By: Avi D. Kelin
A business that engages in New Jersey lobbying must electronically file an annual report with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Although the filing is normally due on February 15, this year’s deadline is moved to February 16 because of Presidents’ Day.
Any business that expended at least $2,500 on New Jersey lobbying during the 2015 calendar year is required to file the annual lobbying disclosure—but the specific form to be used depends on the particular facts and circumstances of the company’s lobbying efforts.
Short-Form Disclosure (Form L-2) -
A business that is represented by only one lobbyist may file a short-form disclosure that merely designates the lobbyist to file the annual report on behalf of the business. The lobbyist’s report would then cover all relevant information about the lobbying efforts of the business.
Compliance Tip: If you are relying upon an outside lobbyist to file on your behalf be sure to communicate that expectation to your outside lobbying firm.
Full Disclosure (Form L1-L) -
In contrast, a business that is represented by more than one lobbyist (either in-house or through an outside lobbying firm) must file its own lobbying form. As you prepare this form, you will need the following information for each of your lobbyists or lobbying firms:
Compliance Tip: For an in-house lobbyist who performs functions other than lobbying for your organization, you are not required to report that individual’s total compensation; rather, you should report only the portion of his or her compensation that pertains to lobbying.
Grassroots-Lobbying Disclosure (Form L1-G) -
- Lobbyist information;
- Lobbying purpose;
- Compensation of lobbyist;
- Prior government service of lobbyist; and
- Communications expenses.
This form is geared specifically toward a business whose only lobbying activity is communicating with the general public, also known as grassroots lobbying. The information required to be disclosed on this form is focused on the relevant expenditures and communications of the business.
Compliance Tip: A communication with the general public for the purposes of this form does not include communications by a business to its members, partners, individuals, or stockholders. Similarly, communications required to be made by law are not communications with the general public in this context.
Consent to Service of Process (Form L-3) -
An out-of-state business that engages in New Jersey lobbying must consent to service of process within the State of New Jersey by filing this form.
Compliance Tip: This form is required for any company that is not authorized to do business in New Jersey and for any individual who is not a resident of New Jersey.
In addition, lobbying firms must file their own specific forms to report their lobbying activity from the applicable calendar year.
If your business has not yet determined its lobbying-disclosure obligations, there is still time to do so before the February 16, 20 deadline.