FSC's Secret Weapon

Diane Duke
Free Speech Coalition is privileged to work with some of the best lobbyists in the nation. So why is it that our lobby efforts often go unnoticed? Because a lobbyist’s most effective work happens behind the scenes in the offices and halls of our states’ and nation’s capitals.

On March 10, FSC held its annual Lobby Day, bringing 24 adult industry professionals to California’s state capital. Ignacio Hernandez, FSC’s new California lobbyist, paved the way, working behind the scenes to set up appointments and provide background on the issues to be discussed. On Lobby Day, for the first time in the history of FSC’s Lobby Day, we met with more legislators than legislative staff. FSC lobby teams were armed with packets of information about the adult entertainment industry as well as materials expressing concern about AB 1082, a proposed tax on adult products.

The 55 legislative meetings went very well and all teams reported that Ignacio had already been by the legislative offices and that the legislators spoke very highly of him. The legislative offices had been primed for our visit and were very receptive to our message. However, our lobbying efforts are not usually as public as the work that we did on Lobby Day. In fact, most of FSC’s lobbying activity takes place quietly, behind the scenes. This legislative session is no different. Early in the session, the LA County Health Department shopped a mandatory condom bill for adult productions. FSC argues that government regulation is always intrusive, particularly when we have been so effective in regulating ourselves in this area. Ignacio had a network of folks at the capital alerting him when legislators were asked to sponsor the bill. He worked nonstop, monitoring the shopping of the bill. Late in the evening on Feb. 27, the last day to introduce bills in the California Legislature, I received a text message from Ignacio informing me that the bill had not been introduced. Because of Ignacio’s work, all producers have saved thousands of dollars on the cost of compliance with an unnecessary law.

In D.C.
FSC has worked with our lobbyists behind the scenes to develop strategies, build relationships and get information that has, in one way or another, helped every company in the industry.

When .XXX was introduced, FSC’s lobbyists were instrumental in helping us communicate with and get information about ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and their plans for .XXX. We continue to monitor the issue as Stuart Lawley and the ICM Registry press their independent review petition with ICANN. The results of this behind-the-scenes work and strategies developed with our lobby team were instrumental in the initial demise and ongoing rejection of .XXX and most likely the final demise of ICM’s .XXX.

When the DOJ (Department of Justice) put out a request for public comment on 2257, FSC worked with our D.C. lobbyists to develop a strategy for the most effective response to the proposed regulations. As a result of that strategy, we now have third party record keeping and a solid foundation for our upcoming litigation.

Often the most important and effective weapons in an arsenal are the ones that are stealth. I would argue that is the case with FSC’s arsenal of lobbyists. You may not see the work they do, but they are our highly effective secret weapon.


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