Early Briefing: A Return To Skybox Lobbying?

* Not long ago, lobbyists regularly entertained lawmakers and their aides in skyboxes at local sports arenas. But after a series of scandals on Capitol Hill, the law was changed to forbid congressional officials from accepting anything of value from lobbyists without repayment -- let alone the best seats in the house.

Now the Washington Redskins are talking up a new twist. Their sales force has given a one-page handout to a potential customer that states that congressional officials could accept a free "Suite Guest Pass" to a skybox as long as they have a ticket for anywhere else in the stadium, including a $25 standing-room-only ticket.

The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Post, says that such guest passes allow for only a "short visit." It does not define "short visit" or say who would monitor the requirement.

Several ethics experts and top lobbying managers said they would at a minimum advise caution. "This doesn't sound kosher to me," said Jan W. Baran, an ethics expert at the law firm Wiley Rein. He said he thought it could be seen as a "gimmick" in which a guest could "buy a standing-room-only ticket for $25 and then accept from the lobbyist a free guest pass to the suite."

David Donovan, the Redskins' general counsel, said that the document was not legal advice and that it was intended simply to provide information to customers who had asked about the impact of the new lobbying rules. He said the team was merely repeating what it had been told by government ethics offices.

* DynCorp International, a Falls Church government contractor, announced Tuesday that it was replacing its chief executive after just two years on the job.

Herb Lanese is retiring as president and chief executive to make way for William L. Ballhaus, 40, head of the network systems division at London-based BAE Systems and a third-generation defense industry executive. Lanese, 63, will remain on the company's board.

DynCorp Chairman Robert B. McKeon said Ballhaus's background in information technology and intelligence analysis is crucial for DynCorp as demand for those services increases and the hardware needs of the war in Iraq subside.

* Retired Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton, resigned from the board of CACI International, an Arlington government contractor, on May 7 after serving for a year, CACI said in a filing.

By Dan Beyers  |  May 14, 2008; 7:52 AM ET
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