Regulation of lobbying

General

Is lobbying self-regulated by the industry, or is it regulated by the government, legislature or an independent regulator? What are the regulator’s powers?

The only aspect of lobbying that is regulated by the government is the publicising of meetings that are held between lobbyists’ representatives and different public officials. Decree No. 1172/2003 establishes a set of guidelines for that purpose. The Executive Branch Registry of Meetings of Representation of Interests (the Registry) is maintained by the Sub-Secretary of Institutional Reform and Democracy Strengthening, part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Public Works and Housing. The role of the authorities is limited to the control of the reporting obligations of public officials. Non-reporting of a meeting in accordance with the guidelines constitutes serious misconduct.

Definition

Is there a definition or other guidance as to what constitutes lobbying?

The guidelines established by Decree No. 1172/2003 define ‘representation of interests’ as any activity that is carried out - in a formal meeting that is requested by a public official - by individuals or legal entities, public or private, on their behalf or on behalf of third parties, with or without profit, whose purpose is to influence others in the course of any of the functions or decisions of the organisations, bodies, companies, agencies and any other entity that is under the jurisdiction of the executive branch.

Registration and other disclosure

Is there voluntary or mandatory registration of lobbyists? How else is lobbying disclosed?

There is no voluntary or mandatory registration of lobbyists. The only registration that is mandatory is the registration of the meetings that are held by certain public officials with individuals or entities looking forward to the purposes defined in question 7, in accordance with the guidelines established by Decree No. 1172/2003. This registration obligation is imposed over the public officials that are involved and not over the lobbyists. Any individual or legal entity, public or private, may demand compliance from the public official with its reporting obligations.

Activities subject to disclosure or registration

What communications must be disclosed or registered?

The meetings that are held by certain public officials with individuals or entities for the purposes defined in question 7 must be disclosed by the public officials that are involved.

The public officials that have this reporting obligation are: the President; the Vice President; the Cabinet Chief; ministers; secretaries and undersecretaries; appointed federal controllers; senior management in organisations, bodies, companies, agencies and other entities under the jurisdiction of the executive branch; and public agents that are equivalent to general directors. In addition, if a request for a meeting is received by a low-ranking public official who still has advisory or lawmaking powers, or sufficient power to influence, that person must report this to his or her superior in the following five days to be included within the Registry.

Entities and persons subject to lobbying rules

Which entities and persons are caught by the disclosure rules?

There are no lobbying rules. The only regulation on lobbying incorporated in Argentina mandates disclosure obligations of public officials.

Lobbyist details

What information must be registered or otherwise disclosed regarding lobbyists and the entities and persons they act for ? Who has responsibility for registering the information?

The public official must disclose the following items in the Registry with respect to each request for a meeting:

  • details of the lobbyist;
  • interests that are invoked by the lobbyist;
  • participants of the meeting;
  • place, date and time of the meeting;
  • summary of the issues discussed in the meeting; and
  • evidence of the meeting (minutes or similar).
Content of reports

When must reports on lobbying activities be submitted , and what must they include?

There are no reporting obligations other than those explained in question 11.

Financing of the registration regime

How is the registration system funded?

Each of the public officials and entities that are obliged to report (as specified in question 7) must maintain their own registry with their respective public funds.

Public access to lobbying registers and reports

Is access to registry information and to reports available to the public?

The law mandates that the information included in each registry must be publicly available, updated and published on the respective website of the public official or the entities obliged to report.

Code of conduct

Is there a code of conduct that applies to lobbyists and their practice?

There is no specific code of conduct for lobbyists and their practice. It is voluntary for the individuals and entities involved in lobbying to incorporate a code of conduct in this regard.

Media

Are there restrictions in broadcast and press regulation that limit commercial interests’ ability to use the media to influence public policy outcomes?

No.