- Recording all your lobbying activity is always important, but, in times of crisis, accurate record-keeping becomes even more vital and increasingly difficult.
- In order to keep accurate records of your lobbying activities, you’ll need to know the rules, retain records, and communicate.
- Lobbying compliance rules and deadlines might shift during the COVID-19 pandemic, will some of these changes become permanent?
Recording all your lobbying activity is always important, but, in times of crisis, accurate record-keeping becomes even more vital and increasingly difficult. Many of us are well versed in the art of juggling multiple projects whether at home or the office.
How to Keep Accurate Records From Home
Over the past weeks, as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads and many people are working remotely, these traditionally separate spaces have become one. This sudden hybrid, the home-office, provides an opportunity to enhance company-wide procedures and identify best practices when it comes to keeping accurate records of your lobbying activities.
Know the Rules
To stay organized, you’ll need to formulate and maintain a record-keeping system that encompasses your needs and meets all legal requirements. The MultiState Compliance Team is here to assist you in navigating the statutory requirements in the jurisdictions you’re working in.
Some jurisdictions, such as New York City (§3-220), North Carolina (18 NCAC 12 .1301), and West Virginia (§6B-3-7), statutorily mandate retention of records for a specific time frame. These jurisdictions may request past records for their own review or for auditing purposes. These rules also require that supporting documentation be maintained with the same responsibility as filed reports. MultiState’s compliance team recognizes the importance of long-term record keeping and maintain detailed records to assist our clients and lobbyists.
With less physical lobbying taking place in state capitols and city halls, keeping detailed records of all lobbying contacts, whether virtual or physical, is still extremely important. As we all fall into a new rhythm, it is imperative to communicate these contacts with the MultiState compliance team. And don’t forget about grassroots and social media lobbying.
A New Normal?
Don’t be surprised to see some of the temporary changes, caused by the COVID - 19 pandemic, impact the future of lobbying and bring about long-term changes to lobbying definitions and filings. Lawmakers and lobbyists have adopted online platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangout Meet to communicate and that may continue to some degree. States are modifying logistical filing requirements, notably, the deadlines in many jurisdictions have been adjusted.
MultiState is continuing to track and provide the information as it develops. Reportable lobbying activity is dependent on which jurisdictions that you or your company are present in and whether your actions rise to the level of requiring lobbying registrations. Our team is available to offer assistance with questions and concerns regarding lobbying inquiries and up-to-date changes related to COVID - 19 in your lobbying jurisdictions.