Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Street Talk: The Curious Cases of Vanishing Lobbyists

“My role is really more state issues. I’m in Tallahassee now,” he said in a phone interview. Previously, he had done some D.C. lobbying, but the sugar company has a Washington office and those employees handle Congress, he said. “We kind of just left the registration out there for a while, but I wasn’t traveling up to D.C., so we figured just to deregister.”

Justin Worrell, assistant director of government affairs at the Assisted Living Federation of America, said he “never really met that threshold” of spending 20 percent of his time on lobbying activities, which is why he dropped off the rolls in 2012. He said lobbying is a noble profession of many “good, altruistic, soulful people who believe in a cause and want to advance it.”

He later called back to say that he did not officially deregister but wasn’t sure why he didn’t appear on the ALFA’s 2012 reports and hasn’t called back since.

Chalk it up to a K Street mystery. It wouldn’t be the only one.

Other formerly registered lobbyists never did return calls to explain why they no longer appear on client LDA reports — such as Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, or Scott Packard of Packard Government Affairs.

“More and more people on K Street are realizing that gee, maybe for the most part what it is they’re doing on a daily basis doesn’t meet this strict statutory definition of the law,” LaPira said, offering one explanation for the decline in registered lobbyists in recent years.

Plus, even for those who ought to be registered, there’s almost no enforcement.

“I can’t tell you what we don’t see,” LaPira added.

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