Ask the Expert - Procurement Lobbying Registration Requirements - State and Federal Communications

April 9, 2024  •  

Ask the Expert – Procurement Lobbying Registration Requirements

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Q: I want to sell my company’s product to a state or local government entity. Do I need to register as a lobbyist?

A: Jurisdictions approach the issue of procurement lobbying differently and registration requirements can vary widely from one jurisdiction to the next.

Some jurisdictions completely exempt procurement activities from their definition of lobbying. For example, in Maine, registration is not required for procurement-related activities because those activities are not considered lobbying. On the other hand, jurisdictions like Idaho require registration for procurement-related activities, subject only to the state’s general registration threshold.

To complicate matters further, some jurisdictions set different registration thresholds for procurement lobbying activities than they do for other lobbying activities. In Florida, for example, employees engaged in procurement activities on behalf of their employer are required to register as executive branch lobbyists if they lobby to procure a contract with a value of more than $20,000.

Additionally, even if a state’s law doesn’t cover a particular procurement activity, local entities and municipalities may have more stringent registration requirements that do reach your contemplated activities. Certain hospital systems and school districts in Florida, for example, require representatives of companies hoping to do business with them to register as lobbyists prior to meeting with them to discuss potential procurement opportunities.

Though sales teams often function separately from government affairs teams, if your company is selling to a governmental entity, you should carefully consider whether any lobbying laws will apply to your procurement efforts.

More information about procurement lobbying requirements can easily be found on our website in the Registration section of the Procurement Lobbying Compliance Guidebook.

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