Posts Tagged ‘lobby’

Lobbying at a Glance

Friday, February 8th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

LOBBYISTS ARE CLAMORING for a mention in the President’s big speech next Wednesday. According to Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council:“A lot of people compete for space in the State of the Union, and it’s weeks, months in the works….Every single priority lobbies hard for inclusion. We understand space is tight, time is limited and time is valuable.” – Roll Call

James Pinkerton, co-chair of the RATE Coalition: “Everybody hangs on every word the president says in the State of the Union, looking for their word, their sentence, their phrase, with fingers crossed,” said James Pinkerton, who co-chairs the RATE Coalition, which lobbies for a lower corporate tax rate.

Year-end disclosure reports reveal that the energy drink business is beefing up its lobbying efforts: “Since November, Monster Energy has spent $100,000 to lobby on ‘legislation and oversight regarding energy drinks.’….[Since] Nov. 26, Red Bull has spent $20,000 on lobbying.” – The Washington Post

This comes in the wake of FDA investigations into “adverse events” linked to the drinks. According to a November press release published just weeks before Red Bull and Monster began their lobbying crusade:

So-called “energy” products are relatively new to the market, and manufacturers of these products have labeled some as dietary supplements and others as conventional foods….FDA cautions consumers that products marketed as “energy shots” or “energy drinks” are not alternatives to rest or sleep….If you are thinking about taking one of these products, please consult your health care provider…

(Imagine hearing “ask your doctor if Red Bull is right for you.”)

The Post article continues:  “Between 2004 and October 2012, 17 people died and more than 100 had chest pains, cardiac arrest and other health problems after consuming 5-Hour Energy, Monster and Rockstar beverages, according to FDA data. The FDA noted that the reports do not mean the drinks necessarily caused those ailments.”

Jake Perry, aide to Harry Reid since ’98, has set up lobby firm Jake Perry + Partners: “Jake Perry + Partners is currently based in downtown Washington and is aiming to sign on a broad range of clients, including those in the financial services sector. Perry, who still has family in Nevada, says he plans to one day widen his company’s base of operation to his home state as well.” – POLITICO

The Medical Marijuana PAC slashed “Medical” from its name: “The move came in the aftermath of two members of Congress introducing a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana at the federal level. And it’s a sign that pot advocacy groups are moving away from the ‘medical’ argument – which was always seen as a first step towards full legalization – and embracing the argument for full-on recreational usage.” – POLITICO

 

Lobbying at a Glance

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT regulations that would require retail food sellers to label the calorie content in their food are rousing lobbyists from every corner: “Some pizza companies have demanded more flexibility, grocery and convenience stores insist they should be left out of it altogether and movie theaters really don’t want to shout out how many calories are in those buckets of popcorn.” – POLITICO

Ex-Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will become a lobbyist, the latest in a growing list of recently retired lawmakers migrating to K St.: “The former senator has been named CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). He will be the group’s chief spokesman and primary advocate in Washington. NAIC is made up of state insurance regulators and helps coordinate their oversight across the country.” – The Hill

Ex-Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will become a lobbyist…again: “Like Democratic moderate Evan Bayh before him, Nelson is taking two K Street jobs. In addition to the NAIC, Nelson will be a ‘senior partner’ at public affairs firm Agenda.”  Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner adds: “Ben Nelson, as a Senator, provided crucial support for both [the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank]….This is one reason moderates have the quickest track to K Street. Their economic vision is generally both pro-business and pro-government. Whatever effect this has on business and the economy, it makes lots of work for lobbyists.” – The Washington Examiner

Four years after his executive order banning lobbyist gifts to executive agency appointees and slowing the revolving door, the President’s “lobby posture” is attracting revivified scrutiny: “Most lobbyists have complained that Obama’s executive orders on the revolving door have kept out some of the savviest policy experts, who are registered lobbyists. Further, they say, by branding registered lobbyists, whose clients and fees are publicly disclosed, with what amounts to a scarlet letter “L,” Obama has increased the ranks of the unlobbyists, those who peddle influence but don’t register with Congress.” – Roll Call

Disclosure reports are in, revealing a lackluster year for lobby firms: “Few K Street firms were able to escape the downward pull, with even industry leaders Patton Boggs and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld reporting a drop in their lobbying revenue from 2011….Lobbyists across the board expressed high hopes for the year to come. A reelected and reinvigorated president and a Congress more willing to consider big legislative items should be the ticket to stronger growth, they said.” – The Hill

A $100 cap on lobbyist gifts in Georgia is stoking some interesting debate: “One argument supporting higher legislator pay ties into the gift issue: If lawmakers earned more, they “would be less likely to feel entitled to the free meals, booze, and tickets to concerts and football games” given by lobbyists.” – Smyrna-Vinings Patch

Federal Lobbying Disclosure Due

Friday, January 18th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

LOBBYBLOG REMINDS YOU that two disclosure deadlines are approaching:

January 20 – LD-2
The once semi-annual, now quarterly report of lobbying income/expenditures is due for the fourth quarter of the LD-2 reporting calendar (see below). “Each registrant must file a quarterly report on Form LD-2 no later than 20 days (or on the first business day after such 20th day if the 20th day is not a business day) after the end of the quarterly period beginning on the first day of January, April, July and October of each year in which a registrant is registered.” (House Office of the Clerk). January 20th is in fact a Sunday, and the following Monday is a holiday, so make sure to get your LD-2 forms ready by Tuesday the 22nd.

Reporting Period    Filing Date
Jan 1 – March 31 April 20
April 1 – June 30 July 20
July 1 – Sept 30 Oct 20
Oct 1 – Dec 31 Jan 20

January 30 – LD-203
The semi-annual report is required of all lobbyists to certify ethics compliance and disclosure. “Form LD-203 is required to be filed semiannually by July 30th and January 30th (or next business day should either of those days fall on a weekend or holiday) covering the first and second calendar halves of the year. Registrants and active lobbyists (who are not terminated for all clients) must file separate reports which detail FECA contributions, honorary contributions, presidential library contributions, and payments for event costs.”  January 30th is a Wednesday.

For quick guidance on disclosure, visit lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov.  For a more substantive reference guide, consider The Lobbying Compliance Handbook

Two New Resources for Lobbyists

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

The State Lobbying Compliance Handbook is available fore pre-order here.  The 113th Congressional Freshmen Report can be ordered as a full report or with select member profiles here.   

THIS BLOG HAS  no objection to self-promotion. But even if it did it would strain to suppress the announcement of Lobbyists.info’s two latest publications, The State Lobbying Compliance Handbook and The 113th Congressional Freshmen Report, both of which cast fresh light on areas hitherto very dim.

Take state lobbying. Until now, there have only been feeble attempts to conglomerate the disparate and contradictory elements of state lobby law. Yet the appetite for such a project has grown in recent years. Post-recession stimulus provoked a clamoring for clout in state legislatures and governors’ offices. Washington gridlock has driven many to look elsewhere.  State and local government affairs operations have sprung up to compete with their federal counterparts. Natural as these actions were, they each brought headaches – nobody knew what they were doing. There was no authority to declare that principals must register in California whereas across the border in Oregon and Nevada no such requirement exists. There was no treasury of paperwork from which lobbyists and practitioners could access any form requisite to compliance. There simply was no escape from the cumbersome research required to get things moving.

The State Lobbying Compliance Handbook, published by Columbia Books in collaboration with Holtzman Vogel Josefiak PLLC, is a deliverance from these woes. Due in March (and available for pre-order here), the book offers as its main feature concise summaries of each state’s lobbying regulations with up-to-date forms ready for submission. In just a few hundred pages, it slashes the countless opportunity costs that would otherwise be squandered on research, and extinguishes the potential risk of noncompliance.

Though very different, The 113th Congressional Freshmen Report has a similar function. Like the state handbook, it brings understanding where understanding is both anxiously wanted and hopelessly lacking. The freshman class of the 113th Congress is, to a large extent, unknown. Its members have no congressional track record, and many haven’t uttered a breath on policy positions important to lobbyists. Most significantly, this unfamiliar cohort comprises over a sixth of Congress.

Dr. Gary Feld, founder of PowerBase Associates, assigned his research staff the task of discovering more about these newcomers. After combing through thousands of media sources, filtering the results, and fitting them into a readable guide, the report was born.  Now being published by Columbia Books, its use will hopefully make the new Congress less of an enigma.

Lobbying at a Glance

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

FORMER SENATOR Bob Bennet (R-Utah) will return to Washington as a lobbyist, ending what he calls a “let's-punish-politicians-for-being-politicians” cool-off period.  The Examiner’s Tim Carney shared a few words on Bennet's appeal to the first amendment for the right to lobby.

Georgia will begin 2013 with a $100 gift cap.

The Maryland Ethics Commission released its list of top-paid lobbyists.

A petition to deport CNN's Piers Morgan “for attacking [the] 2nd amendment,” made the White House petition page, and has since (as of this posting) garnered over 82,000 signatures.  A less successful counter-petition aims to keep Morgan in the U.S., partly “to see how loads of angry Americans react.”

Congressman elect Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) has become a “how to get your ex back

184800091.html”>Congressional Friend” of the Irish National Caucus.  His soon-to-be predecessor, outgoing Online Pokies Congressman Barney Frank, has been sitting for numerous exit interviews.  In this one, Frank is asked “what grade do you give yourself? 1-10?”  His reply: “I give myself a 10 for being smart enough not to answer that question.”

According to The Atlantic, lobbyists should expect incoming Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who is replacing the late Daniel Inoyue, “…to be a consistent liberal in a reliably Democratic state. He supported a 2009 bill to legalize civil unions that was vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle. In keeping with his work in saving beaches, he's also emphasized environmental concerns and served on energy- and environment-related committees in the Hawaii House.”

Looming over all of this is the fiscal cliff.  The Wall Street Journal's fiscal cliff graphics page makes an otherwise tiresome and complicated subject intelligible. (Also see the Nov. 30 LobbyBlog).

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