Lobbyists Can Now Join Federal Advisory Committees

August 13, 2014

The Obama White House released a new rule reversing its ban on lobbyists in government.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rule allows registered lobbyists to participate as members on panels covered by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The rule change was forced by a court decision.

In January 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a lower court decision, ruling that Obama's ban on lobbyists on advisory committees violated their First Amendment right to free speech. In that case, six lobbyists sought to be members of an industry advisory committee advising the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative on trade agreements. The court's ruling was applicable to many other federal advisory committees.