New Year’s resolution: Don’t end up on the lobbying “naughty list”

Lobbying reports are quickly coming due. January 31, 2018, is the deadline for the September through December 2017 time period. These lobbying activity and expenditure reports, filed with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General (OLIG), transparently provide the general public with information in regards to who is lobbying on what legislation or agency decision, as well as the cost of any meals, beverages or gifts (of more than $25) given to or received by legislators. Reports are filed to document legislative, executive and retirement system activities, and are required three times per year.

Failure to file, or inaccuracies, can result in placement on the delinquent employer or delinquent agent lists. Most of the time, this action is inadvertent, and the OLIG will work with the filer to rectify the situation. However knowingly filing a false report is a first degree misdemeanor.

The OLIG website provides additional guidance on filing, as well as what constitutes reportable activity, gifts or expenditures

Lobbying

Now available: 2018 contribution limits, campaign finance reporting and lobbyist reporting resource

With 2018 legislative sessions now underway in both Columbus and Washington, D.C., state and federal lobbying and campaign finance regulators have issued new reporting calendars and contribution limits for the current biennium. Staying up to date on these limits and deadlines is important for anyone participating in the political process.

For our clients and friends, Bricker's Government Relations team has summarized the revised state and federal campaign contribution limits and campaign finance and lobbyist reporting calendars into a single reference guide. Download now >>

Campaign Finance, Lobbying

Did I just lobby?

This year has seen an uptick in grassroots activity surrounding politics and public policy. If you have placed phone calls to state or federal legislators, participated in an industry lobbying day or accompanied a paid lobbyist in directly advocating on an issue, you have been a participant. But, the real question is did you just become a lobbyist? This is an important distinction that has vast repercussions from a regulatory compliance standpoint.

Read more >>

Lobbying

Holiday gift guide for companies and public officials

As the holidays quickly approach, ‘tis the season for companies to shower their clients, colleagues and partners with tokens of their appreciation. While the spirit of giving is a welcome tradition in the private sector, gifts can lead to unnecessary stress for public employees and officials. To avoid the negative consequences of illegal gift-giving – both for the giver and the recipient – there are several questions to ask before your company makes its holiday gift plans. Read more >>

Ethics, Lobbying

Trump team tightens lobbyist rules

On November 16, President-elect Trump’s transition team revealed two important lobbying-related announcements. First, all members of Trump’s administration team cannot be registered state or federal lobbyists, ensuring that no members may use their government position for personal gain. In addition, those who serve in the Trump administration will have to wait five years to become a lobbyist after leaving government. This is a significant expansion from current lobbying ethics rules that suggest a shorter “cooling-off period.”

This announcement matches what Trump proposed while campaigning in October. However, the five-year ban could make it more challenging to recruit his administration team. Read more >>

General News, Lobbying

Who is a lobbyist? New York ethics opinion blurs lines and raises questions

Who qualifies as a lobbyist? Is a political consultant a lobbyist? What about someone with a public relations firm?

Understanding the definition of a lobbyist under state law and, additionally, who must register and complete lobbyist filings is an important consideration for both lobbyists and their employers and clients. In January 2016, the state of New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) issued an advisory opinion outlining when New York’s Lobbying Act covers services provided by political consultants and public relations firms. The opinion also addresses when grassroots activity constitutes reportable lobbying activity. Read More >>

 

Ethics, Lobbying