A registered client/lobbyist conducts grassroots advocacy programs. In pursuing these programs they also encourage employees of the client/lobbyist to become part of the grassroots program and attend events at the Capitol and lobby their own legislators as part of the overall lobbying effort.
(1) Does the registered client/lobbyist administration of the grassroots advocacy program constitute lobbying?
(2) What compensation and expenses must be reported by the client/lobbyist for such grassroots advocacy program when in fact employees of the client/lobbyist take part in this grassroots program?
(3) Is the client/lobbyist required to register every employee that lobbies on its behalf even if the employee does not independently incur $2,000 in reportable compensation and/or expenses during the calendar year?
The grassroots advocacy program does constitute lobbying if in fact it falls within the definition of the Lobbying Act. That is; is the activity meant to influence the State Legislature and/or Governor with regard to pending legislation. If it meets that criteria, then any compensation and expenses paid by the client/lobbyist must be reported to the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying. Such activity includes the participation of employees of the client/lobbyist in the grassroots program, therefore, any compensation and/or expenses paid on behalf of the employees attending or taking part in the grassroots program must be included as expenses on the Client/Lobbyist Bimonthly and Semi-Annual Reports. However, the Act does not require the client/lobbyist to register every employee that lobbies on its behalf.
If the employee does not independently incur $2,000 in reportable compensation and/or expenses, the client/lobbyist need not register these employees as lobbyists. If the client/lobbyist does not choose to list it's employees as additional lobbyists, then they must report all expenses of the employee taking part in the grassroots program, including lodging and travel as part of their overall lobbying expenses.
APPROVED BY COMMISSION: JUNE 21, 2000
CONCURRING: JOSEPH A. DUNN, CHAIR; ALBERT S. CALLAN, VICE CHAIR; BARTLEY F. LIVOLSI, MILTON MOLLEN, AND STEWART C. WAGNER./S/