Frequently Asked Questions - Lobbyists
- Do I need to register as a lobbyist with the Office of State Ethics?
- What type of lobbyist am I?
- What financial reports do I need to file and when?
- Where can I go for assistance with registration and financial filings?
You are required by law to register as a lobbyist with the Office of State Ethics (OSE) if you:
- Expend or agree to expend $3,000 or more in a calendar year on lobbying; OR
- Receive or agree to receive $3,000 or more in a calendar year for lobbying.
This $3,000 registration threshold applies to any combination of the following activities:
- Legislative Lobbying – any lobbying that affects legislation, even if you contact an executive branch official as part of your efforts
- Administrative Lobbying – any lobbying that affects, among other things, the rules or regulations of an executive agency, and the actions of an executive or quasi-public agency regarding a contract, grant, award, purchasing agreement, etc.
- Activities in Furtherance of Lobbying – expenditures for research, reports, polls, media buys, activities fostering good will, office expenses, secretarial or paralegal salaries, etc.; essentially the activities that support the actual lobbying efforts
If you meet this monetary threshold, you must register with the OSE. Online registration is biennially (every two years) or prior to the commencement of lobbying.
A Client Lobbyist is the party paying for lobbying services on its behalf. In other words, the client lobbyist is expending or agreeing to expend the threshold amount of $3,000 in a calendar year.
A Communicator Lobbyist receives payment and does the actual lobbying legwork (i.e., communicating). A Communicator Lobbyist receives or agrees to receive $3,000 for lobbying activities in a calendar year. Communicator Lobbyists can take different forms:
- Member of a Business Organization (e.g., a firm or association that employs a number of communicator lobbyists)
- In-house Communicator (a lobbyist who is a salaried employee of a Client Lobbyist)
In addition to the online registration requirement, registered lobbyists need to file periodic financial reports. These are also completed online.
Client lobbyists generally file a quarterly financial report (ETH-2D) that gathers information such as compensation, sales tax and money expended in connection with lobbying; expenditures benefiting a public official or his/her staff or immediate family; all other lobbying expenditures; and the fundamental terms of any lobbying contract or agreement.
The ETH-2D must be filed monthly IF:
- The Legislature is in regular session and
- The lobbyist has expended or agreed to expend $100 or more for Legislative Lobbying or in furtherance of legislative lobbying
Communicator lobbyists file an annual financial report (ETH-2A, due by January 10 of each year) that records compensation and reimbursements from the client lobbyist as well as sales tax.
Further, the ETH-2B form records unreimbursed expenditures of $10 or more for the benefit of a public official, his/her staff or immediate family. This form also records payments of necessary expenses of $10 or more.
If a communicator lobbyist makes unreimbursed expenditures of $10 or more for the benefit of a public official, a member of his/her staff, or his immediate family, the communicator must file per the paying Client Lobbyist’s schedule (either monthly or quarterly).
(Communicator Lobbyists also file an ETH-2C, but only when they are registered to lobby for an unregistered governmental entity (e.g., a municipal agency)).
OSE staff is readily available to assist you with the registration and filing process. Please contact our office at 860-263-2400, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Additionally, the OSE has established an e-mail address specifically for your registration and reporting questions. Please send an e-mail to lobbyist.OSE@ct.gov for written guidance or response.