Lobbyists’ ban from advisory panels rapped by industry

Oct 06, 2009 | 07:57 AM | Martyn Chase

Metals trade associations are feeling the impact of an Obama administration decision to bar lobbyists, including some association officials, from serving on industry trade advisory committees (ITACs) to federal agencies.

The trade groups are responding to the White House directive in a number of ways, with some asserting the move will hit smaller associations harder, especially those with five full-time staffers or less.

The White House officially only issued "guidance," not actual policy, for the federal agencies, including the Commerce, Energy, Labor and Transportation departments, although most, if not all, of the major agencies are expected to implement the new directive.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said this week that he would implement the directive by not reappointing federally registered lobbyists serving on industry advisory panels at his agency, many of whom are closely involved with advising the USTR on highly sensitive trade negotiations with other nations. But Kirk said lobbyists would continue to play an important role in presenting industry views on issues to government agencies.....

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