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Congressional delegation meets with OSCPA members during Society Fly-in: thirteen OSCPA members and keypersons addressed important accounting and business issues with members of Ohio's congressional delegation at the 6th annual Congressional Fly-in, held April 27-28 in Washington.

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Six OSCPA members served as federal keypersons, joining Barbara Benton, vice president, governmental affairs and Amy Mignogna, senior manager, governmental affairs on the trip to D.C. Once there, the group joined Clarke Price, OSCPA president and CEO along with seven OSCPA members who serve on AICPA Governing Council to lobby Congress.

Tom McLaughlin, OSCPA keyperson and veteran fly-in participant shared his experience.

MONDAY, APRIL 27

The morning began with a point/counterpoint between columnist Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst, and Donna Brazile, CNN political contributor and ABC political consultant that was part of the AICPA Council meeting. From the "right," Buchanan analyzed the first few months of the Obama presidency along with his view of the political climate. Then Brazile, who has worked on both the Clinton and Gore presidential campaigns, shared her perspective from the "left." Both presentations were sprinkled with humor. It was clear that this wasn't the first time the two had shared a podium.

Following the panel, White House National Economic Council Deputy Director Jason Furman presented a list of President Obama's priorities. He stressed that the Obama administration is working to move the economy forward with an economic recovery plan, financial stability plan and housing plan. Among the most important parts of the plans are health care, energy, education and financial regulation. While few details were provided, it was interesting to hear the direction that the President would like to take the country.

Next, Mark Peterson, AICPA vice president, congressional and political affairs, and Thomas Ochsenschlager, AICPA vice president, taxation, briefed participants on the federal issues we were asked to discuss with members of Congress. The list included:

* Mobile workforce legislation

* Financial regulatory reform

* Patents for tax planning strategies

* The value CPAs provide as trusted advisors during the economic crisis

Peterson then gave a high-level overview of the broader agenda on the Hill. Capital and trade, housing and insurance reform, tax reform, health care reform, and fraud and anti-trust issues are all likely see some type of action this session.

The afternoon concluded with Congressman Joseph Crowley, a member of the Ways and Means Committee from New York. He discussed the tax writing body's agenda for the session, including reviewing the results of the President's Tax Reform Task Force, which are expected late this year.

TUESDAY, APRIL 28

We started early with a walking tour of the sites around the Hill. Award winning author and tour guide Anthony Pitch led the group around the perimeter of the grounds, weaving tales of 18th and 19th century political follies as well more recent incidents. Setup by OSCPA staff, the tour brought to life the congressional office buildings, Library of Congress and Supreme Court.

In the afternoon, the group dispersed to Congressional offices to share our practical perspectives on tax patent strategies, financial regulatory reform, workforce mobility and how CPAs can serve as a resource in these troubling financial times.

It was clear that Congressman Latta understood and supported each of the issues that we discussed with him. In addition, we met with Congressman Jordan's chief of staff. Her comments were generally favorable as she indicated that our issues "made sense" and would be relayed to her boss.

As a personal and professional political junkie I always soak up the atmosphere in Washington. This trip was no different. After another successful fly-in, we were off to the airport--or in my case train station--for the trip home. It was a great opportunity to develop and reinforce relationships with those representing Ohio in D.C. I strongly encourage you to join me in being a legislative keyperson.

Put a face on your profession: become an OSCPA keyperson

More than in any other year, the 2008 campaign season amplified the fact that elected officials are subject to the opinions of individuals--via blogs, "tweets," individual campaign contributions, a letter writing campaign or a visit to D.C.

While grassroots activity is not a new concept, the variety of communications vehicles and pace at which information is delivered affirms that more than ever, CPAs must be engaged in the political process. OSCPA's keyperson program is the perfect platform upon which that engagement can flourish.

The Society's legislative keyperson program encourages all Society members who personally know state and federal legislators to volunteer as liaisons to present The Ohio Society's position on key issues.

The effectiveness of OSCPA's legislative program is determined to a considerable degree by the quality and quantity of the profession's "grassroots" program in the legislators' districts. A legislator places great importance on the viewpoints of his/her own constituents.

The CPA back home who validates the Society's position makes a critical difference in the legislative process. You can exercise an important civic right by sharing your views with your representatives in government, helping legislators understand the impact of a given piece of legislation on Ohio business, and more importantly, on that legislator's district.

I'M TOO BUSY TO BE A KEYPERSON

The OSCPA legislative keyperson program is flexible. You can devote as little or as much time to it as your schedule permits. Although we hope you will choose to be highly involved, signing up for OSCPA's keyperson program only commits you to writing a few letters, making a few phone calls or meeting with your legislator a few times each year. OSCPA gives keypersons the tools and guidance needed to feel comfortable and be effective.

For more information on the keyperson program, contact OSCPA's governmental affairs department at government@ohio-cpa.com.
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Title Annotation:Advocacy & Lobbying
Author:McLaughlin, Tom
Publication:Catalyst (Dublin, Ohio)
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:914
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