What do lobbyists have to disclose?

Companies and organizations seeking to be heard in Albany spent a record-breaking $220 million on state lobbying in 2011, according to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) annual report released this week. That’s a $7 million increase on 2010, a $213 million year for Albany lobbying. Nearly 6,100 lobbyists filed reports and registered with JCOPE by the end of 2011, representing 3,535 clients.

But how is this information collected? Today’s Daily Q asks: What exactly do lobbyists and clients have to disclose about their activities and spending?

If you have information or insight to share, write us, tweet @thenyworld or comment below.

What we found

In 2011 The New York State legislature passed a law requiring all lobbyists to register and report to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a 14-member appointed and elected board.

The Lobbying Act also modified the definition of “lobbying” to include the introduction of any legislation or resolution by either house in the state legislature, but New York is still one of 18 states with more relaxed lobbying reporting requirements for public rather than private entities.

Each lobbyist is required to report on their activities twice a year to the commission on paper, or they can fill out an online form.

The form must include personal details of the lobbyist and client, as well as information on which level of government they intend to lobby, the transactions between the lobbyist and others, as well as a disclosure about how much the lobbyist is being paid.

All reports filed by lobbyists and their clients are available on JCOPE’s website.

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