NCBFAA, ASAE Still Tracking OGE Proposed Rule
The White House is still weighing whether or not to modify a proposed rule it issued last fall that would restrict government employees from attending trade association meetings and conferences, according to an April 6 New York Times article.
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and hundreds of other associations objected strongly to the proposed rule written by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) because it ignores the educational value of trade association meetings and would isolate federal employees from a valuable dialogue with the private sector industries that the government regulates.
The Times article mentions the ethics office’s contention that trade association lobbyists use conferences and other events to curry favor with federal employees – a misperception that prompted a letter to the editor http://capwiz.com/asaeinroads/utr/1/AXFWRPFJNQ/EVXFRPFJWD/8161605951from ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE, this week.
“Suggesting that trade associations are only interested in holding cocktail parties where they can unleash their lobbyists on unsuspecting government employees is demeaning to the sector, and it’s the fundamental flaw in the OGE’s proposed rule,” Graham wrote. “I firmly believe that the law could be easily amended in a way that meets the administration’s strict ethical standards while protecting necessary communication between the government and the industries represented by America’s associations.”
ASAE submitted comments to the ethics office last fall and met with the White House earlier this year to emphasize the educational nature of trade association meetings and urge the administration to view trade associations in the same light as professional societies and other nonprofit organizations that were excluded from the proposed restrictions.
After previously signing onto the original letter ASAE letter sent in February, NCBFAA Pac Chair, Kathy Murray, American Cargo Express Inc. and GAC Chair Mary Peglow, Mid America Overseas, Inc., joined NCBFAA EVP barbara reilly on the Hill March 15, with more than 100 other industry organizations, to stress the importance of continued participation of our federal regulatory agency partners at industry conferences, roundtables and educational events.