Ask the Expert - Georgia's New Lobbyist System - State and Federal Communications

May 7, 2024  •  

Ask the Expert – Georgia’s New Lobbyist System

Georgia State Capitol Building

Q: I need to register as a lobbyist in Georgia and I have heard Georgia has overhauled their system. Were there any changes to how one registers or to what is required on lobbying reports?

A: Georgia has undergone a massive renovation of their lobbyist system. Registration is now a complex process that requires clients to make an account, which was not necessary under the old system.

When creating a client account, the system will request a list of officers and authorized agents. Any officers listed will have a client account created, using the email provided as a Login ID. Only officers are able to file reports, while authorized agents may only input information into the system.

Once the registration is submitted, an email will be sent to each of the listed officers, prompting them to create a password. The Ethics Commission will only discuss issues with the client account with the listed officers.

Following the creation of the client account, the lobbyist account may be created.

Once the lobbyist registration is submitted, a “token” will be created and emailed to the officers of the listed client. The client must then accept the “token” by clicking on the link and authorizing the lobbyist. The system will then send an email to the lobbyist to create their password. Once the password is created, the lobbyist is officially registered. It is important to note the lobbyist’s account will not be created until the client accepts the relationship. The $20 badge fee may be paid from the lobbyist account or the client account.

While the changes to lobbyist reporting are more modest, there are still differences between the old and new systems.

A large change is that there are now only three different reports: Local, Legislative, and Agency. The Agency report has combined Agency, Vendor, and State Board of Transportation into one report. Even if you only registered as an Agency lobbyist, your report will be labeled as an Agency, Vendor, and State Board of Transportation report.

The new system now requires additional information to file a report. Each expenditure disclosure must now contain:

•     Date of the expenditure

•     Amount

•     The client of the lobbyist

•     The “type” of expenditure

•     A description of the expenditure

•     The name of the payee

•     Whether the recipient is a public officer or group and their name.

The system also allows for the disclosure of the purpose of the expenditure and the number of the bill, resolution, or regulation, but this is an optional disclosure.

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