Posts Tagged ‘lobbying contacts’

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.

Fact Check: Lobbying Regulatory Agencies

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 by Vbhotla

Last week, Politico ran a story about “A Second Stimulus for K Street,” in which the author discussed the profitability of lobbying regulatory agencies in this climate (which Dom Ruscio of Cavarocchi, Ruscio, Dennis & Associates, LLC referenced when he quipped “Regulation is the new earmarks” in a January Lobbying Certificate Process).

The SEC, like many other government agencies, is scrambling to write and enact rules to enforce recent legislation. But don't be deceived: contacting SEC officials is still lobbying.

The story suggests that “unlike traditional lobbying, regulatory work is part of the largely unreported influence economy, like political intelligence, grass roots and research.”  This is only partly true.  While lobbying regulatory agencies is indeed lucrative, a lot of regulatory agents are executive branch appointees, and thus lobbying these individuals is subject to HLOGA rules and LDA reporting.  Obama defines “Executive agency” as including each “executive agency” defined by section 105 of title 5 of the United States Code (read: all of the regulatory agencies), plus employees of the US Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission, but excluding employees of the GAO.

“Appointees” include “every full Online Pokies time, non career Presidential or Vice Presidential, non career appointee in the Senior Executive Service (or other SES type system), and appointee to a position that has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of being a confidential or policymaking character (Schedule C and other positions excepted under comparable criteria) in an executive agency.  It does not include any person appointed as a member of the Senior Foreign Service or solely as a uniformed service commissioned officer.”

Under President Obama’s Executive Order, these officials cannot accept any gifts of any value from lobbyists. Additionally, contacts made with these officials should be reported on the LDA filings, if the thresholds for lobbying are met.  Any firm or individual receiving $3,000 or more per quarter from a particular client, makes a second lobbying contact on behalf of said client, and  spends 20% or more of the time for that client (not comprehensively, this is evaluated on a per-client basis) must file an LD-1 registration.  Any lobbying contacts made on behalf of that client, including contacts to regulatory agencies and other Executive Branch officials, must be subsequently reported on future LD-2 forms.