A new study found that lobbyists may be under-reporting their previous work for the federal government, which would be in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act and Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.
Researchers looked into the biographies of about 1,600 registered lobbyists in 2008, and found that 57 percent of them didn't disclose their previous, recent "covered" status work for the government.
James Madison University political science professor Tim LaPira co-authored the study along with H.F. Thomas III of the University of Texas, Austin. LaPira told the Alley that while he expected some discrepancies, he was taken aback that more than half of the lobbyists studied failed to disclose their covered status.
"What surprised me is how systematic it was," he said, adding that "it should probably raise some eyebrows" at the committees and departments responsible for enforcing disclosure.
The next phase of LaPira's research will look into what kinds of lobbyists are most likely to not disclose their previous work history.
"It sends a bigger signal," LaPira said. "It's one minor thing, but it signals a practice of lack of oversight. It could just be a tip of the iceberg."
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