The Case of the Vanishing Lobbyist (s)

Kate Ackley, Roll Call (Apr. 2, 2013)


Edward Newberry, a partner in Patton Boggs’ public policy and lobbying division, had an enviable book of business in 2011, based on his federal disclosure reports.

The next year, Newberry vanished — at least from the public records used to track K Street. He hasn’t appeared on any client reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act since then.

But Newberry still works at Patton Boggs, the city’s largest lobbying practice. He became the firm’s managing partner, and now, instead of traipsing up to the Hill on behalf of clients, he says he delegates those duties to others so he can run the business.

Some advocates may de-register or become inactive to shield their clients or themselves from the stigma of being represented by registered lobbyists. Still others may have their eyes on a job in the Obama administration, which prohibits recently registered lobbyists from serving without a waiver. But Newberry illustrates how decisions to stop reporting federal lobbying can be driven by more mundane reasons.

“I really don’t do any lobbying now,” Newberry said. “This is a $320 million partnership, and I spend my full time in that role.”

In 2011, his clients included the cities of Greenville, S.C., and San Diego, Calif.; Inova Health Systems; Ohio University; and the Denver Regional Transportation District. He said most remain connected with Patton Boggs but are now represented by the firm’s other registered lobbyists. “We always served them with a team, and the team’s still here servicing those clients,” he said.

The Center for Responsive Politics in a recent report looked at individuals who were registered lobbyists in 2011 but who did not report any lobbying activity under the LDA in 2012 or 2013. The organization, which tracks lobbying and campaign finance data,concluded that nearly half of those inactive lobbyists continued to work for their same employers.

(for more, please visit our friends at Roll Call)

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