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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein Assists the NAM to Challenge New Lobbying Law

February 12, 2008

Wiley Rein LLP has filed suit on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), challenging a key provision of new lobbying reform laws that violates First Amendment rights by requiring private associations to disclose the names of certain contributing member organizations whose employees actively participate in lobbying activities.

The case, National Association of Manufacturers v. Taylor, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, along with a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the provision until the case is decided.  To read that motion, which explains the NAM’s case, click here. (In response to the NAM’s motion, the court agreed to issue an expedited final decision before the first new report is due.)

Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice chair and senior litigation partner are representing the NAM in the suit.  They argue that the new law, part of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, violates First Amendment rights to speak, associate, and to petition the government.  They contend the law is (1) unconstitutionally vague and (2) not tailored to its claimed purpose of revealing the backers of “stealth coalitions.”  They point out that “stealth coalitions” can avoid any disclosure by not hiring their own lobbyists, and that individuals who actively contributed to lobbying are not disclosed, no matter how wealthy and powerful they may be.  At the same time, heavy burdens are imposed upon established organizations that represent well known interests – e.g. the NAM represents manufacturers.

The first lawsuit to challenge the Lobbying Disclosure Act since it passed in 1995, the case has attracted significant media attention from publications including The Wall Street Journal, Legal Times, The Politico and The Hill.

For more information on the case, click here.