Posts Tagged ‘OCE’
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Vbhotla
AGGRESSIVE CRACKDOWNS ON Lobbying Disclosure Act violations are rarely seen, but last week The Hill, in what it called a “bombshell,” reported that at the end of its most recent report, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) “voted to refer one entity to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for failure to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.”
This is particularly noteworthy because as Covington & Burling’s Robert Kelner notes in the National Law Review, unregistered lobbyists have rarely, if ever, been pursued by the OCE or the Department of Justice. Kelner attributes the lack of enforcement to illegal lobbying being relatively low on the DOJ’s list of priorities, as well as a lack of media attention to LDA violations.
However, as we wrote in this space back in March, that may be changing. Since 2010, we’ve seen an uptick in enforcement for failure to file quarterly lobbying disclosures and for FARA violations. Between 1995 and 2010, only three lawsuits filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office against lobbyists were settled, but since 2010, at least five suits have been filed related to HLOGA and FARA violations. With the revelations in OCE’s latest report, are we beginning to see the kind of enforcement that these laws originally intended?
With the lobbying industry increasingly operating underground, it seems likely that last week’s bombshell won’t be the last incident of illegal unregistered lobbying, but only time will tell if the OCE has more investigations underway or if this is an isolated incident.
Tags: Department of Justice, doj, FARA, LDA, OCE, Office of Congressional Ethics, robert kelner
Posted in Lobbying News, Regulations | Comments Off on Registration Crackdown
Friday, July 16th, 2010 by Vbhotla
SEC’s new rule on Pay to Play becomes effective September 30. (60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.)
Wiley Rein’s Election Law News July 2010 (including detailed looks at the DISCLOSE Act, SEC’s Pay-to-Play restrictions, Honest Services Fraud Statute, and more).
But the real question is: will DISCLOSE pass the Senate? Proponents of the measure suffered a setback when moderate Republican Scott Brown (Mass.) announced his opposition to the House bill, and the Maine ladies (moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins & Olympia Snowe) are still waffling.
U.S. PIRG opposed the House measure (due to the NRA exemption),but has now (grudgingly) backed final passage in the Senate. Lisa Gilbert says that “we have concluded that the greater danger is posed by an election in which voters are effectively forced to wear blindfolds as the special interests behind campaign spending are hidden from us.”
Roll Call reports on a slightly strange rash of filings by Josue Larose, apparently a one-man lobbying firm with 87 new clients. Former ALL president Paul Miller, Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, “said the situation sounds unbelievable … ‘If you sign up 87 new clients — I don’t care if you are Patton Boggs or just one lobbyist — you are going to need a huge team.'” (Roll Call subscription required)
As listed in Lobbyists.info, Larose has one client as a sole proprietor, and as the lobbyist for American Federal Lobbying Firm, has several PACs clients. His organization’s website makes the claim that: “The American Federal Lobbying Firm is the most powerful lobbying firm of the world and has more clients than any other lobbying firm in the United States of America.”
Office of Congressional Ethics is getting investigatory again (which is their job), but this time, Capitol Hill denizens say, it’s a little different – they’re looking at donation/official actions correlations. The New York Times quotes Kenneth Gross (who is “fielding some of the document requests from ethics investigators”), “This is really a redefinition of the law … To pick eight members and say they voted on legislation and political contributions came in around this time is really going places that no regulatory authority has ever gone.”
Quote of the Week:
“Do I think these [de-registered lobbyists] went back to Arkansas and became farmers? No, they just weren’t doing it 20 percent anymore … I think the 20 percent rule needs to be clearly defined and also what the role of a lobbyist is.” – Dave Wenhold, president, American League of Lobbyists, Washington Post, 7/12/2010
Tags: Dave Wenhold, DISCLOSE Act, Josue Larose, Kenneth Gross, Lisa Gilbert, OCE, Paul Miller, SEC, US PIRG, Wiley Rein
Posted in Lobbying News | Comments Off on Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up
Friday, June 18th, 2010 by Vbhotla
DISCLOSE Drama. Will they or won’t they? I’m not sure anyone knows what’s going on with the DISCLOSE Act these days. A Politico story with full background is here. (Eric Brown does an excellent round-up of news reports, here).
C St. Scandal: OCE drops it like it’s hot. According to Roll Call, OCE will drop an investigation into a potential violation of the gift rules. News reports around several member scandals indicated that a house on C Street in Washington DC was owned by a private organization called “The Fellowship” and was providing housing for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, under-cost – a potential violation of the gift rules.
Hey lobbyists! LD-203 NOT optional. Yes, we already posted on the LDA guidance update, but we don’t want you to forget. Scan the changes, study the PDF, just just read our post!
Norm Eisen: scary individual. Did we get your attention? We’re just kidding, Norm Eisen seems like a nice guy, and he is an excellent “ethics czar.” But some watchdog groups fear for the future of his office if he is confirmed for an ambassadorship to the Czech Republic.
Patton Boggs’ Nick Allard does a Bulletproof Blog video interview on lobbying, and says the American public does not understand lobbying.
Take a number. The FCC wants lobbyists and others with an interest in shaping FCC processes to sign up for meeting time slots online. The Hill has the story.
Quote(s) of the Week:
“We investigative specific allegations. We do not conduct fishing expeditions.” OCE spokesman Jon Steinman, Roll Call June 14
“The “wink-wink-nod-nod” game we have all known to exist with regard to earmarks and campaign contributions is well-documented, and the ethics committee’s definition of “financial interest” needs to be updated to reflect these findings.” – Jeff Flake, Roll Call, June 17
“Is the NRA exception ideal, or pretty? No. Is it likely to complicate the defense of the DISCLOSE Act when it is challenged? Yes. But, is it worth dropping support of the legislation altogether? No.” – Scott Thomas, Of Counsel, Dickstein Shapiro, National Journal’s Under the Influence Experts Blog, June 16
Tags: DISCLOSE Act, FCC, Jeff Flake, LD-1, LD-2, LD-203, Nick Allard, Norm Eisen, OCE, Patton Boggs
Posted in Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up | Comments Off on Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up