Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


AH&LA Opposes Ban on Federal Employees Attending Events

Proposed Rule Stifles Exchange of Expertise by Restricting Government Employees
from Accepting Free Invitations to Attend Conferences

Washington, D.C., October 6, 2011 – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today submitted comments regarding the Obama administration’s proposed rule restricting government employees from accepting free invitations to attend conferences, programs, and other events hosted by companies and trade associations that employ lobbyists.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) was directed by the White House to extend the lobbyist gift ban adopted by President Obama for political appointees in 2009 to all federal employees, publishing the proposed rule in the Federal Register on September 13. The proposed rule would end a long recognized “widely attended gathering” (WAG) exception that allows federal employees to attend certain conferences, seminars, and educational events in cases where the sponsor is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (“LDA”).
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), which represents associations and association professionals, believes “trade associations are unjustifiably excluded from the exception, and that government employees benefit greatly from attending programs, seminars, trade shows and other events held by associations that represent different industries.”  ASAE will also be filing comments in opposition to this proposed rule.
AH&LA provided its relevant perspective on the WAG exception in today’s comments. In addition to being registered under the LDA, AH&LA’s members also frequently serve as venues for the widely-attended gatherings that federal employees would be proscribed from attending.

“As representatives of the lodging industry, we have heard the concerns of our members,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney. “Hotels are often the sites for conferences and events that federal employees would be banned from attending, thereby creating a direct negative impact to our business. This would have grave consequences for hotels, the economy, and the millions of workers our industry employs.”

“We are concerned that this rule would negatively impact communication between government and the public, leading to less informed policy,” said AH&LA Executive Vice President for Public Policy Marlene Colucci. “Currently, federal employees can gain a better understanding of specific business concerns by interacting with our diverse event attendees. Similarly, attendees learn about the intricacies of laws and regulations affecting their business. If this rule were implemented, this valuable exchange of knowledge would end.”

AH&LA will work with ASAE on this rule that will not only be detrimental to both the organizations and venues that host such events, but also to the government’s ability to create informed public policy. To read the full comments, click here.

Serving the hospitality industry for a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.

Eric Reller
(202) 289-3122

  Receive Your Hospitality Industry Headlines via Email for Free! Subscribe Here

To Learn More About Your News Being Published on Hotel-Online Inquire Here
Also See: AH&LA Defends Value of Meetings for Federal Agencies; Cites Benefits of Meetings to U.S. Economy / October 2011

AH&LA Surveys Industry in Aftermath of Hurricane Irene; Hoteliers Share Lessons Learned and Stories Exemplifying Hospitality / September 2011

AH&LA Lodging Industry Profile (LIP) Charts Profits, Sales and International Arrivals for 2010 Which Indicate Slight Uptick in Profitability / August 2011

David Kong and Montine McNulty Receive AH&LA Lawson Odde Award / June 2011

Partner Lodging Associations Honored by AH&LA for Outstanding Leadership and Growth / June 2011

AH&LA Honors Outstanding Hotel Employees with Annual Stars of the Industry Awards / June 2011

AH&LA Honors Hotels With National Achievement Awards; Hotels with Innovative IT, Environmental, Service Programs Recognized / June 2011

American Hotel & Lodging Association Presents 2011 John Whitaker Award to David Goldstone and State Leadership Awards to Members of Each Partner State Association in Recognition of Their Assistance with AH&LA Programs / March 2011

American Hotel & Lodging Association Quizzes Hoteliers on Mandatory Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 Regulations; Deadline to Comply with ADA is March 15, 2011 / March 2011

Mayur Chheda Of Infinity Hotel Group Named To American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Board Of Directors / February 2011

Joe Martin Takes Role of 2009 American Hotel & Lodging Association Chairman John Campbell Elected Secretary/treasurer, Will Serve as Chairman in 2011 / November 2008

The AH&LA Elects David Kong as 2008 Secretary/treasurer; The President and CEO of Best Western International Will Serve as the Association’s Chairman in 2010 / November 2007

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch

Home | Welcome | Hospitality News
| Industry Resources

Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.