Lobbyist Registration

The Ethics Law requires lobbyists to register with the Ethics Board and to file semi-annual activity reports with the Ethics Board. Lobbyists may register online here:

*Online Lobbyist Registration Site

*List of Registered Lobbyists*

Review Art. 8, § 8 of the Ethics Law for more information about lobbying, or press the links below:


Lobbyist Registration

Definitions

 

Compensation – where lobbying is only part of a person’s employment, means prorated amount based on time devoted to lobbying.  

Executive Action – any official action/nonaction that is taken by a public servant and that is not “legislative action.”

Legislative Action – any official action/nonaction relating to any bill, resolution, nomination, appointment, report, or other matter within the jurisdiction of the City Council; or any bill or resolution presented to the Mayor for approval or veto.

Lobby – any act that requires registration under Subtitle 8.

Reporting Period – all/any part of January 1 through December 31 of year during which person is registered or required to be registered as a lobbyist.

Registration Required

 

A person engaged in any of the following must register with Ethics Board:

  • Legislative lobbying: communication with a public servant for the purpose of influencing any legislative action, AND in furtherance of/connection with such communication/activities:
      • Expends $100 or more for gifts, including meals, beverages, or special events on one or more public servants;
      • Incurs any expenses of $500 or more; or
      • Earns $2,500 or more in compensation.
  • Executive lobbying: communication with a public servant for the purpose of influencing any executive action, AND in furtherance of/connection with such communications/activities:
    • Expends $100 or more for gifts, including meals, beverages, or special events on one or more public servants.
  • Grass Roots Lobbying: for purpose of influencing any legislative or executive action, solicits others to communicate with a public servant, AND in furtherance of/connection with such activities:
    • expends $1,000 or more, including expenditures for salaries, contractual employees, postage, telecommunications services, electronic services, advertising, printing, or delivery services.
  • Executive Order Lobbying: for purpose of influencing regulations or an executive order, communicates with a public servant, AND in furtherance of/connection with such communications/activities:
    • Expends $100 or more for gifts, including meals, beverages, or special events, to 1 or more public servants;
    • Incurs any expenses of $500 or more; or
    • Earns $2,500 or more in compensation.
  • Procurement Lobbying: for purpose of influencing any procurement contract greater than $50,000, communicates with a public servant, AND in furtherance of/connection with such communications/activities:
    • Expends $100 or more for gifts, including meals, beverages, or special events, to 1 or more public servants;
    • Is compensated for his/her service.

*Exception for bona fide salesperson/selling agency who is employed to secure procurement contract. 

  • Business Grant/Loan Lobbying: for purpose of influencing executive action to secure a business grant/loan that exceeds $50,000 communicates with a public servant, AND in furtherance of/connection with such communications/activities:
    • Expends $100 or more for gifts, including meals, beverages, or special events, to 1 or more public servants;
    • Is compensated for his/her service.

* Exception for bona fide full-time official/employee of the business entity seeking the grant/loan, OR a person seeking a grant/loan for purpose of relocating/expanding to the City.

Separate registration is required for each principal/person on whose behalf the lobbyist is acting.

Baltimore City Lobbyist Registration Website

https://cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/LobbyistActivity/Account/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2flobbyistactivity%2f

Lobbyist’s Employer Must Authorize

Any person that engages a lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying must provide a written authorization for the lobbyist to act on the person’s behalf. Contents of the statement/authorization must include:

  • The person’s full legal name and business address;
  • The Lobbyist’s full name and business address;
  • The period during which the lobbyist is authorized to act; and
  • The legislative action, executive action, or other matter on which the lobbyist is authorized to act.

Employer of lobbyist is exempt from registering if they reasonably believe that the lobbyist they employ will register as required and timely report all expenses.  If their employed lobbyist fails to report, the exemption immediately terminates and employer becomes subject to registrations and reporting requirements.

Content of Registration

 

The registration must be filed on the form provided by the Ethics Board and include:

  • The lobbyist’s full legal name and business address;
  • The full legal name and business address of each other person that will be lobbying on the lobbyist’s behalf;
  • The full legal name, address, and nature of business of the person on whose behalf the lobbyist is acting;
    • A statement of whether, because of the lobbyist’s registration and reporting, the person on whose behalf the lobbyist is acting will be the exempt from registration; and
    • The identification, by formal designation, if known, of the legislative action, executive action, or other matter on which the lobbyist is acting or expects to act.

Time for Registering

Initially, a lobbyist must register within 5 days after first engaging in any act that requires registration.

Annually, a lobbyist must file a new registration on or before January 1 of each year if, on that date, the lobbyist is engaged/expects to be engaged in lobbying.

The Ethics Board is authorized to charge late fees for untimely registration. 

Registration Filing Fee

Lobbying registration must be accompanied by a fee of $100

Registration Termination

Automatic termination:

  • Earlier of December 31; or
  • The date specified in employer’s written authorization.

Termination by lobbyist if:

  • Ceases all lobbying activity;
  • Files notice of termination with Ethics Board, and
  • Within 30 days, files all required reports

Required termination upon appointment as public servant:

  • Must immediately cease lobbying upon appointment;
  • Within 30 days files notice of termination with Ethics Board and all required reports.

Activity Reports

Semi-annual reports must be filed with the Ethics Board for the reporting period for which the lobbyist is registered or required to be registered.

Deadlines

  • On or before July 31, covering the immediately preceding January 1 through June 30; and
  • On or before January 31, covering all of the immediately preceding January 1 through December 31.

Requirements

  • Filed on the form required by Ethics Board; and
  • Signed under oath or affirmation, subject to the penalties of perjury.
    • If the lobbyist is not an individual, then an authorized officer or agent of the lobbyist must sign the report.

Content

  • See Article 8, § 8-17 through § 8-21, and the Lobbying Report form on the Ethics Board website for detailed content requirements, including:
    • Registration information;
    • Compensation;
    • Expenses;
    • Gifts and gift receipts; and
    • Business transactions with certain City officials.

The Board is authorized to charge late fees for untimely filed reports. The late fee is currently $25/day.

Exemptions

General Exemptions: Subtitle 8’s lobbying provisions do not apply to the following activities:

  • Appearances as part of the official duties of an elected or appointed official or employee of the City, State, United States, any other state, or a political subdivision of these, if not on behalf of any other person;
  • Actions of a member of the news media, if in the ordinary course of gathering and disseminating news or making editorial comment to the general public;
  • Representation of a bona fide religious organization, so long as it is for the purpose of protecting the rights of its members to practice; or
  • Appearances as part of the official duties of an officer, director, member, or employee of an association engaged exclusively in representing the State, counties, or municipal corporations, so long as the appearance is not on behalf of any other person.

Qualified Exemptions:

  • Appearances on Request
    • Before the City Council, before a committee or subcommittee of the City Council, or before a City agency at their specified request; or
    • Similar appearance, at the specific request of a lobbyist, if the witness notifies the body that they are testifying at the request of the lobbyist.
  • Student Activities:   An elementary, secondary, or postsecondary school student is not subject to the registration requirements based on the expense threshold if the lobbying is part of a course or other student activity.

Lobbying Prohibited Conduct

Contingent Compensation

Lobbyist may not lobby on behalf of any person for compensation that is dependent on passage/defeat/enactment of any legislative or executive action.

Gifts

Lobbyist may not make a gift to a public servant if the gift’s acceptance or solicitation would otherwise violate Subtitle 6, Conflicts of Interest.

Loans

Unless in the ordinary course of lobbyist’s business as/for a banking institution, lobbyist may not make or facilitate the making of any loan of money, goods, or services to a public servant.

Fund Raisers

A lobbyist who is an individual may not engage in any charitable fund-raising activity at the request of a public servant.

Bell Ringing

A lobbyist may not initiate or encourage the introduction of legislation for the purpose of opposing that legislation.

Requesting Endorsement

A lobbyist may not ask a public servant to recommend to a potential client the lobbyist’s services or the services of any other lobbyist.

Veracity and Candor Required

When interacting with public servants in course of lobbying, lobbyist must not make false statements, and must affirmatively identify self as lobbyist and identify person on whose behalf they are lobbying.