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New York State could redefine PR as lobbying

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    This is so delicious.

    A NYS commission, designed to reform ethics in government, has prosed a rue that would force PR reps, who pitch editorial writers, to register as lobbyists, and publicly disclose such contact. (The original proposal included all journalists.)

    A new rule from the state's ethics board broadly expands when paid consultants and public-relations firms have to publicly disclose their clients and contracts -- including, in some cases, if they contact the news media.

    The Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted Tuesday to approve an advisory opinion addressing the often-blurred line between lobbying and consulting in Albany, which has long allowed many consultants to avoid revealing their behind-the-scenes work by tip-toeing around lobbying rules that would trigger disclosure.

    But critics say a portion of the opinion dealing with consultants' interactions with the press could have an adverse impact on free speech.

    Specifically, the opinion requires consultants to register as lobbyists and follow state disclosure rules if they reach out to a media outlet "in an attempt to get it to advance the client’s message in an editorial." It would apply to consultants whose clients have taken a stance on a bill or issue, and would require them to periodically detail how much they're spending on the effort and exactly which issues they're lobbying on.

    "Any attempt by a consultant to induce a third-party – whether the public or the press – to deliver the client’s lobbying message to a public official would constitute lobbying under these rules," the opinion states.
    Initially, a draft of the advisory opinion would have required consultants to disclose their contracts and clients if they contacted "a reporter or editorial board" in an attempt to promote their message, but it was scaled back in the final version to primarily include just outreach for newspaper editorials.

    NY board: Speaking with media could spur disclosure
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