January 27, 2016 •
New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics Releases New Advisory Opinion
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has released an Advisory Opinion regarding what constitutes lobbying activity when it comes to political consultants and grassroots communications. Advisory Opinion 16-01 requires public relations consultants to register their efforts to influence government through public campaigns, which includes any contact with editorial boards aimed at publishing communications involving a political issue.
The Advisory Opinion is meant to encompass grassroots communications, an action the public relations community is calling an unconstitutional restraint on free speech. With the Opinion taking effect, grassroots communication is considered lobbying if it references, suggests, or otherwise implicates activity covered by the Lobbying act; takes a clear position on the issue in question; or is an attempt to influence a public official through a call to action. If a consultant had control over the delivery of the message and had input into its content, registration and reporting will now be required.
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.