What is lobbying?

The ordinance defines lobbying as influencing or attempting to influence a legislative or administrative action of the City by direct communication with any City official or any commission, committee, board, task force or member of any other body of the City.

What other requirements must a lobbyist fulfill?

  1. Copies of the records pertaining to the reports are to be preserved by the lobbyist for inspection and audit for 4 years from the date of filing the report with the City Clerk.

  2. Identification – when appearing in a lobbying capacity at any meeting with a City official or at a meeting of the City Council, or board, committee or commission, the lobbyist needs to identify himself or herself and the client(s) or organization he or she represents.

What penalties are attached to the Ordinance?

Any lobbyist who fails to register, file the required forms and pay the required fees may be cited and fined under the provisions of the Administrative Remedies Ordinance (Section 1.14 of the City Code). Additionally, registration or renewals or other reports to be filed may not be accepted until all delinquent fees and fines are paid, which means that no lobbying can take place.

Any lobbyist who fails to submit his or her registration, annual renewal, or quarterly and supplemental reports or who fails to identify himself or herself as a lobbyist is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to criminal penalties under Section 1.7 of the City Code. In addition or in lieu of a criminal action, the City Attorney may bring a civil action and/or may seek injunctive relief in the courts. In addition to or in lieu of a criminal or civil action, the provisions under the Administrative Remedies Ordinance are applicable (see City Code Sections 1.14 through 1.18).

No person convicted of a criminal violation of Chapter 16C may act as a lobbyist or attempt to influence municipal legislation for compensation for 2 years after such conviction.

Who is exempt from registering as a lobbyist or lobbying firm?

  • Any City official or any federal, state or local elected or appointed official acting in his/her official capacity.
  • Any employee of the City or federal, state or local governmental entity acting within the scope of his/her employment
  • Any news media engaged solely in the publication or broadcasting of news, editorials, commentary, or paid advertisements, which urge legislative or administrative action
  • Any person whose sole activity is to:
    1. submit a bid on a competitively bid contract
    2. submit a written response to a request for proposals or qualifications
    3. participate in an oral interview for a request for proposals or qualifications
    4. negotiate the terms of a contract or agreement with the City once the City has authorized entering into an agreement with that person
  • Any person whose communications are solely related to a collective bargaining agreement or memorandum of understanding between the City and a recognized City employee organization.

Who must file as a lobbyist or lobbying firm?

Individual Lobbyist means any individual who is employed, retained or otherwise engaged for compensation to lobby, on behalf of another person, any elected or appointed City official or any commission, committee, board, task force or member of any other body of the City.

Lobbying firm means a person that has one or more employees who are lobbyists on behalf of a client or clients.

Compensation means any economic consideration for services rendered or to be rendered in the future. This includes, but is not limited to, contractual arrangements, contingency fees, success fees, bonuses or awards, or salary.