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Lobbyist Organization Backs Lawsuit Against Commerce Department

Howard Marlowe, president of the American League of Lobbyists, said his organization supports a lawsuit filed by a collection of lobbyists who were kicked off presidential advisory committees. The league, he added, is examining what actions it may take related to the case.

The suit was filed by Erik Autor, of the National Retail Federation, and other registered lobbyists who were either removed from or kept off advisory committees after President Barack Obama instituted a ban on their inclusion in 2009. The lawsuit is against the Commerce Department.

“Since it was first issued, the American League of Lobbyists has vigorously objected to the ban on lobbyists serving on presidential advisory committees for two reasons. First, it applies only to registered lobbyists,” Marlowe said in a Tuesday statement announcing ALL’s position on the case. “Those who choose not to register — whether lawfully or otherwise — are judged exclusively on the expertise they bring to an advisory committee. Registered lobbyists, on the other hand, are judged solely on the fact that they have followed the spirit and the letter of the law that applies to professional advocates.”

Marlowe added that the league has conducted “preliminary research” showing that some people on the committees have “de-registered” as lobbyists. The league said the former lobbyists include Mark Crosby of the Enterprise Wireless Alliance and Kevin Kahn of Intel, among others.

“The American League of Lobbyists views this administration’s policy as an arbitrary act of discrimination and a restriction on the constitutional right of free speech, both of which are unconstitutional,” Marlowe said.

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