WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by executives from the American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Council of Textile Organizations and National Retail Federation challenging the Obama administration’s ban on federally registered lobbyists serving on trade advisory boards and commissions.
The lawsuit charges that the Executive Branch’s policy to exclude federally registered lobbyists from serving on the Industry Trade Advisory Committees, or ITACs, that are managed by the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, is unconstitutional because it violates their First Amendment rights and denies “equal protection of the laws.” Plaintiffs are seeking an injunction directing Commerce and USTR to consider their applications for membership to the ITACs, as well as a declaration that the policy is unconstitutional.
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