Shadow Lobbying

Capitol Alert
By Taryn Luna
July 21, 2016 – :33 PM

  • Ethics panel concerned lobbyists working without proper disclosure
  • New rule aimed at requiring paper trail to ease enforcement
  • Some political attorneys complain that rule creates presumption of guilt

California’s political watchdog approved a regulatory change Thursday aimed at encouraging shadow lobbyists to disclose their efforts to influence legislation.

Lobbyists are required to file quarterly reports with the state that outline their attempts to sway officials. But the Fair Political Practices Commission is concerned that consultants are lobbying officials without registering with the state, which keeps the public in the dark about the forces behind laws and regulations.

“Shadow lobbying has been talked about for a number of years and we’ve got to start figuring out a way to address it,” said Jodi Remke, chair of the FPPC. “This is the first step. This is putting out the alert that you need to be more careful and you need to be monitoring. That’s the law.”

At its monthly meeting, the five-member commission voted to unanimously approve an amendment that assumes a payment is made for lobbying services if the person receiving the money has been paid by a business or outside group to communicate with legislators and other officials to influence legislation or administrative actions. The compensation must total at least $2,000 in a given month.

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