February 17, 2012
Half a dozen lobbyists are suing the Obama administration claiming they are being denied their free speech rights by not serving on federal advisory committees.
The six lobbyists were either serving on or were seeking to be on the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITAC), which are jointly managed by the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, when President Barack Obama banned lobbyists from serving in his administration.
In their lawsuit filed in federal court, the plaintiffs claim the rule violates the U.S. Constitution because it infringes on their First Amendment rights.
The six lobbyists are Erik Autor of the National Retail Federation; Nate Herman, who represented the Travel Goods Association on an advisory board; Cass Johnson of the National Council of Textile Organizations; Stephen Lamar of the American Apparel & Footwear Association; Bill Reinsch of the National Foreign Trade Council, and Andrew Zamoyski, who represented the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates on an advisory board.