Watchdog Again Calls for Investigation of David Bernhardt’s Former Lobbying Firm for Lobbying Disclosure Violations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, called on the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives to investigate the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP (Brownstein) and one of its lobbyists, Luke Johnson, for possible violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) in connection with their representation of Northeast Maglev, a company seeking to build a high-speed train along the Northeast Corridor.
CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens said, “Brownstein lobbyist Luke Johnson appears to have met with Interior Department officials about Northeast Maglev’s high-speed rail project without disclosing it, as required by law. Sadly, it appears Brownstein has a pattern of failing to comply with the LDA. Federal officials should immediately conduct an investigation and hold Mr. Johnson and Brownstein accountable if they violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act.”
According to emails obtained by the watchdog group Western Values Project, Mr. Johnson appears to have met with Interior officials on behalf of Northeast Maglev on December 14, 2017. Nevertheless, Brownstein did not disclose Mr. Johnson’s representation of Northeast Maglev or the meeting at the Department of the Interior on its Fourth Quarter 2017 Lobbying Disclosure Report.
This appears to be the latest instance of Brownstein failing to disclose its lobbying activities. CfA previously filed two complaints against Brownstein and one of its former employees, now-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, for failing to file accurate lobbying disclosure reports. Mr. Bernhardt apparently continued to lobby for Westlands Water District (Westlands), an agricultural conglomerate in California, in 2017 despite formally withdrawing his lobbying registration in 2016. Brownstein has not filed updated disclosure forms regarding Mr. Bernhardt’s representation of Westlands.
Mr. Stevens continued, “The Lobbying Disclosure Act was adopted to promote transparency and strengthen the democratic process. Given the apparent pattern of violations, a full audit of all of Brownstein’s lobbying activities may be in order.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.