“Through field asset management, DCI Group mobilized hundreds of small business owners across the country to successfully reframe a high-profile issue before Congress,” the case study stated.
DCI scheduled and prepared small-business owners for 264 personal meetings with members and staff, the document added. In addition, the firm “conducted five fly-ins,” where more than 300 small-business owners urged their senators and representatives to support swipe fee legislation.
To trigger an LDA filing, a paid advocate must make at least two lobbying contacts with covered government officials and spend at least 20 percent of his or her time on lobbying activities.
“We didn’t come anywhere near the threshold for lobbying,” DCI Group spokesman Craig Stevens said. “We are very diligent to honor the letter and spirit of all the rules and regulations that Congress has set forth.”
Stevens added: “The reality is there were thousands of small- and large-business owners who engaged in this debate and talked with their local representatives about the harmful impact that swipe fees were having on their business. These people took part in the democratic process, and Congress and the president heard them and ultimately enacted legislation that helped them compete more effectively in the marketplace. We were proud to be partners with them.”
The swipe fee matter was addressed in the retail industry’s favor in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. RILA spokesman Brian Dodge called DCI “an integral part of this comprehensive campaign.”
“DCI helped us reach out even further,” Dodge said. “Their task, among other things, was to help us identify and engage other merchants who shared our perspective and then give them the tools to turn their frustrations into communications with their lawmakers.”
Sarah Bryner, research director for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying data, said the DCI case study shows that much of what K Street firms do can go undisclosed.
“A lot of activity that a normal person calls lobbying falls through these cracks and never makes it on to the public record,” she said. “I think that’s unfortunate.”
James Jones, communications director for DC Vote, tapes a "DC Constituents Service Day" sign on the wall as he stands with other DC residents outside of Rep. Andy Harris's office on Capitol Hill to protest Harris' actions against D.C.'s marijuana laws on Thursday, July 24, 2014. DC Vote encouraged DC residents to bring their complaints about city services to the Maryland congressman.