ELEC Lobbying Deadlines Approach

January 22, 2015

On Monday, February 16, 2015, businesses, non-profits and special interest groups that paid more than $2,500 in 2014 to make lobbying communications to New Jersey State government officials, directly or indirectly (i.e. “grassroots”), will be required to file Annual Reports with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”). Lobbying activities in New Jersey have been becoming more extensive with over 2,000 entities reporting more than $62 million in lobbying communication expenditures in 2013. An understandably sensitive disclosure area is the category of salaries of “in-house” government affairs agents. Employers therefore should be aware that only the portion of an agent’s salary attributable to making lobbying communications to New Jersey State (not local) government officials is reportable. Thus, the figures reported as salaries typically reflect only a portion of an entire salary and, because the fraction or percent used to arrive at that portion is not disclosed, the report does not result in public disclosure of an agent’s full salary but only the portion specifically attributed to lobbying in New Jersey. However, it is important to maintain good records of the agent’s time spent undertaking lobbying activity so that in the event of an ELEC inquiry the reported salary figure can be defended. A separate requirement is the reporting of “benefit passing” activity, which is typically gifts or reimbursements made to State officials by lobbying entities. If a lobbying entity provided more than $200 during 2014 to a State government official, or more than $25 in a day, written notice that the recipient will be reported on the lobbying entity’s Annual Report must be provided to that recipient by Monday, February 2, 2015. “Benefit passing” activity has sharply declined from a peak totaling over $163,000 in 1992 to only $4,168 reported in 2013.

Tag: New Jersey