Following litigation by several lobbyists, OMB is revising its guidance on the appointment of lobbyists to federal advisory committees, boards, and commissions. Now, lobbyists can serve on these committees, including the USTR advisory boards. Money quote:
“The lobbyist ban does not apply to lobbyists who are appointed in a “representative capacity,” meaning that they are appointed for the express purpose of providing a committee with the views of a nongovernmental entity, a recognizable group of persons or nongovernmental entities (an industry sector, labor unions, or environmental groups, etc.), or state or local government. Appointing authorities already are required to clearly designate the role of committee members to assure their conformity with the applicable conflict of interest rules.”
So, there could not be a bigger loophole for a lobbyist, given the fact that their business is to act in a “representative capacity.” But even more to the point, the earlier so-called lobbyist ban which this OMB advisory modified and relaxed, only applied to persons who were registered to lobby the Congress, not to those who supervised the registered lobbyists, or those who, for a variety of reasons, did not have to register, but worked in job’s where they sought to influence federal policy on a daily basis. So in practice, the new policy changes little, except the optics of the relationship between federal agencies and the thriving influence industry.
Here is a link to the new guidance:
Revised Guidance on Appointment of Lobbyists to Federal Advisory Committees, Boards, and Commissions
A Notice by the Management and Budget Office on 08/13/2014
Document Citation: 79 FR 47482 Page: 47482 -47483 (2 pages)
Document Number: 2014-19140
Shorter URL: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-19140
Notice Of Revised Guidance.
On June 18, 2010, President Obama issued “Lobbyists on Agency Boards and Commissions,” a memorandum directing agencies and departments in the Executive Branch not to appoint or re-appoint federally registered lobbyists to advisory committees and other boards and commissions. The Presidential Memorandum further directed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “issue proposed guidance designed to implement this policy to the full extent permitted by law.” The Presidential Memorandum is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-lobbyists-agency-boards-and-commissions. OMB posted proposed guidance on November 2, 2010, and published final guidance on October 5, 2011. See 76 FR 61756. OMB is now issuing revised guidance regarding the prohibition against appointing or re-appointing federally registered lobbyists to clarify that the ban applies to persons serving on advisory committees, boards, and commissions in their individual capacity and does not apply if they are specifically appointed to represent the interests of a nongovernmental entity, a recognizable group of persons or nongovernmental entities (an industry sector, labor unions, environmental groups, etc.), or state or local governments.