August 21, 2018 •
On August 21, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is introducing a 289-page bill with various changes to federal lobbying and ethics laws. Among the changes included in the “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act” are an expanded definition of “lobbyist”. The new definition […]
Among the changes included in the “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act” are an expanded definition of “lobbyist”. The new definition covers individuals employed for compensation making at least one lobbying contact or engaging in lobbying activities that do not include making lobbying contacts. The bill creates the definition of “corporate lobbyist”, which are lobbyists compensated by for-profit entities and 501(c)(6) organizations like chambers of commerce, but does not include other 501(c) entities or political organizations.
Reporting by lobbyists would expanded to include disclosure of specific bills, policies, and governmental actions attempted to be influenced, meetings with public officials and documents provided to those officials.
The bill permanently bans all foreign lobbying by both foreign actors and American lobbyists. American lobbyists would be prohibited from accepting money from foreign governments, foreign individuals, and foreign companies to influence United States public policy.
Other changes include a life-time ban on lobbying by former presidents, vice presidents, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, and federal judges. All other federal employees would be banned from lobbying their former office, department, agency, or Congress after leaving their position until the end of the Administration, but for no less than two years or at least six years for corporate lobbyists. The bill prohibits companies from immediately hiring senior government officials from an agency or office recently lobbied by that company. The law similarly would prohibit large companies, measured by annual revenue or market capitalization, from hiring former senior government officials for four years after they leave the government.
Additionally, lobbyists would be prohibited from making political contributions to candidates or members of Congress, giving gifts to the executive and legislative branch officials being lobbied, and from working for any contingency fee.
The bill also contains changes to the federal rule-making process, expands the open record laws, creates ethics requirements for the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court, and creates an independent U.S. Office of Public Integrity for enforcement. An additional part of the bill addresses conflict of interest laws for federal office holders and employees, including a ban on stock ownership, while in office or employed, by members of Congress, federal judges, and White House staff and senior agency officials.
Also, the legislation includes the “Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act”, which requires sitting presidents and vice presidents to place conflicted assets into blind trusts to be sold.
July 30, 2018 •
On July 25, Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. John Sarbanes introduced legislation aimed to make several changes to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA). Currently, part of the LDA’s requirements for determining whether an individual is required to register […]
On July 25, Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. John Sarbanes introduced legislation aimed to make several changes to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA).
Currently, part of the LDA’s requirements for determining whether an individual is required to register as a federal lobbyist include if he or she makes two or more lobbying contacts and if his or her lobbying activities constitute at least 20 percent of the individual’s time in services for a client over any three-month period. The proposed legislation, introduced as two identical bills in both houses of Congress as Senate Bill 3274 and House Bill 6533, would require registration if a lobbyist makes more than one lobbying contact over a two-year period and would eliminate the 20 percent time threshold used in determining whether registration is required.
This bill would also require individuals who provide paid strategic advice in support of a lobbying contact with a government official to register as lobbyists even if they do not directly make the contact, prohibit lobbyists from soliciting, bundling or providing campaign contributions above a total equal to an individual’s campaign contribution limit, and prohibit members of Congress, senators, and candidates for Congress or the Senate from soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists when their respective bodies are in session.
Additionally, the legislation would no longer permit foreign agents from avoiding registration under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) by registering under the LDA.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.