November 5, 2014 •
Ask the Experts – Service on a State Board or Commission
Q. I am a registered lobbyist and have been asked to serve on a state board. Are there any laws preventing me from serving?
A. Generally, there are no laws preventing a registered lobbyist from serving on a state board or commission. However, many states have laws regulating the board service of registered lobbyists.
For example, in South Carolina a lobbyist is prohibited from serving as a member on any state board or commission. Illinois also has a general prohibition; however, their prohibition extends to the spouses and immediate family members of a lobbyist who are living at home. Such individuals are prohibited from serving on a board, commission, authority, or task force authorized by state law or executive order.
Other states only prohibit a registered lobbyist from serving on certain boards or commissions. In Ohio, both legislative and executive branch lobbyists are prohibited from serving on the Ohio Elections Commission. In New York, lobbyists are prohibited from serving as a member of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Advisory Council.
Some states only prevent lobbyists from serving on boards that could possibly benefit themselves or their employers. In Tennessee, lobbyists are prohibited from serving as a member of a board, commission, or governmental entity with jurisdiction to regulate the business endeavors or professional activities of any employer of the lobbyist. In Wisconsin, lobbyists are prohibited from serving on a state board or commission related to who and what they are lobbying.
Every jurisdiction’s rules on lobbyists serving on state boards and commissions is different. Before agreeing to serve on a board or commission, you should consult that jurisdiction’s ethics commission.
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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.