February 12, 2013 •
Ask the Experts – Tracking Non-lobbyist Time
Q. We’ve had some disagreement internally within our organization – please help. As a federal registrant employing in-house lobbyists, are we only required to report the time and expenses associated with our “registered” lobbyists.
A. It’s a good question. The answer to which often gets lost amongst the efforts to report lobbyists’ activities. Federal registrants are certainly required to make best efforts to track, capture, and report the lobbying activities and expenses of those employees who meet the 20% threshold standard (lobbyist employee). In addition, registrants are equally required to track, capture, and report expenditures associated with employees who do not meet the 20% threshold but still engage in lobbying activities during the course of the quarter (non-lobbyist employees.) The names of non-lobbyist employees are not included on the report and neither is information related to what issues they addressed or contacts they made. That said, the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House have consistently advised that all employee time spent engaged in lobbying activities should be included when determining an organization’s lobbying expenses, even when the employee(s) does not meet the statutory definition of being a lobbyist. In line with the best efforts standard, then, it is important to have in place reasonable, demonstrable processes to capture both lobbyist and non-lobbyist activities.
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