August 7, 2023 •
Q: I’ve had a few discussions with legislators in Washington. Do I need to register? A: Unlike some states that require registration before you begin lobbying, Washington is not a “first toe in the water state.” As a result, there […]
Q: I’ve had a few discussions with legislators in Washington. Do I need to register?
A: Unlike some states that require registration before you begin lobbying, Washington is not a “first toe in the water state.” As a result, there are some activities that you can engage in before or without the need to register as a lobbyist.
Washington requires you to register as a lobbyist once you have either conducted lobbying activities for more than four days, or parts of four days, in a three-month period, or made total expenditures exceeding $35 in a three-month period for or on behalf of public officials. So, if your lobbying activity is extremely sporadic and limited, you may not need to register.
But Washington also has a relatively narrow definition of what constitutes lobbying. Lobbying is defined as an attempt to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation or the adoption or rejection of any rule, standard, rate, or other legislative enactment of any state agency. This definition excludes acts of goodwill lobbying, like small-talk with lawmakers or general relationship-building with public officials. But, be mindful of your activities, because if your small-talk conversation turns to shoptalk about a specific issue or piece of legislation, then that conversation will put you closer to crossing the lobbying registration threshold.
Similarly, the state’s lobbying law carves out several activities that it does not consider lobbying. If you limit your activities to appearing before public sessions of committees of the legislature or public hearings of state agencies, then you will not need to register. Similarly, activities by persons whose participation was solicited by an agency under a negotiated rulemaking or pilot rulemaking agency will not, by themselves, require you to register as a lobbyist.
More information about registration requirements can easily be found on our website in the Registration section of the Lobbying Compliance Guidebook.
May 5, 2014 •
Q. My company is a registered lobbyist employer in California. I do not currently meet the threshold for lobbyist registration, however, I do engage in some lobbying activity. Am I required to disclose this activity on the company’s report? A. […]
Q. My company is a registered lobbyist employer in California. I do not currently meet the threshold for lobbyist registration, however, I do engage in some lobbying activity. Am I required to disclose this activity on the company’s report?
A. In California, lobbyist employers are required to track and disclose compensation and expenditures for non-lobbyist employees (NLEs) on quarterly disclosure reports. If you meet the NLE threshold for reporting, you are required to disclose your pro-rata share of compensation and related expenditures, even if you do not meet the registration threshold. Specifically, you qualify as an NLE if you spend more than 10 percent of your compensated time in any calendar month in connection with lobbying activities. However, this does not include compensation paid to an employee whose duties are solely clerical, manual, or are limited to the compilation of data or statistics.
If you qualify as an NLE, you must track your compensation and reimbursed expenditures dedicated to state lobbying activities. This combined figure is included on the employer report (Form 635) in Part D, Other Payments to Influence Legislative or Administrative Action. When estimating your time, you will need to include all time spent in connection with lobbying activities, including direct communications with public officials in the presence of your company’s or trade association’s contract lobbyist. Although there is an exception in the Fair Political Practices Commission regulations allowing employees to not count this type of direct communication towards the registration threshold, you must nevertheless track and disclose this time on your company’s employer report if you exceed the NLE reporting threshold. You will also need to include grassroots activity, research, and preparation time.
Be mindful of the gap between the NLE reporting threshold and the lobbyist registration threshold. If your level of activity exceeds the lobbyist registration threshold, you are required to register within 10 days. The registration threshold for in-house employees is defined as spending one-third or more of your compensated time in any calendar month engaging in direct communications with a qualifying official for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action.
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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.
February 7, 2014 •
On February 6, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its Price Index Adjustments for Expenditure Limitations and Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold in the Federal Register. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased to $17,300 for 2014 from $17,100 in 2013. […]
On February 6, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its Price Index Adjustments for Expenditure Limitations and Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold in the Federal Register. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased to $17,300 for 2014 from $17,100 in 2013. This threshold amount is adjusted annually.
Federal law requires authorized committees of federal candidates, leadership PACs, and political party committees to disclose contributions bundled by lobbyists and lobbyists’ PACs.
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.