Lobbying Registration, Reporting and Ethics Training

Do you have questions about what a lobbyist’s obligations are under the Political Reform Act?  The FPPC Lobbying Manual is a helpful guide that provides detailed information about registration, reporting and ethics training obligations. These obligations are also summarized below.

Registration

Registration is required within 10 days of when an individual, business or other organization first becomes a lobbyist, lobbying firm, lobbyist employer, or lobbying coalition under the Act. Registration is not required for $5,000 filers or for any lobbyist employer or lobbying coalition that only contracts with a lobbying firm and does not employ an in-house lobbyist.

A lobbying firm with a new client must amend its registration prior to lobbying on behalf of that client. All other amendments to registration must be made within 20 days of the change. Registration must be renewed between November 1 and December 31 of each even-numbered year.

Reporting Other Payments to Influence

Effective July 1, 2016, lobbyist employers and $5,000 filers are required to provide more detailed disclosure of "other payments to influence legislative or administrative action" as outlined HERE.

When to File

Disclosure of lobbying activities and payments is done on a quarterly basis as follows:
 

Period of Activity and Payments Report Due
January, February, March April 30th
April, May, June July 31st
July, August, September October 31st
October, November, December January 31st

Deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or official state holiday are extended to the next business day.

All lobbying registration and disclosure reports are filed with:

Secretary of State
Political Reform Division
P.O. Box 1467
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-1467
www.sos.ca.gov 

You can access reports from lobbyists, lobbyist employers and lobbying firms by clicking HERE.

Ethics Training

Every individual who registers as a lobbyist in California must periodically attend a lobbyist ethics course conducted by the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee and the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics. The course is held at least twice each year and the course fee is $50.

When an individual registers as a lobbyist or when a currently registered lobbyist renews registration, the lobbyist must complete a certification statement (Form 604) confirming that he or she has taken the ethics course during the previous 12 months. If the lobbyist has not taken the course within the previous 12 months, the lobbyist's certification is "conditional" and will become void unless:

  • The new lobbyist takes the course within 12 months of registering as a lobbyist and files an amended certification indicating the date the course was taken.
  • The renewing lobbyist takes the course by June 30 of the following year and files an amended certification indicating the date the course was taken.

If the course is not timely completed, the lobbyist's certification becomes void and the individual may not engage in lobbying activities until he or she takes the course and amends the certification.

If a lobbyist fails to take the required ethics course or fails to timely file the original or amended certification statement (Form 604), he or she is prohibited from lobbying in California. Any lobbyist who violates this provision may be subject to substantial fines and criminal penalties.

There is no provision for a waiver of the ethics training requirement. And other than the timeframes set forth above, there are no additional extensions of time to complete the course or to submit the certification statement (Form 604) to the Secretary of State. Non-filers are referred to the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission for non-compliance.

For more information and to sign up for the 2017-2018 Legislative Session Ethics Course, please see the Lobbyist Ethics Course Requirement information sheet.