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Lobby Disclosure FAQs

Q: What is the 4-day Rule?

A: Lobbyists must register and report if they lobby for more than four days, or parts thereof for one or more clients/employers during any calendar quarter. Lobbying includes face-to-face contacts, mail, e-mail, or telephonic contacts.

Q: As a lobbyist, I have 3 clients for whom I lobby on City issues. In the last quarter, I didn’t meet the threshold for reporting for any one client. That is, I lobbied for 4 days (or parts thereof) or less for each client. But altogether, I lobbied a total of seven days. Do I have to file a quarterly report? Do my clients have to file Employer reports?

A: Yes. And Yes. The 4-day rule applies to you as the lobbyist. It’s the number of contacts you make during a quarter that triggers the reporting obligation. If you have a reporting obligation, even if the 4-day threshold was not exceeded during the period for any one client, you must include all your client activity on the report. The Client/Employer must file an annual report as well or certify your annual report.

Q: I’m a volunteer for a neighborhood group. Do I have to register as a lobbyist?

A: No. Only paid lobbyists are required to register and file reports.

Q: Does a phone call to set up a meeting constitute a lobbying activity?

A: No. Only those contacts meant to influence legislation are counted against the 4-day rule.

Q: If I meet the qualifications for lobbying, what do I have to file?

A:
   1. Basic (User) Registration
   2. Lobbyist Registration
   3. Employer Authorization
   4. Quarterly Reports and an Annual Report

Q: What do I have to report in the Compensation field?

A: Report the amount of money you expect to earn per a specific period, eg. $50 per hour, or $5,000 for 3 months.

Q: Do I have to include my whole salary, or can I prorate it for the time I expect to spend on Lobbying?

A: You can prorate your salary, but you must report the dollars per time.

Q: Do I have to include benefits under compensation, eg. health, transit passes, annual/monthly parking, etc.

A: No. Only those expenses for which your Employer is reimbursing you, eg. parking, mileage, meals.

Q: I’m the Executive Director of the non-profit for whom I lobby. Can I authorize myself to lobby on the organization’s behalf?

A: Yes. If you’re not the Executive Director, have a supervisor or manager authorize you.

Q: I am the Employer of a Lobbyist. What do I have to file?

A:
   1. You must Authorize the lobbyist to file. The lobbyist can provide you with a template to sign.
   2. You must also either: a) Certify the lobbyist’s Annual Report filed no later than January 31st for the previous calendar year, or b) File an Annual Employer Expenditure Report due no later than February 28th for the previous calendar year.

Q: I registered as a lobbyist, but I didn’t have any activity this quarter. Do I have to file a quarterly report?

A: Yes. If you terminate your paid lobbying you can file an amended registration statement noting that it is terminated. You would file a quarterly report for activity up to the date of termination.

Q: I am a lobbyist for a membership organization, do I have to list my members on the Lobbyist Registration?

A: Yes. Unless your organization is made up primarily of members whose primary purpose in joining the organization was for other than influencing legislation, eg. an art museum, or a zoo would not have to list its membership. Business associations, on the other hand, would have to list their membership.

Q: Where can I look up recent legislation?

A: On the City Clerk’s site:

clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us

Q: How do I Terminate my Status as a Lobbyist at the City? What do I need to do to Stop filing with the City?

A: To Terminate your registration as a lobbyist, you must do all of the following:

  1. Amend your Lobbyist Registration (Log in and click on ‘Register as a Lobbyist’ or on the Open button adjacent to your employer’s name.)
    • Scroll down to Lobbyist Registration Status on the registration form.
    • Click the button labeled Terminated
    • Enter the Effective Date of Termination
    • Click the Preview/File button and follow the Steps there (scroll down!) to complete filing the amended registration.
  2. File a Quarterly Report for the current Quarter.
  3. File an Annual Report (with Employer certification or have your employer file a separate Employer’s Annual Report)

 


 

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