Archive for the ‘Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up’ Category

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, September 17th, 2010 by Vbhotla

After last week’s surprise upset in Alaska (Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski in the GOP Senate primary), Roll CallWeekly newsreports that lobbyists were quick to shift their financial and fundraising support from Murkowski to Miller. Article here.

The New York Times report on John Boehner’s lobbyist ties is examined a little more fully in our post, here. Boehner also responded via the Washington Examiner.

Pepsi and Coke both have new lobbyists in DC… maybe this will spark the huge Pepsi v. Coke epic battle we’ve all been waiting for. (Although I won’t lie, as a Michigander, I prefer Faygo).

John Doolittle, who earlier this year complained that the (cleared) ethics investigations against him were making supporting work difficult, has found a job lobbying for Colfax City, California.

Lots of ethical dilemmas and strong words being traded back and forth regarding House ethics.. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), one of the Ethics Committee members,  faces his own ethics and disclosure issues. Various public interest groups try to get Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner to publicly agree to support the OCE in the next Congress.

Ross Garber comments on Public Corruption charges post Skilling (discussion of Kevin Ring case included). See our posts about Kevin Ring and Skilling.

Following up on our report earlier this week that lobby shops are looking to up their GOP quotient ahead of the midterms, Roll Call reports on the Democratic job prospects on K St.

We anxiously await word on the fate of DISCLOSE.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) was recorded leaving a voicemail on an unnamed lobbyist’s phone, asking for campaign contributions, and doing it in a manner that implied a reminder of Holmes Norton’s power status in the lobbyist’s “sector.” More on this story in our Monday post on lobbyist campaign contributions.

From the Canadian Society of Association Executives, a post on “Enhancing Grassroots Advocacy Through Social Media.” Worth a read.

The LA Times has an article on Kevin Spacey’s role as  Jack Abramoff in the upcoming “Casino Jack.”

Reports abound that Paul Magliocchetti is changing his “not guilty” plea in his 11-count indictment.

Three Obama administration employees never deregistered as lobbyists before taking their new jobs, according to OpenSecrets blog.

Quote(s) of the week:

“There may be a new gang in town after November,” said Hellmann, a former aide to then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). “The climate will be better for the business community on taxes.” (Roll Call, 9/13/2010)

“A lot of people want to have coffee now.” – Gordon Taylor, Ogilvy Government Relations, about staffers seeking advice on how to navigate the job market (Roll Call, 9/14/2010)

“Once he’s done with his house arrest, he may decide to speak out about the lobbying industry… He’d be credible if he takes responsibility for what he did, which he has, and exposes the hypocrisy he was a part of.” Kevin Spacey on Jack Abramoff (LA Times, 9/14/2010)

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, September 10th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Eliza Newlin Carney of National Journal writes an article on the future of the FEC in a “hostile” campaign finance environment. “Whither The FEC?”

The Senate’s newest member, Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-W.Va.) turns out to have had some lobbyist clients. “New Senator Had Clients Among K Street Heavyweights.” (The Hill)

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) took money from ex-earmark specialist Paul Magliocchetti, now indicted on fraud charges. Some (the Huffington Post) call on her to return that “shady” money.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is not a huge fan of the way the OCE handled an investigation of him. “GOP lawmaker rips ethics office after case dismissed”. Politico discusses the heavy case load that the OCE tries to sort through, while The Hill reports on whether the GOP would try to disband the unpopular extra-Congressional organization if given the opportunity.

And now, a word from our neighbors to the North: the Canadian Lobbying Code – a professional ethics code which “sets forth three basic principles (integrity and honesty, openness, and professionalism) and eight specific rules.”  (h/t Point of Order blog)

Remember that Congressional Cigar Association that got some press from the Huffington Post in July? HuffPo now publishes a follow-up piece on Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.)’s involvement with the organization.

The buzz in D.C. was about whether Rahm Emanuel would quit his job as President Obama’s chief of staff to run for Chicago mayor. The Washington Examiner looks at a potential replacement for Emanuel – Tom Donilon, a former Fannie Mae lobbyist.

Sharron Angle was raising money amongst D.C. lobbyists, according to this report from Politico, “Sharron Angle heads to D.C. for lobbyist money.”

The U.S. Chamber, always a lobbying heavyweight, is throwing a lot of money into 2010’s mid-term elections. Story from The Hill, Chamber ups its stakes in midterm election.”

Quote of the Week:

“We’re seeing a premium for Republicans … They’re the new ‘It’ girl.” – Ivan H. Adler, a headhunter who specializes in placing lobbyists, New York Times, 9/9/2010

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 by Vbhotla

The FEC’s two newest final rules were published on Aug. 27, along with two advisory opinions. See our post onWeekly newsthat here, and the FEC’s press release here.

State and Federal Communications’ excellent blog LobbyComply has this interesting piece on the origin of the term “lobbyist.” See State and Fed’s always-useful Compliance Now newsletter for updates on state-level lobbying and compliance.

It seems like House Ethics is always in the news these days. The Office of Congressional Ethics voted to refer several lawmakers for potential violations of ethics rules. Reps. Crowley, Campbell (of California), and Price (of Georgia) were under scrutiny for their votes on financial services reform.

Speaking of House Ethics, Point of Order blog discusses the differences and similarities between Rep. Maxine Waters’ case and Rep. Sam Graves’ case (which was dismissed earlier this year).

The FEC’s RECORD newsletter is now available from their website, here. (PDF)

The Political Affairs Council has an interesting post on Corporate Social Responsibility and the role of CSR in today’s economy.

Open Secrets blog reports on the environment for campaign finance reformers. See post here, “Campaign Finance Reformers Facing Major Political, Legal Obstacles.”

Quote of the week:

“The next president of the United States on January 21, 2013 – – is going to start lobbying… He’s going to be lobbying Congress, he’s going to be lobbying other countries. He’s going to be lobbying the business community. He’s going to be lobbying the labor unions, the governors, because that’s what presidents do, and I feel like it’s an advantage for me to have the chance to do that.” – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), on whether his past as a lobbyist makes him a good potential candidate for president in 2012. (Politico, 9/1/2010)

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 20th, 2010 by Vbhotla

We’ve talked about it before… but thank heavens the DOJ cleared DeLay from his corruption charges, or the DC newspapers would have nothing to report on during recess.

Interesting Fox News report on the House Ethics Committee, what indictments and trials and hearings and investigations mean for the body. Here at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Ethics Process in the House. (h/t Eric Brown).

More on what happened with Target Corp. in Minnesota in this New York Times article, Voter (and customer) beware.

The Office of Government Ethics warns the executive branch about granting ex-post-facto waivers: “Ethics office warns about waivers.” (From the Washington Times).

Paul Magliocchetti entered a not-guilty plea at the federal court house in Alexandria, VA on Friday. He has been charged with, among other things, making illegal campaign contributions. Read a longer story here at the Blog of Legal Times.

Quote of the Week:

“There is no nefarious handshake meeting that is being kept secret… Some participants prefer not to take a high profile… Some like to stay under the radar. But the point here is to get the right answer, and full disclosure and debate is the best way to achieve that.” – Scott E. Talbott, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, on financial services lobbying, NYT, August 13

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Weekly newsAs Norm Eisen departs for Prague, the White House announces his replacement: nobody. Well, technically, Bob Bauer will take over Eisen’s “portfolio” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and Steven Croley will also join the ethics team. Article at the Washington Post. Also: the Sunlight Foundation doesn’t take kindly to the announcement, listing several ethics promises on which they have yet to see follow-through from the Obama Administration. CREW (which Eisen co-founded) is also not enthused.

Some lawyers think Paul Magliocchetti’s indictment may truly mark the end of the PMA pay-to-play scandal.

Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle refused to throw out charges against accused Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring this week. Ring’s attorneys had asked Huvelle to vacate the charges after the Supreme Court’s decisions in three recent cases diminished the power of the honest services fraud statute, one of the statutes under which Ring was charged.

Rep. Maxine Watersethics charges were revealed – and she plans to fight back. Most of the charge appears to focus on the actions of Rep. Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore, in trying to secure federal funding for OneUnited Bank, an entity in which Rep. Waters’ husband held financial stake. This case, in which Waters is being reprimanded for the actions of her staff, bears some resemblance to Rep. Charlie Rangel’s getting in trouble for his staff’s knowledge about the infamous trip to the Caribbean.

Speaking of Charlie Rangel, if you haven’t seen the rambling 30-minute House floor speech that he gave earlier this week, it’s time for a little Friday afternoon work-break.

Are you a corporation planning to use the Citizens United case to spend massive amounts of money in federal elections? Let what happened to Target Corp. in Minnesota be a lesson to you.

GOP Reps. Mike Castle (Dela.) and Bob Platts (Pa.) have teamed up to offer more power to the Office of Congressional Ethics. A new bill by the two Congressmen, titled the Accountability and Transparency in Ethics Act, would give subpoena powers to the mostly investigative body.  Read more at Roll Call, “Castle, Platts Propose Tougher Ethics Measures.”

Interesting little tid-bit from K Street Cafe: How and why does Congress use Twitter (video).

Quote(s) of the Week:

“With Mr. Eisen headed to Europe as an ambassador, his move from the White House ‘is the biggest lobbying success we’ve had all year,'” – Tony Podesta, Washington Post, Aug. 6

“Violations of campaign finance laws are clear cut and lend themselves to easy proof beyond a reasonable doubt… It sounds like this is both the beginning and possibly the end of the PMA matter in terms of prosecution.” – Jan Baran, on the Paul Magliocchetti indictment, Roll Call, Aug. 9

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 6th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The amendment to the Lobbying Disclosure Act catches the eyes of the fine folks over at OMB Watch. “Bill Would Create a Task Force for Enforcing the LDA.”

PMA Group President Paul Magliocchetti was indicted on 11 counts in a federal court on Thursday. According to Politico’s report on the indictment, Magliocchetti “sought to enrich both PMA and himself by increasing the firm’s influence, power and prestige — both among the firm’s base of current and potential clients as well as among the elected public officials to whom PMA and its lobbyists sought access.” A good round-up of stories on the charges is at Political Activity Law. The Department of Justice’s press release is here, “Lobbyist Indicted for Orchestrating Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme.” Look for our story on the PMA Group in our free bi-weekly regulatory alert email, the Government Relations Alert, on Monday.

This spring’s Republican moratorium on earmarks leads to … wait for it … less earmarks! From The Hill,
“Self-imposed Republican moratorium leads to drop in 2011 earmark spending.”

Rep. Waters wants in on the ethics trial thing too! Well, more accurately, she at least wants her name cleared before November’s elections. Politico’s latest story is here, “Waters asks for release of allegations.”

State & Federal Communications’ Compliance Now newsletter is now available. State & Fed has also started an excellent blog, “Lobby Comply.”

Other political law and campaign finance newsletter updates:

  • Womble Carlyle’s Political GPS
  • Holtzman Vogel’s Political Law Update
  • Quote of the Week:

    “The [anti-special interest] rhetoric is BS… Every time the president talks about it, we get a client.” – unnamed “lobbyist,” Roll Call, 8/1/2010

    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

    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

    Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

    Friday, July 9th, 2010 by Vbhotla

    Weekly newsUFO Lobbyist seeks to bring extra-terrestrial issues to the forefront of Congress’s legislative schedule.

    How sweet it is: honey lobbyists ask the FDA for national purity standards as a method of trade protection.  (Washington Post)

    Publicly-financed elections come to the fore-front. The Washington Post reports on Common Cause  and Public Campaign’s effect to pass the Fair Elections Now Act.

    People seem to be endlessly fascinated by the fact that Facebook has a DC lobbying presence. Maybe it’s because they’re spending all day on Farmville? (The Hill, subscription required).

    DISCLOSE Soldiers On. The Democrats are hopeful that they’ll get their pet campaign finance issue through the Senate within a reasonable time-frame. (Roll Call, subscription required).

    Lobbyists take advantage of World Cup fever by lobbying for the world’s biggest sporting event to be held in the US in 2022. (The Hill, subscription required).

    LD-2 filings are due in less than two weeks. Are you prepared? And it’s July, meaning a double-whammy of filing: LD-203 Forms are due on July 30.

    Quote of the week:

    “Lobby disclosure enforcement is notoriously lax.” – Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center, Politico, July 4.

    Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

    Friday, July 2nd, 2010 by Vbhotla

    Eric Brown tips us off to an LDA amendment: originally the bill sought to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act, but now amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act to “prohibit any registered lobbyist whose clients include foreign governments which are found to be sponsors of international terrorism or include other foreign nationals from making contributions and other campaign-related disbursements in elections for public office”; bill text is now available from the GPO here (H.R. 5609).

    Big acquisition by Patton Boggs reported: Breaux Lott Leadership Group will now be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Patton Boggs; former Senators John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and their small but “effective” boutique lobbying firm will join the large team at Patton Boggs, starting immediately. Bonus (because it’s Friday): did you know Trent Lott’s given name is Chester Trent Lott? His son (also a member of the lobbying group) bears the same name. Now you know. Read about the “strategic coup” at the Blog of Legal Times.

    Time profiles Lobbyists and their Return on Investment, in a series of short lobbyist/issue/payoff profiles.

    Ex-Rep. John Campbell was taken down by the Jack Abramoff affair; Roll Call profiles Campbell’s life since 2005.

    House Ethics Clears Rep. Richardson. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report in the matter of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) and cleared her of any wrongdoing in the mortgage matter. (link is a PDF)

    Two great compliance / political law resources to take to the beach with you  over your long holiday weekend:

    Quote of the week:

    “The irony of it is that every time the president says we lobbyists have all this influence, people who don’t have a lobbyist want one… He exaggerates our power, but he increases demand for our services.” – Tony Podesta, Podesta Group, NYTimes article on the “Superlobbyist,” July 1.

    Happy 4th of July Holiday Weekend from all of us at Lobby Blog!

    Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

    Friday, June 25th, 2010 by Vbhotla

    DISCLOSEd. HR 5175, this season’s signature campaign finance bill is (finally) passed. Nancy Pelosi and Chris Van Hollen are probably having a little celebration over on the Hill, while those opposed to the measure say “the fight isn’t over.” (Roll Call article here, subscription required).

    According to the Indy Star, an online Indianapolis lobbyist database is greeted a bit skeptically – by the public, who think the reported numbers are much too low.  Visit the disclosure site at indy.gov/lobbyist.

    Roll Call reports on the future of cases based on the Honest Services Fraud statute, after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Skilling, Black and WeyhrauchThis could have big consequences for former Jack Abramoff associates charged under the statute, including Michael Scanlon and Todd Boulanger; Covington & Burling produced a “client alert” which takes a more detailed look at the Honest Services Fraud statue, click here for the PDF.

    The Times profiles administration officials hitting up the Caribou Coffee for a little caffeine buzz… and (cue the sinister music) undisclosed meetings with corporate lobbyists!!

    Dan Coats’ past as a lobbyist continues to produce headaches for his campaign manager. Now the Indiana Senate hopeful’s previous lobbying filings were discovered to have listed him as a lobbyist for certain clients – nothing wrong with that – but when contacted about the filings, Coats’ former lobbying firm employer then claimed that Coats did not actually lobby for those clients. Politico rightly points out that knowingly having false information on your LDA forms is, in fact, illegal.

    ALL’s President Dave Wenhold went to visit Croatia’s lobbying community. Pics up on the ALL website.

    Hold on to your hats. Kevin Spacey as Jack Abramoff (boy, there’s a lot of Abramoff news recently; perhaps he is readying for a big comeback) in the upcoming feature film “Bagman.” It looks pretty similar to the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, but with less emphasis on… well… facts.

    Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

    Friday, June 18th, 2010 by Vbhotla

    DISCLOSE Drama. Will they or won’t they? I’m not sure anyone knows what’s going on with the DISCLOSE Act these days. A Politico story with full background is here. (Eric Brown does an excellent round-up of news reports, here).

    C St. Scandal: OCE drops it like it’s hot. According to Roll Call, OCE will drop an investigation into a potential violation of the gift rules. News reports around several member scandals indicated that a house on C Street in Washington DC was owned by a private organization called “The Fellowship” and was providing housing for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, under-cost – a potential violation of the gift rules.

    Hey lobbyists! LD-203 NOT optional. Yes, we already posted on the LDA guidance update, but we don’t want you to forget. Scan the changes, study the PDF, just just read our post!

    Norm Eisen: scary individual. Did we get your attention? We’re just kidding, Norm Eisen seems like a nice guy, and he is an excellent “ethics czar.” But some watchdog groups fear for the future of his office if he is confirmed for an ambassadorship to the Czech Republic.

    Patton Boggs’ Nick Allard does a Bulletproof Blog video interview on lobbying, and says the American public does not understand lobbying.

    Take a number. The FCC wants lobbyists and others with an interest in shaping FCC processes to sign up for meeting time slots online. The Hill has the story.

    Quote(s) of the Week:

    “We investigative specific allegations. We do not conduct fishing expeditions.” OCE spokesman Jon Steinman, Roll Call June 14

    “The “wink-wink-nod-nod” game we have all known to exist with regard to earmarks and campaign contributions is well-documented, and the ethics committee’s definition of “financial interest” needs to be updated to reflect these findings.” – Jeff Flake, Roll Call, June 17

    “Is the NRA exception ideal, or pretty? No. Is it likely to complicate the defense of the DISCLOSE Act when it is challenged? Yes. But, is it worth dropping support of the legislation altogether? No.” – Scott Thomas, Of Counsel, Dickstein Shapiro, National Journal’s Under the Influence Experts Blog, June 16