The American League of Lobbyists on Monday called for the withdrawal of a new ethics regulation that would prohibit all government employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists.
The regulation, proposed two weeks ago by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), follows a tough executive order issued by President Obama in the early days of his administration banning political appointees from accepting gifts from lobbyists. The proposed rule expands the ban to career employees.
Watchdog groups are pushing for the proposed rule to be stronger, but several lobbyists believe the regulation could hinder communication between K Street and the executive branch. Trade associations have begun to worry that federal workers will no longer be able to attend their trade shows and conferences.
"Lobbyists and their employers have knowledge that federal employees can use and they have knowledge that we want to tap. Federal workers develop policies and regulations that affect every aspect of our society. To prevent interaction of almost any kind between lobbyists and federal employees is not in the public interest. It will result in the dumbing-down of government at a time when public trust is at an all-time low," said Marlowe, also president of lobby firm Marlowe & Co.
OGE is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until Nov. 14.