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Industry Group Requests New York Investigation of Anti-Fracking Celebrities

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York reportedly filed a formal complaint with New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics on March 26, 2013, requesting an investigation into whether the group known as “Artists Against Fracking” is violating state lobbying laws.  Artists Against Fracking consists of several high-profile celebrities, including Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon, who are outspoken opponents of hydraulic fracturing.  The complaint asserts that neither Artists Against Fracking nor the individual members are registered as lobbyists in New York, and that the group has failed to disclose its spending in opposition to hydraulic fracturing.  Reported statements offered by a former New York lobbying regulator, David Grandeau, suggest that advocates who spend more than $5,000 are required to register.  A spokesman for Artists Against Fracking, David Fenton, said the group and its members do not have to register as lobbyists “when they use their own money to express an opinion.”