NEW YORK
TEMPORARY STATE COMMISSION
ON LOBBYING

OPINION NO. 54 (04-1)

thin horizontal blue line

FACTS

A lobbyist/client (i.e. self-lobbying entity) is, among other things, the owner of a number of media outlets. During the most recent period, lobbyist/client ran advertisements on some of its own media outlets in support of a grassroots lobbying campaign. Pursuant to Section 1-h(5)(i), lobbyist/client is required to report "any expense expended, received or incurred…for the purpose of lobbying." In this instance, because lobbyist/client owned the systems and operated the services that ran the advertisements, lobbyist/client did not expend money or incur any expense for the running of those advertisements.

ISSUE

Is a lobbying expense reportable if the lobbyist/client does not expend money on the expense? If so, what value must be reported for such expense?

OPINION

There are many cases where a lobbyist/client utilizing its own products as part of its lobbying effort does not expend money. For example, an airline that provides transportation on its own planes or a hotel that provides lodging in its own properties, do not expend money but do utilize items that are easily quantified by applying a "fair market value" analysis. In this case, the goods or services do have a fair market value that is easily quantified, the price charged to other customers for air time, production of ads, and any other associated costs of the advertisements. When a lobbyist/client utilizes its own resources as part of a lobbying campaign, it must apply a fair market analysis to quantify the value of the lobbying expense and report it as such.

APPROVED BY COMMISSION: AUGUST 3, 2004

CONCURRING: JOSEPH A. DUNN, CHAIR, BARTLEY F. LIVOLSI, VICE CHAIR; ALBERT S. CALLAN, MEMBER; STEWART C. WAGNER, MEMBER; PATRICK J. BULGARO, MEMBER, ANDREW G. CELLI, JR., MEMBER.

/S/
________________________________________

JOSEPH A. DUNN
Chairman


thin horizontal blue line

Back to Advisory Opinions, Blue Arrow