Middle East Lobbying

May 25th, 2011 by Autumn

With every battle — be it over healthcare, transportation, Medicare, or democracy — comes lots of money to be spent (and made) to get voices heard. The conflicts in the Middle East are no different.

Pakistan – As lawmakers grapple with whether or not to rescind foreign aid to the embattled country and whether or not to allow duty-free “reconstruction opportunity zones” in Pakistan, the Pakistani Embassy is revving up its lobbying efforts.  The nation which housed Osama bin Laden (knowingly or unknowingly) for the past 10 year paid Locke Lord Strategies $150,000 in the first quarter of this year to work on budget/appropriations/acquisitions, defense and predictably, foreign policy and affairs issues in Congress.  According to records filed with the DOJ, the firm gets a Generic Cialis $75,000 monthly retainer from Pakistan.

Lobbying is not restricted to nations with present conflict in which the U.S. is directly involved.  Jordan is paying more weekly than Pakistan is signed up to pay Locke Lord Strategies monthly.  With a huge interest in seeing its embassy upgraded “strategically as a key node in a network of relationship involving state and non-state actors,” the nation shells out $77,000 each week to the Racepoint Group to help raise Jordan’s profile and support among Congressmen.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee spent $716,615 in the first quarter of 2011 to petition for continued aid to Israel, West Bank, and Gaza, and for the Iron Dome and anti-rocket system in addition to continued sanctions on Iran.

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Weekly Lobbying News Round-up

May 20th, 2011 by Autumn

There were lots of K Street moves and changes this week.

Perhaps the biggest of these was the formation of a new Democratic firm: Democracy Partners.  The firm will handle political messaging, campaign planning and management, field programs, television and radio advertising, earned media, direct mail, website development, new media, research, nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, issue campaigns, voter registration drives, labor union campaigns, fundraising, grass-tops advocacy, staff recruitment and development, organizer training, phone operations, community organizing and voter contact programs, according to Politico.

Additionally, Edelman acquired Lombardo Consulting Group, and Steve Lombardo will serve as Global CEO of StrategyOne (the Edelman company he founded in 1999).

Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and potential Senate candidate, was elected chairman of the board of Stayhealthy, Inc., which offers personalized health measurement and assessment tools.

PHRMA, in an effort to reorganize, has let go four staff members: Ed Belkin, Kevin Barbour, Diedtra Henderson and Cindy Loose.

ALERT: Executive Order Could Increase Disclosure Requirements

May 19th, 2011 by Autumn

There has been sharp concern voiced over provisions a new executive order which proposes all government contractors should disclose their political contributions.  If enacted, the order would require officers and directors and subsidiaries and affiliates of a company bidding for government contracts to submit a report detailing any contributions made directly to candidates or third party independent expenditure groups using the funds for electioneering activities.

These new provisions have been likened to “pay-to-play” laws on the state level, though the Executive Order, unlike state laws, would not limit the number of contributions.  Included would be a two year look-back, with donations for two years prior to the bid also subject to disclosure, which would be required if $5,000 or more was spent on political activities.

Critics say that the order would foster partisanship in contracting practices, damper First Amendment rights to participate in the political process, and add a tremendous burden on contractors.

It is important to note that the Executive Order would not require disclosure of contributions made by the spouses or children of the directors or officers whose own contributions would trigger reporting, nor would it include senior executives or other staff to report giving

Off the Hill: NFL Fight Wages on….in Congress

May 18th, 2011 by Autumn

As NFL negotiations drag on, it is safe to say football fans and players alike — and even President Obama — are tiring of the on-going battle between the NFLPA and the League over contracts.  Top receiver and Twitter celebrity Chad Ochocinco told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s D. Orlando Ledbetter, when prompted about whether or not he’d like to play for the Falcons, “It’s a lockout, man.  I’m riding bulls.  I don’t want to talk about football.”

On the Hill, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and such former NFL players as Reps. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J. have all met with players to discuss the impact of a lockout on the economy and the overall jobs crisis.

The league spent a whooping $675,000 lobbying Congress in the first Online Blackjack quarter of 2011, including $60,000 paid to Elmendorf Ryan, which is registered to lobby solely on labor issues. The NFLPA also dished out $60,000 to Executive Director DeMaurice Smith’s former firm, Patton Boggs LLP, to petition Congress on antitrust and labor concerns.  For the league, this number is up from the $545,000 spent in the first quarter of last year, though the issues petitioned remain unchanged.  However, the addition of Elmendorf Ryan seems to have been solely in anticipation of a labor fight, as the firm was not registered to lobby on behalf of the league this time last year.  The Players’ Association, on the other hand, spent significantly less in Q1 2011 than reported in the same quarter last year, when Patton Boggs was paid $110,000 to fight for the players’ interests.

Best Practices for Effective Email Advocacy

May 13th, 2011 by Autumn

A lot of groups rely heavily on email campaigns as their primary online grassroots strategy.  According to congressional research reports and staff accounts, email is an effective means of communicating with congressional offices — assuming you can bust past the Spam filters and your message actually gets read.

Below are some tips for effective email advocacy:

  • Omit needless words (Eliminate Repetitive Verbiage)
  • Messaging over imaging: Rely on text more than images.  Messages with excessive images will often be blocked or marked as a concern.
  • Include an unsubscribe link. Messages without one are more likely to be blocked by spam filters.
  • To comply with CAN-SPAM standards, include a physical address for your organization
  • Identify yourself clearly in the message to prevent recipients from marking you as spam
  • Keep your subject line to less than 50 characters or FIVE words. Either way, the message is clear. Keep it short.
  • DO NOT USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Avoid excessive punctuation !!!
  • Avoid excessive use of symbols (@#$%^&!)
  • Avoid words often found in spam mail such as “free” and “guarantee”
  • Ask recipients to add you to their address book
  • Be consistent by using the same address

Spring Forward into Lobby Days

May 11th, 2011 by Brittany

Lobby days are a good way to connect with elected officials and their staff at their offices in Washington, D.C., or at the state capital. Although advocates are ultimately responsible for making those connections, a lot of planning and effort must be undertaken by the organization hosting the lobby day – as well as the advocates!

What are they?

For purposes of this manual, the term “lobby day” is used to refer to any effort to connect advocates with policymakers through meetings, either physically or virtually, on a given day or week.  Some organizations might refer to these events as “advocacy days,” “fly-ins” or “Capitol Hill days.” Members of the legislative branch are usually the target audience for these events, although some organizations arrange meetings with regulators and other members of the executive branch, such as staff of the governor’s office.

Why is it useful?

Recent reports suggest that in-person meetings from constituents are one of the most effective ways to influence elected officials.

When should it be used?

Any organization with a core of committed advocates can benefit from coordinating a lobby day event, either individually or in concert with a coalition partner.  Lobbying events are most successful, however, when the organization has a specific policy agenda and core ask. 

Asking advocates to get involved

Asking advocates to participate in a lobby day effort Viagra generally involves more than simply sending out an action alert and hoping people respond, particularly for those situations where advocates will be investing their own time and money.  Options for marketing the event include:

  • Conference marketing materials, including brochures, mailers and web site information.  Marketing materials should include links to online and hard copy registration materials
  • Press releases about the event to industry publications
  • Outreach through coalitions
  • Articles / columns in the organization’s own publications
  • Web 2.0 outreach techniques, such as setting up a Facebook or MySpace page for the event

Key points to consider in developing the materials:

  • Outline the value of direct constituent communications in influencing the policymaking process.  Advocates need to understand why their direct participation is critical to policy success.
  • Be sure that advocates know what they are agreeing to do when registering for the event.  Unless advocate leaders are very specific about what the event entails, some advocates may not understand that they will be meeting individually or in small groups with their policymakers.
  • Ensure that the registration form captures all relevant information, including the address to be used for matching advocates with policymakers and cell phone numbers.
  • Establish an early bird deadline that allows those scheduling the meetings enough time to initiate meeting requests and coordinate schedules.

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

NEW TRAINING SESSION: Lobbying and Government Contracting

May 5th, 2011 by Brittany

Lobbying and Government Contracts:
What You Need to Know About Domestic Preferences in Federal Contracts and Grants
May 31, 2011 2:00-3:30 pm EST
Register now

It’s time to take a new look at government contract proposals.

That’s because recent laws like the Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act, ARRA and rules on specialty metals change the playing field. Unless contractors change their proposals and how they execute contracts, access to money from local, state and federal agencies is simply out of reach.

Why risk it? Here’s how to align contracting strategy with today’s new “domestic preference” requirements.

Register now for Lobbying and Government Contracts: What You Need to Know About Domestic Preferences in Federal Contracts and Grants. Government contracts provide relatively Viagra Online certain income in an uncertain economy. Now, this audioconference shows you how to use a sharp and current understanding of “buy American” requirements to avoid having bids and proposals disqualified — and losing access to tens of thousands of dollars in government awards.

Govcon experts will map out exactly how proposal writing needs to change to comply with the domestic preference requirements in the Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), specialty metals law and other recent pieces of legislation. Plus, the Q&A session at the end gives you the chance to ask about specific challenges you’re facing. 

Reserve your space now to use “buy American” know-how to sharpen your procurement toolkit and your competitive edge.

Celebrity Lobbyist Alert: Tom Morello

May 4th, 2011 by Autumn

Rage Against the Machine’s lead guitarist is getting into labor advocacy with the release of a solo CD, “Union Town,” an eight song debut effort, which includes three original tracks.  Morello, who has been active in pro-labor events across the nation, drew inspiration from the CD from the recent union protests in Wisconsin, and the album’s proceeds will benefit the America Votes Labor Unity Fund.

TomMorello performs at a pro-labor rally in L.A. in March (image from Flickr).

In an interview with Politico‘s Chris Frates, Morello said that he hopes the CD will help spark a debate and fuel the labor movement, “steel the backbone of an emerging labor movement with the kind of teeth that can really stand up to working class rights in this country.”

He hopes that the recent rallies in Madison and across the country will lead to a resurgence in activity around the issue.  “My hope is to encourage the labor movement to not become diluted by politics as usual. This is a chance to not just stop some bad legislation but to really Buy Cialis put some wind in the sails of progressive working class issues and to take back the populist narrative from the misappropriation by the tea party,” he said.

Morello, a Harvad grad who studied political science and worked on the Hill for a short period of time, once considered a career in politics.  He told Frates this anecdote about the end of his political ambitions:

“The reason why I chose a career in music instead of politics, I’ll tell you a quick story that illuminates that. I was working for a senator and one day this woman called up and she had a complaint that there were Mexicans moving into her neighborhood. And I, thinking I was standing up for all the things that Sen. (Alan) Cranston stood for, I said, ‘Ma’am you’re a racist and you can go to hell.’ And the next two weeks I got yelled at by everybody up and down the political food chain. And it was crystal clear to me at that moment if I couldn’t tell a racist to go to hell, that I was in the wrong business.”

Spring Cleaning the LD-2: Reporting Issues

May 4th, 2011 by Brittany

HLOGA did not change the manner in which lobbyists disclose the issues and matters for which they are retained to lobby.  According to the LDA Guidance, for these purposes a lobbyist must disclose:

  • The issues on which the lobbying activities will be focused, using the issue codes established by the House and Senate
  • A brief description of the legislation, policy, or other information about the lobbying issue
  • Where the lobbying activities will be focused: House of Representatives, Senate, or a particular federal agency or office
  • The identity of each lobbyist employee engaged in the lobbying activities described above

It is not sufficient to just list a bill number as the description of the lobbying issue area. The instructions for preparation of the LD-1 provide:

SPECIFIC LOBBYING ISSUES: Identify the client’s specific issues that have been addressed (as of the date of the registration) or are likely to be addressed in lobbying activities. Include, for example, specific bills before Congress or specific executive branch actions.

BE SPECIFIC, but brief. Bill numbers alone do not satisfy the requirements for reporting on this line and restatement of the general issue code is insufficient. Use the following format to describe legislation: Bill number, bill title, and description of the specific section(s) of interest, i.e.:

“H.R. 3610, Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 1996, Title 2, all provisions relating to environmental restoration.”

For specific issues other than legislation, provide detailed descriptions of lobbying efforts. Do not leave line blank. No additional space is available, so please abbreviate and enter the information in paragraph format to maximize space.

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

Alert: Lobbyists.info has new spring enhancements!

April 27th, 2011 by Autumn

Legislative Search and Detailed Lobbying Financials Added to Washington Representatives Online

Lobbyists.info is pleased to announce a major expansion to its Washington Representatives Online database of federal lobbying contacts. In particular, two major enhancements have taken place this week: the addition of bill data and detailed breakouts of how much money is being paid and received for lobbying services as they relate to specific firm/client relationships.

Joel Poznansky, President of Columbia Books & Information Services, Lobbyists.info’s parent company, remarked, “For over 40 years the print edition of Washington Representatives has served as the Bible of the legislative and political community. Just a few years ago, the addition of detailed bill data and lobbying financials would not have been possible. Now, as we expand beyond the realm of print, we are incredibly pleased to offer this wealth of information to the lobbying community online.”

BILL SEARCH & LEGISLATIVE RELATIONSHIP LINKS UNCOVERED: Now, detailed information on specific pieces of legislation has been added, allowing users to identify the exact bills that a lobbyist is working on and what other organizations and individuals are tied to the same legislation.  An easy bill search has also been added allowing you to quickly look up bills by name or number. This revolutionary addition opens an entirely new avenue for tracking legislative influence.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Users can now identify money spent to lobby on specific legislative issues and income and spending breakdowns by firm/client relationship.

This all-in-one tool provides endless new opportunities for lobbyists and government relations professionals.  Users can track their competition to see who they are working with, how much they are being paid and what specific bills they are working on. Additionally, like-minded advocates can now quickly and easily identify potential coalition partners.

Lobbyists.info is the number one resource for information on government relations and lobbying relationships.  In addition to the complete federal lobbying and congressional databases it also houses the Lobbying Ethics & Compliance Center, which provides information on the latest rules and regulations on lobbying ethics and procedure.
For more information or to preview this all-in-one lobbying tool visit www.lobbyists.info.

IMBA to Host Biking Outing

April 22nd, 2011 by Autumn

The International Mountain Bicycling Association is hosting a biking adventure through Laurel Hill trails near Occoquan Regional Park to showcase sustainable trail construction principles.  The outing, which invites bikers of all experience and skill levels, will be held one week from today, April 29, though the IMBA is requesting that attendees RSVP today.

The organization will provide bikes and other equipment to those who want smokelessinfusionsoftcom electronic cigarettes to join the fun but are underequipped, and will provide shuttles from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, so there is no excuse not to join fellow Washington-area professionals for an exciting evening of biking, “networking, food, and merriment,” as the flyer says.

For more information, you may visit the IMBA site or contact Government Affairs Coordinator Kristy Kibler at 863-370-2578 or via email at kristy@imba.com



NEW REPORT: The Lobbying Terminations Report

April 21st, 2011 by Brittany

Every 10 minutes a lobbyist enters into a new relationship with a client … or has an existing relationship terminated.

Now, the all-new Lobbying Terminations Report gives you quick access to the full list of recent lobbying terminations by issue. Choose the three legislative issues you’d like a terminations list for and we’ll create a custom report just for you!


Each report includes a list terminations by:

  • Issue breakout
  • Firm and client lobbying relationships
  • Date of termination


This is the perfect tool for business developement in the lobbying world and the report is customized specifically to your interests!

Once you place your order, an editor will contact you to get the list of issues you’d like researched for your custom lobbying terminations report. Order yours today!

Campaign Finance Compliance

April 21st, 2011 by Autumn

Sarah Palin this week launched Sarah Pac‘s new website, an indication that she may be seriously considering a run for the GOP candidacy for president in 2012.  While the former vice presidential candidate does have quite a following, she does not have one key thing she needs to begin organizing for a 2012 election: contact info for these supporters.  The page also serves as a landing ground for would-be donors to contribute to Sarah Palin’s campaign efforts, stating that Sarah PAC can accept up to $5,000 annually from individuals.  According to FEC guidance, this is still considered a solicitation, despite the fact that the PAC is not directly asking for contributions.

The bundling rules for lobbyist contributions to PACs (including leadership PACs, of which Sarah PAC is one) state that the PAC must reveal the name of lobbyists who bundle two or more contributions totaling more than $16,000 during a reporting period.  While it does not impose any specific obligation on the lobbyist, it is important to note that the PACs may expect lobbyists who bundle contributions to cooperate with their efforts to report contributions.

Forwarded contributions are defined as any contribution delivered physically or electronically to the candidate by the lobbyist (or non-lobbyist employee of a registered lobbying entity).  Credited contributions are less concrete, and presuppose that committees know who is raising funds for the committee.  Contributions must be credited and received by the campaign committee to be subject to disclosure.  Written records, designated titles, event invitations, and mementos can all determine “credit,” and they do not have to be documented to be applied.

Off the Hill: Rep. Dennis Kucinich

April 20th, 2011 by Autumn

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a former mayor who was, when he was elected in 1077 at the age of 31 to lead Cleveland, the youngest person ever elected to lead a major city, is now in his 8th Congressional term.  In addition to Viagra his service on the Education and Workforce  Committee and the Subcommittees on Health Employment Labor and Pensions, Workforce Protections, and Regulatory Affairs Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Kucinich is also, as it turns out, a ventriloquist.

Tuesday Ethics Tip: The Commemorative Hat Edition

April 19th, 2011 by Autumn

It’s a great time of year: the NBA and NHL are both officially in playoff season!  And while Washington basketball aficionados may have little to cheer for (let’s be honest, Wizards fans are used to it), Caps fans can revel in the fact that despite the game one loss, the 2nd Seed Capitals may have a legitimate chance at the Stanley Cup (assuming they can get it together and make it out of the first round).

Previous Lobby Blog posts have portrayed certain members of Congress as big sports fans.  But if you’re hoping to cozy up to hockey fans Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.),  Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)—who is often touted the biggest hockey fan in Congress, Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Pat Meehan (D-Penn.), or basketball guys House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), you may want to re-visit the gift rules.

Except Braley, each of these Congressmen has a home state team in either the NBA Playoffs, the NHL Playoffs, or both (while Maryland doesn’t have a hockey team, the Caps’ broadcast ratings in Maryland, and the number of Maryland fans is high for the neighboring district team, so we’ll let Hoyer slide by claiming Caps fan constituency).

It is okay to give the following gifts to any of these Congressmen (or others) without fear of reproach:

  • A baseball cap with the logo of the Congressman’s favorite team – a baseball cap is considered of nominal value, and is therefore an acceptable gift.  T-shirts are also acceptable, even if the actual value of the t-shirt or baseball cap exceeds $10, these items are considered “gifts under $10.”
  • “2011 Championship season” commemorative team books – books, publications, and software are permitted as long as they are sent to the Member’s office, do not require specialized reporting service, and are not sent for the Member’s unrestricted use.   The Member should display the book in the office.   These are not permissible under the home state exemption, unless the books are produced within the Member’s state (not likely).

Obviously, if there is a history of personal friendship around being lifelong Chicago Bulls fans, gifts are unrestricted under the personal friendship exemption, as long as the cost of the gift is not reimbursed by the employer.

We would steer clear of giving tickets to any games to Members or spouses, unless the personal friendship or Relative exemptions apply.