The City of New York recently implemented an amendment to the New York City Lobbying Law, New York City Administrative Code §§3-211 et seq. ("Lobbying Law") authorizing a one-time amnesty program. All lobbyists and clients that were required to but did not file a statement of registration or client annual report from December 10, 2006 to the present are eligible for the amnesty program. The City will waive late filing penalties and civil penalties for qualifying filers. The amnesty application can be filed from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016.
A "lobbyist" is a "person or organization retained, employed or designated by any client to engage in lobbying." Lobbying Law §3-211(a). A lobbyist may be an organization that lobbies on its own behalf. A "client" is "every person or organization who retains, employs or designates any person or organization to carry on lobbying activities on behalf of such client." Lobbying Law §3-211(b). The term "lobbying" is generally defined as any attempt to influence the agenda or any determination of a board, commission, mayor, city council, borough president with respect to zoning or the use, development or improvement of real property subject to city regulation, as well as the enforcement, rejection or amendment of any rule by any agency of authority.
As an individual or organization, you could be eligible for amnesty, based on the following criteria:
- Your organization engaged in reportable lobbying activity after December 10, 2006;
Lobbying Law §3-211 (c) (1) defines "lobbying" or "lobbying activities" as any attempt to influence: any determination made by the city council or any member thereof with respect to the introduction, passage, defeat, or substance of any local legislation or resolution, (ii) any determination made by the mayor to support, oppose, approve, or disapprove any local legislation or resolution, whether or not such legislation or resolution has been introduced in the city council, (iii) any determination made by an elected city official or an officer or employee of the city with respect to the procurement of goods, services or construction, including the preparation of contract specifications, or the solicitation, award or administration of a contract, or with respect the solicitation, award or administration of a grant, loan, or agreement involving the disbursement of public monies, (iv) any determination made by the mayor, the city council, the city planning commission, a borough president, a borough board or a community board with respect to zoning or the use, development or improvement of real property subject to city regulation, (v) any determination made by an elected city official or an officer or employee of the city with respect to the terms of the acquisition or disposition by the city of any interest in real property, with respect to a license or permit for the use of real property of or by the city, or with respect to a franchise, concession or revocable consent, (vi) the proposal, adoption, amendment or rejection by an agency of any rule having the force and effect of law, (vii) the decision to hold, timing or outcome of any rate making proceeding before an agency, (viii) the agenda or any determination of a board or commission, (ix) any determination regarding the calendaring or scope of any city council oversight hearing, (x) the issuance, repeal, modification or substance of a mayoral executive order, or (xi) any determination made by an elected city official or an officer or employee of the city to support or oppose any state or federal legislation, rule or regulation, including any determination made to support or oppose that is contingent on any amendment of such legislation, rule or regulation, whether or not such legislation has been formally introduced and whether or not such rule or regulation has been formally proposed.
- Your organization has exceeded the $5,000.00 threshold in combined compensation and expenses in a calendar year. Architecture/Engineering firms are eligible if they have exceeded the $10,000.00 threshold in combined compensation and expenses in a calendar year;
- Your organization has never registered or filed reports on the City’s database, e-Lobbyist; and
- Your organization is not the subject of or a party to criminal litigation involving a violation of the Lobbying Law.
You can access the application for the amnesty program at
Additionally, in conjunction with the City’s amnesty program, the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is offering a program with eligibility requirements and application deadlines similar to the Office of the City Clerk. Seewww.jcope.ny.gov.