Lobbyists Are People, Too

California’s Capitol has previously catalogued the daily tribulations suffered by lobbyists. 

The following is a recently sent alert, obtained by California’s Capitol, from the Washington D.C. law firm of Caplin & Drysdale:

“The Obama Administration issued a memorandum on March 20, 2009 to Executive Branch department and agency heads that imposes rules on government spending and financial assistance in connection with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which has been commonly referred to as the stimulus package. 

“The stated objective of the lobbying provisions in these rules is to limit the influence of outside interests on departments and agencies with authority to commit or distribute stimulus funds. 

In fact, one controversial provision included in the memorandum … significantly restricts the ability of registered federal lobbyists to communicate with government officials regarding particular grants or projects funded through the stimulus package. (Emphasis added.)

“Specifically, pursuant to the memorandum:

“Executive Branch department and agency officials are prohibited from considering the views of registered federal lobbyists regarding distribution of stimulus funds for “particular” projects, applications, or applicants unless the lobbyists’ views are expressed in writing. All written lobbyist communications must be publicly disclosed within three business days. 

“Executive Branch departments and agencies must adopt transparent, merit-based selection criteria for determining recipients of stimulus grants and financial assistance and take measures to avoid the undue influence of outside persons and entities on spending decisions. Stimulus funds may not be used for “imprudent projects” that fail to support the job creation and economic recovery goals of the Recovery Act such as casinos, aquariums, zoos, golf       courses, or swimming pools. Executive Branch departments and agencies should use their discretion to decline approval for imprudent projects. 

“The constitutionality of the lobbyist communications ban described … above is unclear, at best, but as written it means that lobbyists may not have verbal communications with Executive Branch officials about the expenditure of stimulus funds for specific projects or the receipt of stimulus funds by a particular entity. 

“Lobbyists may have general conversations with Executive Branch officials about government funding or policies, but the memo instructs Executive Branch officials participating in general conversations with lobbyists to document those communications and disclose them publicly within three business days.”  

(Editor’s Note: Bummer about the golf courses and the First Amendment.)



Filed under: News


  1. So if your not registered, your not dirty. Next we won\’t be allowed within a 1,000 feet of schools…

    Comment by Wally Webgas — 3.26.2009 @ 2:16 pm

  2. Restricting the first amendment b y the Democratic leadership of our country what is next. I can not believe this coming from the folks who wanted to ensure all of our countries civil rights were afforded to our battlefield captured combatants.

    Comment by Management Slug — 3.26.2009 @ 2:19 pm

  3. You know what my old friend Jesse Marvin Unruh would say about this nonsense, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, yada yada yada, you don’t belong in the job.”

    BHO likes to quote Lincoln, especially the part about “fooling all of the people some of the time.”

    Comment by Artie Samish — 3.27.2009 @ 9:51 am

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