Lobbying regulation - chronology 1920s-1980s

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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.

See also

Timeline of events

1920s-1980s

1928

USA: In the U.S.A, the Senate enacts a bill which required lobbyists to register with both the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House. The bill is blocked by the House of Representatives.[1]

1946

USA: The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act is adopted by Congress. The term ‘lobbyist’ is defined as referring to any person who by himself, or through any agent or employee or other persons in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, solicits, collects, or receives money or any other thing of value to be used principally . . . to influence, directly or indirectly, the passage or defeat of any legislation by the Congress of the United States.[2]

1970

UK: Ian Greer establishes Russell Greer Partnership (RG) with another veteran lobbyist, John Russell. It collapses in 1981 with Ian Greer going on to establish Ian Greer Associates. [3]

1973

USA: In 1973, the Senate and House Bills are introduced. Prior to this, lobbyists were required to register with and report to each house of the legislature separately.[4]

1981

UK: Ian Greer establishes Ian Greer Associates, the lobbying firm that would be at the heart of the 'cash for questions' affair in the early 1990s.[3]

1984

UK: Mohamed Al-Fayed takes over House of Fraser, including Harrods. This begins the feud with Tiny Rowland, chairman of Lonrho, and will result in the subsequent cash-for-questions affair involving Al-Fayed, Neil Hamilton MP and Ian Greer of Ian Greer Associates.[5] Tiny Rowland would go on to persuade Department of Trade and Industry ministers to look into Mohamed Al-Fayed's finances.[6]

1985

October

UK: To help in his dispute with Tiny Rowland, Mohamed Al-Fayed employs the parliamentary lobbying firm Ian Greer Associates (IGA).[5] This in turn would lead to the creation of the so-called 'Al-Fayed group' which would include Neil hamilton, Sir Michael Grylls, Tim Smith, Sir Peter Hodern and Sir Andrew Bowden. All would be paid to lobby on behalf of Mohamed Al-Fayed.[7]

November

UK: Conservative MP Neil Hamilton begins a series of 'parliamentary interventions' (including tabling questions, giving support to early day motions, attended meetings with ministers and writing letters), all of which push forward views that are in Mohamed Al-Fayed's interest.[8]

November 1st

UK: Conservative MP Sir Michael Grylls receives his first cash payment from Ian Greer. The payment is made on the same day Mohamed Al-Fayed becomes a client of Greer. This would be the first of several 'thank you payments' Grylls was to receive from Greer for introducing clients to Greer's company, Ian Greer Associates. At the time, Grylls does not register the payments in the Register of Members' Interests.[7]

1986

UK: Conservative MP Tim Smith takes money from Mohamed Al-Fayed in return for asking Commons questions and other parliamentary activities.[5]

1987

UK: Westminster lobbyist Ian Greer of Ian Greer Associates solicits money from clients (including Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed) to support the constituency campaigns of twenty six Conservative MPs.[9]

July 23rd

UK: Neil Hamilton writes to Mohamed Al-Fayed stating ""I have now been elected Secretary of the Conservative Finance Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Trade and Industry Committee, all of which gives me a better position from which to act on your behalf."[7]

July 29th

UK: Neil Hamilton and Sir Peter Hordern meet David Young, the Department of Trade and Industry minister, and lobby on behalf of Harrods.[7]

September

UK: Neil and Christine Hamilton enjoy six nights (8-14 September 1987) at the Paris Ritz. The cost of the stay totals £3,600 with Mohamed Al-Fayed footing the bill.[5]

November 21st

UK: Neil Hamilton writes to the Department of Trade and Industry and once again pleads Al-Fayed's case in the DTI inquiry.[7]

1988

UK: The House of Commons’ Select Committee on Members’ Interests begins its inquiry into the lobbying of parliament.[10]

May 27th

UK: Neil Hamilton tables two questions querying the cost of the DTI inquiry into Mohamed Al-Fayed.[7]

June

UK: Evidence is given by Dr Michael Rush, a member of the Study of Parliament Group, to the Select Committee on Members' Interests. In their memorandum, Rush et al (1988) suggest:

There is no doubt that not only has there been a growth in the number of organisations that lobby Parliament but also in the number of professional lobbying consultants, a number of whom specialise in parliamentary lobbying. Developments in this area, justifiably or otherwise, have given cause for concern and, if for no other reason, further consideration should be given to establishing a register of professional lobbyists. At the same time, it should be noted that our data would not support the view that the growth in lobbying is a product of the growth in the number of consultants, in that lobbying has grown far more than has the number of consultants.[11]

In his subsequent oral evidence to the Committee, Rush (1988) remarks:

The only advantage I can see of a register, whether it is of professional lobbyists or lobbying organisations in the wider sense, is that it provides publicity. It opens up the process more so that Members of Parliament or members of the public may, if they wish, be able to see who is lobbying. But I take your point [MP William Shelton suggested ‘that it is almost impossible to have a register unless those who register are accorded some sort of privilege’]. I could not agree more. If you say, "As a consequence of registering you have some privilege or other, access to Members or access to certain Parliamentary papers," that is something which I think would be very difficult to control but it would also, I would say, be something to be deplored.[12]

July 12th

UK: Neil Hamilton tables an early day motion condemning "libellous propaganda" against Mohamed Al-Fayed.[7]

Notes

  1. Byrd, R. C., ‘Lobbyists’, United States Senate, (1987) accessed 20.11.10
  2. 3.0 3.1 Tom O'Sullivan, 'Testing times for Godfather of lobbying / Profile of Ian Greer, PR Week, 7 June 1990.
  3. ‘Brief History – Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A’, Ethics in Government Act: Lobbyist Registration and Reporting Statutes, Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, 2007.
  4. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Guardian staff and agencies, 'Chronology - How the scandal unfolded', The Guardian, 22 December 1999.
  5. David Leigh, 'The former minister was pocketing cash from two sources', The Observer, 29 September 1996.
  6. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 David Leigh, 'Corruption in the commons: five MPs paid by £3.5m firm besieged parliament on client's behalf', The Observer, 29 September 1996.
  7. Lord Brown-Wilkinson, 'Judgments - Hamilton v. Al Fayed', 22 March 2000.
  8. Burrell, M. 'History of lobbying & of the APPC', APPC, 2006.
  9. Rush, M. Rush, M.R 'Registering the Lobbyists: Lessons from Canada', Political Studies, 4: 630-645, 1994.
  10. Rush, M., C. Seymour-Ure, P. Norton and M. Shaw, 'Memorandum submitted by Dr Michael Rush, Professor Colin Seymour-Ure, Professor Philip Norton and Mr Malcolm Shaw', Evidence on parliamentary lobbying, 1988.
  11. Rush, M. 'Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Members' Interests', Evidence on parliamentary lobbying, 14 June 1988.