§ 5831 Definitions.
(a) As used in this subchapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
(1) “Commission” means the State Public Integrity Commission.
(2) “Compensation” means any money, thing of value or any other economic benefit of any kind or nature whatsoever conferred on or received by any person in return for services rendered or to be rendered by such person or another.
(3) “Employer” means any person on whose behalf a lobbyist acts.
(4) “General Assembly” includes any member, committee or subcommittee of either House of the General Assembly.
(5) “Lobbyist” means any individual who acts to promote, advocate, influence or oppose any matter pending before the General Assembly by direct communication with the General Assembly or any matter pending before a state agency by direct communication with that state agency, and who in connection therewith either:
a. Has received or is to receive compensation in whole or in part from any person; or
b. Is authorized to act as a representative of any person who has as a substantial purpose the influencing of legislative or administrative action; or
c. Expends any funds during the calendar year for the type of expenditures listed in § 5835(b) of this title.
(6) “Matter” means any application, petition, request, business dealing, transaction or decision of any sort.
(7) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, joint venture and any other association of individuals or entities.
(8) “State agency” means any office, department, board, commission, committee, school district, board of education and all public bodies existing by virtue of an act of the General Assembly or of the Constitution of the State, excepting only political subdivisions of the State, their agencies and other public agencies not specifically included in this definition that exist by virtue of state law and whose jurisdiction:
a. Is limited to a political subdivision of the State or to a portion thereof; or
b. Extends beyond the boundaries of the State.
(9) “State employee” means person who receives compensation as an employee of a state agency (including the elected or appointed heads of such agencies) or who serves as an appointed member, trustee, director or the like of any state agency.
(b) Paragraphs (a)(5)a. and b. of this section shall not apply to:
(1) Persons performing professional services in drafting bills or regulations or in advising and rendering opinions to clients as to the construction or effect of proposed, pending or enacted legislation or regulations who do not otherwise act as lobbyists;
(2) Persons appearing pursuant to their official duties as employees or elected officials of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, or of the United States, and not as representatives of any other person; moreover, expenditures listed in § 5835 of this title made by such persons or their employers in connection with these official duties shall not qualify such persons as lobbyists under paragraph (a)(5)c. of this section;
(3) Persons who, in relation to the duties or interests of their employment or at the request or suggestion of their employer, communicate with the General Assembly or a state agency concerning any legislation, regulation or other matter before the General Assembly or such state agency, if such communication is an isolated, exceptional or infrequent activity in relation to the usual duties of their employment;
(4) Persons communicating with the General Assembly or a state agency if such communication is undertaken by them as a personal expression and not as an agent of their employers as to matters of interest to a person by whom or by which they are employed and if they receive no additional compensation or reward, in money or otherwise, for or as a result of such communication;
(5) Persons testifying at public hearings conducted by the General Assembly or a state agency who do not otherwise act as lobbyists;
(6) Persons appearing on behalf of any religious organization with respect to subjects of legislation or regulation that directly relate to the religious beliefs and practices of that organization who do not otherwise act as lobbyists;
(7) Attorneys representing clients in administrative adjudications governed by the provisions of subchapter III of Chapter 101 of this title, representing clients before the Tax Appeals Board, or in other administrative procedures where ex parte communications with the state agency with authority over the matter are prohibited;
(8) Attorneys representing clients with regard to criminal or civil law enforcement proceedings, or in any judicial proceedings.
§ 5832 Registration of lobbyists with the State Public Integrity Commission.
(a) Every lobbyist shall register electronically with the Commission in a lobbyist docket and file, at that time, the authorization from the lobbyist’s employer as required by § 5833 of this title. A person who qualifies as a lobbyist in accordance with § 5831(a)(5)a. or b. of this title shall register prior to performing any acts as a lobbyist. A person who qualifies as a lobbyist in accordance with § 5831(a)(5)c. of this title must register within 5 days after so qualifying, if not already registered as a lobbyist.
(b) The information recorded in the Commission’s lobbyist docket shall include for each separate employer:
(1) The name, residence or business address and occupation of each lobbyist;
(2) The name and business address of the employer of such lobbyist;
(3) The date on which the employment as lobbyist commenced;
(4) The length of time the employment is to continue; and
(5) The subject matter of legislation, regulation or administrative action as to which the employment relates at that time.
(c) Upon any change in the information recorded in the lobbyist docket, the lobbyist shall within 5 business days report such changes to the Commission, which shall record the change in the docket.
(d) The Commission shall promptly furnish copies of each entry in the lobbyist docket to the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate, the Governor and the head of any state agency upon request of such persons.
§ 5833 Employer’s authorization to act.
Every employer of a lobbyist shall verify such employment and the contents of the electronic Employer Authorization form submitted to the Commission not later than 15 business days after the lobbyist has registered with the Commission. If the employer is a corporation, association or labor union, any authorized officer or agent who is not the lobbyist shall provide electronic verification to the Commission. The authorization shall include the full and legal name and business address of both the employer and the lobbyist, the period of time during which the lobbyist is authorized to act and the subject or subjects of legislation, regulation or administrative action upon which the employer is represented.
§ 5834 Compensation of lobbyist not to be substantially dependent on outcome of legislative or administrative action.
No person shall employ a lobbyist nor shall any person be employed as a lobbyist pursuant to any compensation agreement that permits more than half of the compensation to be paid to such a lobbyist to be dependent upon the outcome of any legislative or administrative action.
§ 5835 Financial reports by lobbyists.
(a) On or before the twentieth day of the month following each calendar quarter, each lobbyist shall file electronically a report covering the immediately preceding calendar quarter and containing the information required by this section.
(b) A lobbyist shall file separate reports for each employer which the lobbyist represents. Each report shall contain the total expenditures during the reporting period for all direct expenditures, costs or values, whichever is greater, provided for members of the General Assembly or for employees or members of any state agency for the following:
(1) Food and refreshment;
(2) Entertainment, including the cost of maintaining a hospitality room;
(3) Lodging expenses away from home;
(4) Fair value of travel if the trip exceeds 100 miles;
(5) Recreation expenses; and
(6) Gifts or contributions, excluding political contributions as defined in Chapter 80 of Title 15.
(c) The information shall be reported electronically and shall show the total expenditures for the reporting period and shall also list the recipient any time the expenditures exceed $50 per diem. The lobbyist shall also affirm that the lobbyist has provided the recipient of any gift in excess of $50 with a representation as to the value of the gift. The records shall be retained for a period of 4 years from the date of filing.
§ 5836 Activity reports by lobbyists.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no lobbyist may promote, advocate, influence or oppose any bill or resolution pending before the General Assembly by direct communication with a member of the General Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor, or the Governor, or any proposed regulation pending before a state agency by direct communication with an employee or official of that state agency, unless the lobbyist reports to the Commission the identity by number of each bill or resolution, and by number and/or title of each regulation, in connection with which the lobbyist has made or intends to make such direct communication, and the name of the employer on whose behalf such direct communication occurred. Reports relating to any subject contained within any budget appropriation bill or bond and capital improvement bill shall also include identification of the specific subject of the direct communication, such subjects to be designated by agreement of the Controller General and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Other than as specified in this section, a lobbyist shall not be required to disclose with whom such direct communication occurred or a position or other substantive comment on the bill, resolution, or regulation for which a report is filed. For the purposes of this section, direct communications undertaken as part of one’s duties as a member of a commission, committee, task force, board or other public body shall not be considered direct communication requiring discloser under this section.
(b) A lobbyist shall make any report to the Commission required by this section relating to a bill or resolution no later than the end of the fifth business day after the date on which the first direct communication takes place, or by June 29 of each year, whichever is earlier. A lobbyist shall make any report to the Commission required by this section relating to a regulation no later than the end of the fifth business day after the date on which the first direct communication takes place. Reports shall be filed electronically in such manner as the Commission may prescribe.
(c) Direct communications by a lobbyist with a member of the General Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor, or an employee or official of the state agency that specifically relate to a proposed bill, resolution, or regulation, that occur prior to introduction of such bill or resolution, or initial public notice of such regulation, shall be disclosed no later than the end of the fifth business day after the introduction of the bill or resolution, or initial public notice of such regulation, that was the subject of the direct communication.
(d) The reports made pursuant to this section shall be posted on the Internet by the Commission, in consultation with Legislative Council, in a manner determined by the Government Information Center to allow the public to review such information organized by bill, resolution, regulation, lobbyist, employer, and subject of the budget appropriation bill or bond and capital improvement bill. The chairperson of the Commission shall have the authority to suspend the reports required by this section if electronic filing of those reports is unavailable, in which case the reports required by this section shall be filed no later than the end of the fifth business day after which electronic filing has resumed, or June 29 of each year, whichever is earlier. Reports made pursuant to this section shall be distributed electronically in a format determined by the Commission to each member of the General Assembly no less frequently than once a week when the General Assembly is in session.
§ 5837 Lobbying restrictions for a former member of the General Assembly.
No person who served as a member of the General Assembly shall act as a lobbyist for compensation for a period of 1 year from the time such person is no longer serving in office. Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor.
§ 5838 When registration, report or authorization is considered as filed; access to records.
(a) Any registration, report or authorization form shall be considered filed as of the date it is filed electronically with the Commission or, if electronic filing required by this subchapter is unavailable at the time filing is required, on the date it is mailed if sent by registered or certified mail.
(b) The lobbyist docket maintained by the Commission and any reports, authorizations or other documents filed with the Commission pursuant to this subchapter shall be made available at reasonable hours for public inspection and copying pursuant to Chapter 100 of this title.
§ 5839 Violation and penalties.
(a) Any person who knowingly fails to register as a lobbyist as required by this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Any person who knowingly furnishes false information in any registration, authorization or report required by this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who fails to file an authorization or report, as required by this subchapter shall be deemed to have voluntarily cancelled registration as a lobbyist and shall be prohibited from reregistering or acting as a lobbyist until all delinquent authorizations and/or reports have been filed. Any person who fails to timely file a report pursuant to § 5835 of this title shall pay a late fee of $25 for the first day and $10 for each subsequent day the report is delinquent. The maximum late filing fee shall be $100. The Commission may waive the late filing fee if the Commission determines that the circumstances make imposition of the fee inappropriate. The fee(s) is payable through the Public Integrity Reporting System database maintained by the Commission. All revenue generated by the late filing fees shall be deposited in an appropriated special fund account for the Commission. These funds shall be used to fund all costs necessary to defray the expenses of administration of § 5835 of this title.
(d) The Commission may refer to the Commission Counsel for investigation and/or refer any suspected violation of this subchapter to the Attorney General for investigation and prosecution. The Speaker of the House, the presiding officer of the Senate, the Legislative Council or any member of the General Assembly shall refer, or any other person may refer, any suspected violation of this subchapter to the Commission and/or the Attorney General of the State.
(e) The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses under this subchapter.