Advisory Opinions issued by the former Lobbying Commission

The Advisory Opinions of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying are posted as guidance to lobbyists and clients in order to provide relevant information regarding their obligations under the Lobbying Act created by Chapter 2 of the Laws of 1999, as amended by Chapter 62, of the Laws of 2003, Chapter1 of the Laws of 2005, and as amended most recently by Chapter 14 of the Laws of 2007. However, these opinions are only binding on the requestor, prospectively. Also, the Lobbying Act has been amended several times since many of the opinions were originally issued. Therefore, the former New York State Commission on Public Integrity, the successor commission to the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying, advised those who referred to prior opinions for guidance, that there have been significant statutory and regulatory changes that might affect the holdings or conclusions found in any Advisory Opinion published before 2007. For example:

  1. GIFT VALUATION: Many existing Advisory Opinions refer to the $75 gift limitation that was formerly found in the Lobbying Act. Presently unless a gift has "nominal" value a lobbyist or client is prohibited from offering or giving such gift to a public official, with statutory exceptions. (See &1-c (j) of the Lobbying Act). The following are some of the opinions affected: 61(05-6), 59(05-4), 58(05-3), 56(05-2), 55(04-2), 52(03-3), 49(02-4) and 45(01-1).
  2. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSE THRESHOLD: The $5,000 threshold for aggregate compensation and expense requiring those who lobby to register and report has changed over the years. Presently this threshold is found in &1-e (a) (1) of the Lobbying Act. The following are some of the opinions affected: 51(03-2), 50(03-1), 47(02-2), 44(00-3), 43(00-2), 42(00-1), 41(99-1) 40(97-2), 37(83-1), 25(79-9), 16(78-16), 9(78-9), 7(78-7), 5(78-5) and 1(78-1).
  3. GUIDELINES: To date, the New York State Commission on Public Integrity has not completed a comprehensive review of existing Lobbying Guidelines. Further, the Commission has not amended, repealed or published any additional guidelines. Therefore, any reference to published guidelines found in Advisory Opinions published prior to 2008 should not be relied upon as correct in their interpretation or application to facts set forth in any of those opinions.
  4. CITATIONS: Citations to the Lobbying Act are citations existing at the time the opinion was originally published. The Law has been amended several times between the publication of different opinions including the amendments contained in the Public Employees Ethics Reform Act of 2007 (PERA 2007). Therefore, there should be no reliance on citations found in opinions as to there form or content. For example, Opinion 51(03-2) uses citation $1c(c) (1-6), whereas presently the correct citation is &1-c (c) (A-Q) of the Lobbying Act.
  5. PRECEDENT: Though Advisory Opinions relative to the Lobbying Act may provide guidance, they are not binding upon the Commission except as they apply to the requestor, prospectively, Lobbying Act & 1-d (f). Further, changes in the law, limited fact patterns in existing opinions, and the different composition of the Commission should be considered when looking to previously published opinions for guidance.