Archive for July, 2010

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The Congressional Cigar Association got some (probably) unwanted attention from the Huffington PostWeekly newslast week.

Former Bush White House Spokesman Dana Perino has joined a lobbying firm. Perino is listed on the lobbying disclosure form for Hamilton Place Strategies. She’s listed on the form for Mina Corporation, which, according to their form, is interested in “Congressional Investigation” and “Department of Defense Contracts.” Although, also according to their form, the firm is making less than $5,000 on the contract.

Roll Call reports on ex-lobbyist Kevin Ring, and the impact of his trial on the future of Honest Services suits. (Roll Call subscription required).

Ethics (or lack thereof) update: Rep. Charles Rangel has been charged with 13 counts of violations against the House ethics rules. Read about it at Roll Call, or read the statement from the Ethics Committee here. (PDF)

DISCLOSE fails in the Senate. Will Harry Reid bring it up again after the August recess? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you can get your fix of stories on the final cloture vote here at Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog.

Politico reports on Sen. Richard Shelby’s earmark policy, and staffer connection to those earmarks.

The American League of Lobbyists and the Sunlight Foundation are teaming up to lobby on getting the 20% threshold lowered. OMB Watch blog notes the development, and it’s referenced in this Politico story, “Lobbyists call bluff on ‘Daschle exemption.'”

Quote(s) of the Week:

A little legal humor for you: “While the statute does not speak of business before a particular committee (as opposed to the House generally), it bears noting that the one committee that touches everyone is the Ways and Means Committee. There being no committee on death, the only other certain thing in life is covered within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.” – Ethics Committee on the accusations regarding Charlie Rangel, 7/29/2010

Tom Daschle, you’re ruining it for everyone: “You don’t know what they’re doing, and they have an incredible amount of power and access that no average American would ever have and that no average American can find out about either. It’s a double whammy.” – Dave Levinthal, Center for Responsive Politics, on lobbyists who aren’t registered, Politico, 7/26/2010

And this is why the public does not trust lobbyists: “One corporate lobbyist who worked as a regulator, asked whether he believed he had an inside edge in lobbying his ex-colleagues, said: ‘The answer is yes, it does. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to justify getting out of bed in the morning and charging the outrageous fees that we charge our clients, which they willingly pay.’ …  The lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns about alienating government officials, added that “you have to work at an agency to understand the culture and the pressure points, and it helps to know the senior staff.” – New York Times, 7/27/2010

Filing Reminder: LD-203 Forms Due Today

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by Vbhotla

All lobbyists listed on LDA registration and reporting forms (LD-1 & LD-2) must file and certify their LD-203 Form TODAY, Friday, July 30.

Get that last minute paperwork in to the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.

Need to catch up on what’s required in your filing? Check out the Lobbying Compliance Handbook for easy-to-use, practical compliance advice and legal analysis.

On Your Honor

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Have you seen massive groups of Boy Scouts flooding the Metro (and the Pentagon City Mall)?

Yep, we have too. Center for Responsive Politics lets us in on the secret: the scouts are in town for the 100th Anniversary of Boy Scouts of America, and the National Boy Scout Jamboree, being held here in the DC area at Fort A.P. Hill.

CRP’s Open Secrets blog highlights the lobbying connections of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts in this post: “Professional Lobbyists Help Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts Ring In Centennials”.

BREAKING: LDA Amendment Passes House

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The House has amended and passed Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s bill, H.R. 5751. Originally titled “The Fee on Lobbyists Act,” the bill is now titled “Lobbying Disclosure Enhancement Act.”

The bill as now amended is significantly different than the original legislation. It does three things:

1. Establishes an “Enforcement Task Force” for purposes of “investigating and prosecuting” cases referred under the LDA to the DOJ.

2. Replaces the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia with the Attorney General for purposes of referral and enforcement.

3. Inserts the language “Section 6(b)(1) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1605(b)(1)) is amended by striking `by case’ and all that follows through `public record’ and inserting `by case and name of the individual lobbyists or lobbying firms involved, any sentences imposed’.”

The bill passed the House by voice vote on Wednesday.

The language about fee structures and increased enforcement is not in the final legislation.

(h/t Eric Brown at Political Activity Law.)

Beautiful Lobbyists

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The Hill recently released their annual list of Washington’s “50 Most Beautiful.” We know lobbyists have beautiful souls, but this issue of The Hill also recognized some lobbyists with beautiful exteriors, too. On the list:

Vinoda Basnayake photo from Patton Boggs

Vinoda Basnayake, Patton Boggs

Registered under: FARA

Clients: Sri Lanka, Embassy of Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma

Issues: Budget/Appropriations

Laura Donahoe, Van Scoyoc Associates

Laura Donahoe photo from The Hill

Registered under: LDA

Clients: Entegrion, The Free Enterprise Nation

Issues: Budget/Appropriations, Defense, Government Issues, Health Issues, Labor Issues/Antitrust/Workplace, Medicare/Medicaid,Retirement, Small Business, Taxation/Internal Revenue Code

Christine Sequenzia photo from The Hill

Christine SequenziaAnimal Welfare Institute

Registered under: LDA

Issues: Animals

Sarah Spear, Association for Advanced Life Underwriting

Sarah Spear photo from The Hill

In-house lobbyist for the association.

Off-The-Hill Political Activity Winners:

  • Patrick Gliha, PAC administrator, Amgen
  • Brittany Prime, political fundraiser, The Levatino Group
  • Jessica Knight, CBC Political Action Committee

Source: The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful

Facebook’s Lobbying Dollars Low

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Politico released a list of top spenders on lobbying among tech giants – and it is no surprise that Verizon, Comcast and AT&T make the top. What’s interesting is how low on the ladder Facebook falls. With just $60,000 spent in Quarter 2, (and only about $41,000 in Quarter 1) Facebook finished last on the list of biggest tech spenders.

One shouldn’t assume that’s because Facebook’s lobbying team is run by intern-types in torn jeans and flip-flops though —last year, it brought in Timothy Sparapani, a former senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, to beef up its lobbying effort being run by Adam Conner. Conner is no slouch himself, having worked for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) in the past. Ironically, Sparapani had been a fierce privacy advocate before joining Facebook, foregoing an account on the social networking site for himself until recently (funky shades, Tim).

While Facebook’s spending has almost doubled compared to previous quarters, it’s still low compared to other tech-lobbying companies considering there is a new Internet Privacy Bill in the works that’s sure to affect the company. But perhaps the deep resentment over the under-construction bill that’s already brewing among smaller players in online business is holding big fish like Facebook and Google back from a more conspicuous role. Perhaps they feel it’s wiser not to treat this one as their own solitary fight — and their spending figures sure seem to demonstrate that.

Industry Moves & Changes

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Jim Howe has been hired as director of government relations for USEC Inc. Howe served as deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.

Melika Carroll, director of government affairs at Micron Technologies Inc. for the past three years, has jumped to Hewlett-Packard. Carroll is now executive director of global public policy at the tech company.

H. Malloy McDaniel has been named a principal at Blank Rome Government Relations LLC. McDaniel was a policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

Gary Palmquist has been hired as a member of Thorn Run Partners. Palmquist previously served as a House lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Mary C. Cronin has been hired as a senior legislative associate at Smith Dawson & Andrews, a lobbying and public affairs firm. She was executive director of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, a regional advocacy group.

Lobbying Fees Considered in House

Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Vbhotla

A bill introduced in the House Judiciary Committee would impose fees on lobbyists, based on their number of clients.

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) introduced H.R. 5751, the “Fee on Lobbyists Act,” in response to what she views as improper influence by financial services lobbyists during the financial services debate. Her bill “would properly enforce the rules for federal lobbyists and special interest groups by funding the offices that are tasked with holding lobbyists accountable.”

The text of the bill would “amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require registrants to pay an annual fee of $50, to impose a penalty of $500 for failure to file timely reports required by that Act, to provide for the use of the funds from such fees and penalties for reviewing and auditing filings by registrants, and for other purposes.”

The fee would be broken down to be $25 per registration, per chamber. So the total fee would be $50 per registration (client). The same payment would be made yearly, upon filing the first quarter’s LD-2 report. (Provision is made for the eventuality that a registration and a first-quarter LD-2 report will coincide, with a fee waiver for that problem.)

Failure to file as required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act would result in a $500 fine; failure to file properly on subsequent occasions would impose a $1,000 fine. The fines (and normal fees) will be used to conduct audits and quality control of filings. Other measures within the bill include: clean up of inconsistencies between the House and Senate databases, and mandated public disclosure of late or incorrect filers (name would be removed from the list following proper filing and payment of the fee).

The bill, introduced on July 15, is currently in committee. Assuming passage, the bill provides for application of the fee structure to registrations filed at the end of the 60-day period after the bill’s enactment.

The text of H.R. 5751 is available here at THOMAS. Rep. Kilroy’s press release is here: “Kilroy Works to Bring Sunshine to Washington’s Darkest Corners.”

Second Quarter Lobbying Numbers Show Busy K St., Subdued Chamber

Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Vbhotla

According to filings (due on July 20) of second quarter lobbying expenditures and earnings, big earners keep on raking in the dough to advocate for their clients. Environmental lobbying (especially as related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill) was up, and Chamber lobbying – astronomical for the past two quarters – has slowed considerably.

The top 10 lobbying earners (those reporting lobbying income) include: Patton Boggs; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Van Scoyoc Associates; Podesta Group; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Holland & Knight; Cassidy & Associates; K&L Gates; Ogilvy Government Relations; and Dutko Worldwide.

Patton Boggs, topping the list with $10.07-million in reported earnings, is down just slightly quarter over quarter from January-March’s $10.51-million. However, as Roll Call reported, Patton Boggs’ mid-year numbers look very strong over the last half of last year.

Roll Call also found BP referring to the environmental disaster in the gulf as “the Gulf of Mexico incident,” which, to BP’s credit is more specific than they could have been. BP and many other entites reported lobbying the federal government on issues relating to the disaster. Among the many other interested parties (384 results turned up in a search for “oil spill” on 2nd Quarter reports) were: Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, National Wildlife Federation, the National Tour Association, Shell Oil Corporation, and the City of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Specifically, 34 entities reported lobbying on “H.R. 5629 the Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010.

This quarter, the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. slowed down their lobbying efforts considerably. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose lobbying reports excited such comment last quarter (and the quarter before), reported only $9.48-million this quarter (as opposed to last quarter’s $25.12-million; the last quarter of 2009 was a staggering $71.19-million). The Chamber files using the most inclusive method, the IRC method, which includes expenditures on grassroots lobbying. Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten pointed out the decline in the Chamber’s lobbying efforts corresponded with the passage of the Health Care bill (the Chamber opposed the measure).

Records are found at the Senate Office of Public Records. The Roll Call article referenced in this story is available here (subscription required).

*Numbers were accurate as of 7/21/2010, according to publicly available records from the Senate Office of Public Records

DISCLOSE Gets a Second Life

Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Vbhotla

When DISCLOSE went to the Senate after passage in the House on June 24, it included some controversial elements – and faced a tough road in the Senate.

But this week, it may have a chance at final passage. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) push for the bill now includes a brand-new version of the bill. Introduced on July 22 (after the first attempt at passage had been shelved) Sen. Schumer’s new bill, at 116 pages, seems to include much of the original language, and seeks to amend the FECA.

The original legislation, H.R.5175 and S.3295, was under fire by moderates and more conservative Senators alike, with complaints ranging from accusations of attempts by Democrats to change the political landscape from the top down, to complaints of special treatment of the National Rifle Association or various unions.

The bill aims to shortcut the committee process and bring the bill to a vote on Tuesday. Read the new version of the bill here (PDF).The text has not yet been received in the Government Printing Office, and is therefore not available on Thomas. However, a PDF of the bill is available here at Express Advocacy.

According to Politico, “Schumer has left intact a contentious provision exempting the National Rifle Association and several other large organizations from the reporting requirements of the legislation. But he has removed other language that had been backed by the AFL-CIO and other unions excusing the labor organizations from having to report money transfers between affiliates.”

Read the story at Politico.

Industry Moves and Changes

Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Trista Wendell Roehl has been hired on the advocacy team of American Continental Group Inc. Roehl was previously a public policy manager for CompTIA.

Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) is leaving lobbying firm DLA Piper to become chairman of JPMorgan Chase’s Florida, Mexico, Central America and Caribbean regions.

Jacob Cassady has been hired as manager of government affairs at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI). He was previously a legislative specialist for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

Connie Garner has been hired as policy director of Foley Hoag LLP’s Government Strategies practice. Ms. Garner was previously Policy Director, Special Populations at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

Mark T. Esper has been appointed vice president of government relations at Raytheon Co. Previously, he was executive vice president of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, July 23rd, 2010 by Vbhotla

DISCLOSE: The Sequel. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has introduced a new version of the DISCLOSE Act in the Senate that reportedly tones down some of the more objectionable portions to make it more acceptable to the waffling moderates. Politico has the story, here. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) pegged next Tuesday for a vote.

Rangel’s woes get a little bit deeper. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has been plagued by continuous stories regarding potential ethics violations for the past two years. Thursday, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee) voted to instigate a panel to examine the issues further.  Eric Brown does a nice round-up of preliminary stories from various sources. The Ethics Committee’s public report on the matter is here.

In Campaign Finance news, the FEC approved several soft money expenditures. Commonsense Ten and Club for Growth were both approved for unlimited “soft money” expenditures in 2010. Roll Call (subscription) has more on the issue.

Salazar disapproves of the Revolving Door. The Washington Post had reported that oil and gas lobbyists were overwhelmingly swinging through the House/Senate/Executive branch revolving door. In a meeting with lawmakers tasked with oversight, Salazar expressed his disapproval of the practice of special interest groups.

Quote of the Week:

“There’s chatter out there that they’re saying there is not going to be disclosure … Anybody that comes away from here saying that [FEC allowing soft money expenditures] is going to undercut disclosure is just not reading what is going on.” – Republican FEC Commissioner Donald McGahn, Roll Call, 7/23/2010

Friday Fun: Guess Who’s Lobbying on the Oil Spill?

Friday, July 23rd, 2010 by Vbhotla

This filing from the second quarter of 2010 shows some detailed lobbying disclosure for activities related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Leave a comment (or email me at guessing whose filing this is – first correct answer wins an awesome t-shirt!

Celebrity Lobbyist Alert: Crystal Bowersox

Friday, July 23rd, 2010 by Brittany

Yet another new celebrity is lending their name and popularity to a good cause. This season’s American Idol runner up Crystal Bowersox is here visiting the White House to promote federal funding for Type 1 diabetes research. As is the case with many celebrity lobbyists, the cause she is representing hits close to home. Bowersox suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Check out her video interview with Politico. 

(Potential) Congress Views: Alexi Giannoulias

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 by Vbhotla

Candidate for U.S. Senate Alexi Giannoulias (D-Ill.) is no fan of lobbyists. Mr. Giannoulias, currently the Illinois State Treasurer, is running for the seat currently occupied by appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Giannoulias would work to enact major legislative ethics reforms if elected to the Senate.

“In Washington, D.C., everywhere you go you see a lobbyist,” Giannoulias said. “They run that town. Nine out of 10 people [you see as] you walk down the hall are all lobbyists.”

The Sun-Times reports that “[Giannoulias] wants a total ban on corporations and lobbyists donating to candidates and a lifetime ban on senators or congressmen ever becoming lobbyists.”

Giannoulias’ Senate candidate site is at

Giannoulias’ official state site is at