August 4, 2014 •
Ask the Experts – Selling to the State: Is Lobbyist Registration or Reporting Required?
Q. Several employees from my organization engage in selling to the states. Do they have any lobbyist registration or reporting requirements?
A. The answer to your inquiry depends on two things: first, does the state regulate procurement lobbying, and second, is there an applicable bona fide salesperson exception to the registration requirement. To determine whether a state regulates procurement lobbying, you can use our Executive Source Guide on Procurement Lobbying. The regulation of individuals attempting to influence the selection of a vendor has increased significantly, and this trend is expected to continue.
In states where procurement lobbying is regulated, individuals engaging in sales activity may be exempt from the registration requirement where a bona fide salesperson exception exists. For example, in Maryland, a regular full time employee of a vendor paid to engage primarily in sales activity on behalf of the vendor is exempt from lobbyist registration. In New York, the exception even extends to sales agents with contracts to represent their clients for a period longer than six months.
Absent an exception, sales employees who meet the lobbyist registration threshold in a state regulating procurement lobbying will be required to register.
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(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
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.