In every legislature in the United States, professional lobbyists must register before lobbying.
Who exactly must register? Most often lobbyists must file registration paperwork. However, some states require those who hire lobbyists, sometimes called “principals,” to file either in addition to lobbyists or instead of them. The definitions of “lobbying” and “lobbyist” also may vary. This table provides each state’s statutory definitions for these terms.
How much does it cost? Registration fees range from $0 to several hundred. Some states may require individual lobbyists or lobbying firms to pay filing fees for each client whose interests they represent before the legislature. Registration fees may be waived or reduced for government lobbyists.
What information needs to be disclosed? It varies substantially by state. Required information may include the filer’s contact and address, client information, and subject matters of interest to the lobbyist’s work. A few states may also require photos for ID cards, subcontracted lobbyists, honesty and completeness pledges, terms of compensation for lobbying work, and more.
A few states may lack substantial detail in the statutes that describe what must be disclosed in lobbyist registration forms. This may mean that the appropriate ethics commission has a substantial degree of discretion in the content, form, and cost of filing.
This table provides information on each state and territory's legislative lobbying registration requirements, including who must register, what the registration fees are, and what information must, by statute, be contained within registration filings. Note that rules relating to executive agency lobbyists may be different in some circumstances.
This table is intended to provide general information and does not necessarily address all aspects of this topic. Because the facts of each situation may vary, this information may need to be supplemented by consulting legal advisors. All content is up to date through 12/17/2019.
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