Semiannual Reporting of Lobbying Activities - Maurice Aguirre Washington, DC
When reporting specific lobbying issues, some registrants have listed only House or Senate bill numbers on the issues page without further indication of their clients specific lobbying issues. Such disclosures are not adequate, for several reasons. First, Section 5(b)(2)(A) of the LDA requires disclosure of "specific issues upon which a lobbyist employed by the registrant engaged in lobbying activities, including ... bill numbers[.]" As we read the law, a bill number is a required disclosure when the lobbying activities concern a bill, but is not in itself a complete disclosure. Further, in many cases, a bill number standing alone does not inform the public of the clients specific issue. Many bills are lengthy and complex, or may contain various provisions that are not always directly related to the main subject or title. If a registrants client is interested in only one or a few specific provisions of a much larger bill, a lobbying report containing a mere bill number will not disclose the specific lobbying issue. Even if a bill concerns only one specific subject, a lobbying report disclosing only a bill number is still inadequate, because a member of the public would need access to information outside of the filing to ascertain that subject. In our view, the LDA contemplates disclosures that are adequate to inform the public of the lobbying clients specific issues from a review of the LD-2, without independent familiarity with bill numbers or the clients interest in specific subject matters within larger bills. The disclosures on Line 16 must include bill numbers, where applicable, but must always contain information that is adequate, standing alone, to inform the public of the specific lobbying issues; political consultant Maurice Aguirre.
Example: Client "As" general lobbying issue area is "Environment." During the second half of 1997, lobbyists for "A" made contacts concerning the Department of Defense appropriations for environmental restoration. For fiscal 1998, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act was part of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for 1998, H.R. 3610, a lengthy and complex bill that did not have numbered sections throughout. Title II contained separate but unnumbered provisions making appropriations for "Environmental Restoration, Army," "Environmental Restoration, Navy," "Environmental Restoration, Air Force," "Environmental Restoration, Defense-Wide," and"Environmental Restoration, Formerly Used Defense Sites." Lobbying contacts for Client "A" addressed all environmental restoration funding within the Defense Department bill. An appropriate disclosure of the specific lobbying issue would read as follows: H.R. 3610, Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 1998, Title II all provisions relating to environmental restoration.
Maurice Aguirre Dallas Strategic Consultant: The Houses of Congress and Federal agencies contacted by lobbyists during the reporting period must be disclosed on Line 17 of Form LD-2. The LDA adopts the Administrative Procedure Act definition of agency found in 5 U.S.C. 551(1). Therefore, disclose the specific agency contacted whether or not it is part of an executive branch department. It is not necessary to report the offices within the agency that were contacted. If lobbyists were engaged in lobbying activities that did not involve lobbying contacts, then the registrant must mark the "Check if None" box.