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Armey’s Camouflage

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey may be singing the praises of the “blood, sweat and tears” that go into creating music and the need for artists to get royalties for songs played on the radio, but what he won’t tell you is that he’s getting paid to do it by the Recording Industry Association of America.

[IMGCAP(1)]Armey, a lobbyist at DLA Piper, is expected to be on Capitol Hill today with Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and Tom Lee of the American Federation of Musicians to promote the Performance Rights Act of 2007.

Plugged by the musicFIRST Coalition, none of the materials on the event identifies that Armey represents RIAA. And, this isn’t the first time he’s lobbied for the bill without expressly stating his lobbying interests.

In a Washington Times Op-Ed March 6, Armey argued against radio’s exemption, calling it a “baffling and unjustifiable exemption from paying the performers of music when they use their music to make a profit.”

While Armey’s essay was followed by an addendum that included his position at DLA Piper and as a former lawmaker from Texas, it left off that he lobbies for RIAA.

The firm billed RIAA $30,000 during the first quarter of 2008, according to lobbying reports.

Armey should have listed the client in the article, according to Ted Loud, a spokesman for DLA Piper, who said that it is a “policy of the firm to identify if there is a client interest involved.”

Armey was unavailable for comment, but his assistant Jean Campbell chalked the error up to an administrative mistake.

“I did not put the disclaimer on, and I should have,” Campbell said.

Armey has been taken to task before for not identifying clients. In 2005, Roll Call reported that radio listeners in 15 states heard a message from Armey trying to stop asbestos legislation. At the time, Armey presented himself as working on behalf of FreedomWorks, a conservative grass-roots network. He didn’t disclose that he was also working on behalf of Equitas, a British insurer to help stop the bill.

Beer’s Military Salute. Clinking glasses isn’t unusual for the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute, but the groups took it to the next level Tuesday in the kick-off of their 18th annual legislative conference.

The associations performed a “military salute” to wholesalers and their families “who trade in beer uniforms for our country’s uniform,” according to Rebecca Spicer of the NBWA. One longtime brewer, Leinenkugel, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., had four generations of military service between it, says Spicer.

One thousand members of the beer industry will be on Capitol Hill for the next two days, lobbying Congress on a variety of issues.

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