August 27, 2010 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – The Willard Hotel, birthplace of the term lobbyist?

Willard InterContinental HotelThe National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is a great place to find out more about the history of Washington D.C. One of its fascinating offerings is the Willard Hotel.

Since 1847, the Willard Hotel has been an important political hub and has hosted most of the U.S. Presidents since Zachary Taylor. Starting out as a row of small homes, the beautiful Beaux-Arts hotel you see today was built in 1904.

According to the NRHP site, the hotel has had quite a guest list:

“Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Taft, Wilson, Coolidge and Harding stayed at the Willard. Other notable guests have included Charles Dickens, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, Lord and Lady Napper, and countless others. Walt Whitman included the Willard in his verses and Mark Twain wrote two books there in the early 1900s.”

Part of the legend of the Willard Hotel is that it is the place where the term “lobbyist” became associated with people who try to influence government. According to the legend, people seeking to gain favor from President Ulysses S. Grant would find him smoking cigars and drinking brandy in the lobby of the Willard Hotel.

Here is a 2006 NPR recording of Liane Hansen on “Weekend Edition Sunday” talking to Barbara Bahny about the hotel’s reopening and its history of lobbying.

Apparently many people called NPR to point out that the term “lobbying” had existed long before the Willard Hotel, so Hansen did a follow-up piece called “A Lobbyist by Any Other Name?” on the history of the term.

In case you would like to visit, here is the Web site for the Willard InterContinental Hotel today. I wonder if they still allow cigar smoking in the lobby?

Franklin Pierce inauguration

On that note, I’ll end with this quote from the NRHP Web site:

“It was Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, irritated at the Willard’s high prices, who there coined the phrase ‘What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar.’”

The photo at the top is by AgnosticPreachersKid on Wikipedia.

May 28, 2020 •

Arizona Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Arizona State Capitol

Arizona State Capitol - by Visitor7

The Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die on May 26 after the Senate’s swift move to adjourn was approved. The Senate had voted to end the session when it convened previously on May 8. However, this vote was met with opposition […]

The Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die on May 26 after the Senate’s swift move to adjourn was approved.

The Senate had voted to end the session when it convened previously on May 8.

However, this vote was met with opposition by Republican lawmakers.

The sine die adjournment leaves hundreds of bills dead that had been progressing through the Capitol before lawmakers postponed the session in March.

Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session in the coming weeks.

In this session they will deal with coronavirus-related legislation and the state budget.

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May 28, 2020 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “‘Dark Money’ Groups Dodge Reporting Requirement in New Regulations” by Toby Eckert for Politico Elections National: “‘A Game-Changer’: Pandemic forces shift in black voter outreach” by Bridgett Bowman for Roll Call Ethics National: “Trump Pushes a Conspiracy […]

Campaign Finance

National: “‘Dark Money’ Groups Dodge Reporting Requirement in New Regulations” by Toby Eckert for Politico

Elections

National: “‘A Game-Changer’: Pandemic forces shift in black voter outreach” by Bridgett Bowman for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “Trump Pushes a Conspiracy Theory That Falsely Accuses a TV Host of Murder” by Peter Baker and Maggie Astor (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Twitter Labels Trump’s Tweets with a Fact Check for the First Time” by Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Justice Dept. Ends Inquiries Into 3 Senators’ Stock Trades” by Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos for New York Times

Colorado: “Hickenlooper Says He Won’t Appear Before Colorado Ethics Body for Video Trial in June” by Alex Burness for Denver Post

Connecticut: “Dalios Pull Out of State Education Partnership, Attack GOP Reps” by Kaitlyn Krasselt for Connecticut Post

Legislative Issues

National: “Republicans Sue Pelosi to Block House Proxy Voting During Pandemic” by Nicholas Fandos and Michael Schmidt for New York Times

Lobbying

Europe: “Lobbyist Register to Be Tightened After Monsanto Case” by Nikolaj Nielson for EU Observer

National: “As Residents Perish, Nursing Homes Fight for Protection from Lawsuits” by Maggie Severns and Rachel Roubien for Politico

National: “Facebook Ran Multi-Year Charm Offensive to Woo State Prosecutors” by Naomi Nix for Bloomberg Law

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May 27, 2020 •

New IRS Rules: Some Tax-Exempt Groups Don’t Have to Report Contributors

IRS Building, Washington DC

Home of the Internal Revenue Service - by Joshua Doubek

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal […]

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal Register.

 

This exemption from reporting applies to tax-exempt organizations generally not receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as labor unions, volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups, local chambers of commerce, veterans’ groups, and community service clubs. These organizations are still required to continue to collect and keep the donor information and to make it available to the IRS upon its request. This change does not affect the information required to be reported by charities primarily receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, certain nonexempt private foundations, or 527 political organizations.

 

The Treasury Department and IRS had given three primary reasons for the change: the IRS makes no systematic use of this information collected by these organizations; the policy reduces the risk of inadvertent disclosure or misuse of confidential information; and the policy saves both private and government resources.

 

Previously, the IRS had issued a guidance to this effect, but on July 30, 2019, the IRS guidance limiting these disclosure requirements was set aside by a federal judge. In Bullock v. IRS, the U.S. District Court District of Montana (Great Falls) found the IRS violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing notice and allowing a public comment period before the guidance was issued. It predicated this decision by finding the guidance was a legislative rule. Subsequently, on September 6, the IRS issued a notice of a proposed rulemaking and accepted public comment.

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May 27, 2020 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance New York: “De Blasio’s NYC Campaign Account Hit with $16K Fine by Regulator” by Nolan Hicks for New York Post Elections Illinois: “Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Wins Latest Round in Suit Alleging Sham Candidates” by Ray Long […]

Campaign Finance

New York: “De Blasio’s NYC Campaign Account Hit with $16K Fine by Regulator” by Nolan Hicks for New York Post

Elections

Illinois: “Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Wins Latest Round in Suit Alleging Sham Candidates” by Ray Long for Chicago Tribune

Ethics

National: “Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers” by Jesse Drucker, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and Sara Kliff (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Lawmakers Press GSA on Trump Hotel’s Request for Financial Relief During Pandemic” by Ccourtney Buble for Government Executive

Mississippi: “Mississippi Lawmakers Approved $300M in Small Business Grants. Can They Apply for the Money?” by Luke Ramseth for Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Lobbying

National: “Appeals Court Denies Lobbyists’ Efforts to Access Small-Business Loan Program” by Harper Neidig for The Hill

California: “Blind Spot: Lobbying behind California coronavirus contracts can stay secret” by Laurel Rosenhall for CalMatters

Florida: “Lobbyist Tied to Curry, JEA Bidder Paid City Hall’s Bar Tab at Jaguars Games” by Staff for Florida Times Union

Nebraska: “Nebraska Sees Increase in Lobbyists, Spending on Lobbyists” by Staff for AP News

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May 26, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission to Consider New Testimony for Proposed Lobbying, Gift Rules

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21. The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules. In order to consider the new testimony, the […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21.

The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules.

In order to consider the new testimony, the Commission deferred the matter to its next meeting scheduled for mid-June.

The proposals include:

  • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
  • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
  • A requirement that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis.

Additionally, the proposals would amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

Once the Commission approves the rules, the rules are subject to approval by the Department of the Attorney General and the governor. Afterward, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for a period of 10 days before becoming effective.

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May 26, 2020 •

New Mexico Governor to Call Special Legislative Session

Governor Grisham

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham targeted June 18 for the start of a special legislative session. The session will be held to adjust the state budget amid a major hit to expected revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, […]

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham targeted June 18 for the start of a special legislative session.

The session will be held to adjust the state budget amid a major hit to expected revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Governor Grisham hopes to reach bipartisan agreement on financial measures.

As of now, the state is on track to re-open thousands of more businesses and services on June 1.

The legislative session is expected to span several days.

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May 26, 2020 •

Judge Ends Two-year Limit on Campaign Contributions in Arkansas

Akransas State Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol

A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent in allowing Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign contributions more than two years before an election. U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. reinforced his initial ruling that it is […]

A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent in allowing Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign contributions more than two years before an election.

U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. reinforced his initial ruling that it is unconstitutional for the state to ban contributions for state office candidates more than two years before an election.

In January, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Moody’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the state’s blackout period for accepting campaign contributions.

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May 26, 2020 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Arkansas: “Ruling Ends Wait for Political Donors” by Linda Satter for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Maine: “Ethics Panel Wants to Look at Anti-Corridor Group’s Donors” by Staff for AP News Elections Florida: “Federal Judge Guts Florida Law Requiring Felons to […]

Campaign Finance

Arkansas: “Ruling Ends Wait for Political Donors” by Linda Satter for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Maine: “Ethics Panel Wants to Look at Anti-Corridor Group’s Donors” by Staff for AP News

Elections

Florida: “Federal Judge Guts Florida Law Requiring Felons to Pay Fines Before They Can Vote” by Amy Gardner (Washington Post) for MSN

Ethics

National: “Horsford’s Extramarital Affair with Former Senate Staffer Shows How Narrow House Rules Are” by Chris Marquette for Roll Call

National: “As Trump Removes Federal Watchdogs, Some Loyalists Replacing Them Have ‘Preposterous’ Conflicts” by Lisa Rein and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) for MSN

Kentucky: “Citing Misuse of Funds, Kentucky Auditor Refers 3 County Attorney Offices to Law Enforcement” by Joe Sonka for Louisville Courier Journal

Washington DC: “Jack Evans Fined $35,000 by Ethics Board as Voters Weigh Returning Him to Office” by Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post

Lobbying

National: “America’s Economic Pain Arrives on K Street” by Theodoric Meyer and Daniel Lippman for Politico

Missouri: “No Lobbyist Gifts for State Lawmakers, But Local Officials in Missouri Still Get Freebies” by Kurt Erickson for St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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