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Nominee Admits He Registered as Lobbyist

August 04, 2005|Maura Reynolds | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. acknowledged Wednesday that he had registered as a lobbyist for the cosmetics industry in 2001 -- a fact he omitted on a questionnaire he delivered to a Senate committee Tuesday.

The omission was first reported in Newsday on Wednesday.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Roberts explained that his firm had registered him as a lobbyist because he met with government lawyers as part of his work representing the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Assn. At the time, the association sought to block a proposed labeling regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

"I was asked to prepare a legal analysis of how the proposed regulation would violate the 1st Amendment," Roberts said in the letter to Leahy. "Since I shared this legal analysis with government attorneys, my firm, through another partner, filed a lobbying registration under the Lobbying Disclosure Act on which I was listed. This should have been noted on my questionnaire."

Roberts explained that because his work for the association consisted of preparation for litigation, "the question about lobbying on the questionnaire did not trigger a memory of those meetings."

In the 67-page questionnaire, Roberts noted that he had registered as a lobbyist in 1998 in connection with legal work for two peanut growers associations. He said he did not recall meeting with government officials but registered as a lobbyist "in perhaps an excess of caution."

Later in the document, Roberts listed a speech he delivered to the cosmetic association in April 2000, but he made no mention of a lobbying connection.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act requires lawyers who represent clients before government officials and agencies to register their client relationship.

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