WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee John Roberts (search) has acknowledged he should have disclosed to a Senate committee that he worked as lobbyist for the cosmetics industry in 2001.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee late Wednesday, Roberts wrote that he neglected to reveal that work in response to the panel's questionnaire asking about his lobbying activities. Confirmation hearings begin Sept. 6.
The work, which was on behalf of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrances Association, involved an effort to stave off a regulatory change involving sunscreen.
Roberts, a lawyer in private practice at the time, suggested that he did not think of disclosing the information because the nature of the work -- in which he met with lawyers at the federal Office of Management and Budget and the Food and Drug Administration -- did not seem political.
"My conversations with the government attorneys were focused on the prospect of litigation," Roberts said in a four-paragraph letter addressed to Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (search), the panel's ranking Democrat. "Consequently, the question about lobbying on the questionnaire did not trigger a memory of these meetings."
Newsday first reported Wednesday that Roberts had done the lobbyist work, resulting in the suspension of stricter labeling rules for sunscreen.