Federal Lobbyists Must Now Disclose Past Convictions
As the April 22 deadline approaches for submitting quarterly federal lobbying reports, organizations that employ or retain lobbyists must be aware of new registration and reporting obligations. The Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018, or the "JACK Act,” requires every registered lobbyist to disclose whether he/she has been convicted in a federal or state court of an offense involving bribery, extortion, embezzlement, an illegal kickback, tax evasion, fraud, conflict of interest, making a false statement, perjury, or money laundering.
At the end of March, the Offices of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives issued revised lobbying registration and reporting forms in order to comply with the law. New fields have been added to the online lobbying reporting system for information required by the JACK Act (line 15 on the LD-1 registration and line 29 on the LD-2 quarterly lobbying expense report).
If none of the lobbyists listed on a registration or report have been convicted of a JACK Act offense, a box to that effect must be checked. If a lobbyist has been convicted of a JACK Act offense, detailed information about the offense, the jurisdiction, and the date of conviction must be disclosed. Once a JACK Act disclosure is required for a listed lobbyist, that same disclosure is required on every future registration or quarterly report that includes the lobbyist.
The JACK Act was signed into law on January 3, 2019, and became effective immediately. Since the revised online reporting forms have only just become available, previous registrations or quarterly reports filed on or after that date may have to be amended, but only if there are JACK Act offenses to disclose. The Congressional guidance memorandum on the JACK Act can be viewed at this link
The short name of the new law – the “JACK” Act—refers to infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted of tax fraud and bribery in 2006. The investigation of his activities at that time was instrumental in the enactment of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, which significantly revised the federal lobbying and ethics laws.
Please contact Jim Kahl if you have any questions about the JACK Act or any other federal lobbying compliance questions.