Lobbyists and their employers are each required to file timely and accurate reports of their activities. Below are our top 5 dos and don’ts that filers can follow to ensure a smooth filing process.
Top Five Dos for Filers
- Utilize online resources: Agency websites can serve as great assets. Many agencies offer resources such as handbooks, manuals, FAQs, filing calendars, etc. Social media sites (blogs, Facebook, Twitter) are also a widely used tool to keep the regulated community informed.
- Sign up for notifications/reminders: With each jurisdiction having multiple filing deadlines, it is important for filers to know upcoming deadlines. If an agency offers to send reminders and notifications — sign up.
- Respond to all correspondence: If a regulatory agency calls, or sends an email or letter to a filer, make sure to follow up with the staff. If the correspondence is related to a delinquent or incomplete filing, work to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
- Maintain current contact information: If a filer’s contact information changes (new job, office move, etc.), contact the regulatory agency to update the information. Likewise, if the employee responsible for filings leaves, update the contact information to reflect the new person. It is beneficial for both filers and the agency to maintain open lines of communication.
- When in doubt, ask: If you’re in doubt about a filing deadline, registration requirements or reporting issues or questions, contact the agency for clarification. Being proactive will help to ensure that reports or amendments are filed timely and correctly.
Top Five Don’ts for Filers
- Don’t wait until the last minute: If a filer is scrambling to file a report at the last minute, the likelihood of inaccurate reporting can increase.
- Don’t assume that someone else is filing a report: If lobbyist filings are assigned to someone other than the lobbyist, don’t automatically assume that the filing is completed. Always double check information and confirm that the report has been filed.
- Don’t discard receipts: Most regulatory agencies have policies regarding record retention. Filers must make sure that they are keeping their receipts and other information for the entire length of the required retention period.
- Don’t go over thresholds: It is important for filers to fully understand the lobbying laws in the jurisdiction in which they are lobbying.
- Don’t skip trainings: If a regulatory agency offers trainings, make time to attend. Trainings provide a great opportunity to ask questions and meet the staff of an agency.