Hotel industry blasts White House ethics proposal (Meghan Gray)

A new rule proposed by the Obama Administration would ban federal employees from accepting free admission to events, conferences and other gatherings from lobbyists, the Los Angeles Times tells us this morning.

The rule is being proposed by Pres. Obama’s Office of Government Ethics as a way to reduce influence peddling.

The rule is aimed at those instances when an employee of the executive branch is given a free ticket to an event – particularly an extravagant gala or fun concert – that they’d enjoy in the company of the lobbyist who paid, the story says.

But the proposal has put the lodging industry’s main lobby on the defensive, the Times notes.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association says the rule could reduce attendance at meetings, conferences, galas and other events frequently held at large, full-service hotels with familiar names such as Marriott, Hyatt, Omni, Sheraton and Hilton. And the rule is being proposed at a time when travel is just starting to return, the story says.

“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,” the association’s chief, Joe McInerney, told the Times in a statement.

Besides possibly reducing convention attendance, he says the rule would also prevent federal employees from mingling with industry people to learn about problems in the country, according to the story.

Readers: Feel like weighing in on this one on either side? Comment here on Hotel Check-In – or take an official path.

The public has until Nov. 14 to comment on the proposal (which does have some exceptions) via this Federal Register website.


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This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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