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 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.