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Lobbying law expert says Va. statute applies only at state level

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Legal eagles are sifting through Virginia's statute prohibiting lobbyists from serving as chairmen of the state party, trying to decipher whether it bars former Del. Brian Moran from serving as head of the Democratic Party of Virginia. He does lobbying work at the federal level for the Career College Association, which represents for-profit colleges.

We checked in with former Chief Deputy Attorney General H. Lane Kneedler to get his opinion.

Kneedler's verdict: The statute applies only to those who lobby at the state level. He noted that the terms "lobbyist" and "lobby" are defined in the law and refer to those who try to influence members of the Virginia General Assembly or executive officials in Virginia.

"From a legal perspective, I do not believe the statute applies to federal lobbyists," said Kneedler, who is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia law school and teachers a course that covers campaign finance and lobbying law.

We should note that Kneedler is himself barred from seeking the state party chairmanship: He's a registered lobbyist in Virginia.

His clients have included higher education foundations and associations.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 5, 2010; 5:19 PM ET
Categories:  Brian J. Moran, Rosalind Helderman  
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