Archive for March, 2011

GOP Attacks AARP

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 by Vbhotla

A Politico story published today reports that the House Ways and Means Committee released a report asserting that AARP’s interest in the healthcare overhaul presented a conflict of interests, considering the group’s connections within the industry.

The story quotes GOP lobbyist Chris Lamond of Thorn Run Partners, who says, “There is certainly a sense of getting back at some of those groups that supported [healthcare reform].  It is a little bit like, ‘We are in charge of the House side, we are going to hold their feet to the fire.’”

AARP spent $114,706,000 in lobbying dollars during the critical period between giada delaurentis little pokies 2008-2010 (when healthcare reform legislation was passed, and then Republicans, running largely on promise to repeal the measure, took control of the House of Representatives).  This is purely the amount spent on direct lobbying, as reported on LDA disclosures filed with the Senate.  This does not speak to any campaign donations on behalf of the organization, or direct contributions made by members at the urging of their association leadership.

The story goes on to contend that the IRS, which the House committee has designated as being responsible for taking action on the issue, has not raised any qualms with the organization.

Survey Finds Coalitions Yield Good ROI

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Vbhotla

A new survey found that though most government relations professionals report spending very little time on coalition building, the strategic alliances promote more efficient, effective lobbying tactics.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed say they spend less than one day each week on activities to support coalition building, but just under half (48.7%) reported participating in 2-5 coalitions in the last 12 months.

“[C]oalitions are a wonderful took for smaller or single-issue organizations looking to expand their audience,” says Laura Renz, Director of Government Relations & Research at Campaign Freedom.

Interest in a specific issue, followed closely by interest in a specificpolicy or piece of legislation, were by far the greatest factors considered when joining a coalition, with 87.2% and 84.6% of respondents, respectively indicating these as “very useful” factors in making the decision, and 61.5% ranking both compatibility of industry and organization type as “somewhat useful.”  (Compatibility of organization type received more “very useful” ratings — 20.5% versus 17.9% for common industry.

For Campaign Freedom, all of the above were factors in the decision to join a coalition. “We had an issue come up last year that was huge for my organization that we had a lot of expertise on, but not necessarily the ability to get that information out to a broad audience,” Renz says. “Reaching out to a larger association that had an interest in the same issue but not the expertise was hugely beneficial for everything, and since then I’ve always considered coalitions to simply be getting more bang for your buck.”

An overwhelming majority (94.9%) of respondents reported that the first place they turn to recruit potential allies is personal and industry networks, and 64.1% rely on either print or electronic news sources as a primary resource for information about current and proposed coalitions.  Other sources of information sought when building coalitions included electronic databases like, content management software, action alerts, and targeted campaigns.

Just over half of responses (55.8%) indicated that technology is used to identify potential allies or adversaries, but an astonishing 89.5% reported technology is useful for disseminating information about their own efforts, and 84.2% reported using technologies to track legislation or issues.

Finance Reformers Seek Regulatory Help

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Absent intervention into campaign finance reform by the judicial branch, those hoping to put limits on what has been referred to as a”floodgate” of campaign funding made possible by last year’s Citizens United ruling have sought help from the Federal Communications Commission.

Media Access Project senior vice president and policy director Andrew Schwartzman argued last week that the FCC has long had the power to require political groups to disclose donors when running political ads.  In a petition filed March 22, he calls on the agency “to amend and strengthen its rules to require on-air identification of persons paying” ‘25% or more of the cost of an ad, according to the organization’s official press release.

Schwartzman said, “The FCC has repeatedly said that members of the public are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded, and it has stressed that this is especially important in the case of political messages. This petition simply seeks to update the FCC’s rules to fulfill its Congressional mandate.”

The petition points out what it believes to be “a fundamental policy…that ‘listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded.”

This effort by the Media Access Project is the latest attempt by campaign finance reformers seeking to narrow the reach of theCitizens United decision.  Several attempts have been made to urge the Supreme Court to re-define the judgement’s implications, but the Court has declined to hear these appeals.

Fact Check: Lobbying Regulatory Agencies

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 by Vbhotla

Last week, Politico ran a story about “A Second Stimulus for K Street,” in which the author discussed the profitability of lobbying regulatory agencies in this climate (which Dom Ruscio of Cavarocchi, Ruscio, Dennis & Associates, LLC referenced when he quipped “Regulation is the new earmarks” in a January Lobbying Certificate Process).

The SEC, like many other government agencies, is scrambling to write and enact rules to enforce recent legislation. But don't be deceived: contacting SEC officials is still lobbying.

The story suggests that “unlike traditional lobbying, regulatory work is part of the largely unreported influence economy, like political intelligence, grass roots and research.”  This is only partly true.  While lobbying regulatory agencies is indeed lucrative, a lot of regulatory agents are executive branch appointees, and thus lobbying these individuals is subject to HLOGA rules and LDA reporting.  Obama defines “Executive agency” as including each “executive agency” defined by section 105 of title 5 of the United States Code (read: all of the regulatory agencies), plus employees of the US Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission, but excluding employees of the GAO.

“Appointees” include “every full Online Pokies time, non career Presidential or Vice Presidential, non career appointee in the Senior Executive Service (or other SES type system), and appointee to a position that has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of being a confidential or policymaking character (Schedule C and other positions excepted under comparable criteria) in an executive agency.  It does not include any person appointed as a member of the Senior Foreign Service or solely as a uniformed service commissioned officer.”

Under President Obama’s Executive Order, these officials cannot accept any gifts of any value from lobbyists. Additionally, contacts made with these officials should be reported on the LDA filings, if the thresholds for lobbying are met.  Any firm or individual receiving $3,000 or more per quarter from a particular client, makes a second lobbying contact on behalf of said client, and  spends 20% or more of the time for that client (not comprehensively, this is evaluated on a per-client basis) must file an LD-1 registration.  Any lobbying contacts made on behalf of that client, including contacts to regulatory agencies and other Executive Branch officials, must be subsequently reported on future LD-2 forms.

US Olympic Committee heads to the Hill

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 by Vbhotla

The USOC will pair up with the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus today at 1pm to host a free-throw contest in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The contest, which was scheduled to coincide with the beginning of March Madness, will raise awareness about US Olympic Committee programs and their impact on Team USA’s success.

Joining Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus founders and co-chairs Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.),  Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) will be several Olympic and Paralympic champions.

Olympic gold winners Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field), Christian Laettner (men’s basketball), Evan Lysacek (figure skating), Shawn Johnson (women’s gymnastics), Teresa Edward (women’s basketball), and Andy Yohe live sex free web cam (sled hockey) will join the Congressmen and staffers on the court.  Paralympic track and field athletes April Holmes (gold), Marlon Shirley (gold), Lex Gillette (silver) and  Carlos Leon (wounded veteran) will also participate, along with fellow paralympians William “Spanky” Gibson (USOC Paralympic Military Program Athlete), and Alana Nichols, who has won gold medals in skiing and basketball.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said via the event’s official press release, “Olympians and Paralympians are a special type of people, committed to ideas like excellence, friendship and respect. I encourage anyone able, to come test their skills against some of America’s greatest role models.”

There has been some speculation about which Congressman will win the competition, but insiders say Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has the competition locked up.

Powell to head cable lobby

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, who was appointed to the agency by former President Bill Clinton, has been named president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, effective April 25.  Powell, the son of former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, will succeed Kyle McSlarrow, who announced last week that he will be leaving the association to take the reins at Comcast.

Michael Powell led the once-quiet FCC through a number of highly publicized (and highly politicized) battles during his four year tenure as chairman.

Powell was first appointed to the commission in 1998 and was named chairman by then-President George W. Bush in 2001.

In his role at the FCC, Powell was considered a friend of the cable industry.  During his high profile tenure with the agency, he pushed for increased fines for obscenity and indecent conduct on television, and was a driving force behind the $550,000 hit Viacom faced after the now-infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.

He is currently a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners and is honorary co-chairman of Broadband for America. Before the FCC, Powell was chief of staff of the US Justice Dept.’s Antitrust Division.

New Pay to Play Laws Take Effect Today

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Under new pay to play laws that go into effect today, the SEC will restrict investment advisers from directly or indirectly providing any advisory services to a state or local government entity for two years following a campaign contribution.  The ban extends to “covered associates” who consist of any general partner, managing partner, or “executive officer,” or other individuals with a similar status or function; any employee who solicits government business or supervises someone who does; any PAC “controlled by” the investment adviser or one of its covered associates; all employees who solicit a government entity for the investment; and, in some cases, employees of a parent company, which could, in some cases, include employees of a parent company.

The title “executive officer” was clarified to exclude those with titles that may indicate significance, but who, in reality, do not impact policy.   For the purposes of this exclusion, “executive officer” has been defined as the president and vice presidents fast bad credit payday loans in charge of principal business units.
De minimis contributions (those of $350 or less per election per candidate if the contributor is eligible to vote for the candidate, $150 or less if outside of the contributor’s district) are exempt from the restriction.
Also included in the new law is a bundling prohibition.  Investment advisers may not solicit or coordinate contributions for candidates or political parties in the states or localities in which they practice and may be looking to provide advisory services to the government.  There is no outright ban on third party solicitors, but an investment adviser may not pay non-regulated persons to provide the services.  Any third party solicitor must be subject to similarly stringent pay to play regulations.
The rules apply not only to registered investment advisers, but anyone who employs the private adviser exemption, and covers even indirect acts which, if done directly, would be in violation of the rule.

Comcast Beefs Up DC Team

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Vbhotla

National Cable and Telecommunications Association president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow will leave to become president of Comcast’s Washington policy and government affairs office, a newly-created position in which he will oversee regulatory and congressional strategy.  Citing McSlarrow’s interests in “technology, new product development, and customer service,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says McSlarrow “brings a terrific mix of business skills and broad management capabilities to our cable operations.”

McSlarrow is said to be a staunch opponent of net neutrality, another plus for Comcast, which has been embroiled in a fight with the FCC over the divisive issue.  He has also Payday Loans fought against a la carte channel pricing, from which the company would also benefit.

The cable giant has also promoted its two top lobbyists, who were both instrumental in finalizing the company’s NBC Universal acquisition earlier this year.

Kathy Zachem, who has led the firm’s regulatory efforts since 2008, will become the senior vice president of regulatory and state legislative affairs.  Melissa Maxfield is the new senior vice president of congressional and federal government affairs, a position from which she will congressional lobbying and some Executive Branch contacts, particularly as it relates to the White House and Commerce Department.

Former Rep. Bob Livingston to Head Louisiana GOP

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Former Rep. Bob Livingston, principal, The Livingston Group, has joined the Louisiana Republican Party as finance chairman.  Livingston said the new post as Louisiana’s top party fundraiser would not adversely impact his role with his lobby shop, saying “I would not have taken on this task without the consent of my partners, both Republican and Democrat.”

The Livingston Group has recently represented Egypt, which it continues to represent, even in a post-Mubarak regime, and Libya, which the group ceased to represent in 2008 after the nation’s leader continuously proved to be in opposition to U.S. policy.

In the party’s official press release Chairman Roger Villere states, ““With major statewide and legislative elections on the ballot this Viagra 100mg year it is crucial for our party to have the resources necessary to aggressively advance our conservative message, and I’m delighted to add a proven fundraiser and campaign veteran like Bob to our team… I’m confident that with his help our party will maintain its dominance in statewide elected offices and extend our majorities in the State House and State Senate.”

Said Livingston, “These are historic times for the conservative movement in Louisiana and I thank Chairman Villere for giving me the opportunity to facilitate our party’s continued growth and success.  I look forward to working with the chairman and I’m excited to assist our candidates up and down the ballot to succeed this fall.”

Murkowski Sides With Dems on Women’s Rights Issues

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first Republican senator to speak out in support of Planned Parenthood last week, saying in a letter to Appropriations Committee heads Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), “I believe Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and disagree with [House] funding cuts” in the chambers budget bill.

Sen. Murkowski joins Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as female Republicans speaking in favor of women’s reproductive rights, in vocal departures from their party’s popular rhetoric.  Collins’ spokesperson said the senator believes defunding Title X, which funds Planned Parenthood and other groups, is “unwise,” because “the program has successfully reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies Cialis, therefore helping to reduce health care costs.”

Recently, the Expose Planned Parenthood Coalition, which is made up of 30 anti-abortion groups, has put significant pressure on House Republicans to make defunding of Title X a non-negotiable point in congressional budget talks.  The coalition says it has sent 1.2 million petitions and emails in favor of withholding funding for the program for the remainder of the year.Planned Parenthood argues that it spends most of its time on activities other than abortions, including cancer screening for low income women, and providing contraception to prevent pregnancy.

Seven Republicans in the House opposed the provision to defund Title X during discussions.

Lawmakers, Lobbyists Square off on the Ice

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Vbhotla

In the 3rd annual Congressional Hockey Challenge Thursday night, Team Lobbyists was victorious over Team Lawmakers, with a final score of 5-3.

The game, which was held at the Verizon Center, raised over $100,000 for Fort Dupont Hockey Ice Arena and Hockey Club.  The Fort Dupont Hockey Club is a 501(c)3 charitable organization which provides inner city youth with the opportunity to play in an organized hockey program.  According to the event’s webpage, the Congressional Hockey challenge is held to aid the Fort DuPont ice arena, which “is in dire financial condition, and is at risk of closing. All proceeds…go directly to the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club, which will share fifty percent of the proceeds with the Fort DuPont Ice Arena [to] help ensure the Arena remains on stable footing, and that the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club can continue its mission.”

Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble dropped the first puck at the well-attended matchup of Capitol Hill and K. Street heavyweights.  Forward/Right Wing Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was Cialis the most well-known lawmaker on the ice.  He was joined by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)—who is often touted the biggest hockey fan in Congress, and even organized a White House event held Friday to benefit youth hockey initiatives, Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.)—who joined Quigley on the South Lawn for Friday’s hockey clinic, Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Pat Meehan (D-Penn.), and several staffers.

Team lobbyists featured IBM’s Justin Beachnau, Ian Bennitt (Shipbuilders Council of America), Nick Bliss (New York Life), C2 Group’s Nelson Litterst and John Kline, Brooke Coburn (The Carlyle Group), Bob Filippone (PhRMA), Christian Gullott (Bridgestone Americas, Inc.), Jeffrey Kimbell (Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates and Magnum Entertainment Group, Inc), Melissa Lavinson (Pacific Gas and Electric Company), Nick Lewis (UPS), George Lowe (Brown Rudnick), Rick Murphy (R.B. Murphy and Associates), Sean O’Neill (Associated General Contractors of America), Mark Peterson (American Institute of CPAs), Brian Regan (PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association), Kraig Syracuse (Park Strategies), Andrew Sasinowski (US Patent and Trademark Office), Seth Webb (Google), Ian Weston (Children’s National Medical Center).

Industry Moves and Changes

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Former Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) has joined Husch Blackwell as partner.

Kyle McSlarrow is the new president of Comcast’s policy and government affairs office. Kathy Zachem has been promoted to the cable giant’s senior vice president of regulatory and state legislative affairs, and Melissa Maxfield will be senior vice president of congressional and federal government affairs.
Genevieve Morelli has been named president of the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance.

Young Lobbyists Network: Speed Mentoring Event

Friday, March 11th, 2011 by Brittany

The Young Lobbyist Network (YLN) invites you to attend our first “speed mentoring” event of the year featuring several senior American League of Lobbyists (ALL) members. The main focus of this month’s event will be “Crafting an effective message.” In speed mentoring, you meet in small groups with a mentor to discuss a given topic and then “rotate” to a different table. This format allows you to meet with several mentors in a focused setting. You’ll have a chance to speak with each mentor and connect with professionals who work in a variety of government relations fields.  Don’t forget to bring your questions and your business cards! 

The event will be held on March 30th at the offices of GolinHarris at 2200 Clarendon Blvd, a block from the Courthouse metro.  Registration and networking are from 5:30-6:00 and the “speed mentoring” portion of the evening will begin promptly at 6.  We will supply beverages and snacks so you won’t be networking on an empty stomach! 

This event is HGH open to YLN/ALL members only and you must be registered by Monday, March 28th. The registration fee for this event is $10. If you aren’t already a YLN/ALL member, join online at for only $99.00.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity for great advice from top industry professionals in a fun and relaxed setting!

Register for the session online at (scroll down to the events & programs section)
Become an YLN/ALL member!

March 30, 2011
5:30 Networking
6:00-7:30 Speed Mentoring
Register for the session online at

2200 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22201

About Our Host
GolinHarris Public Affairs works with their clients to shape their political message, develop strategic relationships and manage issues so they can build their business by combining consumer and corporate public relations with traditional advocacy tactics. 

We look forward to seeing you!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at or directly at 240-235-0270

Successful Advocacy is Not Just about Luck Its Also About Strategy

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Brittany

In identifying the issues that the organization will address, successful advocate leaders must manage both the expectations and interests of their advocates as well as the agendas of policymakers.  As a result, they must be prepared to establish both proactive and reactive policy agendas.

  • Proactive agendas are those designed to further the legislative, regulatory or other policy interests of the organization.  They are usually comprised of specific initiatives the organization wishes to advance, such as legislation or a change to regulatory rules. 
  • Reactive agendas are developed in response to the initiatives put forth by policymakers or others.

Almost all policy agendas will have both proactive and reactive elements.  Proactive elements are often the easiest to develop, in that organization leaders will hopefully have a good sense of the policy changes necessary to benefit their stakeholders.  Difficulties with proactive agendas may arise when there are competing priorities or stakeholders have unrealistic expectations.

The formation of reactive agendas can prove more difficult. This is in large part because it is often difficult to know what a policymaking body is planning.  Many organizations with well-thought-out proactive agendas find themselves scrambling to manage policy changes proposed from an external source.  To avoid surprises and last-minute policy panic, it is essential to consider what issues your organization might need to address in a reactive manner from the outset.

Options for identifying potential reactive agenda items include:

  • Informal discussions with key legislative and regulatory champions
  • Ongoing review of relevant periodicals, newspapers and other publications
  • Discussions with appropriate state and national associations and interest groups
  • Analysis of legislative and regulatory history, including existing laws up for reauthorization and review
  • Intelligence from well-situated stakeholders

For more information or to purchase the Advocacy Handbook click here.

Lobbying News Round-up

Friday, March 4th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the announcement that former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) assumed the position of chairman and CEO for the Motion Picture Association of America, effective March 17.  Dodd will bring his “stature and talent to support the creative efforts of our filmmakers and the many people who work in our industry, here and around the world,” said Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Jim Gianopulos.

According to the association’s official press release, Dodd is excited to represent an industry that “consistentlyproduce[s] and distribute[s] the most sought after and enjoyable entertainment on earth.  Protecting this great American export will be my highest priority.”  He expects the position will be “a continuation of my work in the Senate from advancing the VigRX interests of children and families and creating and safeguarding American jobs to the protection of intellectual property and the expansion of international trade.”  Tackling piracy and protecting the studios’ intellectual property will be amoung Dodd’s primary duties in his new position.

In less circulated revolving door news, former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) has joined agriculture lobbying shop Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz as a principal.  Herseth Sandlin may provide strategic advice –which would be worth heeding, considering her recent post as chair of the Agriculture Committee — but may not lobby directly for clients for one year, per House revolving door rules.  She told Roll Call that lobbying, “after the first year, is definitely something I’m interested in doing.”