  See here. Despite his promises to “drain the swamp,” last week President Trump issued an Executive Order that may inadvertently create a large number of new lobbyists.  The order creates a new category of federal employees who are exempt from … Continue Reading

DOJ Charges Abramoff in First-Ever Criminal Lobbying Disclosure Act Prosecution

Nearly a decade after his release from prison, having served nearly four years on corruption charges, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff may be heading back behind bars, this time as the first person ever charged and convicted for criminal violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”).  Yesterday the Justice Department announced that notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff … Continue Reading

A Rookie’s Guide to Federal Lobbying Compliance: Four Key Risks for Companies Contacting Government Officials on COVID-19 Matters

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads through every industry, companies that previously steered clear of Washington, D.C. may find themselves contacting the federal government for assistance. From communicating with Members of Congress about potential provisions of the CARES Act to requesting new forms of assistance from federal agencies that oversee their industries, these … Continue Reading

State Lobbyist and Campaign Finance Filing Changes Related to COVID-19

As states grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, many have opted to make changes to campaign finance and lobbying reporting due dates and filing procedures. Covington has published a client alert containing a chart of changes to state campaign finance and lobbying filing schedules that states have announced as of last week. State … Continue Reading

GAO Report Reveals New Insights Into Lobbying Disclosure Act Compliance and Enforcement

The 2020 annual report from the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) provides new details regarding the state of Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) compliance and enforcement.  By statute, the GAO is charged with conducting random audits of LDA compliance and submitting reports reflecting the results to Congress.  This year’s audit reviewed approximately 100 quarterly “LD-2” reports filed … Continue Reading

Interacting with the Government During the Pandemic: Compliance Blind Spots for Corporations and Executives

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are reverberating in every sector of the global economy, from life sciences to transportation, retail to manufacturing, financial services to sports and entertainment. As federal, state, and local governments attempt to blunt the pandemic’s public health and economic effects, many companies are frantically working with government to seek the … Continue Reading

House COVID 3.0 Legislation Would Ban Federal Lobbying and Impose Permanent Corporate Political Spending Disclosure Requirements for Aid Recipients

The countless lobbyists urging Congress to include relief for their clients in the third coronavirus legislative package (“COVID 3.0”) currently pending in Congress may soon be unemployed, at least if the House version becomes law. The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives on Monday … Continue Reading

New Jersey “Dark Money” Disclosure Law Permanently Enjoined

Last year, we blogged about a new and highly restrictive disclosure law in New Jersey that took aim at so-called “dark money” spending by nonprofit and political organizations.  In response to a series of lawsuits, a federal court has issued an order permanently prohibiting the state from enforcing the law against “independent expenditure committees” as … Continue Reading

Congress Amends LDA Forms to Require Reporting of Lobbyist Convictions

The recent passage of the Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018 (“JACK Act” or the “Act”) imposes new requirements on those registering and filing reports under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”). The Act amends the LDA to require that LDA registrants disclose listed lobbyists’ convictions for criminal offenses involving bribery, extortion, embezzlement, … Continue Reading

Fight Against Sexual Misconduct Bringing Regulations, Protections for Lobbyists

As sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and other misconduct have dominated national headlines, state capitols and lobbyists have not escaped scrutiny.  Amidst a spate of allegations and member resignations, some state legislatures and ethics commissions are taking action.  While a variety of measures are being considered, including tightening gift rules, it is apparent that lobbyists and … Continue Reading

The Top Three Political Law Risks for Hedge Funds, Private Equity Funds, and Investment Firms

Perhaps no industry faces more scrutiny and regulation of its political activities than the financial services industry.   Even though these rules are often not intuitive, failure to comply with them can result in big penalties, loss of business, and debilitating reputational consequences.  In this advisory, we describe three sometimes overlooked political law related risks for hedge funds, … Continue Reading

Avoiding State and Local Lobbying Compliance Violations

Corporate legal and compliance departments are usually well aware of the laws regulating lobbying the federal government. Recent news reports, however, indicate that companies have more trouble with state and local lobbying laws. A few features of state and local lobbying make it a tricky blind spot. This increases the risk of failing to properly … Continue Reading

Virginia Makes Key Adjustments to Law Governing Gifts to Officials, Adds New Lobbyist Gift Notification

Organizations represented by lobbyists in Virginia should be aware of a new law enacted today.  The law eliminates a controversial exception to the state’s $100 limit on lobbyist gifts to legislators and officials, adds a key new exception to that law, and also includes an additional gift notification requirement for lobbyists.  The changes represent Virginia’s … Continue Reading

2016 GAO Annual Lobbying Disclosure Act Compliance Report Issued

On Friday, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released its tenth annual report on compliance with and enforcement of the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”).  The report summarizes the results of GAO’s random audits of lobbyists’ quarterly LD-2 activity reports and semi-annual LD-203 contribution reports, and provides a snapshot of the current enforcement environment. There are a … Continue Reading

New Executive Order on Ethics in Missouri Includes Lobbyist Gift Ban, Revolving-Door Provision; Legislature Considering Additional Restrictions

Earlier this month, newly-installed Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued Executive Order 2, applying strict ethics rules to executive branch employees in that state.  The order includes a ban on gifts from lobbyists, conflicts of interest rules, and a “revolving door” provision that prohibits employees who leave Greitens’ office from later lobbying his administration.  The state … Continue Reading

The 2017 Presidential Inauguration: Ethics and Compliance Issues

With Election Day 2016 in the books, the political world turns to the transition of power and the January 20, 2017 Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. With the swearing in of the new President and Vice President will come the traditional balls, parties, and receptions. The inauguration and related events … Continue Reading

Guidelines for Interacting with President-Elect Trump’s Transition Team

Over the next nine weeks, the Trump Presidential Transition team will formulate policy and staffing recommendations for the new administration. This alert gives a broad overview of the Transition and the laws that regulate interactions with Transition team members on issues related to appointments and policy recommendations. Persons interested in this topic may also wish … Continue Reading

House Clerk’s Office Apparently Sends Out Late Lobbyist Report Notices In Error

Earlier this afternoon, the House Clerk’s Office sent out emails to a number of registered federal lobbyists and lobbyist organizations alerting them to a missing 2016 Mid-Year LD-203 contribution report (due on August 1, 2016).  It appears that this email was sent in error to a batch of registrants who properly filed their reports on … Continue Reading

Annual GAO Report on Federal Lobbying Compliance Shows Mixed Enforcement Bag: Fewer Audits, More and Larger Enforcement Penalties

On Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its ninth annual report on compliance with the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), covering from mid-2014 through mid-2015.  As in the past, the report is based on random audits of lobbyists’ filings and analysis of enforcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.  We … Continue Reading
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