lobbying

Lobbying Hits $3.9 Billion in Trump’s First Year
But number of disclosure reports falls short of President Barack Obama’s inaugural year in office

Lobbying was up during the Trump administration’s first year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists reported an uptick in tax and other federal policy work during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, but the money spent to influence the federal government still didn’t surpass the inaugural year of the Obama administration, a Roll Call review of new disclosure reports found.

The number of federal disclosure reports that lobbyists filed last year — 50,000 — fell short of the 58,000 reports filed during 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office. Despite the fewer reports last year, companies and trade organizations spent roughly the same amount of money to influence Congress and the executive branch — $3.9 billion — in both years.

Group Backed by Liberal George Soros Posts Uptick in Lobbying
Open Society Policy Center spent record $16.1 million in 2017

Billionaire George Soros, left, attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in November 2008. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network, reported spending a record sum to influence federal issues during the first year of the Trump administration.

The group disclosed spending a total of $16.1 million on federal lobbying in 2017, with the majority of that coming in the last three months of the year, according to a report filed with Congress. The Soros group disclosed spending $10.3 million in the fourth quarter.

House Judiciary Advances Foreign Lobby Overhaul
Panel Democrats say GOP is moving too quickly on the bill

Ex-lobbyist Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, has been charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

House Republicans took a significant step Wednesday in an effort to overhaul the nation’s foreign lobbying disclosure regulations amid scandals in the influence sector.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced as amended, 15-6 along party lines, the measure that would give the Justice Department new subpoena-like investigative powers. That new authority sparked controversy among the panel’s Democrats.

How John Kennedy Sees Things
‘This is why the aliens won’t talk to us.’

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since arriving in the Senate last year, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has become a gift to Capitol Hill reporters for his colorful use of language.

Most recently, he has said that the dispute about whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “why the aliens won’t talk to us.”

House Panel to Consider Stronger Foreign Lobbying Rules
Some lobbyists caution against unintended consequences of bipartisan bill

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson says his bill ensures transparency and protects the democratic process.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee plans to take up a bill on Wednesday that would overhaul the 1938 law governing foreign lobbying disclosures, but the measure’s fate in the Senate remains unclear.

The bipartisan bill could have broad implications not only for lobbyists and other U.S. representatives of foreign governments and political parties but also for those working on behalf of foreign corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane
Campaign season is soon to kick into high gear

As 2017 draws to a close, the unpredictable nature of the first year of the Trump administration could very well bleed into next year as the midterm elections heat up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists have — almost — survived a genuinely bonkers year.

The Trump era ushered in a maelstrom of unpredictable policy fights along with scandals that have ripped into K Street. Think it can’t get any stranger? Just wait until campaign season kicks into high gear in 2018.

Businesses Say Foreign Payment Treatment May Breach Treaties
Provisions in House and Senate tax bills draw pushback

Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci says issues with the provisions in question must be resolved in conference negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Business advocates are warning that provisions in the House and Senate tax bills aimed at discouraging offshore migration of multinational operations could trigger trade disputes and retaliation by trading partners because they conflict with tax treaties.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, representing big chipmakers such as Intel Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., told Republican leaders in a Dec. 5 letter that it has trade-related concerns about two House and Senate proposals that target multinationals’ payments to foreign affiliates, including payments for parts and other goods used in manufacturing, royalties, interest and management fees.

Former Sherman Aide Accused of Sexual Assault
Matt Dababneh, now a California assemblyman, worked as aide to Sherman from 2005 to 2013

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., speaks to constituents during a town hall meeting hosted by state Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, a former Sherman aide, in Van Nuys in February. Dababneh is accused of performing a lewd act in front of a lobbyist last year. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

A former aide to Rep. Brad Sherman who is currently a California state assemblyman is being accused of sexual assault

Matt Dababneh is being accused by lobbyist Pamela Lopez, who said Dababneh sexually assaulted her in a Las Vegas bathroom in 2016, The Associated Press reported.

New Excise Tax Targets Big-Money Nonprofit Executives
But K Street isn’t pushing hard to remove proposal

Association lobbyists on K Street could be hit by a 20 percent excise tax on seven-figure compensation packages under the GOP tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Many of K Street’s highest-paid association lobbyists are pushing for the first major tax overhaul in 30 years, but a discrete provision in the sweeping measure may have an adverse consequence for their bottom lines.

Lawmakers have crafted a new 20 percent excise tax on seven-figure compensation packages at all tax-exempt organizations, including trade associations, foundations, universities and hospital systems. The new tax is in both the House-passed bill and the Senate draft, making it likely to remain if the overhaul becomes law.

Opinion: Congress Must Act to Limit Hostile Foreign Influences
Americans deserve to know when foreign adversaries are trying to meddle

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a court hearing on the terms of his bail and house arrest on Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)