For all the stigma of scandal and lawlessness in lobby land, an indictment is actually rare, especially when one of the charges is failure to register for a foreign client. But on Tuesday the Justice Department announced charges against Robert Cabelly of C/R International for his alleged work for the government of Sudan.
Cabelly faces eight counts, including four for violating Sudanese sanctions regulations. He has also been indicted for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power a charge typically used for spies.
We have charged a large number of those cases, but the majority of them have been in the spy context or covert actors, said a Justice Department spokesman. He had no tally on the number of cases involving actual government relations types.
Kenneth Gross, a lobbying ethics expert at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said that such cases are unusual, few and far between, especially for lobbyists.
Letter of Apology. The advocacy group Public Knowledge has sent an apology to two civil rights groups after the minority organizations took offense at comments made in the increasingly volatile net neutrality debate.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership wrote to Public Knowledge on Friday that we want to express our deep indignation over the offensive assertions made in a recent blog post by the group. The post said that minority groups seem to land on policies that hurt their constituencies.
Public Knowledges Gigi Sohn responded on Friday, saying that her group does not support any suggestion that minorities are easily duped and uninformed. She added that she unequivocally repudiates such statements.
The net neutrality debate pits telecom and cable interests against Internet companies, which are lobbying for rules that would prevent phone and cable companies from discriminating against certain types of online content. Neither the NAACP nor HTTP returned calls seeking comment. Public Knowledge refused to comment beyond its letter.
Free Ride? FreedomWorks has certainly caused a stir recently with its massive grass-roots campaign against health care reform and taxes, but dont expect to get any insight into the groups operations by its lobbying disclosure forms.
The conservative nonprofit, which is headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), reported spending less than $5,000 on federal lobbying in its third-quarter report to Congress.
Rob Jordan, vice president of federal and state campaigns, said the dearth of spending is because FreedomWorks rarely has staff spend a lot of time doing a lot of direct lobbying on the Hill.
None of the 15 D.C.-based employees is registered as a lobbyist.
But that doesnt mean FreedomWorks is planning to slow down its efforts. The group is already turning its attention to the upcoming midterm elections in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Arkansas and Indiana.
Were going to be more involved in these midterm elections than in any other elections, Jordan said.