Posts Tagged ‘compliance’
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Tap the power of your roots!
When the grassroots get all fired up, watch out! Most lobbyists would like to tap the power of grassroots advocates – but do you know what exactly qualifies as “grassroots”? And how do you report those activities on your LDA forms?
The official definition of grassroots lobbying is the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) definition: “a call to action to the public or segment of the public asking them to contact a designated official, state, federal, local on a specific item government action, specific legislation, or a nomination, etc.”
What activities are considered “grassroots”?
Grassroots lobbying is: “communications to the general public that refer to and reflect a view on the merits of a specific legislative proposal and a ‘call to action’ directly or indirectly encouraging legislative contact.” So, for example, if you’re XYZ Association, and you ask your members to write Representative Smith on H.R. 1234, that is grassroots lobbying.
Reporting grassroots lobbying
There are two different ways to report – you must make a designation. If you are filing under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) definitions, grassroots lobbying is not disclosed on your forms. Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) definition of lobbying the expenses of grassroots lobbying are combined with the total reportable expenditures. The key thing to remember is that whichever method you chose, you must use it consistently in your filing. Note also that registrants reporting lobbying income (i.e. lobbying firms, including lobbyists acting as sole proprietors) must use the LDA definition and reporting structure. Registrants reporting lobbying expenditures may elect to use the IRC or LDA.
Amy Showalter, at the Showalter Group, writes an excellent blog on keeping your advocates motivated and engaged.
Another great speaker on advocacy and citizen participation is Stephanie Vance, at Advocacy Associates.
Thursday, November 4th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Q: What are the penalties for non-compliance with HLOGA?
A: There are criminal penalties for wrongful statements submitted by lobbyists. Since lobbyists must certify that the information they submit is true to the best of their knowledge, a wrongful disclosure a criminal act. Lobbyists must certify under penalty of perjury that they have read and understood the standing House and Senate gift and ethics rules, twice per year, on their LD-203 form.
The statute states that:
“Whoever knowingly fails: (1) to correct a defective filing within 60 days after notice of such a defect by the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House; or (2) to comply with any other provision of the Act, may be subject to a civil fine of not more than $200,000, and whoever knowingly and corruptly fails to comply with any provision of the Act may be imprisoned for not more than 5 years or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both.”
According to lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov, the Office of the Clerk has referred an aggregate of 887 potential non-compliant registrants to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Today’s post is condensed from the Lobbying Compliance Handbook
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Don’t forget to turn in any comments that you have to the Senate Office of Public Records or the Office of the Clerk of the House regarding the LDA filing process.
The Secretary and the Clerk review their LDA Guidance semi-annually.
According to their latest guidance, published in June 2010:
“Any questions, comments and suggestions should be directed to the Senate Office of Public Records and the House Legislative Resource Center in sufficient time for evaluation before the next semiannual reporting cycle (by November 5, 2010).”
Read the latest guidance (June 2010), here at the House’s Lobbying Disclosure site.
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Don't forget to file today!
Finish compiling your paperwork and submitting it to the House Clerk and Secretary of the Senate – entities registered to lobby must file their LD-2 forms with the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate TODAY, October 20.
These reports cover the 3rd Quarter of 2010, from July 1 – September 30, 2010.
Find forms and instructions here at the Clerk of the House’s website.
Monday, October 18th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Q: What is the difference between a gift and an award, as given to a member of Congress?
A: Under one of the statuatory exceptions to the gift rule, you are allowed to give as a gift a “commemorative” item that has minimal artistic or intrinsic value. So, for instance, you could give a plaque that says “Association X thanks Congressman Y for his 20 years of Service.”
You could not, however, give a valuable sculpture with the same inscription. The difference is that the first item – the plaque – has no artistic or intrinsic value on its own, but that the second item – the sculpture – has value on its own merit. In addition, if you give a gift that exceeds $305 in value, it has to go on the member’s financial disclosure form.
- Presented to Member/staffer in person
- Substantially commemorative in nature: plaque or trophy, engraved with Member’s/staffer’s name
- No significant utilitarian or artistic value (framed photo, print, figurine, clock, etc.)
- Senate: Disclosed on personal financial disclosure report if valued at more than $250
The House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct also has a short booklet with a summarization of rules on their website.
Remember, the overall rule is: you may not offer anything of value to a member of Congress or staffer, unless it fits under one of the exceptions.
Today’s post is summarized from the Lobbying Compliance Handbook, now with a brand-new chapter on Campaign Finance for the Lobbyist!
Questions for Compliance Q&A? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by Vbhotla
You have one week to finish compiling your paperwork and submitting it to the House Clerk and Secretary of the Senate.
That’s right, it’s that time of the year again – 3rd Quarter 2010 LDA reports are due to the Clerk and Secretary by October 20, 2010.
Read more about filing, and find forms and instructions here at the Clerk of the House’s website.
Now’s a good time to review what you need to file.
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Vbhotla
Q: Our association has a PAC but our treasurer is not a lobbyist and our assistant treasurer is a lobbyist. Do we still need to file an LD-203 report for the PAC? And if so, who must file and by when must the filing occur?
A: The individual lobbyist will have to file his or her own individual contributions. On the association’s semi-annual report (LD-203), the association would list the name of the PAC. It does not matter whether your treasurer is or is not a lobbyist for the purposes of the filing by the association.
The association would indicate the name of its PAC and indicate contributions of $200 or more from the PAC to any federal candidate, any leadership PAC or any one of the six national party committees that were made during the six-month reporting period.
On the lobbyist’s separate filing, the lobbyist may have to indicate – if he or she has a controlling say in where PAC contributions are spent – that he or she is the assistant treasurer. If the lobbyist has a responsibility for allocating PAC funds, he or she would have to list contributions from the PAC that he or she was responsible for having made in the individual lobbyist report.
So it’s a fact-specific situation depending on how the PAC is set up, and who its officers are, as well as who controls contributions.
Have a question for Compliance Q&A? Send your questions to email@example.com.
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 by Brittany
This practical and easy-to-use guide provides authoritative answers to all your questions about lobbying under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 as amended by HLOGA. Reserve your copy today!
The Lobbying Compliance Handbook covers everything from the lobbying activities that require disclosure to the specific steps government relations professionals, lobbying firms, associations and government contractors must take to maintain the required records and paperwork certifications.
The 2010 edition will be released this July. Click here to reserve or renew your copy.