Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1995-20

Advisory Opinion No. 1995-20
Advisory Opinion No. 1995-20

Client Who Pays Attorney To Engage In Exempt Activities
Need Not Register As A Client Lobbyist

With certain exceptions, “lobbying,” as defined in the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, Conn. Gen. Stat. Chapter 10, Part II, means “communicating…with any official or his staff in the legislative or executive branch of government or in a quasi-public agency, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action.”  Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(k).  Exempted from the definition of “lobbying” are “communications by an attorney made while engaging in the practice of law and regarding any matter other than legislative action . . . [or] any rule or regulation.”  P.A. 95-144.  See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion Nos. 95-12, 57 Conn. L.J. No. 9, p. 4C (August 29, 1995) and 95-13, 57 Conn. L.J. No. 16, p. 1E (October 17, 1995).  The petitioner has asked whether a person paying an attorney to engage in activities which would be deemed “lobbying,” but for the above-noted exception, must register as a client lobbyist.

An individual or entity who pays an attorney to engage in an activity, such as the negotiation of a contract, which is exempted from the definition of “lobbying” by P.A. 95-144, has not made or agreed to make “lobbying” expenditures within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(1), and need not register or report such expenditures to the State Ethics Commission.  Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(k).  See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No.  95-12, supra.  It must be kept in mind, however, that an individual or entity which pays someone other than an attorney to negotiate the same contract will, in general, be deemed to have made lobbying expenditures.  If such latter expenditures total $1,000 or more, both the individual or entity paying for the negotiating services, and the negotiator himself, will be required to register as lobbyists, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(k), 1-91(1), 1-95 and 1-96, unless another statutory or regulatory exemption applies.  See, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(k)(2) (which exempts “salesperson” activity) and Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies 1-92-42a(e)(1) (which exempts the preparation of a response to a request for contract proposals).

By order of the Commission,

David T. Nassef

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:01:11 AM