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Tag Archive: HLOGA

Lobbyist Disclosure Gets Oversight

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Lobbying disclosure reports will finally get reviewed by an oversight body as a result of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). The Government Accountability Office (GAO) began auditing the first quarter lobbying reports to determine compliance and noncompliance to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and subsequent amendments included in HLOGA. The GAO may ask for time sheets and restaurant and travel records to check to see if employees are meeting the lobbyist threshold. The audit results should be released around Sept. 30, 2008, six months after the initial quarterly report filing date. Michael Stern at Point of Order points out some issues that may prevent the GAO from requiring audited firms to turn over documents:

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New Lobbying Disclosure Rule Upheld

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I don't want to let this slip by.

The Hill reported on a U.S. District Court decision made on Friday that upheld a key provision of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA). In February, the National Association of Manufacturers had filed suit challenging HLOGA's disclosure provision requiring any organization actively participating "in the planning, supervision, or control" of lobbying efforts that ponies up more than $5,000 in a quarter to disclose their activities and expenditures. NAM argued that the disclosure clause is imprecise and impacts groups that it is not intended to target, and that it violates the First Amendment. They also said that they were worried that the law would also require it to disclose the names of its members.

In a 57-page opinion, Judge Kollar-Kotelly disagreed, saying the clause was "narrowly tailored to serve compelling government interests, and is neither vague on its face nor is applied to the NAM." You can read the judge's opinion by following a link provided by the Campaign Legal Center. The court decision clears the way for the new law to force disclosure of such coalitions' members to the public for the first time on April 21, according to The Hill.

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New Filing Requirements Will Reveal New Information

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Here's a pleasant surprise in the just passed Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). One of the law's new filing requirements is that individual lobbyists have to report all "covered official positions" held for 20 years prior to their current filing period. This could provide an amazing amount of new information about where people have lobbied in the past -- information that we've never seen before.

The new provision will be quite significant for lobbying firms. For them, the 20-year lookback applies to all lobbyists listed on any new registration filed for any client with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2008 or later. For most lobbying firms, this means that eventually all lobbyist employees will need to disclose their prior employment under the 20-year lookback.

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