Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 3

August 22, 2000

Issued By:  The Ethics Review Board

Whether a single Lobbyist Registration Amendment Form may be submitted with a matrix pursuant to Part E of the Ethics Code.

 

David Earl has asked whether a single Lobbyist Registration Amendment may be submitted with an attached matrix pursuant to Part E, Section 6(a)(1) of the Ethics Code.  The following facts are presented:

David Earl is a registered lobbyist with the City, and currently, has on file approximately 80 Lobbyist Registration Forms as required under Part E, Section 5 of the Code.  Recently, Kenneth W. Brown, a former registered lobbyist with Kaufman & Associates, Inc., joined Mr. Earl’s firm as a shareholder, changing the name of said firm from Earl & Associates, A Professional Corporation, to Earl & Brown, A Professional Corporation.  The issue is whether a single Lobbyist Registration Amendment Form may be submitted with an attached matrix in amending each of the lobbyist’s Registration forms.

Part E, Section 5(a) of the Ethics Code states that “[a] person [who engages in lobbying and is paid more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter or expends more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter] must file a separate registration form for each client.”  In addition to the initial registration form, a registered lobbyist must file a separate quarterly activity report regarding the registrant’s lobbying activities for each client and a subsequent annual registration form pursuant to Part E, Section 6(a) and Part E, Section 5(c), respectively. The intent of the Ethics Code in requiring the various forms is to provide disclosure of not only who is representing whom, but also the municipal question and activities involved.

Changes in circumstances may occur, however, where one individual leaves a firm and joins another, as is the case here.  This change in circumstances requires an amendment to the registration form of the former firm, Earl & Associates, pursuant to Section 6(a)(1).  Section 6(a)(1) states that “[ ] any changes or updates in the information provided in the most recent registration statement filed pursuant to Section 5 [shall be included on the lobbyist’s quarterly activity report].” The addition of a new shareholder and/or the change in firm names may be accomplished through a matrix format for existing clients.  However, for new clients of Earl & Brown, a new registration form is required to be filed, including, but not limited to, those former clients of Mr. Brown who have transferred from Kaufman & Associates to Earl & Brown.  Moreover, in January of each year, Earl & Brown must file a separate annual registration form as required under Part E, Section 5(c) of the Code for each client.

SUMMARY

A change in circumstances that requires an amendment to a Lobbyist Registration Form may be done through a matrix format of a lobbying firm’s quarterly activity report as provided in Part E, Section 6(a)(1) of the Code for existing clients.  However, for new clients, a separate Lobbyist Registration Form in accordance with Part E, Section 5(a) must be filed.  In addition, the firm is required, on an annual basis, to file subsequent registration forms for each of its clients for whom the firm had previously filed on behalf of and/or had been required to file an initial registration form.

_______________________

Mr. Arthur Downey, Vice-Chair  

_______________________

Mr. Ron Gossen

_______________________

Mr. Carlos Freymann