Proposal in Albany would require consultants like BerlinRosen, close to de Blasio and Forest City, to register as lobbyists
Some of New York’s most successful “strategic consulting” firms – such as Manhattan-based BerlinRosen and SKDKnickerbocker – have close relationships with politicians who are their campaign clients, and also represent interests with business before these clients. But their employees hardly ever register as lobbyists.This proposal must be voted on, after public comments, which can be made until December 4.
These firms maintain, however, that they do not actually ask those elected officials to make policy decisions benefitting those interests, and focus on public relations enhanced by insight into the thinking of public officials.
But JCOPE’s advisory opinion, if eventually passed, would expand the definition of lobbying beyond how its traditionally been interpreted by the industry and regulators. It is intended to cover not just direct lobbying, but consultants that use their connections to powerful officials to grease the wheels for direct lobbying – or for “door opening,” as JCOPE director of lobbying and senior counsel Martin Levine described at a commission meeting on Tuesday.