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Since the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) took effect on January 1, 1996, Covington has been a leading advisor to lobbyists and their clients on compliance with the LDA. More recently, we have established ourselves as among the leading experts on the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (“HLOGA”), which amended and strengthened the LDA. While there was no enforcement of the LDA during the first decade of its existence, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun to conduct LDA enforcement actions and is this trend is expected to increase. We also advise clients on the confusing array of state lobbying laws.

Our Election and Political Law Practice Group routinely provides advice concerning the requirements of the LDA and HLOGA, and the systems and procedures required to ensure compliance. We conduct compliance training, review existing procedures, and advise on optimal internal controls. The relative lack of published authority and guidance interpreting the LDA and HLOGA often leads to confusion concerning required methods of tracking and disclosing lobbying activity, and we are well-equipped to help clients navigate those uncertainties.

  • Tax Issues: There is also a tax aspect to lobbying disclosure, and Covington has extensive experience advising clients on the interplay between the tax laws and the LDA with regard to tracking and reporting lobbying activity. This includes expertise in the treatment of lobbying activity by tax-exempt organizations. Our Election & Political Law group is one of the few to include a tax lawyer who specializes in political tax issues.
  • State Lobbying Laws: Lobbying laws at the state level represent a hodge podge of disparate provisions that in many cases do not mirror the federal law. These laws are constantly in flux. We advise clients on their registration and reporting obligations for lobbying at the state level, and the interplay between state lobbying, gift, and campaign finance laws.
  • Procurement and Public Pension Fund Lobbying: Several states have recently started treating marketing contacts with public pension funds as lobbying activity. In addition, these communications and others related to procurement contracts with state agencies can trigger existing lobbying laws. Our Election & Political Law group has broad experience advising clients on the registration and reporting requirements of these state lobbying laws.