On July 16, 2008 the Clerk of the House released updated guidance relating to the semi-annual lobbying report (form LD-203). The new guidance clarifies the types of events that "recognize" and "honor" covered officials, as well as other required details for the report. We assume that the immense confusion and vast amounts of criticism the LD-203 form and instructions have received are prompting this narrower advice than what was previously released by the Senate and House. The new interpretation should make reporting much easier.
Below is a brief overview of the new interpretations using examples. We are also attaching the updated Lobbying Disclosure Act Guide for your reference.
- A nonprofit organization sponsors an "Environmental Awareness Dinner.” Two Members of Congress are honored with awards at the dinner. A Lobbyist buys a ticket to the event. A Registrant Organization pays for a table at the event. Neither the Lobbyist or the Registrant needs to report the payments. The House's new advice states that the purchase of a table or ticket to another entity’s event, in and of itself, is not sufficient to be considered paying the "cost of an event." However, if a Lobbyist or a Registrant purchase enough tickets/tables so that it would appear that they are paying for the event and/or are exercising organizational control over the event such as to render it a sponsor, then the costs become reportable.
- Registrant pays for the cost of an event to raise money for a charity and the invitation lists a Senator as a host (i.e., "Please Join Senator ---") of the event. The Senator's passive allowance of his name to be used on the invitation is not sufficient to be considered "honored or recognized." The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the charity and not to honor or recognize the Senator. The cost of the event is not reportable.
- As long as a Registrant Company's PAC contributions are reported by a registrant organization in a report filed with the Clerk and the Secretary, the individual lobbyists who sit on the Board/Committee of the PAC only need to disclose that they are board members of the PAC; they do not need to report the PAC's contributions
To View LOBBYING DISCLOSURE ACT GUIDANCE see original