After Julie Lucas mailed out a flyer to 51st District residents mildly criticizing Faisal Gill for lobbying for increased government expenditures on behalf of his clients, Faisal Gill responded with his own mail piece saying that there’s nothing wrong with being a lobbyist, and includes pictures of RPV Chairman Ed Gillespie and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who have done lobbying in the past. So Gill admits that as a principal of Sapentia, LLC, he is a lobbyist. Interesting.
But is he registered as a lobbyist? He’s not registered in the State of Virginia as a lobbyist. He’s not registered with the United States Senate as a lobbyist. Federal law (2 U.S.C. Sec. 1603) requires lobbyists at the federal level to register with both the House and Senate within 45 days, and failure to register is punishable by up to $50,000 in civil fines. Virginia State law (VA Code Section 2.2-422) requires registration prior to conducting any lobbying, and the penalty is a $50 per day fine. Has Faisal Gill done any of this? It would appear that he has not. His partner in Sapentia, Asim Ghafoor, has.
I’m not sure how fond Ed Gillespie and Haley Barbour might be of Faisal Gill’s suggestion of their endorsement by using pictures of them on his mailers. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be happy at all about being used as an example of how Faisal Gill’s activities are entirely innocuous when it appears that Faisal Gill is in violation of the law while doing so. Haley and Ed have complied with the law here, and being equated with someone who has not is pretty disturbing. If Faisal ends up angering the head of the RPV and a sitting Governor who is legendary for raising huge amounts of money for his political campaigns over this, it might have some impact on this race, depending on how upset they get.
Is this yet another instance of Faisal Gill cutting corners? It sure looks like it, although this time I would suspect it’s going to be a little harder for him to weasel his way out. Violating lobbyist disclosure requirements is pretty serious business, and the penalties are steep. Trying to make yourself look like Jack Abramoff is bad politics as well.
UPDATE: NLS has more here.
UPDATE 2: Here’s the page in the mailer in question. Click the image to “enbiggen”. Notice the unusual tag line, which appears to be missing some punctuation marks. It would read much more coherently as “No Way! Julie Lucas, should she be our Delegate? Yes!”
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