Instructions for Clients Filing Online

Instructions for Clients Filing Online

General Client Information

The information contained in these instructions is provided to assist you in reporting as a Client. It is not intended to supersede the Lobbying Act itself. Public Corporations and Lobbyists should refer to separate help instructions available on-line.

What is a client?

The term "client" shall mean every person or organization who retains, employs or designates any person or organization to carry on lobbying activities on behalf of such client.

What is lobbying activity?

The term "lobbying" or "lobbying activity" shall mean any attempt to influence:

(i) the passage or defeat of any legislation or resolution by either house of the state legislature, including but not limited to, the introduction or intended introduction of such legislation or resolution, or approval or disapproval of any legislation by the governor;

(ii) the adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of a gubernatorial executive order;

(iii) the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law by a state agency;

(iv) the outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency;

(v) any determination:

(A) by a public official, or by a person or entity working in cooperation with a public official related to a governmental procurement, or

(B) by an officer or employee of the unified court system, or by a person or entity working in cooperation with an officer or employee of the unified court system related to a governmental procurement;

(vi) the approval, disapproval, implementation or administration of tribal-state compacts, memoranda of understanding, or any other tribal-state agreements and any other state actions related to Class III gaming as provided in 25 U.S.C. §2701, except to the extent designation of such activities as “lobbying” is barred by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, by a public official or by a person or entity working in cooperation with a public official in relation to such approval, disapproval, implementation or administration;

(vii) the passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation by any municipality or subdivision thereof;

(viii) the adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of an executive order issued by the chief executive officer of a municipality;

(ix) the adoption or rejection of any rule, regulation, or resolution having the force and effect of a local law ordinance, resolution, or regulation; or

(x) the outcome of any rate making proceeding by any municipality or subdivision thereof.

The term "municipality" shall mean any jurisdictional subdivision of the state, including but not limited to counties, cities, towns, villages, improvement districts and special districts, with a population of more than fifty thousand; and industrial development agencies in jurisdictional subdivisions with a population of more than fifty thousand; and public authorities, and public corporations, but shall not include school districts.

What is an organization?

The term "organization" shall mean any corporation, company, foundation, association, college as defined by Section 2 of the Education law, labor organization, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, state agency or public corporation.

To whom does the Act apply?

The Lobbying Act applies to lobbyists, public corporations, and clients or employees of lobbyists or clients, who in any year during the biennial period either reasonably anticipate expending, incurring, or receiving, or actually expend, incur, or receive, more than $5,000 of combined reportable compensation and expenses for lobbying activities on a state and/or local level.

What is a reportable business relationship?

The term "reportable business relationship" shall mean a relationship in which compensation is paid by a lobbyist or by a client of a lobbyist, in exchange for any goods, services or anything of value, the total value of which is in excess of $1,000 annually, to be performed or provided by or intended to be performed or provided by:

(i) any statewide elected official, state officer, state employee, member of the legislature or legislative employee, or

(ii) any entity in which the lobbyist or the client of a lobbyist knows or has reason to know the statewide elected official, state officer, state employee, member of the legislature or legislative employee is a proprietor, partner, director, officer or manager, or owns or controls ten percent or more of the stock of such entity. This threshold is reduced to one percent in the case of a corporation whose stock is regularly traded on an established securities exchange.

What is a widely attended event?

The term "widely attended event" shall mean an event:

(A) which at least twenty-five individuals other than members, officers, or employees from the governmental entity in which the public official serves, attends, or were, in good faith, invited to attend, and

(B) which is either related to the attendee's duties or responsibilities, or allows the public official to perform a ceremonial function appropriate to his or her position.

Instructions for Client User ID Requests

If you will be filing online for the first time, you will need to apply for a User ID before you can file your Client Semi Annual Reports. Go to www.jcope.ny.gov and click on the Lobbyist Registration and Reporting button. Select the New Users Click here button and click on Request New Client User ID.

If there is already information for a Client in the Commission's current database, you may be able to retrieve this data by scrolling through the Client name list first to see if this name is listed. If your name is listed, select this name and review and, if necessary, make corrections to the data. If the client name does not appear, you must complete the fields as required.

Client Name:

You must report the full legal name of the Client. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms. In the case of a Client that begins with “New York” or “New York State,” list “New York” or “New York State” in parenthesis after the rest of the Client name. Examples: “New York Association of Counties” is listed as “Association of Counties (NY),” “New York State Sheriff's Association” is listed as “Sheriff's Association (NYS).”

Responsible person:

The User ID and Password will be issued to the person responsible for filing the Client Semi-Annual Reports.

PLEASE NOTE — THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER MAY DESIGNATE ANOTHER TO FILE THE REPORTS, BUT THIS DESIGNATION DOES NOT RELIEVE THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF LIABILITY DUE TO A FAILURE TO FILE, LATE FILING OR FALSE FILING OF ANY REPORT(S).

After you have completed and submitted this form, you will be directed to print and sign an application form that must be NOTARIZED and mailed to the Commission before you will receive your User ID and Password.

Your User ID and temporary Password will be sent to the e-mail you have provided on your User ID application. Please be sure your e-mail is correct before you hit the submit button.

PLEASE NOTE: Keep you're User ID and Password in a safe place. Do not reveal your Password to anyone, including Commission Staff. Commission Staff do not have knowledge of or access to your Password.

Password Requirements:

Remember that the password you submit must meet the following criteria:

  • It should contain 8 characters
  • Include one Upper, one Lower and one Numeric character
  • Password is case sensitive
  • Password may not contain spaces or special characters
  • You cannot reuse the last 5 passwords

Forgotten Password

If you don't remember your password, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Type your user ID in the box on the login screen.
  2. Click on the forgotten password link under the username and password.
  3. Provide the correct answers to 3 security questions. When complete hit finish and a temporary password will appear on your screen.
  4. Login with your temporary password and the system will then automatically require you to create a new password.

If you cannot remember the answers to your secret questions please contact the Commission via Phone: (518) 408-3976 or email helpdesk@jcope.ny.gov

Password Change

It is easy to change your password, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to the application using your current username (CL#####) and password.
  2. Click on the Change password link located on the right side of the page.
  3. Create your password meeting the password criteria indicated below.
  4. Click finish when completed and a confirmation message that you have successfully changed your password will appear on the screen.

If any of the information that you have provided to obtain the User ID and Password changes you must inform the Commission of these changes by updating your Client Profile through the “Manage Profile” section of the Client menu.

Instructions for Client Profile Update Form

You must use this form to update the Profile information you provided on your User ID request. Upon approval, these changes will automatically be applied to any future Semi-Annual Reports you will file. . Please be advised that when you submit a profile update you cannot submit any required reports until the profile update has been approved.

  • An explanation of all changes must be noted in the Comment Box.
  • Changes made to the responsible person name will require that a new electronic filing authorization form/application be printed, signed by the new person and submitted to the Commission's office prior to approval. This form must also be NOTARIZED. The Commission suggests that you utilize the change password feature of our application when the responsible person has been changed.

Client Name Change

If you have any changes to make to the client name you must go to the “Manage Profile” section of the Client menu. Click on add new profile update and click on name change to be forwarded to the next screen. Select from the drop down box which year this change should take affect and enter the new client name. Changes made to the client name will be subject to Commission approval and may need additional documentation Please be advised that when you submit a profile update you cannot submit any required reports until the profile update has been approved

Instructions for On-line Client Semi-Annual Report Form

Semi-annual reports are required to be filed by any client retaining, employing or designating a lobbyist or lobbyists, whether or not any such lobbyist was required to file a bimonthly report, if it is reasonably anticipated that during the year an amount in excess of $5,000 in combined reportable compensation and expenses for lobbying will be expended or incurred.

The first client semi-annual report is due by the 15th day of the month following the end of the reporting period in which the client was first required to file a semi-annual report. If the threshold is exceeded in the January through June period, a July/December Client Semi-Annual Report is required to be filed, even if no further monies are expended; unless the agreement or authorization with your lobbyist terminated on or before June 30. If a January/June Client Semi-Annual Report is filed, and the threshold has not been met for the year, a July/December Client Semi-Annual Report is NOT required.

The amounts expended, incurred, or received of reportable compensation and expenses for lobbying activities must be computed cumulatively for all lobbying activities when determining whether the thresholds have been met.

If you will not meet the reporting threshold, or do not reasonably anticipate that during the year an amount in excess of $5,000 of combined reportable compensation and expenses for lobbying will be expended or incurred, a Client Semi-Annual Report is NOT required to be filed.

IMPORTANT: For a client who retains or employs other independently registered lobbyists, these lobbyists must register using the same exact client name. Registering with variations of the same client name will cause the Commission to send out delinquent report notices and may subject you to an assessment of a civil penalty fine. If your "client name" varies between your lobbyists, a separate Client Semi-Annual Report is required to be filed for EACH lobbyist, including the accompanying $50 non-refundable filing fee (payable in US dollars).

There are two Semi-Annual reporting periods:

January — June 30 (Report is due July 15)

July 1 — December 31 (Report is due January 15)

Client Information:

If any of the pre-filled Client information changes, you must make changes to your Client Profile through the “Manage the Client Profile” section of the Client menu.

Lobbyist Information and Compensation:

You must fill in the required information and compensation paid or owed to each Lobbyist that has lobbied for this Client during the current period. The name of each Lobbyist that has filed a Registration for this Client will automatically appear after you click Add New Lobbyist in this part of the Semi-Annual Report. You should review these names and delete any that did not perform lobbying services or receive/incur compensation during this period. Please note, however, that this will delete the name for this period only, not permanently. If a Lobbyist no longer has an authorization or a written lobbying agreement to lobby for this Client, you must submit a termination notice by going to the “Client Termination Section” of the Client Menu.

In addition to the Lobbyist name, all Lobbyist fields will populate (address, phone number, type of lobbyist, type of lobbying). Please review this information to ensure it is accurate and current, and make any changes that are necessary.

If after reviewing the list of registered Lobbyists you need to add additional Lobbyists, you may do so on this form by clicking on Add New Lobbyist.

How is a "reportable business relationship" reported on the Client -Semi Annual ?

Section 1-e(c)(8) requires the following be reported:

  • The name and public office address of any statewide elected official, state officer or employee, member of the legislature or legislative employee and entity with whom the lobbyist has a reportable business relationship;

  • A description of the general subject or subjects of the transactions between the lobbyist or lobbyists and the statewide elected official, state officer or employee, member of the legislature or legislative employee or entity; and

  • The compensation, including expenses, to be paid and paid by virtue of the business relationship.

If you are subject to the requirements of this Section, a 'Business Relationship' form must be submitted once a year. The information submitted on this form will appear on each client semi-annual (and/or amendment) after the initial submission. (This includes all approved and 'new' client semi - annual reports.) (SEE On-Demand Video Tutorial for more detailed instruction.)

Miscellaneous information to assist with the Client Business Relationship Form

(i) Business Relationship forms are submitted once a year, only one form is required per client.

(ii) If a client attempts to file a Business Relationship form (BR) and the desired year is not available from the drop down box this means there is already a BR form filed for that year. A client may add or change existing entries by filing a Business Relationship amendment.

(ii) Forms and any data entered on the form can only be deleted prior to submission.

(iv) Business Relationship information will appear on the client semi-annual report as a tab under "client information" If a Business Relationship form has not been submitted a message will appear under this tab that states "No Business Relationship Form submitted".

(v) Clients must go to the main menu and select the Business Relationship tab to file the initial form and any subsequent amendments. Any changes to the form will be applied to approved and new client semi-annual reports filed for that year.

(vi) A business relationship form can be filed prior to the submission of the client semi- annual report.

Compensation:

“Reportable Compensation” shall mean and include any salary, fee, gift, payment, benefit, loan, advance, or any other thing of value paid, owed, given, or promised to the lobbyist by the client, or employer, for lobbying. For reporting purposes, “Reportable Compensation” shall include any such compensation paid or owed to the lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying. Such report must include all salaries and other compensation paid to staff such as those of lobbying employees or clerical help. All reportable compensation in any form must be recorded during the calendar year when it was accrued.

Reportable expenses are any expenditure incurred by the client or reimbursed to the lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying. Reportable expenses may include items which, in and of themselves, do not constitute lobbying, but when used as part of a lobbying effort become reportable expenses. Examples reviewed under the definition are non inclusive and practitioners are encouraged to request Commission clarification prior to completing their reports.

Reportable expenses may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Advertising, telephone, electronic advocacy, food, beverages, tickets, entertainment, parties, receptions or similar events, advocacy rallies, consultant services, expenses for non-lobbying support staff, and courier services when said expenses are part of a lobbying effort.
  • Any item that is exempt as a gift in Section 1 (c)(j) of the Lobbying Act must be reported if it is part of your lobbying effort.

What expenses are not required to be reported?

  • Expenses for political contributions pursuant to Article 14 of the Election law.
  • Payments or expenses incurred by the lobbyist for their own personal sustenance, travel, and lodging.
  • General office rent and utility expenses of the lobbyist.
  • Expenses directly incurred for printing, mailing, and reproduction of letters, memoranda, or other written communications are not reportable until such expenses exceed $500 in any calendar year; however, once this amount has been exceeded, the entire cost is reportable.
  • Ordinary membership dues paid to an organization that is registered to lobby to the extent said dues are not directed by the payor to be expended as part of the payor's lobbying effort.

An expense in excess of $75 must be fully identified and include the name of the person or entity to whom it was paid, as well as the date and purpose for which it was paid. You must also indicate if the expense was procurement or nonprocurement related. If any portion of this expense is attributable to one individual in an amount in excess of $75, that individual's identity must be disclosed. Expenses below $75 may be reported in the aggregate.

In addition, if the Client reimburses the Lobbyist for expenses during the reporting period, such reimbursement must also be reported in the expense section of the Semi-Annual Report during the period in which the expenses were actually reimbursed.

In cases where it is not possible to determine exact dollar amounts (such as photocopying, phone bills, in-house printing and reproduction expenses), good faith estimates of such costs, based on generally accepted accounting procedures, may be used.

All compensation and expenses must be disclosed for the Semi-Annual period in which they are paid, owed, or incurred.

What type of documentation of expenses must be kept?

A client must be able to document any expense of more than fifty dollars by receipt or canceled check for a period of three years from the date of filing. It is important to note that the Commission conducts random audits of filings pursuant to the Act. These audits may require a client to produce books, records, papers or memoranda, and material relevant to the preparation of the selected filing. Failure to retain records as required may subject the client to a civil penalty of $2,000.

Can a Client Semi-Annual Report be withdrawn after submission?

Client Semi-Annual Reports filed showing $0 in compensation/expenses, no lobbying activity, and whose agreements/authorizations with their lobbyist(s) have 'expired' or been terminated, may be requested to be withdrawn by the client unilaterally (confirmation from the lobbyist is not required). Such request must be signed and/or submitted via email by the responsible person, designated person, or CAO. A Client Semi-Annual Report that has been amended to remove compensation and/or lobbying activity requires lobbyist confirmation for withdrawal.

How are bill numbers and information relative to the introduction or intended introduction of legislation or a resolution reported on a Client Semi-Annual report?

You should report only those numbers that you anticipate you will lobby on during the registration period. Legislation or a resolution that has not yet been introduced (no number to disclose) should be reported in this section by giving a brief description of the intended legislation or resolution. Bills introduced and lobbied on subsequent to registration must be reported on the appropriate bimonthly reports. Similarly, information relative to the introduction of a bill, and the introduction or intended introduction of legislation or a resolution, subsequent to registration, must be reported on the appropriate bimonthly reports. In order to expedite data entry of large numbers of data items in these fields, you may choose to copy and paste from another document into these fields.

When reporting bill numbers, please indicate if the bill number is a Senate or Assembly number by inserting an "S" or an "A" at the beginning of the number.

(See copy and paste directions at the bottom of these Client Instructions.)

Record Keeping and Documentation of Expenses:

All reports must be retained for a period of three years.

Declaration:

If the individual responsible for filing the report has changed, you must inform the Commission prior to submitting your report by updating the Client Profile through the “Manage Profile” section of the Client menu.

FILING FEE: ALL FEE PAYMENTS ARE NONREFUNDABLE UPON SUBMISSION OF YOUR SEMI-ANNUAL FORM.

Each Client Semi-Annual Report must be accompanied by a $50, non-refundable, filing fee. Any filing fees paid by check will have to be paid separately from other filings; i.e. one check per filing, made payable to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Any check that includes filing fees for more than one report will be returned to you by the Commission. This change is necessary to facilitate the Commission's computer application program. Filing fees may still be paid online with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. No additional fee is required for amended Semi-Annual Reports, provided an original is on file for that period. A fee may be charged for a returned check.

Please note: Public Corporations required to file a Client Semi-Annual Reports are required to pay the $50 Client Semi-Annual Report filing fee.

PAYMENT MODE: CLIENT FEES MAY BE PAID BY CREDIT CARD OR BY CHECK AS FOLLOWS.

Credit Card Payment: You may choose to pay your $50 fee online with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Please review the rate schedule carefully since all fees are nonrefundable. For security purposes the application will only permit two attempts at paying for your filing by credit card. After the second failed attempt you will need to pay by check. Make sure you select the pay by check option at the bottom of your form, type in your check or money order number before submitting.

Check Payment: You must type in your check or money order number on your Client Semi-Annual Report Form. Upon receiving your confirmation number for your Client Semi-Annual Report, you must write this number on your check to facilitate processing. A fee may be charged for a returned check.

Miscellaneous: Your Client Semi-Annual Report submission will not be approved until the Commission receives your $50 filing fee.

To facilitate processing and approval time, please write your Client Semi-Annual Report confirmation number on your check (if not paying by credit card) and mail promptly to the Commission at: New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, 540 Broadway, Albany, New York 12207.

What should the client do if a report cannot be filed by the statutory due date?

Requests for extensions of filing time can be made in writing and must be received in the Commission's office no later than two business days prior to the filing due date. Such request must contain good cause and shall be granted at the discretion of the Executive Director of the Commission.

Instructions for On-line Client Semi-Annual Report Amendment Form

Use this form if any of the information that you provided in your Semi-Annual Report needs to be amended or changed after it has been submitted.

Since such changes will be reviewed and approved by the Commission, you must provide a detailed explanation of changes in the Comments Box.

Please note: Pre-filled Client information can only be changed by going to the “Manage Profile” section of the Client menu. Similarly, the responsible person name appearing in the Declaration certification section can only be changed by updating the Client Profile.

No filing fee is required for amended Semi-Annual Reports, provided an original is on file for that filing period.

Instructions for On-Line Client Termination of Lobbyist Registration Contract/Authorization Form

Section 1-g of the Lobbying Act requires written notification of the terms of the termination from both the lobbyist and the client within thirty (30) days after the lobbyist ceases lobbying activity. In addition, both parties must still file all required reports by their statutory due dates, reporting all lobbying activity up to the effective date of termination. No notice need be filed if the termination of retainer, employment, or designation takes effect at the end of the biennial registration cycle.

To file a termination for any lobbyist that is registered on your behalf you must do the following:

  1. Click the “Termination” icon located on the Client menu.
  2. Find the lobbyist that you need to terminate and click the terminate button.
  3. Enter the date the lobbying agreement or authorization terminated and hit submit.

MISCELLANEOUS CLIENT INFORMATION

Are there any prohibitions in the Lobbying Act?

The Lobbying Act prohibits the following:

  • Retaining or employing any lobbyist and the acceptance of any such retainer or employment by any lobbyist where the compensation is contingent on the outcome of such lobbying activity. "Compensation" includes any fee, bonus, stock option, equity inducement or other form of remuneration. This is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • An individual or entity required to be listed on a Statement of Registration pursuant to Article 1-A of the Legislative Law from offering or giving a gift to a Public Official. (Definitions of "gift" and "Public Official" can be found in the Lobbying Act.) Any lobbyist, public corporation or client who violates this prohibition shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor for a first violation and a class E felony for a second violation within five years of the first. Further, such lobbyist, public corporation or client is also subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed the greater of $25,000 or three times the amount of the gift. Any lobbyist convicted of or pleading guilty to a felony under the provisions of Section 1-o may be barred from acting as a lobbyist for a period of one year from the date of the conviction.

  • A person or organization required to file a statement or report pursuant to this article from engaging in lobbying activities concerning a governmental procurement during the restricted period as defined in Section 1-c(m) of the Act by contacting:

(a) any other person within the procuring entity other than the designated contact; or

(b) any person in a state agency other than the state agency conducting the governmental procurement.

A first-time violation of this provision may subject the person or organization to a civil penalty of up to $10,000. Subsequent violations of this provision within four years of the initial violation may subject the person or organization to a civil penalty fine of up to $25,000.

Late Filings:

First time filers may be charged a late filing fee of no more than $10 per day for each day the required filing is late. All others may be charged a late filing fee of $25 per day for each day the required filing is late.

Penalties for Non-Filers:

Failure to file a statement or report may subject the client to a civil penalty fine not to exceed the greater of $25,000 or three times the amount the person failed to report properly. In addition, a client may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first time failure and a Class E felony for subsequent failures within five years of the first.

MISCELLANEOUS FILING INFORMATION

Credit Card Payments — For security purposes the application will only permit two attempts at paying for your filing by credit card. After the second failed attempt you will need to pay by check. Make sure you select the pay by check option at the bottom of your form, type in your check or money order number before submitting.

Saving your forms to work on later:

You may choose to save your partially completed registration or report to finish at a later time rather than submit immediately. It is important to note that a saved form cannot be counted as a submission for filing purposes or to meet filing deadlines. Nor can the Commission staff retrieve or submit a report you have chosen to save. Please be sure to review your saved form queue found on the Lobbyist Menu page on a regular basis to finish and submit all of your saved reports by their filing deadlines to avoid late fees or civil penalty fines.

Please Note: If you do not save your form and there is no activity for 30 minutes while logged on to this application, the application will automatically log you off and your data will be lost

Copy and Paste directions for Subject, Person Lobbied, Bill Number, Procurement Contract, Executive Order and Tribal-State Compact Fields:

Full Page:

  1. Open Up document from which you would like to extract data.
  2. From the menu at the top of the screen select Edit and then hit Select All button. This will capture all the data on the document page.
  3. Select Edit Copy and this will copy all the contents in the document.
  4. Minimize document and go to on-line application. Go to appropriate section on the form (Add New Subject, Add New Person or Add New Bill), and click to open this text box. Make sure the mouse cursor is in this section and select Edit Paste. All data that you just copied from the document is pasted in the exact same format into this form's text box.

Portion of Page:

If you only want to copy a certain portion of text on a page, do the following:

  1. Open Up document from which you would like to extract data.
  2. Highlight with mouse only the portion of text that you want to copy.
  3. Select Edit Copy and this will copy all the text content that you highlighted.
  4. Minimize document and go to on-line application. Go to appropriate section on the form (Add New Subject, Add New Person, etc.) and click to open this text box. Make sure the mouse cursor is in this section and select Edit Paste. All data that you just copied from the document is pasted in the exact same format into this form's text box.

E-Mail Confirmation for Approved and Rejected Forms:

All clients who file on-line will receive an e-mail confirmation when their on-line filings have been approved or rejected by Commission Staff.

Application Security

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (hereinafter "JCOPE") takes confidentiality and computer security very seriously. JCOPE's Web site uses industry standard security measures. We also employ the use of digital certificates on our Web site (from Paypal) to provide a secure, encrypted connection between capable Web browsers and our Web servers. This secure, encrypted connection is required by our servers whenever and wherever you are asked to enter information that may be considered confidential.

All information sent over the Internet during your visit is encrypted. The messages are changed by using security technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) so that only the intended recipient can read them.

  • A thorough authentication process occurs when you use your User Id and Password to login.
  • For your own protection, never give your Password to anyone.
  • To protect your information from unauthorized viewing, the application will automatically disconnect your session if you do not actively use it for 30 minutes. Before leaving your computer unattended, be sure to log off the application by clicking logoff or exiting your browser.