Before participating in any lobbying activities, advocates should review the rules for the state or local government in which they operate in. Under certain circumstances, advocates for an issue, cause, or organization may not need to register. The qualifications for registering as a lobbyist often depend on the statutory definition of the occupation in each state. The information a registering lobbyist must provide also varies from state to state.
What Are the Requirements to Register As a Lobbyist?
In order to meet the required threshold to register as a lobbyist, all of the following criteria must be met, according to Section 4 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
- Lobbying firms must file a registration for each client whose lobbying activities exceed $3,000 during a quarter
- Organizations who use in-house lobbyists must file a single registration if the total expenses for these lobbying activities exceed $13,000 during a quarter
If lobbying activities constitute at least 20% of an individual’s time, then this meets the time threshold to register.
According to the 2 U.S.C. § 1602(7), lobbying activities are defined as “Lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research, and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.”
More Than One Lobbying Contact
Lobbyists who have made more than one lobbying contact meet the requirement to register. This means any lobbyists who have made contact with a covered official more than once. This does not mean the number of covered officials they’ve made contact with, but rather the exchanges and forms of communications that have been made between lobbyists and officials.
Lobbying contact is defined by the 2 U.S.C. § 1602(7) as “Any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a covered executive branch official or a covered legislative branch official that is made on behalf of a client with regard to:”
- The formulation, modification, or adoption of federal legislation (including legislative proposals).
- The formulation, modification, or adoption of a Federal rule, regulation, executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States Government.
- The administration or execution of a federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration of a Federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license).
- The nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
When Do Lobbyists Need to Register?
Lobbyists should register within 45 days of meeting all required criteria under the Lobbyists Disclosure Act. Preferably, registrations should be filed once services are retained and lobbyists expect the following:
- To make more than one lobbying contact.
- Lobbying activities to account for more than 20% of their time working for the client.
- Expenses to surpass the monetary threshold of $3,000 for lobbying firms and $13,000 for in-house lobbying services.
Disclosure of Foreign Entities
Additionally, each registration must disclose information from any foreign entity that holds at least 20% equitable ownership in the client or any affiliate of the client that is required to be reported. Furthermore, any foreign identity that directly or indirectly plans, supervises, controls, directs, finances, or subsidizes the activities of the client or affiliate of the client must also be reported by providing the following information:
- Name of foreign entity
- Principal place of business
- Any amount greater than $5,000 contributing to lobbying activities
Lobbying in Arizona
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona defines lobbying as the following:
- A means to attempt to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by directly communicating with any legislator or attempting to influence any formal rulemaking proceeding pursuant to Chapter 6 of this title or rulemaking proceedings that are exempt from Chapter 6 of this title by directly communicating with any state officer or employee.
- A person who is otherwise required to be registered as a lobbyist for compensation pursuant to this article attempting to influence the procurement of materials, services or construction by an agency, including the Office of the Governor.
Information Needed to Register
Registrations filed in the State of Arizona must contain the following information for each entity.
- Name and business address of the principal.
- Name and business address of a person who is the designated lobbyist for the principal, regardless of whether such person is engaged to lobby for compensation.
- Name and business address of each lobbyist for compensation or authorized lobbyist employed by, retained by, or representing the principal.
- For each lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist or authorized lobbyist that is not an individual, the name and business address of all employees of that lobbyist who lobby on the principal’s behalf.
- Nature of the primary business or activity, issue, interest, or purpose of the principal.
- Duration of the engagement of any lobbyist.
- Description of the expenses for which each lobbyist is to be reimbursed by the principal.
- Listings of the state entities the lobbyist has been engaged or designated to lobby including the legislature and state agencies, boards, commissions, or councils.
- Name and business address of the public body.
- Name and business address of a person who is the designated public lobbyist for the public body, regardless of whether this person is engaged to lobby for compensation.
- Name and business address of each authorized public lobbyist employed by, retained by, or representing the public body.
- For each designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist that is not an individual, the name and business address of all employees of such. designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist who may lobby on the public body’s behalf.
- Description of the expenses for which each designated public lobbyist and authorized public lobbyist is to be reimbursed by the public body.
- Name of the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist.
- Business name and address of the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist.
- Statement that the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist has read the lobbyist handbook.
Dorn Policy Will Advocate For You
As a leading Arizona-based professional lobbying and public affairs firm, Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribes. Working with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as Independents, the Dorn Policy Group will provide you with the best strategic counsel to advance and reach your objectives.
Contact us today to get started!