Summary of Lobbying Ordinance Suggestions
March 9th, 2007 Interested Persons Meeting

On March 9, 2007, the Ethics Commission held an interested persons meeting, to gather input from the public about the City’s lobbying ordinance. Comments and suggestions received at that meeting are broadly summarized below and will be taken into consideration as the Commission reviews the ordinance.

A second interested persons meeting will be held on April 5, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. in Room 1035 of City Hall. Comments may also be made electronically, through the Commission’s Web site.

  1. The Mechanics of Registration

    • Make registrations ongoing, rather than requiring annual renewals.

    • Specify who should be covered in the definitions of lobbyist, lobbyist employer, and lobbying firm—and why.

    • Reevaluate and simplify the list of lobbying activities.

  2. Quarterly Public Disclosure Requirements

    • Eliminate the requirement that lobbying firms disclose payments to their lobbyists.

    • Clarify the fundraising requirements:

      • How do you know how much is raised when you are a host?
      • How do you allocate amounts raised among several hosts?
      • What if the solicitation is made by mail, email, or phone?

    • City agencies contacted should be reported in the calendar quarter in which the activity occurred (rather than the one in which payment is received).

    • Compare the state’s disclosure form with the City’s.

    • Provide a sample of a correctly completed form on the Commission’s Web site.

  3. Electronic Filing

    • The current system is easy to use.

    • Provide a way to view the entire form before officially filing.

    • Provide automated ID/password reminders.

    • Provide a way to print a copy at each step of the filing process.

    • Adopt paperless filings (use electronic signatures).

  4. Advice and Education

    • Automatically sign up lobbyists for electronic notices when they register.

    • Hold different training sessions for different topics (e.g., nuts & bolts v. policy).

    • Provide online education.

    • Provide outreach to small firms about the laws.