November 5, 2019 •
Federal Appeals Court Rules Volunteers are Not Lobbyists
A law requiring a person designated by a nonprofit organization to register as a lobbyist for attempting to influence legislative activities was ruled unconstitutional on November 1.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit in Calzone v. Summers held the state cannot require a person who engages in political activities that do not involve the transfer of money or anything of value to register as a lobbyist.
The court reasoned that people who neither spend nor receive money in connection with their advocacy do not lose their First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances simply by speaking through an organization that shares their perspective.
The Missouri Ethics Commission may choose to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which has not heard a lobbyist registration case since 1954.
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.