August 17, 2010 •
Ask the Experts – Do I need to report spending on legislators’ spouses?
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Q. I attended the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. While there, I took a group of legislators from various states to dinner and picked up the tab. Most of the legislators were accompanied by spouses. In those jurisdictions requiring disclosure of this dinner expenditure, must I also disclose the amount spent on the spouse?
A. Almost all states requiring disclosure of food and beverage expenditures incurred on behalf of reportable officials also require disclosure of the amount spent on the official’s spouse or immediate family member. However, there are exceptions.
- In Idaho, the lobbying law does not require disclosure of expenditures for spouses and family members of legislators. However, it is common practice for lobbyists to report such expenditures anyway.
- In Michigan, food and beverage expenditures on behalf of spouses or family members are not reportable. However, travel expenditures greater than $725 on behalf of spouses or family members are reportable.
- In Montana, a principal is not required to report expenditures made on behalf of a spouse or immediate family member of a legislator, public officer, or employee.
- In Rhode Island, expenditures made on behalf of family members are not reportable as lobbyist expenditures, but are reported by elected officials.
- In Vermont, expenditures on behalf of a spouse or immediate family member are not reportable.
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