SACRAMENTO: Fair Political Practices Commission, "secret lobbying," regulation, exemption?: "California watchdog considers rule that would curb secret lobbying at Capitol" ....
* Orange County Register (AP): "California watchdog considers rule that would curb secret lobbying at Capitol" - From the Register:
SACRAMENTO – California regulators are considering a plan to curb secret lobbying at the state Capitol. The Fair Political Practices Commission plans to vote Thursday on narrowing a regulation that allows people to avoid identifying themselves as lobbyists by attending Capitol meetings as experts. They comply with current rules by working alongside lobbyists who are properly registered.
The regulation has faced scrutiny as a way for former legislators and officials to skirt state rules requiring they wait a year after leaving office to lobby their former colleagues. “People found it to be a little bit of a loophole,” FPPC Chairwoman Jodi Remke told a Sacramento Press Club luncheon last month. “We did have political operatives going along with paid lobbyists, kind of opening the door to certain public officials’ offices and saying that their ‘expertise’ was the political process.” The proposed change would clarify the exception applies only to bona fide experts on specific, pending legislative or administrative actions.
Attorneys at the state’s political watchdog sought the change after deciding last September that former Assembly Speaker and Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamante complied with the rule when he repeatedly lobbied from 2008 through 2013, but never reported it . . . . . . . .
The change could be too vague for potential lobbyists to properly or uniformly follow . . . . . . . .
What critics call a “revolving door” between the Legislature and special interests was highlighted in December when former Assemblyman Henry Perea, a Fresno Democrat, resigned and went to work for the pharmaceutical industry. Two state senators left office in 2013 to join the lucrative lobbying business.
Former FPPC counsel Robert Stern said the commission should get rid of the exemption entirely ............