lobbyistemployer

Lobbyist Employers

A lobbyist employer is an entity that employs a lobbyist in-house for the purpose of attempting to influence City action on its own behalf.

REQUIREMENTS

Registration

An entity that qualifies as a lobbyist employer must register with the Ethics Commission within 10 days after the end of the month in which an individual employed by the entity qualifies as a lobbyist. Registration automatically terminates on December 31 of each year but may be terminated earlier.

Registration is done electronically through the Lobbying Electronic Filing System (LEFS). Lobbyists must file Form 59 (Application for LEFS ID) to obtain an LEFS identification and password.

A lobbyist employer is required to pay an annual registration fee of $75. If the lobbyist employer registers in the fourth quarter of the year, the annual fee is $56.

Disclosure

For every calendar quarter in which an entity qualifies or is registered as a lobbyist employer, the entity must file a disclosure statement. These quarterly reports detail information about the lobbyist employer’s lobbyists, City actions lobbied, City departments lobbied, City actions lobbied, activity expenses, expenses attributable to lobbying, City campaign contributions, City fundraising activity, campaign contributions and charitable donations behested by a City candidate or officeholder, services to a City committee, and contracts with the City.

Quarterly reports are due by the last day of the month following the end of a calendar quarter and must be filed through LEFS.

Additional disclosure requirements apply, including filing reports within one business day after reaching certain levels of contribution or fundraising activity, filing copies of written communications to neighborhood councils, and filing copies of fundraising solicitations sent to 50 or more people.

Detailed filing requirements can be found under “What Do I File?”.

Record Keeping

A lobbyist employer is required to prepare and maintain detailed records needed to show compliance with the lobbying laws. This includes books, papers, receipts, invoices, fundraising information, contracts, and other documents. Records must be maintained for at least four years.

EXEMPTIONS

An entity is exempt from the lobbying laws if any of the following apply:

The entity is not being compensated to attempt to influence City action.

The entity is merely participating in a City procurement process.

The entity is a media outlet and is engaged only in the publishing or broadcasting of news, editorials, or paid advertising.

The entity is a 501(c)(3) organization that receives government funding to provide free services directly to indigent persons, and the entity is engaged only in providing those services.

LIMITATIONS

A lobbyist employer is prohibited from making or arranging for (or acting as an intermediary in) gifts totaling more than $100 in a calendar year to a City official who works in an office the lobbyist employer has attempted to influence.

WHAT DO I FILE?

Registration

The following forms must be filed to register as a lobbyist employer:

Form Required
Due Date
Must be filed before the first time a lobbyist employer registers.
Filing Schedule

The following forms must be filed in or for 2018:

Form Required
Period Covered
Due Date
Oct 1, 2017 - Dec 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2018
Jan 1, 2018 - Mar 31, 2018
Apr 30, 2018
Apr 1, 2018 - Jun 30, 2018
Jul 31, 2018
Jul 1, 2018 - Sep 30, 2018
Oct 31, 2018
Oct 1, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018
Jan 31, 2019
Required Per Activity

The following forms are required when you perform certain activities:

Activity
Form Required
Due Date
Fundraising more than the following threshold amounts in a 12-month period:
  1. For the Mayor, City Attorney, or Controller--$35,000
  2. For a City Councilmember--$15,000
Within 1 business day of the activity.
Termination

Registered lobbyist employers who wish to terminate their registration prior to 12/31/17 must file the following form. Otherwise, termination will occur automatically on 12/31/17.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • Are there limits on lobbying activity?

    There is no limit on properly reported lobbying activity. However, lobbyist employers are limited in other types of activity, which are identified under Limitations.

  • Can a Business Improvement District or a nonprofit organization qualify as a lobbyist employer?

    Yes. Any entity that meets the definition is a lobbyist employer. A very limited exception applies for certain 501(c)(3) organizations.

  • How quickly can I view a lobbyist employer’s quarterly report?

    A lobbyist employer’s quarterly report is publicly available through the Public Data Portal the moment it is filed. The deadlines for filing quarterly reports are April 30 for the first quarter, July 31 for the second quarter, October 31 for the third quarter, and January 31 for the fourth quarter. If these dates fall on a holiday or weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day.

  • My 501(c)(3) organization is a lobbyist employer and would like to recognize outstanding City officials with an awards luncheon. Is that permitted?

    Possibly. None of the lobbyists employed by the organization may pay for any costs related to the event or provide names of invitees. In addition, the per-person cost of the event may not exceed $100 (or less if the lobbyist employer has already given gifts to the City officials during the same calendar year). City officials may also be recognized with personalized plaques valued at $250 or less, which the state exempts from the definition of “gift”.

  • Several City officials are visiting the office of my Business Improvement District (BID) to learn more about a City matter affecting the BID’s constituents. I am a registered lobbyist. Can the BID pay for the City officials’ parking?

    Yes. Nominal and routine office courtesies received by a City official at a lobbyist employer’s office are not considered gifts, as long as the courtesies are available to any person who visits that office.

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

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REQUIREMENTS

Registration

An entity that qualifies as a lobbyist employer must register with the Ethics Commission within 10 days after the end of the month in which an individual employed by the entity qualifies as a lobbyist. Registration automatically terminates on December 31 of each year but may be terminated earlier.

Registration is done electronically through the Lobbying Electronic Filing System (LEFS). Lobbyists must file Form 59 (Application for LEFS ID) to obtain an LEFS identification and password.

A lobbyist employer is required to pay an annual registration fee of $75. If the lobbyist employer registers in the fourth quarter of the year, the annual fee is $56.

Disclosure

For every calendar quarter in which an entity qualifies or is registered as a lobbyist employer, the entity must file a disclosure statement. These quarterly reports detail information about the lobbyist employer’s lobbyists, City actions lobbied, City departments lobbied, City actions lobbied, activity expenses, expenses attributable to lobbying, City campaign contributions, City fundraising activity, campaign contributions and charitable donations behested by a City candidate or officeholder, services to a City committee, and contracts with the City.

Quarterly reports are due by the last day of the month following the end of a calendar quarter and must be filed through LEFS.

Additional disclosure requirements apply, including filing reports within one business day after reaching certain levels of contribution or fundraising activity, filing copies of written communications to neighborhood councils, and filing copies of fundraising solicitations sent to 50 or more people.

Detailed filing requirements can be found under “What Do I File?”.

Record Keeping

A lobbyist employer is required to prepare and maintain detailed records needed to show compliance with the lobbying laws. This includes books, papers, receipts, invoices, fundraising information, contracts, and other documents. Records must be maintained for at least four years.

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EXEMPTIONS

An entity is exempt from the lobbying laws if any of the following apply:

The entity is not being compensated to attempt to influence City action.

The entity is merely participating in a City procurement process.

The entity is a media outlet and is engaged only in the publishing or broadcasting of news, editorials, or paid advertising.

The entity is a 501(c)(3) organization that receives government funding to provide free services directly to indigent persons, and the entity is engaged only in providing those services.

? ?

LIMITATIONS

A lobbyist employer is prohibited from making or arranging for (or acting as an intermediary in) gifts totaling more than $100 in a calendar year to a City official who works in an office the lobbyist employer has attempted to influence.

? ?

WHAT DO I FILE?

Registration

The following forms must be filed to register as a lobbyist employer:

Form Required
Due Date
Must be filed before the first time a lobbyist employer registers.
Filing Schedule

The following forms must be filed in or for 2018:

Form Required
Period Covered
Due Date
Oct 1, 2017 - Dec 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2018
Jan 1, 2018 - Mar 31, 2018
Apr 30, 2018
Apr 1, 2018 - Jun 30, 2018
Jul 31, 2018
Jul 1, 2018 - Sep 30, 2018
Oct 31, 2018
Oct 1, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018
Jan 31, 2019
Required Per Activity

The following forms are required when you perform certain activities:

Activity
Form Required
Due Date
Fundraising more than the following threshold amounts in a 12-month period:
  1. For the Mayor, City Attorney, or Controller--$35,000
  2. For a City Councilmember--$15,000
Within 1 business day of the activity.
Termination

Registered lobbyist employers who wish to terminate their registration prior to 12/31/17 must file the following form. Otherwise, termination will occur automatically on 12/31/17.

? ?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • Are there limits on lobbying activity?

    There is no limit on properly reported lobbying activity. However, lobbyist employers are limited in other types of activity, which are identified under Limitations.

  • Can a Business Improvement District or a nonprofit organization qualify as a lobbyist employer?

    Yes. Any entity that meets the definition is a lobbyist employer. A very limited exception applies for certain 501(c)(3) organizations.

  • How quickly can I view a lobbyist employer’s quarterly report?

    A lobbyist employer’s quarterly report is publicly available through the Public Data Portal the moment it is filed. The deadlines for filing quarterly reports are April 30 for the first quarter, July 31 for the second quarter, October 31 for the third quarter, and January 31 for the fourth quarter. If these dates fall on a holiday or weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day.

  • My 501(c)(3) organization is a lobbyist employer and would like to recognize outstanding City officials with an awards luncheon. Is that permitted?

    Possibly. None of the lobbyists employed by the organization may pay for any costs related to the event or provide names of invitees. In addition, the per-person cost of the event may not exceed $100 (or less if the lobbyist employer has already given gifts to the City officials during the same calendar year). City officials may also be recognized with personalized plaques valued at $250 or less, which the state exempts from the definition of “gift”.

  • Several City officials are visiting the office of my Business Improvement District (BID) to learn more about a City matter affecting the BID’s constituents. I am a registered lobbyist. Can the BID pay for the City officials’ parking?

    Yes. Nominal and routine office courtesies received by a City official at a lobbyist employer’s office are not considered gifts, as long as the courtesies are available to any person who visits that office.

? ?

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

Search Former Website: Campaign | Lobbying

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