Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1995-6

Advisory Opinion No. 1995-6
Advisory Opinion No. 1995-6

Reportability Of Activities Exempt From Lobbyist
Registration Pursuant to Regulations Of
Connecticut State Agencies Sec. 1-92-42(a)

Effective January 1, 1995, the definition of “administrative action,” for purposes of the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, was amended to include “any action or nonaction of any executive agency or quasi-public agency … regarding a contract, grant, award, purchasing agreement, loan, bond, certificate, license, permit or any other matter which is within the official jurisdiction or cognizance of such an agency.”  “Lobbying,” as defined in the Code, means communicating with public officials or their staff “for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action.”  See Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(a).

Excluded from the statutory definition of “lobbying” are communications with an agency by a party to a contested case pending before the agency, or by his representative, and communications by salespersons and manufacturers’ representatives who do not otherwise engage in lobbying.  See Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-91(k).  Communications regarding contested cases, made to persons outside the agency hearing the matter, are not excluded from the definition of lobbying.  See Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, 1-92-42a(b).

The State Ethics Commission Regulations expand upon the “contested case” exception and establish additional categories of activities which, although intended to influence an administrative action, do not require registration as an administrative lobbyist.  Among such additionally excepted activities are communications with executive and quasi-public agencies incident to the representative of a client in a criminal or juvenile matter, or a matter otherwise before a court (See Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, 1-92-42a(a)).  Such exceptions apply to communications by any person, not just legal counsel, regardless of whether the representative is, or should be, a registered lobbyist.  (See Regulations, 1-92-42a(d)).

In addition to the foregoing exceptions, certain other activities are excluded when determining “whether a person is required to register as a client or communicator administrative lobbyist.”  Such activities include:  (1) the preparation of responses to Requests for Proposals, permit applications, or other “submissions required by, or filed pursuant to, statute, regulations, or agency rule,” (2) communications made incident to the performance of a contract or implementation of a permit, or other “ordinary and customary communications made to the agency, or a related entity,” and (3) requests for information, such as inquiries regarding the application of an agency’s laws to a particular situation, or an agency’s request for product or client information.  See Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, 1-92-42a(e).

The petitioner has asked whether the activities described immediately above, which are not specifically exempted from the definition of “lobbying,” are reportable if carried out by a registered lobbyist.  Given the nature of such activities and the General Assembly’s intention to limit the expanded definition of administrative lobbying, the State Ethics Commission concludes that such activities, even when carried out by a registered lobbyist, are not reportable to the State Ethics Commission.

By order of the Commission,

Rev. William Sangiovanni

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