Bottom Line

Bottom Line
© Greg Nash

• TECHNOLOGY. The online review site Yelp has added two firms to its K Street roster. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Invariant are now working on “competition issues affecting the Internet.” Among other things, Yelp has long been in a battle with Google, claiming that it prioritizes Google ads in search results to draw traffic to its own services. It has also accused Google of scraping photos from its site to use in Google search results, which — if true — would violate a 2012 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Google has denied any wrongdoing.  


•FOREIGN AGENTS. The Fair FARA Coalition, a group of U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations, hired Nossaman to lobby on its behalf. Lawmakers are considering tightening the rules around foreign lobbying and consulting, with one proposal effectively forcing lobbyists for these U.S.-based operations of foreign-owned companies to register with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Currently, these companies are able to register under the domestic lobbying law, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), if they are a private entity. Some lawmakers call it the LDA loophole and are aiming to close it. The reporting requirements for FARA are far broader than under the LDA, with filers required to provide a list of all individual emails, phone calls and meetings with virtually anyone outside the company. About a decade ago, U.S. subsidiaries successfully beat back similar proposals. 

• HEALTH CARE. A nonprofit organization called the International Society for Stem Cell Research hired its own in-house lobbyist, Eric Anthony, to work on several issues, including a “right to try” bill that would allow patients with terminal illnesses to obtain experimental drugs that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The organization is opposed to the legislation, previously saying that the legislative proposals “will allow snake oil salesmen to sell unproven and scientifically dubious therapies to desperate patients.” The legislation passed the Senate and is headed for a vote in the House on Tuesday, where it is expected to pass. It will then go to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE’s desk.