When is someone no longer a lobbyist? The Hill examines the controversy generated by recent official guidance.
The debate centers on when the LDA allows someone to de-register as a lobbyist. Under the new guidance, a lobbyist could de-register if he or she had not made more than one contact with government officials, including congressional aides or administration officials as well as members of Congress, over two consecutive quarters.
According to the LDA, lobbyists cannot de-register as long as they spend 20 percent of their time lobbying, even if they have less than two contacts during that same time period. An individual must register as a lobbyist if he spends 20 percent of his working time lobbying and contacts two or more government officials for a client.
Several lawyers believe the new guidance is in conflict with the LDA and could lead to many more terminations by lobbyists.