Posts Tagged ‘lobbying activities’

“We are not Wall Street banks, but we face the same regulatory regime

Monday, November 5th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

More mid-size and regional banks are increasing their lobbying activity in the wake of Dodd-Frank.

The colossal law contains a number of provisions these “middle children” feel should be limited to their bigger brothers.  Chief among these provisions are the Volcker Rule and a “living-will” requirement that commands big banks to detail “resolution plans” in the event of collapse.

The banks’ mission won’t be to wheedle their way out of Dodd-Frank, but rather to encourage regulators to tailor the rules with them in mind.  In other words, they’d like to be treated as a separate species from Wall Street.

To give an idea of how seriously they’re taking this, SunTrust has so far upped its lobbying expenditures fifteen-fold for 2012.  PNC has gone from spending $570,000 in 2010, to $1.53 million in 2011.

More on this as it unfolds.

Back to School Lobbying Registration

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 by Brittany

There are multiple factors – all of which must be present – in order for an individual to trigger registration as a lobbyist. In the case of a lobbyist or entity reporting income from lobbying activities, once the triggers are met by one individual in the firm (if more than one employee in the firm), the lobbyist or firm must register within 45 days of the first lobbying contact.

RULE:  Generally, to trigger registration, an individual

1.)   must spend  20% of his/her time for a particular client during a quarterly period engaged in lobbying activities for that client

2.)   make more than one lobbying contact to a covered executive or legislative branch official, and

3.)   receive lobbying activity income of $3,000 or more during that quarter


Twenty Percent of Time Engaged in Lobbying Activities for the Client

An individual must spend 20% of his/her time engaged in lobbying activities for a particular client in order to meet the necessary time thresholds for registration as a lobbyist.   This does not mean that an individual must spend 20% of his/her total time in a quarter engaged in lobbying activities for that particular client. Rather, it is measured in terms of the time spent by the lobbyist for the specific client

“Lobbying activities” are defined as “lobbying contacts and any efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation or planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time of its preparation, for use in contacts and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.”

Lobbying Contact to a Covered Executive or Legislative Branch Official

A lobbying contact is any contact with a “covered executive or legislative branch official” as that term is defined in the LDA. 

Covered executive branch officials are:

1.  The President

2.  The Vice President

3.  Officers and employees of the Executive Office of the President

4.  Any official serving in an Executive Level I-V position

5.  Any member of the uniformed services serving at grade 0-7 or above

6.  “Schedule C” Employees

Covered legislative branch officials are:

7.  a Member of Congress

8.  an elected officer of either the House or the Senate

9.  an employee, or any other individual functioning in the capacity of an employee who works for a Member, committee, leadership staff of either the Senate or House, a joint committee of Congress, a working group or caucus organized to provide services to Members, and

10. any other legislative branch employee who, for at least 60 days, occupies a position for which the rate of basic pay is equal to or greater than 120 percent of the minimum rate of basic pay payable for GS-15 of the General Schedule

Communications with any of the persons serving in the jobs listed above are most likely “lobbying contacts” unless the communications are specifically exempt from that definition. 

Income of $3,000 or More During a Quarter 

It is very important to remember that a lobbyist is someone who is compensated by a client to engage in “lobbying activities” and make “lobbying contacts.” HLOGA reduced the calculations for determining compensation from $5,000 during a six-month period under the old law to $2,500 during a three-month period, effective January 1, 2008. An adjustment made in accordance with the Consumer Price Index increased this threshold to $3,000 as of January 1, 2009.

How is the $3,000 calculated in most circumstances? If a client retains a lobbyist and agrees to pay an amount equal to $3,000 over a three-month period, then that is sufficient to meet the monetary test.

Spring Cleaning the LD-2: Reporting Issues

Wednesday, 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.