July 2, 2015 •
Ask the Experts – On Registered Lobbyists Making Political Contributions
Q. I recently became a registered lobbyist in my company’s home state. I am also very active politically. Are there any restrictions on my political contributions now that I am a registered lobbyist?
A. An individual’s status as a registered lobbyist can place additional restrictions and requirements on him or her related to his or her political contributions. Some jurisdictions place strict restrictions on a lobbyist’s ability to make contributions. South Carolina prohibits registered lobbyists from making contributions to a candidate or anyone acting on behalf of a candidate if the lobbyist engages in lobbying the public office or public body for which the candidate is seeking election. California has a similar prohibition, providing lobbyists may not contribute to a state candidate or officeholder, or their controlled committees, if registered to lobby the governmental agency for which the candidate seeks election or to which the officeholder belongs. Other jurisdictions limit the amount a registered lobbyist can contribute compared to a nonregistered individual. Registered legislative and executive agents in Massachusetts may contribute no more than $200 in the aggregate to any one candidate and such candidate’s committee during a calendar year.
A number of jurisdictions require reporting of lobbyist contributions. Pennsylvania has extensive registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists who make personal political contributions, requiring them to register with the state before making a personal contribution and to file reports on the same schedule as a PAC. Maryland’s reporting requirements are not as extensive, requiring certain political contributions to be disclosed on the lobbyist’s activity report.
When an individual becomes a registered lobbyist, he or she must review the applicable rules on his or her political contributions. If unsure as to the requirements, please be sure to review our website at www.stateandfed.com for up-to-date information.
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