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Daniel Pickard Quoted Discussing Lobbying Firm's Failure to Register as a Foreign Agent

New Age
April 11, 2011

International Trade Practice partner Daniel Pickard was quoted in an article discussing the actions of a lobbying firm that failed to register itself as a foreign agent of a political party.  The article raises the question of whether Cassidy & Associates may have broken the law when it acted as a lobbyist for Mir Quasem Ali, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami-an Islamist political party-in Bangladesh. The Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938 dictates that any lobbying firm acting on the behalf of a foreign political party must register as an agent of the party with the Department of Justice before handling any work. Violating the act could result in a maximum fine of $10,000 or a sentence of up to two years in jail. "A relevant question to be asked in situations like this is why a private person from another country would spend large sums of money to change the US government's policy. This kind of scenario does raise suspicions," Mr. Pickard said. "It would be easier for an individual person who is a member of a foreign political party to argue that any contract he may have with a lobbying firm is of a personal nature and has nothing to do with the political party if the firm was lobbying on behalf of the client '  s own business interests. Then the politician can perhaps argue that he or she is getting lobbying not to support the political party but his personal commercial interests," he added. "What is important ultimately is not whose name is on a contract. The question for the Department of Justice is whether the foreign party is directly or indirectly calling the shots. Is the person who signed the contract effectively getting his marching orders from the political party in another country?" Mr. Pickard asked.