Brian D. Smith

Brian D. Smith

Brian Smith provides strategic and legal advice on matters that require substantial political, reputational, or government relations considerations.  He represents companies and individuals in high-profile or high-risk investigations, particularly congressional investigations, criminal investigations with political implications, and investigations related to political law compliance.  He has significant experience in crisis management, where he advises clients facing combined legal, political, and media relations risks.  His practice also includes the development and execution of government relations initiatives, including securing the U.S. government’s political support on behalf of U.S. companies facing international legal issues.

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FARA Again in the Spotlight: New York Times Examines Foreign Funding and Think Tanks

This weekend, the New York Times ran a lengthy investigative report on foreign government donations to U.S. think tanks.  The story alleged that the foreign governments bought influence and paid for advocacy by some of the nation’s most respected research institutions.  The article outlined contributions from Norway, UAE, Qatar, Japan, and others to think tanks including the … Continue Reading

Lobbyists Can Now Sit on Some Federal Advisory Committees: Here’s How to Find Out Where

In a significant reversal by the Obama administration, lobbyists will now be permitted to serve on federal advisory committees, boards, and commissions after more than four years of sitting on the advisory committee sidelines. In guidance published in the Federal Register today, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) quietly revised, in large part, the … Continue Reading

July 4th Puts the FAA Drone Policy to the Test

Dramatic videos posted over the holiday weekend show fireworks displays that were filmed from drones.  The videos are remarkable, with the drones often flying within the sweep of the exploding shells.  Burning fireworks frequently zoom past the cameras.  We found drone fireworks videos from Decatur, Ga., Lake Martin, Ala., Oak Mountain State Park, Ala., and … Continue Reading

The FAA’s Commercial Drone Approval is Significant, but Bigger Issues Remain

On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it had authorized the first commercial drone operation over land in the United States.  The approval permits energy company BP to operate drones to survey pipelines, roads, and equipment at the oilfield at Prudhoe Bay, along the north Arctic Ocean coast of Alaska.  The … Continue Reading

Is Lobbying Reform Looking More Likely?

In the past week, the Association of Government Relations Professionals (formerly the American League of Lobbyists) announced its endorsement of tougher disclosure requirements for lobbyists, and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2014, which would permanently ban former Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.  This … Continue Reading

2013 GAO Lobbying Disclosure Report Shows Challenges in Compliance, Recordkeeping

Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2013 report on compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA), summarizing the audits of 104 lobbyist reports and information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. We see several trends in this year’s report.  First, registrants are reporting more difficulties complying … Continue Reading
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