The Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance (Guidance) issued by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate was updated on June 15. The updates clarify currently existing provisions of the LDA, add additional examples, replace references to the LDA with hyperlinked citations to the U.S. Code, and remove references to Line numbers (the online reporting platform does not have Line numbers for drafting reports, but the final version of the reports available on the House and Senate websites still have Line numbers). The Guidance is available here. A brief discussion of the changes to the Guidance is below:
Guidance Section 4 – Identification of Client and Covered Officials
- The updated Guidance now contains the requirement that, upon request of a covered official, an individual or entity making an oral contact must disclose whether or he or she is a registered a lobbyist or entity under the LDA, identify their client, whether the client is a foreign entity, and identify any foreign entity that has a direct interest in the outcome of the lobbying activity. The new subsection also contains the mandatory requirement that any lobbyist or entity registered under the LDA that makes a written lobbying contact (including an electronic communication) with a covered official must identify whether the client is a foreign entity and identify any other foreign entity that has a direct interest in the outcome of the lobbying activity. The update also has the corresponding obligation of covered officials to disclose their status as a covered official, upon request.
Guidance Section 4 – Outside Retained Lobbyists
- This new subsection was added to clarify that contract lobbyists should not be disclosed as lobbyists on a registrant LD-1 or LD-2 and that contract lobbyist costs should be included in the calculation of lobbying expenses.
Guidance Section 6 – Lobbying Firm Income
- The updated Guidance has a new example which clarifies that lobbying firm income should be rounded to the nearest $10,000.
- The updated Guidance also adds an example on accounting rules for calculating expenses which cautions against potentially overlooking expenses when an organization includes the entire budget for its D.C. office for its expenses on the LD-2.
- Additional clarification on picking from the list of government entities provided in the online filing system is also included in the updated Guidance. The clarification provides that registrants should select the most specific agency possible, and if the list does not have the agency lobbied, then the department in which the entity is housed should be selected.
Guidance Section 7 – Semiannual Reporting of Certain Contributions
- An example clarifying that sole proprietors are required to file an LD-203 as registrant and a separate LD-203 as a lobbyist was added to the Guidance.
Guidance Section 10 – Public Availability
- Finally, the updated Guidance now encourages filers to use the House and Senate websites to confirm that filings were submitted.