Reporting is required
All lobbyists who are currently registered with the Ethics Commission must file a Lobbyist Activity Report even if no lobbying was done or no money was spent.
Due dates for Activity Reports
May 15: for activity from January 1 through April 30.
September 15: for activity from May 1 through August 31.
January 15: for activity from September 1 through December 31.
Fines for filing late reports
Due dates are strictly enforced. If a complete Lobbyist Activity Report is filed after the due date, a fee of $10.00 for each business day the report is late will be assessed up to a maximum of $250.
A report is considered timely filed if it is postmarked on or before the due date. Faxed reports will not be accepted. However, lobbyists may scan their original reports, along with any attachments, and email them to email@example.com. Lobbyists who email their reports are cautioned that they must retain their original reports for two years from their filing date in the event that they are audited.
What to report
All expenditures made by the lobbyist or his/her employer on government officials or employees in furtherance of lobbying activities must be reported. All sections of the Lobbyist Activity Report must be completed. If no expenditures were made during the reporting period, lobbyist must indicate "none" or "0."
Campaign contributions are reportable for candidates for state office. For more information, click here.
What not to report
Lobbyists need not report personal compensation, reimbursement for personal meals, lodging or travel or office support expenses paid to the lobbyist.
Lobbyists must keep receipts for all lobbying expenditures for two years from the date each Lobbyist Activity Report is filed. All lobbyists are subject to being audited by an independent CPA retained by the Ethics Commission. If a lobbyist is audited, she/he must submit receipts for each reported activity or expenditure. Lobbyists who share expenses must keep copies of original billings even though they were not the organizer of a reportable event.
Lobbyists with more than one employer must report expenditures incurred on behalf of each employer by category. The Lobbyist Activity Report has columns for recording categories of expenses (meals and beverages; lodging; travel; gifts; other expenses) for up to six different employers. When a lobbyist represents more than six employers, additional Lobbyist Activity Reports must be used.
Expenditures that relate to a person on whom the lobbyist has spent money must be detailed and reported on Schedule A. This form must be completed in addition to the Lobbyist Activity Report and must be submitted with the Lobbyist Activity Report.
Expenditures for or on behalf of any public official or employee in any of the following categories must be reported on Schedule A: Meals and beverages; lodging; travel; gifts; other expenditures. The name of the official or employee, the date and subject of the lobbying activity and the total amount of the expenditure must be detailed on Schedule A.
All expenditure total listed on Schedule A must be included in the totals reported on the Lobbyist Activity Report.
Group entertainment explained
The “Expenditures” section of the Lobbyist Activity Report contains a “Group Expenditures” category at category 5.G. If a lobbyist sponsored or contributed to any group event or shared expenses, he/she also complete Schedule B for each event and submit it with his/her Lobbyist Activity Report.
The terms “Group Expenditures” or “Group Entertainment" do not mean any group or function that involves several people or a function that is sponsored by a group of lobbyists. These terms instead refer to a specific group invited to an event or function which is sponsored by one lobbyist or jointly by several lobbyists.
The group entertainment category is used to report only those expenditures on a dinner, party or other function to which all the members of one of the following specific groups have been invited:
(1) the Legislature
(2) either house of the Legislature
(3) a standing or select committee of either house
(4) a joint committee of both houses.
The total cost of a group entertainment event must be disclosed on Schedule B. Lobbyists must report the portion of the total expenditure attributable to public servants on Schedule B and on the Lobbyist Activity Report in category 5.G. This format requires the lobbyist to make a reasonable estimate as to the number of public officials or legislators present at the group function. Individual names of attendees of group events need not be reported. Only the number of attendees and the proportional cost incurred must be reported.
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