Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "Lobbying"

July 15, 2014

Ernst & Young Agrees To Pay $4 Million Over Lobbying Violations

A national accounting firm has agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the firm violated rules relating to lobbying activities while claiming to be an independent auditor.

In the settlementWashington Council EY, a unit of Ernst & Young, agreed to pay $4,071,925.98 including disgorgement, interest, and civil penalty. The settlement details the House and Senate lobbying activities of the firm, including letters, meetings, and draft legislation.

The summary of the settlement stated,

“These proceedings arise out of certain legislative advisory services provided by Washington Council EY (“WCEY”), which has been part of EY since 2000.

“Prior to 2009, certain conduct related to WCEY’s provision of legislative advisory services violated the independence rules with respect to two of EY’s SEC-registrant audit clients. For example, WCEY sent letters urging passage of bills to congressional staff on behalf of one of its clients (hereinafter, “Client A”). These bills were important to Client A’s business interests. In another instance, WCEY asked congressional staff to insert into a bill a provision favorable to Client A. For another audit client (hereinafter, “Client B”), WCEY attempted to persuade congressional offices to withdraw their support for legislation detrimental to that client’s business interests. In addition, WCEY worked closely with congressional staff in drafting an alternative bill more favorable to Client B. WCEY also marked up a draft of the alternative bill, inserting specific language written by Client B, and sent the mark-up to congressional staff. Full story

July 12, 2014

Dickstein Shapiro Losses $2 Million Lorillard Tobacco Account

A major Washington lobbying firm reported it is no longer lobbying for a top tobacco company, which usually paid the firm $2 million a year.

Dickstein Shapiro LLP, filed a termination report report on Friday indicating, as of July 11, it will no longer be lobbying for Lorillard Tobacco Company. The firm had earlier reported it had been paid $500,000 for lobbying during the second quarter of 2014.

During the last four quarters, Lorillard paid the firm $2,670,000. Since 1999, Lorillard has paid the firm $31.8 million for lobbying the federal government. View multi-year lobbying totals for Dickstein Shapiro’s Lorillard work.

Dickstein Shapiro lobbied for Lorillard on the issues of tobacco, taxes, health, and appropriations.

Dickstein Shapiro also filed terminations for over thirty other lobbying clients Full story

July 8, 2014

Bono’s One Action Ramps Up Lobbying

bono 08 062111 445x323 Bonos One Action Ramps Up Lobbying

The second 2014 quarterly disclosure report for Bono’s lobbying efforts has confirmed a major jump in direct advocacy efforts in 2014.

Bono co-founded One Action, a 501c4 non-profit organization that engages in grassroots and direct advocacy with policymakers and key influential persons around the world in support of smart and effective policies and programs, which are saving the lives of millions of people in the world’s poorest countries.

One Action reported it had spent $668,460 on lobbying the federal government in the second quarter of 2014. In the first quarter of 2014 it reported spending $694,623. These two 2014 quarters –  of spending more than $650,000 during each, are a substantial jump from the $425,000 to $500,000 spending per quarter in 2013. During the last twelve months, One Action has spent $2,255,801 on lobbying. View multi-year lobbying profile.

Full story

July 7, 2014

New Bill Relative To Lobbyists and Candidates

Speier2012 445x296 New Bill Relative To Lobbyists and Candidates

A bill recently introduced in Congress would require lobbyists to identify relatives who are senior government officials, and prohibit candidates and their committees from employing relatives.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., recently introduced H.R. 5011, that seeks to curtail the benefits involved with candidates who hire relatives and lobbyists who have lobbying contacts with their relatives who are government officials.

Full story

July 2, 2014

Washington, D.C. Lobby Firm Scores with U.S. Soccer

A Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm has scored $84,000 in the last year from the U.S. Soccer Foundation for lobbying the federal government.

McAllister & Quinn LLCreported yesterday it received $21,000 for their lobbying during the second quarter of 2014, bringing their 12-month total to $84,000.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation pays the firm to lobby on World Cup-related requests; Urban Soccer Symposium; Capitol Hill Day; and the Capital Soccer Classic/Congressional Soccer Competition.

The firm also lobbies on Full story

June 13, 2014

Two New York Billionaires Each Give $250K to Pro-Cochran Super PAC

Two New York billionaires have each sent a $250,000 contribution to a Mississippi super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire owner of Bloomberg LP, and Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, have each contributed $250,000 to Mississippi Conservatives, a super PAC supporting the Mississippi senator in his Republican primary runoff.

The Mississippi Conservatives reported receipts of $1,280,000 and disbursements of $1,358,225 for the period May 15 through June 4, leaving $54,375 cash on hand as of June 4.

The major donors included Michael Bloomberg (executive, Bloomberg Inc.) $250,000; Sean Parker (entrepreneur, NY) $250,000; John Nau (president and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors LP, TX) $100,000; and Joe Sanderson (chairman and CEO, Sanderson Farms, MS) $100,000; among others.

The super PAC also received: Full story

By Kent Cooper Posted at 9:06 a.m.
Donors, Lobbying, PACs

June 12, 2014

Tom Ridge Starts New Political Action Committee

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has set up a new political organization, organized under Section 527 of the I.R.S. Code.

RPG PAC was established on June 10th with the contact person listed as Pamela Curtis, chief administrative officer at the Ridge Policy Group. Louis Schiazza of Merves, Amon & Barsz LLC, in Media, Pennsylvania, is the treasurer.

The registration form stated the organization will, “assist in the election of Federal candidates.”

The Ridge Policy Group lobbying firm includes Tom Ridge, Mark Campbell and Mark Holman. Ridge was a Republican Representative in Congress from 1983-1995, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995-2001, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security from 2001-2013, and the first Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003-2005. Both Campbell and Holman had served as Ridge’s chief of staff.

The Ridge Policy Group reported the following income from lobbying during Full story

June 9, 2014

Koch Starts Lobbying on Campaign Finance Issue

The company owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who contribute millions to political advocacy groups that spend money on political advertising and impacting elections, has now started to lobby on the issue of campaign finance.

The Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, an energy, manufacturing, trading and investment company, has contracted with The Nickles Group to lobby the federal government on issues relating to campaign finance, and the wind energy production tax credit.

The lobbyists at the Nickles Group will be former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., and former Nickles assistant Marshall Hazen.

Most of the political advocacy organizations that receive funds from the Koch brothers Full story

Washington Redskins Improve Defense With K Street Lobbying

A National Football League team has beefed up its defense against a growing line of aggressive opponents who want the team to change what they feel is its offensive name.

Daniel Snyder’s Washington Redskins team has contracted with the K Street lobbying, public affairs and government services firm McGuireWoods Consulting. McGuireWoods filed their lobbying registration on Friday, with an effective date of May 29th.

McGuireWoods will lobby on  ”Discussions of team origins, history and traditions, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and youth sports, activities of Original Americans’ Foundation.”

The lobbyists include Frank Donatelli, former Rep. L.F. Payne, D-Va., Russ Sullivan (former staff director of the Senate Finance Committee), and Ron Platt.

By Kent Cooper Posted at 11:40 a.m.
Corporations, Lobbying

May 29, 2014

GAO Report on Lobbying: All Lobbyists Above Average

A new government report is out on how the choir of lobbyists and lobbying firms comply with the disclosure requirements of federal lobbying law, but fails to show anything about those who never registered to lobby or report in the first place.

The Government Accountability Office has released its new report2013 Lobbying Disclosure: Observations on Lobbyists’ Compliance with Disclosure Requirements. The GAO report is required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as amended. The GAO audits the extent to which lobbyists can demonstrate compliance with disclosure requirements, identifies challenges to compliance that lobbyists report, and describes resources available and improvements on enforcement.

The report, in general, states those who do file do a pretty good job. The report did find improvements could be made in properly disclosing the names of lobbyists who were in previous covered positions in the government, and in properly reporting those lobbyists that terminated activity.

While the audit is a helpful way to monitor activity of lobbyists who do file, it should not be read as a true measure of overall compliance. The GAO report states, “The mandate does not require us to identify lobbyists organizations that failed to register and report in accordance with LDA requirements. The mandate also does not require us to determine whether reported lobbying activity or political contributions represented the full extent of lobbying activities that took place.” 

Full story

May 28, 2014

Former Member of Congress Cashes In on Connections

A former member of Congress is reaping the benefits of his work as a member who focused on transportation industry issues and now does lobbying for transportation interest groups.

Former Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., who served 24 years on Congress, spent the entire time sitting on the House Transportation Committee overseeing railroad, highway, transit and aviation issues. A new investigation by the Better Government Association found that the connections he forged while in Congress, are now proving lucrative for Costello as a lobbyist for transportation businesses and interests.

While in Congress, Costello pushed hard for a $35 billion tanker contract for Boeing, now he is their lobbyist.

Full story

May 5, 2014

Samsung Pays Akin Gump $1 Million for Lobbying

Organizations spent almost $822 million lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of the year, with one company paying over $1 million to a single lobbying firm.

Sixteen companies or associations paid an outside lobbying firm more than $100,000 a month during the first quarter.

The Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd paid $1,0020,000 to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP for lobbying. Akin Gump also pulled in another large fee from the Gila River Indian Community, which paid the lobbying firm $880,000 in the first quarter. The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform paid the firm $340,000. The Pipeline Contractors Association paid the firm $310,000 during the quarter.

Akin Gump reported Samsung paid for nine lobbyists working on Copyrights/Patents/Trademarks issues, such as IP policy, including patent pools and SEPs. They also lobbied on technology in education issues, and telecommunications infrastructure issues.

Other large payments for lobbying included Covington & Burling LLP receiving $690,000 from Qualcomm Inc. Dickstein Shapiro LLP received $500,000 from Lorillard Tobacco Company. McGuiness & Yager LLP received $490,000 from HR Policy Association. Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP was paid $420,000 by the TRGroup d/b/a Alliance for Competitive Taxation. Allegiance Strategies LLC received $400,000 from the Policy & Taxation Group.

Other lobbying firms being paid more than $100,000 a month during the first quarter include Full story

April 30, 2014

Time Warner Cable Gives $50,000 to Republican Group

Time Warner Cable‘s political money and connections were in play during March when it gave $50,000 to a Republican political committee that supports state and local GOP campaigns.

During the first quarter of the year, Comcast and Time Warner spent $5 million lobbying the federal government. Time Warner Cable and Comcast are seeking government approval of their merger.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) reported it had receipts of $750,688 and disbursements of $452,951 during March. Corporate funds from Time Warner Cable were part of those receipts.

Major donors included $100,000 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; $50,000 from Time Warner Cable on March 28th; $55,000 from Lorillard Tobacco Company (NC); $55,000 from PLS Financial Services (IL);$50,075 from Walgreens Company (IL); $40,000 from the American Society of Anesthesiologists; $25,000 from eBay Inc. (CA); $25,000 from Dow Chemical Company (MI); $25,000 from Consol Energy (PA); $25,000 from Travelscape LLC (MO); $25,000 from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP); $25,000 from Waste Management (TX); and $25,000 from General Motors; among others.

Full story

April 22, 2014

Internet-Related Companies Stay Logged In to Congress, Facebook Adds Capacity

Internet-related companies continued to keep their connections with Congress and the executive branch by lobbying during the first three months of the year.

Facebook Inc. was the exception in the field, by increasing their quarterly spending on lobbying by $1.3 million.

Here are some of the top online, computer, software, and technology companies that reported large expenditures for lobbying in the first quarter of the year.

Google Inc. $3,820,000 – down from $3,980,000 in the 4th quarter of 2013.
Facebook Inc. $2,780,000 – up from $1,480,000.
Microsoft Corp. $2,080,000 – down from $2,770,000.
Hewlett-Packard Co. $1,580,000 – down from $1,760,000.
Oracle Corp. $1,510,000 – down from $1,600,000.
I.B.M. $1,260,000 – down from $1,530,000.
Intel Corp.$1,223,000 – down from $1,446,000.
Apple Inc. $1,070,000 – up from $990,000.
Entertainment Software Association 1,001,138 – down from $1,320,000.
Amazon Corp. LLC $830,000 – down from $960,000.

Drug Companies Give Million-Dollar Boost to Lobbying (Corrected)

Five pharmaceutical companies have reported million-dollar increases in their spending on lobbying the federal government during the first quarter of 2014.

Pfizer Inc., Novartis, Johnson & Johnson Services, Bayer Corporation, and Merck & Company have each boosted their lobbying of the executive and legislative branches.

Here are the top pharmaceutical spenders in the first quarter of 2014:

Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers (PhRMA) $4,680,000 – up from $4,050,000 in 2013 Q4.
Pfizer Inc. $3,190,000 – up from $2,090,000.
Novartis $2,580,000 – up from $920,000.
Amgen USA Inc. $2,560,000 – up from $2,330,000.
Eli Lilly & Co. $2,086,000 – down from $2,430,000.
Johnson & Johnson Services $2,110,000 – up from $860,000.
Bayer – $2,040,000, up from $1,000,000.
Merck & Co. $2,000,000 – up from $820,000
Glaxosmithkline $1,630,000 – up from $421,000. (Corrected)
Sanofi US Services Inc. $1,570,000 – up from $790,000.
By Kent Cooper Posted at 11:52 a.m.
Corporations, Lobbying

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