Phoenix City Council Considering Penalties for Lobbying Violations - State and Federal Communications

May 11, 2017  •  

Phoenix City Council Considering Penalties for Lobbying Violations

City Council discovered its lobbying regulations have no enforcement mechanism several months ago, but it has yet to agree on whether violations should be treated as civil or criminal matters.

The discovery began following a controversial vote on a request to pay out $1.2 million to a developer for stormwater culverts on a city owned property. The developer’s lobbyists, a former city staffer and a lawyer at the law firm Burch & Cracchiolo, were not registered according to city records.

While the former city staffer’s attorney accused the city of losing or misfiling his registrations, the city contends the documents produced by Burch & Cracchiolo were falsely created and backdated because they use the law firm’s current letterhead, not the letterhead the firm used in 2015.

When the matter was referred to the city prosecutor, he discovered the current ordinance does not explicitly say failure to file proper lobbying documents is unlawful and does not specify the penalty for failing to register. The city prosecutor previously assumed noncompliance could result in a misdemeanor charge.

Any changes to current lobbying regulations will impact the work of more than 300 registered lobbyists in the city.

Photo of Phoenix City Hall by Kevin Dooley

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