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Lobbying Law
Introduction
Fees
Who is a Lobbyist?
Who is a Client?
Lobbying Defined
Requirement for a Lobbyist to Register a Client
Requirement for a Client to File
Requirement for Filing Reports
Method of Registration: Enrollment and Filing
Termination of a Client
Prohibition of Contingent Retainers
Retention of Records
Violations of the Lobbying Law
Extensions of Filing Deadlines
Penalties
Important and Helpful Links

 

Introduction 

  • Lobbying in the City of New York (City) is governed by the New York City Administrative Code, Sections 3-211-223 (Lobbying Law) and Title 51 of the Rules of the City of New York Sections 1-01-08 (Rules). 
  • This page includes links to the actual text of the relevant sections of the Lobbying Law and the Rules that pertain to lobbying.
  • The outline below explains the basic elements of the Lobbying Law and the Rules.

Fees 

Filing fees are due when filing a Statement of Registration ($150 for the first Client registered and $50 for each additional Client registered).  Fees can be paid by check, credit card (in person only), or money order payable to the City Clerk. 

Who is a Lobbyist?

A Lobbyist is defined as every person or organization retained, employed, or designated by a Client to engage in lobbying.

Who is a Client?

A Client is every person or organization who retains, employs, or designates any person or organization to carry on lobbying activities on its behalf.

Lobbying Defined

Lobbying or a lobbying activity includes the attempt to influence the following eight types of actions:
1. Passage or defeat of a local law or resolution by the City Council;
2. Approval or disapproval of a local law or resolution by the Mayor;
3. Any determination by an elected City official, City officer, or employee concerning:
   a. the procurement of goods, services, or construction; or
   b. the solicitation, award or administration of a contract; or
   c. the solicitation, award, or administration of a grant, loan, or    agreement involving the disbursement of public monies;
4. Any determination by the Mayor, the City Council, the City Planning Commission, a Borough President, Borough Board, or a Community Board concerning zoning or the use, development, or improvement of real property subject to City regulation;
5. Any determination by an elected City official, a City officer or employee concerning:
    a. the terms of acquisition or disposition by the City of any interest in     real property;
    b. a license or permit for the use of real property of or by the City; or
    c. a franchise, concession, or revocable consent;
6. The adoption, amendment, or rejection of any rule by an agency;
7. The outcome of a ratemaking proceeding before an agency; or
8. Any determination of a board or commission.

For the complete definition of lobbying, please refer to Section 3-211 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Requirement for a Lobbyist to Register a Client

  • When a Lobbyist reasonably anticipates that in the coming year it will earn, receive, or expend over $5,000 in compensation and expenses combined, for lobbying in New York City, the Lobbyist is required to file a Statement of Registration.
  • The $5,000 threshold applies cumulatively to compensation a Lobbyist receives from all its Clients; it is not a threshold that must be reached for each individual Client.  Once the threshold is exceeded, the Lobbyist must file a Statement of Registration for each Client.
  • If the lobbyist is an architect or engineer, or an architecture or engineering firm, the threshold is $10,000.
  • A Lobbyist who knows or reasonably anticipates by December 15 of the present year that it needs to file a Statement of Registration for the upcoming year, must file the Statement of Registration by the following January 1.
  • In all other cases a Lobbyist must file within 15 days of being retained, but no later than 10 days from actually incurring or receiving reportable compensation and expenses.
  • A Statement of Registration must be filed for each Client each calendar year.

For more information about Statements of Registration, please review Section 3-213 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Requirement for a Client to File

  • When a Client cumulatively expends over $5,000 annually in reportable compensation and expenses combined for lobbying in New York City, it must file a Client Annual Report.
  • In addition to a Client Annual Report, a Client that lobbies on its own behalf is required to file Lobbyist reports (Statement of Registration, Periodic Reports, Lobbyist Annual Report, and Fundraising/Political Consulting Report(s)(if applicable)) if it expends over $5,000 annually in reportable compensation and expenses combined for such lobbying.
  • If the client is an architect, engineer or an architecture or engineering firm the reporting threshold is $10,000.

For more information about Client Annual Reports, please review Section 3-217 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Requirement for Filing Reports

  • Once a Lobbyist has filed a Statement of Registration, a Lobbyist is responsible for filing the following reports:
       
    1. Up to six bi-monthly Periodic Reports;
    2. Lobbyist Annual Report (also known as the Sixth Periodic Report);
    3. Up to six Fundraising/Political Consulting Report(s), (if applicable); and,
    4. Termination Report(s), (if applicable).
  • If a Lobbyist has filed a Statement of Registration, the named Client is responsible for filing a Client Annual Report, if it meets the criterion described above under "Requirement for a Client to File".

For a complete list of Reporting Periods and filings deadlines please refer to Reporting Periods section of the website.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/reporting_periods.shtml

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Method of Registration: Enrollment and Filing

  • Lobbyists and Clients are required by law to file reports electronically using the e-Lobbyist application.
  • e-Lobbyist is designed to assist filers by providing an e-Lobbyist user guide and user-friendly data entry fields.
  • To use e-Lobbyist for the first time, each Lobbyist and Client must first enroll.  Enrollment is a one-time process and is not repeated in any subsequent year.
  • To enroll, the Principal Officer for each Lobbyist and Client must provide pertinent information about each entity.
  • Once this process is completed, the Principal Officer will receive two emails from e-Lobbyist: a completion deadline email and a password email.  The Lobbyist or Client should follow the link in the password email and create a password.
  • The completion deadline email instructs the Lobbyist or Client to send a proof of corporate filing or an affidavit to the Lobbying Bureau within 10 days of the date of the enrollment request. The Lobbyist or Client must submit the completion deadline email with the proof of corporate filing or affidavit to the Lobbying Bureau.
  • Enrollment is completed once a staff member of the Lobbying Bureau receives the completion deadline email and voided check (or affidavit) and accepts it into e-Lobbyist.   Once the enrollment is accepted, the Principal Officer of the Lobbyist may proceed with filing the Statement(s) of Registration for an enrolled Client.  After the Client's enrollment is accepted, the Principal Officer of the Client will be able to file a Client Annual Report at the appropriate time.
  • When the Statement of Registration is filed, the Lobbyist is required to submit payment of the registration fee and either mail the retainer agreement between the Lobbyist and Client to the Lobbying Bureau or upload it via e-Lobbyist.  If there is no written retainer agreement between the Lobbyist and Client, the Lobbyist is required to reduce the terms of the agreement to writing, and submit it by either mailing it to the Lobbying Bureau or uploading it via e-Lobbyist.
To use e-Lobbyist the Lobbyist or Client enters its user I.D. (email address) and password at the following login page.

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Termination of a Client

  • Within 30 days of a termination of an agreement for services, both the Lobbyist and Client must submit a Termination Notice via e-Lobbyist.
  • After a Termination Notice is filed, the Lobbyist must report all lobbying activity occurring within the reporting period in which the termination occurred.
  • In addition, both the Lobbyist and the Client must file an annual report for the year in which the termination took place.

For more information about Client Annual Reports, please review Section 3-215 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Prohibition of Contingent Retainers 

  • Clients are not permitted to retain, employ, or designate any Lobbyist if the rate or amount of compensation is partly or wholly contingent or dependent upon the Lobbyist's results in influencing any City legislative, executive, or administrative action. 
  • Lobbyists are not permitted to accept any such contingent retainer, employment, or designation.

For more information about contingent retainers, please review Section 3-218 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Retention of Records
Lobbyists and Clients must keep, for at least five years, a detailed and exact account of:

  • All compensation of any amount or value of any kind;
  • Names and addresses of every person paying or promising to pay compensation of $50 or more and the date of that promise;
  • All expenditures made by or on behalf of the Client; and,
  • Names and addresses of every person to whom any item of expenditure over $50 is made and a receipt for each expenditure.

For more information about the retention of records, please review Section 3-220 of the New York City Administrative Code. 

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Violations of the Lobbying Law

Lobbyists and Clients are subject to penalties for violating the Lobbying Law that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Failure of a Lobbyist to register a Client or failure of a Client to register itself if lobbying on its own behalf;
  • Failure to submit any filing (Statement(s) of Registration, Periodic Reports, Sixth Periodic Report(s)/Lobbyist Annual Report(s), Client Annual Report, Fundraising/Political Consulting Report(s), Termination Notice(s));
  • Late filing of the Statement(s) of Registration or any filing;
  • Failure to complete or timely amend any section or portion of the Statement(s) of Registration or any filing;
  • Failure to supply the correct information in the Statement(s) of Registration or any filing;
  • Failure to pay any required fee; and/or
  • Failure to pay a penalty in a stated period of time may result in payment of an additional penalty if the initial penalty so provides.

For more information about violations of the Lobbying Law, please review Section 1-03 of Title 51 of the Rules of the City of New York.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Extensions of Filing Deadlines

A Lobbyist or Client may request an extension to file a required report if: 

  • The Lobbyist or Client can show good cause;
  • The request is made in writing (email acceptable); and,
  • The request is made no later than two business days before the filing deadline.

For more information about extensions of filing deadlines, please review Section 1-03(a)(3) of title 51 of the Rules of the City of New York.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Penalties

Any person or organization that violates the Lobbying Law is subject to the following penalties:

  • Any person or organization who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of the Lobbying Law or the Rules:
    1. shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, and shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $30,000 to be assessed by the City Clerk; or
    2. shall be subject to an order to cease all lobbying activities for up to sixty days as determined by the City Clerk; or
    3. shall be subject to both a civil penalty and an order to cease lobbying activity.
  • Any person or organization who violates an order to cease issued by the City Clerk, or who enters into a contingent retainer or accepts or pays contingency fees:shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, and shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $30,000 to be assessed by the City Clerk.
  • Any person or organization who fails to file a Statement of Registration or any filing required by the Lobbying Law will be notified by the City Clerk of such failure by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The filing must be made within 14 business days of the date of the mailing of such notice.  Any person or organization who fails to file any Statement of Registration or filing within the 14 day period:
  1. shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor; and,
  2. shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $20,000 to be assessed by the City Clerk.
  • In addition to the above penalties, any Lobbyist who fails to file a Statement of Registration or other filing, or a Client who fails to file a Client Annual Report on time, shall be subject to late filing penalties as follows:
  1. Any person or organization that has never previously filed a Statement of Registration or any other filing, and is filing for the first time will be charged a late filing penalty of $10 per day, per filing, for each day the filing is overdue.
  2. Any other person or organization that has previously filed with the City Clerk will be charged a late filing penalty of $25 per day, per filing, for each day the filing is overdue.

For more information about penalties, please review Section 3-223 of the New York City Administrative Code.

http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/lobbying/law_admin.shtml

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Important and Helpful Links

New York City Administrative Code
Get the full text of the Lobbying Law contained in the Administrative Code.

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Rules of the City of New York
Get the full text of the Rules promulgated by the Office of the City Clerk.

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Advisory Opinions
Get the full text of the Advisory Opinions issued by the Office of the City Clerk.

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E-Lobbyist Application
Enter e-Lobbyist.

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E-Lobbyist User Guide
Get the full text of the e-Lobbyist User Guide.

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