Many states highlight those who have failed to comply with lobbying rules, such as those who file late or file incomplete lobbying reports. This is done through their website, but may also be released publicly through press releases.
It’s important to be aware of the deadlines to ensure that you or your employer do not suffer financial or reputational harm as a result of a late report.
In July, 29 states have periodic disclosure requirements. Additionally, one state (Colorado) has annual registration due. July also brings filing deadlines for localities in many states.
Don’t forget that mid-year lobbying filing deadlines are rapidly approaching, and failing to file on time can lead not only to monetary penalties, but also to negative press attention. Lobbyists and their employers need to remember that these penalties exist for late filings and that jurisdictions have binding deadlines.
Potential Fines and Public Display
Jurisdictions take various approaches in handling non-compliance. In addition to a potential fine, it is possible that the late report could be highlighted by a particular jurisdiction on their website or in press releases. It is important to be aware of the deadlines to ensure that you or your employer do not suffer financial or reputational harm as a result of a late report.
As an example, take California. As required under the California Political Reform Act, the California Secretary of State maintains a list of all groups that owe a penalty for a late or missing report. This includes both lobbyists and employers of lobbyists. When a deadline is missed, the filer is responsible for a fine up to $10 per day for each day that the report is missed following a missed deadline. A reminder letter is sent if the fine is not paid within 30 days. A third and final reminder is sent if the fine is not paid within 30 days of the second notice. However, the California Secretary of State gives the opportunity for filers to request a waiver or reduction of a late penalty. Once the fine is paid or a decision is reached by the Secretary of State regarding a waiver or reduction of a fine, the party is removed from the list that is publicized at the next monthly update.
California is not the only state that publicizes its late filings. The Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Commission (JLEC) maintains a database that lists all lobbyists and employers who file a late report. Groups who file a late report are first notified via email that the report was filed late and to promptly file the report. JLEC also includes a link on their main website that lists filers that are delinquent. Once a report is filed, the party is removed from the list. Failure to file a report can result in fines of up to $250, and referral to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Similarly, Minnesota publicizes its late filings. The Minnesota Campaign Finance Disclosure Board publicizes a list on their website that details any delinquent reports. This list includes both the name and registration number of the party that committed the violation.
While these examples can be intimidating to potential and registered lobbyists or employers, there are many steps to take to avoid these examples from happening. MultiState has several resources available to you, including our Lobbying Compliance Guides and tailored help to ease your mind. If you’re planning your summer travel, be sure to plan ahead and provide all the relevant lobbying information to MultiState’s Lobbying and Compliance Team to ensure that we may timely file reports. If you have any concerns about meeting deadlines, we’re always more than happy to work with you. Contact us here and we can set up a custom solution that fits your organization’s needs (read more about our Lobbying Compliance solution here.)
July 2021 Lobbying Compliance Deadlines
Many states have deadlines in July. This month, 29 states have periodic disclosure requirements. Additionally, one state (Colorado) has annual registration due. July also brings filing deadlines for localities in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Check out the map and chart below for jurisdictions with deadlines this month.
City of Phoenix
City of Berkeley, City of Glendale, City of Oakland, Los Angeles City and County
California, San Diego City and County, City of San Jose