In the old days—the years preceding the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA), it was pretty straightforward when a registrant under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), such as a corporation or trade association, needed to terminate an in-house federal lobbyist. With the advent of mandatory electronic filing and of Form LD-203, the semiannual gift certification and report required by HLOGA, however, the complete process has become a bit more complicated—in the technical sense. Below are some technical tips to ensure 100% compliance.
Form LD-2—Pretty Much the Same as Always
To terminate an employee lobbyist, a registrant simply must list the name of the employee on Line 23, which is on the last page of the quarterly report. This process was not changed as a result of HLOGA.
Form LD-203—New System, New Technical Issues
Unfortunately, the system for quarterly LDA reports, and the system for the semiannual LDA contribution and gift reports, Form LD-203, do not necessarily share all information. As a result, and in order to ensure that both systems have complete information about terminated lobbyists, a registrant should take the following steps in the Form LD-203 system, which can be accessed at http://lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov/ by selecting LD-203 Contributions in the blue menu bar.
Terminating an Existing Lobbyist. To properly terminate an employee lobbyist once the LD-2 Quarterly Lobby Report form has been submitted, the registrant must identify a terminated lobbyist as "inactive" in the LD-203 Contributions database. The following steps are necessary in order to do this:
- Access the Lobby Disclosure web page for the Office of the Clerk of the House.
- You will now be required to sign in to the Lobby Contributions System. You will need your Senate ID and the password you established previously.
- Once you have logged into the system, you will be presented with another menu bar—select Manage Lobbyists and complete the following four steps to properly inactivate a lobbyist:
- Select the name of the lobbyist to be terminated. Once the lobbyist has been selected, the lobbyist profile page will appear;
- Select "Inactive" in the Account Status section;
- Click in the box next to Effective Date. A calendar will appear; select as the termination date the date on which the employee ceased to be a lobbyist (often the last day of the quarter or day the employee left employment); and
- Click the Save button.
- You will now be returned to the Manage Lobbyist page. If you need to inactivate additional lobbyists, follow the steps outlined above. Once you have completed updating your lobbyist account, click Sign Out at the upper right corner on the Manage Lobbyist page, and all modifications will be uploaded into the Lobby Contributions System.
It is important to note that a lobbyist identified as active during any part of a Contribution Report semiannual period (January-June, or July-December) is still responsible for filing the corresponding Form LD-203.
In the January 2009 issue of Election Law News, we will discuss the steps involved in ensuring that new lobbyists are properly added and activated.