September 15, 2017 •

Recognizing the 10-Year Anniversary of HLOGA—Cheers

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 was enacted 10 years ago. It is a law of the US federal government, which in part, amended parts of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995. What did it […]

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 was enacted 10 years ago. It is a law of the US federal government, which in part, amended parts of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995.

What did it do? For one, it strengthened the public disclosure requirements regarding lobbying activity and placed restrictions on gifts. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 15, 2007.

In addition, it closed the revolving door for many people in the federal government from lobbying for a certain period of time; it increased the number of reports due a year—from twice a year to four times a year; it prohibited Members of Congress from attending parties held in their honor at national party conventions—if they were sponsored by lobbyists; requires candidates, other than those running for a seat in the House, pay the fair market value of airfare (charter rates) when using non-commercial jets to travel; requires candidates for the House to not use non-commercial aircraft; requires lobbyists to certify they have not given gifts or travel that would violate Senate or House rules; requires the disclosure of businesses or organizations contributing more than $5,000 and actively participating in lobbying activities by certain coalitions and associations; instituted a lot of prohibitions between spouses who are registered lobbyists unless they were registered at least one year prior to the most recent election of the spouse to office; and requires entertainment and sports tickets be valued at market rates.

There is definitely more to HLOGA which affected lobbyists, Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, senior Senate staff, and senior House staff. It is the #1 reason State and Federal Communications strengthened its federal presence in DC by bringing on Rebecca South, formerly from Blank Rome, and Gamble Hayden, formerly from PhRMA and Boehringer Ingelheim. Our FedALERTS program is the key to capturing the information needed for 100% compliance on the federal level.

Will there be changes in the future? Probably…In the meantime, we are celebrating HLOGA today at State and Federal Communications.

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June 5, 2012 •

Take a Look at the Tuesday News Roundup!

The American League of Lobbyists is approaching Congress to make ethics training mandatory for lobbyists. Also, we have campaign finance, redistricting, and social media in today’s summary.

American League of LobbyistsLobbying

Lobbyists ask Congress for a mandate on ethics” by Kevin Bogardus in The Hill.

Campaign Finance

Tammany businessman’s allegedly illegal campaign donations went to Gov. Jindal’s 2007 run” by Claire Galofaro in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.


Iowa: “Redistricting makes for tumultuous Iowa primary” by The Associated Press in the Quad-City Times.

New Hampshire: “Court to hear challenges to NH redistricting plan” by Holly Ramer (Associated Press) in the Boston Globe.

Social Media

Political campaigns are in a constant technology arms race” by Scott Canon in the Kansas City Star.

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April 4, 2012 •

Federal Filings Are Due This Month

Some insight about federal lobbying reports from President and CEO Elizabeth Bartz.

Elizabeth BartzThere still might be a few of you out there who remember before BCRA and HLOGA, when we only needed to submit a quarter of a page card as our federal lobbying report. Those were the days, my friend!

These days you need to clear your schedule so you can:

  1. Compile and track activity in accordance with your organization’s needs;
  2. Conduct extensive outreach and follow up to capture applicable expenses/costs;
  3. Obtain salaries of all employees engaged in lobbying activities—whether registered or not;
  4. Respond to questions about reporting requirements;
  5. Provide definitions for determining applicability;
  6. Institute tracking mechanisms for Issues and Agency contacts;
  7. Coordinate with outside consultants to ensure accurate reporting;
  8. Coordinate LD-203 filing process;
  9. Prepare documentation in case of an audit; and
  10. File the report.

What??? You are not doing this? You are guesstimating! Tell me that is not the case.

If you are in DC you have probably seen me with Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate. She has created an amazing program to help the top Fortune 500 companies insure timely and accurate compliance for the LD-2 and LD-203 reports. If we can help alleviate your quarterly headaches, please feel free to contact her at

Until next month, remember the LD-2 isn’t the only report due in April. According to our Key Dates chart, there are 112 lobbying/employer reports due in this country’s states, counties, and cities.

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August 12, 2010 •

Nola Werren at CESSE

State and Federal Communications, Inc. was represented at organization’s annual meeting.

Brad Smith and Nola WerrenThe Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives [CESSE] held its annual meeting in Pittsburgh from July 13 to July 16, 2010. CESSE is a professional society comprised of over 1,200 executives from 165 science and engineering societies, whose combined memberships total approximately four million.  Some of CESSE’s members include the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, the America Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

The objective of CESSE is to advance, in the public interest, the arts and sciences of the management of engineering and scientific societies.  Essentially, CESSE is an “association of associations”….and therein lie the unique compliance challenges when it comes to government relations and grassroots activity.

I was invited to speak to those members attending the conference’s general management and public affairs program tracks.  Not only did this include those individuals working in the company’s public affairs department, but also its senior executives.

At the federal level, the biggest concern for the group was compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 [LDA], as amended by the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 [HLOGA], along with federal lobbying restrictions by nonprofit organizations.  In particular, I addressed the permissible monetary thresholds for lobbying expenditures by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization when making an election under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(h).  Group discussion included questions regarding the difference between direct and grassroots communication, both at the state and federal level.  Finally, no discussion about compliance would be complete without addressing the ethical disclosure obligations that accompany the vast array of state and federal gift laws.

Although no ninety minute presentation could ever include an in-depth, detailed discussion of state and federal lobbying regulations, the CESSE group walked away with a very comprehensive and practical overview.  I’d like to take this opportunity to wish CESSE all the best for its 2011 annual meeting in Vancouver!

Photo of Nola Werren and Brad Smith of the American Chemical Society.

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