Archive for December, 2011

Abramoff, Marlowe square off

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 by Vbhotla

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has hired Jack Abramoff to teach an ethics class to state legislators.  Howard Marlowe, president of the American League of Lobbyists, calls this decision “disgusting,” saying in a statement, “How in the world do people think this man has any credentials to teach ethics to lawmakers? Not only does he not know a thing about ethics, he has never apologized or accepted responsibility for the crimes that sent him to jail.”

Abramoff, who will earn $5,000 for the gig, says, “I have not only reduced my speaking for this event, but like all income I earn, it will enable Online Pokies the victims of my case to receive restitution payments.”

Abramoff took issue with Marlowe’s statements, saying “Does Mr. Marlowe find that objectionable? Or is he just acting as the lobbyist for the lobbyists in trying to silence the messenger?”

According to Politico, Abramoff  continued, “It must be particularly galling to him to have someone with my experience and knowledge of the tricks of their trade spilling them in my book and in speeches. Undoubtedly he is petrified that I am addressing the state Legislature in Kentucky, as they have been most effective in reducing lobbyist corruption and political foul play.”

 

CREW files complaint against Gingrich campaign

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 by Vbhotla

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an FEC complaint against GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, alleging that his film company, Gingrich Productions, masked campaign events as film screenings, and that the campaign paid Gingrich $42,000 in funds that should have been directed to the company.

“We based our complaint on ABC News and Washington Post stories about these joint events and they seem to be for a dual purpose, for promoting his candidacy and promoting books,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. “Gingrich Productions is a corporation and this would violate the rule of not white pages reverse phone receiving a corporation’s aid,” said Sloan. “In turn, the campaign was accepting an illegal contribution.”

The campaign responded, saying, “If the FEC considers the complaint, they will find that the rules are being followed and published regulations are being enforced.”

Sloan contends that mailing lists and other services Gingrich received thanks to his connection to the production company and a nonprofit once run by his former spokesman constitute impropriety on his behalf, and that “The FEC needs to investigate this…and get some answers from Gingrich and they should fine him if he’s found to be in violation.”

American League of Lobbyists Bring in the Holidays

Monday, December 19th, 2011 by Vbhotla

The American League of Lobbyists hosted its annual Holiday party at K&L Gates Wednesday.


Clockwise from top left: ASAE’s Robert Hay stands with the ALL’s new executive director, Danielle Abe; Lobbyists.info’s Tim Teehan is with Elva Smith of Applied Global Research and Michelle Ly of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association; Julie Strandley of Julie Strandley Advocacy, Prudential’s Ralph Tyler, Lobbyists.info’s Brittany Carter, Eric Weissmann of the Original U.S. Congress Handbook, Justin Meyers of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, and Matt Nese of Stateside Associates take a Viagra 100mg moment to smile for the camera; Tara Galvin and Kaithyn Kawlett of Levick Strategic Communications pose with Patrick Hardy; we caught Applied Global Research’s Elva Smith again! This time with Bernadette Walker of Carr Workplaces; recent Lobbying Certificate Program presenter Anthony Dale, Dale Consulting, stands with new LCP registrants Arielle Eiser of the American Psychological Association and Robert Whittemore of 4Site, and James Kahrs; Food Marketing Association’s Liz Garner is shown with Nathan Smith of the American Traffic Safety Services Association and Daniel Ulloa.

Throwing a Permissible Holiday Party

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 by Brittany

Food and beverages offered to congressional members and staff in a social setting, if paid for by lobbyists or lobbying entities, must conform to the restrictions of the rules, which provide an exception for:

“Food and beverages of nominal value, not as part of a meal.”

This is known as the “reception exception.” The rules in this instance clearly envision that nominal value means more minimalist – and that the phrase “not as part of meal” means no heavy hors d’oeuvres that could be considered a substitute for a meal by hungry interns or low-paid Hill staffers.

As the ethics staff advised one House staffer, “pitcher of margaritas, yes…plate of sliders, no.”

Parties and Receptions — Menus 

The House and Senate ethics staff have spent ample time reviewing, editing and discussing catering menus for events hosted or paid for by lobbyists or lobbying entities.  Below is a checklist of do’s and don’ts:

NO:

  • low-cost food that could still be considered a meal item, such as hot dogs, pizza slices, sliders (tiny hamburgers)
  • food that requires a fork
  • carving stations
  • pasta stations
  • dining tables 
  • martini or vodka bars

 

YES

  • appetizers
  • passed hors d’oeuvres
  • finger foods or food eaten with toothpicks
  • beverages, including wine, beer and cocktails (but keep it simple and less expensive)
  • desserts

Invitations and Ethics Approval

The House and Senate Ethics Committee staffs have been gracious about reviewing and approving menus and reception plans in order that hosts and sponsoring organizations can provide comfort to Members and staff that there is no criminal conduct involved in attending a reception Cialis.  The ethics staff may require changes in the type of food or beverages to be served prior to granting approval.

A reception is not a widely attended event as that term is defined in the gift rules.  A widely attended event requires an educational component or some element that a Member or staffer can claim to fall within his/her official duties. Although attendance at social events is clearly business-related in most instances, the widely attended event exception is not the one that is envisioned by the gift rules to be applied if the occasion is a reception or party to which Members and staffers are invited.

Don’t ask the ethics staff to approve a “widely attended event” that is, in fact, a “social gathering.”  Approval will not likely be forthcoming.

An event that is planned within the spirit and letter of the ethics rules regarding the menu of food and beverages to be served can be denoted as such on the invitation by stating:

Cocktails and Reception Fare Only

or

Cocktails and Light Appetizers

or

Cocktails and Light Hors d’oeuvres

An indication on the invitation that only appropriate reception food and beverages will be served will demonstrate to an invitee that the host is familiar with the rules and is intent upon following them.  That will provide comfort to any guests who are Members and congressional staff and should also help document that the event was in compliance with applicable provisions of the ethics and gift rules.

For more information or to purchase the Lobbying Compliance Handbook click here.