NMMA changes lobbying tactics

CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association has changed its lobbying tactics this year as a result of uncertainly over rules regarding gifts to congress people, according to a Chicago Tribune to article published today.

In previous summers, NMMA has entertained more than 650 congressional aides aboard its yacht in an effort to educate members of Congress and their staffs about boating issues, Monita Fontaine, NMMA’s chief lobbyist, told the newspaper. The association also has donated use of the boat to political candidates for fundraisers.

But this past winter, the association decided not to obtain a boat for the upcoming season due to speculation that gift rules would be tightened, the newspaper reported.

While Fontaine told the Tribune that she doesn’t believe NMMA has broken any rules through its boat trips, she said the association is waiting for clarification on gift rules from Congress “to make sure everything is aboveboard.”

In the meantime, while NMMA says it still has the same level of contact with Congress – meeting with members in their offices on the hill – it’s a different kind of contact.

“It makes it a little harder to make the message as real for them,” summed up NMMA President Thom Dammrich in an interview this morning.

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