State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Alaska Public Offices Commission

Alaska Department of Administration, Alaska Public Offices Commission

AO 02-05-LOB

Number: AO 02-05-LOB

Requested by: Mitchell D. Gravo

Prepared by: Tammy L. Kempton
Juneau APOC Branch Amdinistrator

Date issued: August 7, 2002

Subject: Reporting requirements when a lobbyist contracts with a business entity
for assistance with lobbying activities


On July 31, 2002, you requested for an advisory opinion regarding your reporting requirements if you contract with a business entity to provide a person to assist you with your lobbying activities during the legislative session. Specifically, you have stated that the Law Offices of Mitchell D. Gravo, Inc. (Gravo, Inc.) will be contracting with the Nerland Agency (Nerland) to provide an assistant to act as your agent in support of your lobbying activities. You will pay Nerland a specific monthly payment plus expenses for this assistance.

An Advisory Opinion from the Alaska Public Offices Commission (Commission) may not include advice regarding the activities of third parties (2 AAC 50.905.(b)). Therefore, if Nerland has additional specific questions regarding its reporting requirements, it should direct its questions to APOC or request advisory opinions under 2 AAC 50.905.

The Commission approved the advice in this letter by a vote of 5 to 0 on September 23, 2002.

Short Answer

If you enter into this proposed contractual arrangement, you will be required to sign the employer verification section of the Nerland's lobbying registration statement and file quarterly employer of lobbyist reports. Nerland will be required to register as a lobbyist and file monthly and quarterly lobbyist reports.

Law

AS 24.45.041. Registration.

(a) Before engaging in lobbying, a lobbyist shall file a registration statement on a form prescribed by the commission.

AS 24.45.051. Reports

Each lobbyist registered under AS 24.45.041 shall file with the commission a report concerning the lobbyist's activities during each reporting period prescribed in AS 24.45.081 . . . . The report must include . . . the following information for the reporting period, as applicable:

(1) the source of income, as defined in AS 39.50.200(a)(9) and the monetary value of all payments, including but not limited to salary, fees, and reimbursement of expenses, received in considered for or directly or indirectly in support of or in connection with influencing legislative or administrative action, and the full name and complete address of each person from whom amounts or things of value have been received and the total monetary value received from each person.

AS 24.45.061. Reports by employers of lobbyists.

(a) Within 15 days after employing, retaining, or contracting for the employment or retention of a lobbyist, the person who employs, retains, or who contracts for the services of a lobbyist shall file a statement with the commission authorizing or verifying that employment, retention, or contract for lobbying services.

(b) A person who employs, retains, or who contracts for the services of one or more lobbyists, whether independently or jointly with other persons, and who directly or indirectly makes payments to influence legislative or administrative action shall file a quarterly report containing . . . .

(6) The name of each lobbyist employed or retained by the person making the report, together with the total amount paid to each lobbyist and the portion of that amount, if any, that was paid for specific purposes, including salary, fees, and reimbursement of expenses.

AS 24.45.121. Prohibitions

(b) A person may not . . . pay or agree to pay consideration to, a person to lobby who is not registered under AS 24.45.041 unless that person registers and that person does in fact so register before engaging in lobbying.

2 AAC 50.515. Registering and reporting by a business entity retained to lobby.

(a) A firm, corporation, or other business entity which is retained for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action shall register as required by AS 24.45.041 . . . stating the name of the business entity and, in addition, the names of any members, employees, or agents of the business entity who will be assigned to lobby by the business entity on behalf of the employer.

(b) A business entity as described in (a) of this section shall report on a form prescribed by the commission and need only report in the aggregate the information required by AS 24.45.051 for all members, employees, or agents assigned to lobby by the business entity on behalf of the employer. The individual members, employees, or agents of the business entity who have been assigned to lobby need not file separate reports with the commission. . . .

2 AAC 50.520. Registering and reporting by the employer retaining a business entity as a lobbyist.

(a) Any person retaining a firm, corporation, or other business entity as a lobbyist for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action shall file a statement as required by AS 24.45.061(a), . . . stating the name of the business entity retained to lobby and, in addition, the names of those members, employees, or agents of the business entity who will be assigned to lobby on behalf of the employer.

(b) An employer of a lobbyist described in (a) of this section shall report . . . the
information required by AS 24.45.061(b). The employer need file only one report covering all lobbying activities for the business entity retained and need not file a separate report for each of the members, employees, or agents assigned to lobby by the business entity on behalf of the employer.

FACTS

You are a registered lobbyist in the State of Alaska. Gravo, Inc. plans to enter into a contractual relationship with the Nerland Agency. Under the contract, Gravo, Inc. will pay monthly compensation including reimbursement of expenses to Nerland. In exchange,
Nerland will assign an employee to assist you in your lobbying activities during the legislative session. In a follow-up phone call you indicated that this assistance would be lobbying and lobbying-related activities; you do not anticipate the work being clerical in nature. The person provided by Nerland will lobby on behalf of most but not all of your clients. You also indicated me that, in addition to the contractual fee, you will be reimbursing Nerland for expenses connected with lobbying activities.

ANALYSIS

Under this set of facts, Gravo, Inc. would be an employer of lobbyist, and Nerland will be the lobbyist. AS 24.45.061(a) identifies an "employer of lobbyist" as someone "who contracts for the services of a lobbyist." Gravo, Inc. will have a contract with Nerland for the services of one of its employees; that employee will lobby on your behalf and under your direction to the benefit of you and your lobbying clients.

Because the employee provided by Nerland will be engaged in lobbying activities, Nerland will be required to register as a lobbyist. See AS 24.45.041(a). Since Nerland is a business entity, its registration and reporting requirements are covered under AS 24.45 and 2 AAC 50.515. As the employer retaining a business entity to lobby, Gravo, Inc. must comply with the registration and reporting requirements of AS 24.45 and 2 AAC 50.520.

In practical terms, this means that before you can allow Nerland's employee to assist you with lobbying activities, you must ensure that Nerland has properly completed and filed a lobbyist registration statement. See AS 24.45.121. Nerland must include not only its name and business address, but also list the name of the employee it will be providing to assist you. 2 AAC 50.515(a). You must sign the employer verification on page two of the registration. 2 AAC 50.520(a). The registration must be filed with APOC's Juneau office along with a registration fee of $100. AS 24.45.041(g).

After registering with APOC, Nerland must file lobbyist reports monthly during the legislative session and quarterly reports thereafter, unless a lobbyist termination notice is filed. AS 24.45.051 and 2 AAC 50.515(b). Gravo, Inc. will be required to file quarterly employer of lobbyist reports. AS 24.45.061 and 2 AAC 50.520.

In completing the employer of lobbyist report, you will list Gravo, Inc. as the employer and Nerland as the lobbyist covered by the report. You will describe the legislative and administrative actions Gravo, Inc. attempted to influence during the reporting period. We suggest that you disclose the "nature and interest" of Gravo, Inc. as "a lobbyist corporation" or words to that effect. You will prepare and submit a Schedule A, listing Nerland as the lobbyist, not the individual person who is assigned by Nerland to assist you. Summarize the payments made to Nerland, and the reimbursable expenses in the categories provided on the Schedule A. If you incur any payments in support of the lobbying activities of Gravo, Inc. that are not paid directly to or on behalf of Nerland, you must disclose them on Schedule B.

CONCLUSION

You are a registered lobbyist. If you enter into the contract as described with Nerland, you will also be an employer of lobbyist. That dual status will require you to file two sets of reports: 1) lobbyist registrations and lobbyist reports for your lobbying clients; 2) employer of lobbyist reports as the employer of Nerland.

The Commission approved the advice in this letter by an affirmative vote of 5-0 on September 23, 2002. The advice in this opinion applies only to the specific activity for which the advice was requested.

A copy of the original letter requesting the above advisory opinion is available upon request at the Alaska Public Offices Commission. 907/276-4176.