July 30, 2018 •
Legislation Introduced to Amend Federal Lobbying Law
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.
More information is available from the press releases of Sen. Bennet and Rep. Sarbanes, and from a policy summary of the Democracy Reform Task Force, of which Sarbanes is the Chairman.
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