ASAE has unveiled an updated set of association lobbying guidelines that encompass rules passed in the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 2006 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007.
Stop yawning. This is important.
Awareness of the role associations play as educators in the policy dialogue is becoming more pervasive in Washington, D.C. Which is why it's more important than ever for association lobbyists to conduct forthright and principled business in the U.S. Capitol. Hence, ASAE's update to its guidelines, last updated in 2005.
Since that year, legislative changes have required more timely reporting by lobbyists of the contacts they make, and the very definition of what lobbying is, and how often it's done. Now, individual lobbyists and their associations have to file LD-203 forms twice a year, disclosing personal contributions to candidates.
I'm a total government geek, so I sat down with Chris Vest, director of public policy for ASAE—did you know that ASAE has its own political action committee, APAC? Vest says the guidelines now reflect new perceptions about association lobbying. And he says it's important to distinguish between association lobbying and corporate lobbying, because nonprofits and corporations function much differently.
The guidelines include a new definition of “association lobbyist,” which now comprises in-house employees and contract lobbyists hired by an association, and more concise language in support of policy process, compliance and conflict of interest.