July 15, 2014 - ET

"State and Federal Lobbying Activities" for Lawline

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Organizations involved in lobbying face scrutiny from the public, their shareholders, and their opponents. Disclosure regimes differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and failing to register or report can result in fines and negative publicity. Interacting with lawmakers is highly regulated and common business courtesies – such as paying for lunch – can be limited, prohibited, or subject to disclosure. Again, a simple mistake can give the organization a black eye and even undo the objectives the government affairs program was trying to achieve.

This program, presented by Ronald Jacobs, co-chair of Venable’s Political Law Group, discusses the issues involved when a company, association, or nonprofit is involved in state and federal lobbying. It covers lobbying registration and reporting at both the state and federal levels and discuss the ways organizations engaged in lobbying need to track time and expenses associated with lobbying. The program also discusses how different activities in different jurisdictions may be considered to be lobbying. In addition, the program covers gift and ethics rules that limit what lawmakers may accept from individuals or companies, explores common situations that may involve gifts, and provides suggestions for how to conduct these activities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify when an organization must register as a federal lobbyist
  • Understand the reporting obligations of a federal lobbying registrant
  • Recognize the different state rules that apply to lobbying and which activities will trigger registration in different states
  • Learn the tax implications for your organization’s lobbying activities and how the compliance, legal, government affairs, and finance/accounting departments all have to work together
  • Summarize the gift rules at the state and federal levels so that you avoid giving prohibited gifts or gifts that exceed legal limits
  • Appreciate the risks and rewards of a federal and state lobbying program and how to mitigate the risks to bolster the chances for a successful program