On January 6, Scott Reed, a corporate lobbyist who is also the senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed several lobbying disclosure reports with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives covering the 4th quarter of 2015. Normally, such routine filings would not be very notable. For Reed, however, they represent a milestone, marking the first time in two years that he filed one of these legally required reports on time.
As CREW pointed out last month, though lobbyists are required by law to file quarterly reports disclosing their lobbying activities, Reed had not filed any reports for the first three quarters of 2015. Almost immediately after CREW’s report, Reed filed 22 delinquent reports, covering $514,500 in lobbying fees that had gone unreported. Reed used the same bulk filing maneuver in 2014, when he didn’t file any lobbying disclosure reports for the year until December 26.
This is why Reed’s filings last week are important. They indicate that he is finally acknowledging – perhaps because he knows a watchdog is watching – that he needs to follow the law. The reports revealed valuable information as well, including that Reed terminated his relationship with United Technologies and Motorola in the 4th quarter of 2015 (it is unclear when or why the companies parted ways with Reed, but they couldn’t have liked seeing legal allegations against him mentioned in the media). If he had followed his previous pattern, it would have been impossible to know whether Reed, who is regularly quoted in the press, was still advocating on behalf of these companies. In all, Reed was paid $171,000 to represent four clients last quarter.
In addition to his lobbying disclosure reports, Reed also filed his year-end lobbying contribution report on January 6, disclosing five campaign contributions. This is also a significant development. Before CREW’s report, Reed had not filed a lobbying contribution report since January 2014. Just as he did with his disclosure reports, Reed filed his missing contributions reports en masse after CREW flagged them as missing.
It’s good that Reed appears to be following the law these days, even if it shouldn’t have taken CREW’s spotlight to prompt compliance. That doesn’t mean his legal concerns are through though. In November, CREW filed a criminal complaint with the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, alleging that Reed and several other associates of a notorious dark money group may have violated federal laws by making false statements to the government, obstructing an investigation and pocketing more than $1 million originally meant for broadcasting television ads.