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How Many Lobbyists Are Really Breaking the Law? How Many Lobbyists Are Really Breaking the Law?

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How Many Lobbyists Are Really Breaking the Law?

A recent study found that a majority of lobbyists may not be fully disclosing their past government work, which would be a violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act and Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.

The study, co-authored by a James Madison University political science professor, found that, based on the biographies of 1,600 registered lobbyists in 2008, 57 percent didn't disclose their past government work.

But, as Mother Jones reports, the researchers didn't look into all the ways lobbyists can disclose their past work. And that means that some lobbyists who were thought to be in violation may actually have filed their paperwork properly. 

From Mother Jones:

So what was going on? Get ready to geek out. There are two ways that lobbyists can publicly disclose their previous work with the government under the Lobbying Disclosure Act: Through registration (LD-1) forms, which are filed for every new client they work for, or through the LD-2 forms that are filed quarterly. When I called the Senate Office of Public Records and and the House Legislative Resource Center, they both told me that a lobbyist only needs to fill out covered government employment on one of these forms.
The researchers, who just looked at LD-2 quarterly reports, still stood by their findings. But it does make us wonder about that 57 percent figure, which is quite high.

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