December 26, 2012 •
Ask the Experts – Disclosing Expenditure and Compensation for Lobbying Activities
Q. I am an in-house employee; however, I am not a registered lobbyist in my responsible state. Although I engage in lobbying activities from time to time, I do not meet the state’s registration threshold. However, other people from my company are registered. Do I have to disclose my expenditure and/or compensation for lobbying activities on company reports?
A. In some jurisdictions, although you are not a registered lobbyist, you may be required to include your expenditure and/or compensation information on company lobbying disclosure reports. There are 27 states requiring some level of reporting for non-lobbyist employees, including Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Every state treats non-lobbyist reporting differently. For example, in California, you are only required to include your compensation and reimbursed expenditures on a quarterly employer report if you spend more than 10% or more of your compensated time in a calendar month engaging in lobbying activities. In states such as North Carolina, Illinois, or New Jersey, permissible expenditures on behalf of public officials must be reported by the employer or registered lobbyist.
In the above jurisdictions where your company has an active lobbying presence, monitoring potential reportable activity is incredibly important. Although your level of activity may not necessitate registration in a state, you must become familiar with the state’s non-lobbyist reporting requirements, and carefully track activity, which may include the following:
- Compensation for lobbying activity;
- Personal reimbursed expenditures for food, travel, or lodging in connection with lobbying activity;
- Expenditures on behalf of public officials or employees;
- Sponsorships for events where public officials or employees will be present and receive a benefit; and/or
- Subject matter lobbied, including agencies contacted.
In sum, as you are reviewing your potential lobbyist registration obligations for the new year, it is just as important to review your potential reporting obligations as a non-lobbyist employee in the jurisdictions where your level of activity does not require registration.
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State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.