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Advocacy & Lobbying

What is a lobbyist?

Federal Lobbying Regulation and Disclosure Laws

State Lobbying Regulation and Disclosure Laws

Local Lobbying Regulation and Disclosure Laws


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Advocacy & Lobbying

What is a lobbyist?

Lobbying means communicating with legislators and government officials for the purposes of influencing their decisions. A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of corporations, NGO’s or interest groups. Lobbyists communicate directly with lawmakers, mobilize citizens to contact their lawmakers, build coalitions, rally support from organizations, monitor government activity , track bills, analyze these bills, anticipate their impact, draft legislation, and work with reporters/media to craft news stories is support of the issues. While lobbyists in the US are heavily regulated, lobbying as a profession is often misunderstood by the public. Ironically, lobbying is proactive lawyering. Lawyers may litigate for a decade about the meaning of a single word in an existing law-- and at tremendous cost, but a lobbyist can change that word in just a year or two -- saving lawyers fees, court costs and years of litigation. Governments in the US can not function without lobbyists. Lobbyists provide government officials with research; bill language, sound bites and constituent support. Lobbyists are essentially advocates for change. Their goal is not "winning at all costs". Their goal is to be on the right side of the issue in the first place, be smarter and work harder than their opposition, then follow their carefully designed strategy (for years if necessary) until their bill becomes law or their regulation is promulgated. To do this they build long-lasting relationships with hundreds of government officials and their staff.

Advocacy is a broad term covering a range of activities that seek to bring about systemic social change. Advocacy often seeks to address the root causes, as well as the symptoms, of social and economic problems. Advocacy by charitable nonprofits may include community organizing, public policy and lobbying, litigation, or nonpartisan voter engagement. While there have been historical attempts to divide nonprofit involvement in direct service from advocacy, the fact is that they go hand in hand in effective organizations. Through direct service, nonprofits and their constituents learn what works and what doesn't work and what the public and private sectors may do to make things work better. Nonprofits can bring that knowledge to the policy table to make government and business more efficient and effective at addressing social problems. Thus, advocacy then helps to improve direct service by increasing the numbers and quality of people served. This virtuous cycle goes on and on. People sometimes confuse the words "lobbying" and "advocacy". The definition of lobbying generally involves attempts to influence specific legislation through direct or grassroots communications with legislators or their staff. Advocacy includes lobbying but covers a much broader range of activities such as executive branch activities, issue organizing, and nonpartisan voter engagement. One way of differentiating between the two terms is to understand that lobbying always involves advocacy but advocacy does not necessarily involve lobbying. Nonpartisan voter engagement may include nonpartisan voter registration, get-out-the-vote in historically underserved communities, voter guides, and candidate forums. Charitable nonprofits may engage in all of these activities so long as they are done in a strictly nonpartisan manner.

Federal Lobbying and Advocacy

Federal Lobbying Disclosure Law

Lobbyist Non-Profit Reporting

PA Lobbying Disclosure Law

On November 1, 2006, Act No. 134-2006, [65 Pa.C.S. § 13A01 et seq.] the Pennsylvania Lobbying Disclosure Law, was signed into law. A decision in 2002 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had invalidated the prior Lobbying Disclosure Act as an unconstitutional regulation of attorneys engaged in the practice of law. The PA Lobbying Disclosure Law became effective January 1, 2007.

Under the PA Lobbying Disclosure Law the State Ethics Commission is charged with enforcement and issuing advisories. Responsibility for the administration of the registration and reporting requirements is vested in the Pennsylvania Department of State.

PA Department of State - Division of Campaign Finance and Lobbying Disclosure PA Attorney General - Lobbying Disclosure Regulations Committee webpage

PA Lobbying Disclousre Law

PDF of state law

  • Law: Act 134 of 2006: 65 Pa.C.S. §1301-A, et seq. (Effective 1/1/2007)
  • Regulations: 51 Pa. Code §51.1 et seq. (Effective 4/11/2009)

PA Lobbying Reporting

Comp. Manual

Local Lobbying Reporting and Disclosure Law

Philadelphia

City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics
Ethics Laws- City of Philadelphia
Regulations- City of Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Lobbyist Registration and Disclosure laws (effective 1/1/10) and Campaign Finance Reform. Pittsburgh City Controller for information on new filing and registration guidelines.

Lobbyist Registration Form

Lobbyist Registration - Pittsburgh City Code


Lobbyist Registration - Frequently Asked Questions

Law Part of State Ethics

 


Electioneering

IRS Code

Electioneering by 501(c)(3)’s is strictly prohibited under the IRS Code.
Electioneering by 501(c)(6)‘s is permitted under the IRS Code. Trade organizations can have PACs and they can endorse candidates.

FEC

Voter Engagement

GOTV -Get Out the Vote

Political Action Committee (PAC)

501(c)(4) advocacy organizations & 501(c)(6)’s trade organizations can have Pac’s. Contributions from association members go to PAC which funds candidates campaigns. When PACs give to candidates, who gives is typically hidden from public view.


State Ethics Law

The State’s Lobbying law is embedded in the State’s ethics laws.


State Ethics Commission

The State Ethics Commission is mandated to investigate sworn complaints and to initiate investigations on its own motion with regards to both Ethics and Lobbying Disclosure matters.

Search the eLibrary (State Ethics Commission)

Filing Ethics Complaints
Filing Lobbying Complaints
Requesting an Advisory Opinion
   State Ethics Commission
   Attention: Legal Division
   Room 309 Finance Building
   P.O. Box 11470
   Harrisburg, Pa 17108-1470


Federal Lobbying Regulation and Disclosure Laws

(4/13/10) IRRC Final regulation of the Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation increases to increase the biennial registration fee from $100 to $200 for individuals and entities required to be registered under the Lobbying Disclosure act of 2006 (Section 13A0S(j) of the Act of November 1,2006, P.L. 1213, No. 134 ("act"),65 Pa.C.S. § 1301-A, et seq. (relating to lobbying disclosure), 51 Pa. Code §53.1, IRRC Number 2799, The rulemaking (regulation 16-50).
Campaign Finance Reporting
Lobbying Disclosure Reports


State Lobbying Regulation and Disclosure Laws

 

News

(2/3/10) Senate Proposes Amendments to Rules of Ethical Conduct

(2/23/10) Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Proposed Rules of Ethical Conduct

PA SR 228 (PN1604) Proposed Amendments to Senate Rules of Ethical Conduct

Referred to RULES AND EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS, Jan. 19, 2010

(4/13/10) IRRC Final regulation of the Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation increases to increase the biennial registration fee from $100 to $200 for individuals and entities required to be registered under the Lobbying Disclosure act of 2006 (Section 13A0S(j) of the Act of November 1,2006, P.L. 1213, No. 134 ("act"),65 Pa.C.S. § 1301-A, et seq. (relating to lobbying disclosure), 51 Pa. Code §53.1, IRRC Number 2799, The rulemaking (regulation 16-50).
Campaign Finance Reporting
Lobbying Disclosure Reports

 

Local Campaign Finance laws

Campaign Finance Laws City of Philadelphia


 

 

 

 
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