Tag Archives: lobbying

Is Lobbying Reform Looking More Likely?

In the past week, the Association of Government Relations Professionals (formerly the American League of Lobbyists) announced its endorsement of tougher disclosure requirements for lobbyists, and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2014, which would permanently ban former Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.  This … Continue Reading

2013 GAO Lobbying Disclosure Report Shows Challenges in Compliance, Recordkeeping

Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2013 report on compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA), summarizing the audits of 104 lobbyist reports and information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. We see several trends in this year’s report.  First, registrants are reporting more difficulties complying … Continue Reading

Virginia Enacts New Gifts and Ethics Legislation

The Virginia General Assembly passed new ethics legislation on Wednesday to little fanfare.  Legislators voted unanimously to adopt the new law with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s technical amendments.  We previously blogged about the law’s major provisions.  The law supplements the much stricter executive order limiting gifts to the executive branch, signed by Governor McAuliffe in January.  … Continue Reading

Is Alabama’s Revolving Door Closing?

The Alabama Senate unanimously passed a bill to close Alabama’s revolving door last week.  The legislation bars a legislator from lobbying either chamber of the Alabama legislature for two years.  This bill closes a loophole in Alabama’s current statute, which only prohibits a former legislator from lobbying the chamber he served in. The bill now … Continue Reading

Attend It Like Beckham: Celebrity Cleared of Lobbying Violations from Miami “Meet-and-Greets”

Celebrities often use their star power to shine a light on otherwise overlooked issues.  Soccer star David Beckham has inadvertently used his celebrity status to highlight a trap for the famous and non-famous alike — local lobbying regulations.  Last Wednesday, The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust cleared “Becks” of violating the county’s lobbying … Continue Reading

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
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