Q: Would a firm that makes $13,000 on lobbying in a quarter have to register, if none of its employees spends more than 20% of their time lobbying?
A: The short answer is no, but the 20% rule is tricky to a lot of people. Twenty percent of time includes all lobbying activity– time spent in preparation for lobbying, beyond just lobbying contacts. It is also broken down on a per client basis, meaning that the figure is not calculated relative to your total time in a quarter (meaning you may have to register on behalf of more than one client). If 20% of your billable hours for that client are spent on lobbying activities, the answer becomes yes, you must file an LD-1.
Affiliated organizations — “an entity other than the client that contributes in excess of $5,000 towards the registrant’s lobbying activities in a quarterly period, and actively participates in the planning, supervision, or control of such activities” — must be disclosed on the report as well.