Trump Transition Announces Ban on Lobbyists and Post-Employment Restriction on Lobbying

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Kenneth A. Gross Ki P. Hong Matthew Bobys Melissa L. Miles Charles M. Ricciardelli Tyler Rosen Shayla K. Parker

On November 16, 2016, a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump announced on a conference call that Trump’s transition team is imposing certain restrictions on lobbyists who are appointed to the team. (The spokesman said Trump’s administration will do the same once he takes office.) According to public reports, a person joining either the transition team or the administration will be required to sign a pledge that he or she is not currently a registered federal lobbyist or a compensated state lobbyist in any state. If an appointee is a registered lobbyist, he or she must pledge that he or she has filed the necessary registration terminations and must supply documentation of terminations as soon as possible. Furthermore, a person leaving an administration position will be subject to a five-year ban on lobbying. Reports differ as to the scope of the ban, such as whether it will apply to lobbying contacts with any part of the government or only with the former official’s agency. It also is not clear whether all appointees, or only certain senior personnel, will be subject to these restrictions. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.

By contrast, the Obama administration imposed a two-year post-employment ban on contacts with a departing official’s former agency for certain senior officials, and a separate ban on lobbying executive branch personnel for the remainder of the Obama administration for all covered appointees. The Obama policy also differed in that it prohibited a person from accepting an appointment to an agency if he or she lobbied the agency in the prior two years.

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