Wall Street Journal: PR Firms File Lawsuit to Block Albany Lobbying Rules (In the News)

Erica Orden

The firms—including BerlinRosen Public Affairs Ltd, which works closely with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Risa Heller Communications LLC and Mercury Public Affairs—sued the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in Manhattan federal court. They seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, arguing the panel’s interpretation of the state lobbying act violates federal constitutional protection of free speech.

“This expansive (indeed, nonsensical) definition of ‘lobbying,’ which was created by administrative fiat, directly inhibits and chills the rights of public relations firms and their clients to participate in discussions of public matters with and in the press, to serve as anonymous sources to the press, and to exercise their core speech and associational rights free from government inspection or the threat of prosecution or sanction,” says the plaintiffs’ brief, filed by the firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP and the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia-based nonprofit.

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.