Business Politics

Regulations on Lobbying

On Lobbyists and Lobbying: Regulations Implemented

In the United States, lobbyists and lobbying firms are now required to follow the regulations stated in the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA). LDA was aimed to reform the lobbying activities that occur in both Houses of Legislation, which may include corruption, bribery, and agreement by coercion.

The LDA has also set specifications and listed below are the parameters for a person before he or she can be considered as a lobbyist:

  • If a person is compensated with not less than US$5000 for a period for six months or more;
  • If a person has established ties with more than one lobbying contact;
  • If 20% of that person’s time for over six months is involved in lobbying activities.

If all criteria are met, the said person is required to register with the Clerk of the House and / or the Secretary of the Senate. Otherwise, registration is not necessary.

A lobbyist is required to disclose information to the offices mentioned above. Aome of the required information are:

  • Name, principal business address, contact information, and a general description of business activities;
  • The same above information if the lobbyist’s client is different from registrant;
  • General issues and concerns to be lobbied for, and if possible, the specific issues that the organization/person wants to address.

With regards to lobbying contacts, it includes all forms of communication, written or oral, made to a covered government official regarding political issues like legislations, law enactments, and other government affairs. Such communication must be reported to promote transparency.

Listed below are some of the covered officials and personnel as listed in the LDA:

  • Members of the Congress;
  • An elected officer of either House;
  • An employee, or any personnel with the capacity to represent with permission, a Member of Congress, a Congressional Committee, or a Congressional Staff;
  • A senior personnel of the Clerk of the Congress;
  • The President, Vice-President, or any employee of the Executive Office of the President.

Once an organization or lobbyist registers under the LDA, it is requisite that they file semi-annual reports so long as they remain registered. If the firm or lobbyist ceases lobbying, they have to file a registration termination form.

The enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of both the Clerk of the Congress and the Secretary of the Senate. A lobbyist or lobbying organization who fails to comply may be investigated and fined up to $50,000 for knowingly failing to comply with the Lobbying Disclosure Act.