An association (lobbyist-employer) which had filed a "legislative expense statement" in 1977 with the Secretary of State listed several employees who they said are not expected to incur $1000 of "reportable expenditures" for 1978.
The question presented is whether any of the employees are required to file a Statement of Registration pursuant to Section 5 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1977 (Act).
On the facts stated, no Statement of Registration is required to be filed. The objective of the Act, as stated in its legislative declaration, is to regulate lobbyists in order to preserve and maintain the integrity of the governmental decision-making process; that in order to do so, the statute declares that "it is necessary that the identity, expenditures, and activity of persons or corporations retained, employed, or designated on behalf of any person, firm, corporation, or association or any political subdivision, authority, or public benefit corporation of the State to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by either house of the legislature or the approval, or veto, of any legislation by the governor and attempts to influence the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law or the outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency, be publicly and regularly disclosed".
The Act proceeds to define "lobbyist" and "lobbying activities". (Sec. 3(a), (b), (c), and (d) of the Act).
Under Section 5 of the Act, a Statement of Registration is required to be filed annually by every lobbyist who expects to expend, or incur, or receive at least $1000 of reportable expenditures within each calendar year. "Reportable expenditures" are defined in Section 3(f) of the Act and Section IV of our Guidelines, as money paid, loans made, goods given, services rendered or any other benefits of value for which a recipient would or could be expected to pay money, other than contributions reportable pursuant to Article 14 of the Election Law. The Act provides also for certain other exemptions which are not relevant to this opinion.
Penalties may be imposed for violations and the Act provides that any person, firm, corporation, association, or public corporation who knowingly and willfully violates any provision of this Act, "shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor." The chief administrative officer of any firm, corporation, association or public corporation is charged with the duty of filing the statement or report unless some other person has been designated for that purpose.
The statute empowers our Commission to impose a civil penalty, not exceeding $1000, against those who fail to file a statement or report within the time required, in addition to other penalties which need not be enumerated at this time.
In the case before us, we are informed, there is no expectation that the $1000 threshold of reportable expenditures will be reached in the calendar year. Consequently, no Statement of Registration need be filed. If, however, the facts change and the employees receive, expend, or incur at least $1000 of reportable expenditures, or are likely to, they must register within the time specified in the Act.
APPROVED BY COMMISSION: OCTOBER 6, 1978
CONCURRING: CHAIRMAN S. STANLEY KREUTZER, VICE CHAIRMAN OWEN McGIVERN, MARGARET C. ANDRONACO, D. CLINTON DOMINICK, DANIEL GUTMAN, and DAVID C. TAIT./S/