Lobbying: 167 companies or associations pinned for non-declaration

Lobbying. One word to sum up a practice, sometimes aggressive, which ranges from influence to pressure. If a 2016 law is supposed to make the action of pressure groups in France more transparent, they still have great difficulty in complying with it. The High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP) pointed out this Friday, 167 companies or associations for not having declared their lobbying activities in 2019.

The HATVP, an independent authority chaired by the former president of the Court of Auditors Didier Migaud, has managed since Sapin II law of 2016 a public directory interest representatives so that citizens are informed of the relations between lobbies and public officials when decisions are taken. Nothing prevents the plastics industry, for example, from putting forward arguments in its favor with parliamentarians, ditto for hunting, the diesel car, or the cultivation of soya… It must still be said. Registration in this register is compulsory to meet ministers and their cabinet, parliamentarians and their collaborators, and certain senior officials. To breathe or try to breathe, in short, in the direction of their interests.

The some 2,200 interest representatives registered on the digital register have often declared their activities for 2019 late, despite the extension to August 24 of the declaration deadline granted by the HATVP due to the confinement. And despite the raises, 167 still haven’t.

Nokia France, Vinci, Arkopharma laboratories …

Among them are numerous chambers of commerce, professional organizations such as GNI-Synhorcat (restaurateurs, hoteliers) or the National Confederation of tobacconists of France, the Confédération paysanne, companies such as Nokia France, Vinci, or Arkopharma laboratories, the Association of Lobbyists Lawyers, which must nevertheless master the subject, or associations such as the Bloom ocean protection NGO.

They should receive a formal notice if they do not rectify their situation quickly.

As for those who registered, they have, according to the High Authority, improved the quality of their statements. Almost 13,000 actions were registered for 2019, compared to less than 8,500 for the year 2,018. The three areas that collect the most declarations are “the health and medico-social system”, taxation and ‘Agriculture. Parliament continues to be primarily concerned (73% of actions), the government in 43%. In 2018, this ratio was 67 and 56%.

More than a hundred checks are underway, and the High Authority is advocating in particular to expand the information to be declared. Likewise, she would like the representatives of the lobbies to complete two declarations per year and be able to apply administrative sanctions. For the moment, only penal sanctions are envisaged, and they are heavy: the representatives of interests who do not complete the necessary formalities risk up to one year of imprisonment and 15,000 € of fine.

Original article by : www.leparisien.fr

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