Tag Archives: lobbying

UK Adopts Mandatory Lobbyist Registry

On January 30, 2014, the UK Parliament adopted the “Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.”  Covington today issued a client advisory explaining the new law, which imposes mandatory registration and disclosure requirements on certain organizations that lobby in the UK.  Significantly, however, unlike in the United States, the new UK … Continue Reading

Update #2: Appeals Court Reinstates Legal Challenge to Ban on Lobbyists Serving on Advisory Committees

On January 17, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a legal challenge to President Obama’s ban on lobbyists serving on advisory boards and commissions in federal agencies.  The appellate decision overturned a lower court judgment, issued in September 2012, that dismissed the claims of several lobbyists who alleged that the ban violated their … Continue Reading

National Journal Focuses on Widely Used Exceptions to the Congressional Travel Rules

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

Virginia: New Executive Gift Ban Takes Immediate Effect, with Ethics Reform Moving Through General Assembly

Virginia has often been referred to as the “Wild West” of politics because of its limited campaign finance and ethics laws.  The Commonwealth’s ethics laws are undergoing major changes, however, with more to come during the legislative session. On January 11, in his second act as Governor, Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order Number 2, which … Continue Reading

“Unlobbyists” and Foreign Corporations

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

Washington State Increases Contribution Limits, Tweaks Lobbying Disclosure

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission raised campaign contribution limits last week.  Effective January 5, 2014, corporations, PACs, and individuals will be able to donate $950 per election to legislative candidates and $1,900 per election to gubernatorial and other statewide candidates.  A primary and general election are considered separate elections for contribution limit purposes.  A … Continue Reading

Proposed UK Lobbying Bill Faces Criticism

On 17 July 2013, the UK Government introduced draft legislation, the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, that would, if enacted, create a mandatory and publicly-accessible register for “consultant lobbyists.”  Any person or organization that falls within the statutory definition would be required to register with a new Registrar of Consultant … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Assembly Votes to Permit Corporate Independent Expenditures, Double Contribution Limits

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that would modify Wisconsin’s ban on corporate expenditures  and double the state’s political contribution limits.  In response to Citizens United, the bill lifts Wisconsin’s blanket prohibition on corporate expenditures.  If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill would permit corporate independent expenditures and corporate contributions … Continue Reading

Lobbying Disclosure and the Intelligence Community

With the National Security Agency in the news, there has been some media attention to who is lobbying whom in the intelligence community, and how much they are spending while doing it.  Often media coverage of lobbying expenditures misinterprets the available federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) data.  The LDA notoriously contains many gaps.  Those who … Continue Reading

Update: Lobbyists Appeal Decision Upholding Ban on Advisory Board Service

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

New York State Lobbying and Ethics Rules

The Associated Press reports that New York State is poised to loosen lobbying disclosure requirements and tighten gift restrictions.  The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has broad jurisdiction over New York state ethics and lobbying laws, has proposed new rules governing both lobbying disclosure requirements and ethical restrictions on gifts. First, … Continue Reading

GAO Report Signals Slow But Steady Increase In Lobbying Disclosure Act Enforcement

The Government Accountability Office this week issued its sixth annual report summarizing the results of its audit of approximately one hundred federal Lobbying Disclosure Act registrants.  As we previously explained when the audits began, federal law requires the GAO to select LDA registrants on a “random” basis for an audit to assess their compliance with … Continue Reading

Florida Legislators Take First Look at Proposed Lobbyist Gift Ban Exceptions

Since 2005, Florida has had one of the strictest restrictions on lobbyists and principals giving gifts to state legislators.  Except for “floral arrangements” or “other celebratory items” given on the opening day of regular session, the law flatly prohibits a lobbyist or principal from making “any expenditure” with respect to a member or employee of … Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season!

Like the men and women in red suits ringing bells on street corners, press reports are springing up everywhere alleging that numerous 501(c)(4) social welfare groups—including groups on both sides of the aisle—have violated their tax-exempt status by spending too much time and money on political campaign activities during the recent campaigns. For any such … Continue Reading

Proposed New York Regulation Worries Trade Associations

A proposed New York regulation would force trade associations to disclose the full dues payment of any member who pays over $5,000 in dues – and trade associations are not happy about it. Trade associations are joining forces to scale back proposed ethics regulations implementing ethics reform legislation New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Ban on Lobbyists Serving on Advisory Committees

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

Fifty Shades of Lobbying

Personal relationships between lobbyists and government employees can be tricky — especially in Washington where many people work for the government.  Lobbyists face many odd questions when managing their personal relationships with government employees.  Can you invite old friends to your company suite at Nationals Stadium?  Can you bring a gift to a wedding?  Can you … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Two New Lobbying Disclosure Act Enforcement Actions

The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia today announced two new civil enforcement actions against lobbying firms for failure to file required federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) reports.  Two Virginia-based lobbying firms entered into civil settlement agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  One firm — Lussier, Gregor, Vienna & Associates — agreed to pay a … Continue Reading

GAO Opens a New Wave of Lobbying Disclosure Act Compliance Audits

Based on reports from around town here in D.C., the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has begun a new wave of audits of firms that are registered under the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”).  These periodic audits are required under legislation enacted in 2007, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (“HLOGA”).  HLOGA requires that registrants … Continue Reading

Georgia Lobbyist Gift Ban?

Last Friday, David Ralston, the Georgia House Speaker, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) that he would propose a complete ban on gifts from lobbyists to legislators.  If such a ban were adopted, it would mark a dramatic departure from current Georgia law, which does not impose any limit on gifts to state legislators.  (Georgia law … Continue Reading
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