2024 Legislative Session Dates
image/svg+xml Skip to main content
Search image/svg+xml

Key Takeaways:

  • In part two of our Lobbying Mythbuster series we explore the role of municipalities in lobbying compliance.
  • Federal lobbying is a fairly straightforward endeavor, and it’s a similar concept at the state level. Although there is a far greater degree of nuance in the states, generally speaking, state-level reportable officials include the governor and members of the executive branch as well as state legislators and legislative staff.  
  • However, some states cast a much wider net on the universe of reportable officials, encompassing not just the state-level individuals outlined above but also municipal elected officials and employees.  Twenty-two states have one or more municipalities that regulate lobbying separately from the state level.
  • Even if municipal officials are considered reportable, a state may not mention municipal lobbying in their regulations. Why? Because they’ve delegated the authority to the municipalities themselves.


If you caught the first part of our Lobbying Mythbuster series, you may recall us mentioning that lobbying regulations can include contacts with municipal employees. In part two, we further explore the role of municipalities in lobbying compliance. 

Federal lobbying is a fairly straightforward endeavor. At the federal level, one part of the trigger for registration is the number of lobbying contacts with federal officials, including members of Congress, legislative employees, and executive agency officials. When considering whether the threshold has been reached for federal registration and reporting purposes, we would only factor in those federal-level contacts. 

It’s the same concept at the state level. Although there is a far greater degree of nuance in the states, generally speaking, state-level reportable officials include the governor and members of the executive branch as well as state legislators and legislative staff. In some states, agency appointees and senior employees are also part of the universe of reportable officials. 


Reportable Officials Can Include Municipal Officials and Employees

And that’s it, right? Well, not exactly. Some states, like Minnesota and Louisiana, cast a much wider net on the universe of reportable officials, encompassing not just the state-level individuals outlined above but also municipal elected officials and employees. This is an additional layer of information to capture for reporting purposes, but the good news is that in these states, municipal lobbying activity can be included in state reports. 


Be Careful — This Might Not Show Up in State Regulations

Several states don’t mention municipal lobbying in their regulations. Why? Because they’ve delegated the authority to the municipalities themselves. Some municipalities, in turn, simply don’t regulate lobbying at all. But quite a few have instituted their own set of lobbying regulations that apply solely to their municipalities’ elected officials and employees. 

The map below illustrates states with one or more municipalities that regulate lobbying separately from the state level. In these states, lobbying contacts at the municipal level could require an additional registration and reporting requirement. As we explained in part one of this series, lobbying can take many forms — this means that municipal lobbying doesn’t just include attempts to influence the City Council. It’s important to consider your activity in the context of municipal regulations before engaging to make sure you and your organization are covered. 

Need Compliance Help? Get In Touch!

Keeping up with rules, deadlines, and often confusing requirements is a daunting prospect for teams of all sizes. Let us manage your federal, state, and local registration and reporting responsibilities, or manage your campaign finance program. Read more about our Compliance Services here, or get in touch here

Information provided in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for actual legal advice and counsel directed at your specific situation.The examples used in this article are presented for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered an exhaustive list.