Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1997-20

Advisory Opinion No. 1997-20
Advisory Opinion No. 1997-20

Effect of June 18 Special Session Public Act No. 97-6 on Reporting Requirements
for Expenditures Made on Behalf of Public Officials or State Employees

Section 5 of June 18 Special Session Public Act No. 97-6 establishes a notice requirement for those doing business with, seeking business from or regulated by state agencies, if they give a benefit that is subject to the reporting requirements pursuant to subsection (e) of 1-96. Subsection 1-96(e) contains reporting requirements that apply to registered client lobbyists only. Rachel S. Rubin, Managing Director and Commission Attorney, has made the following inquiry. Must both unregistered and registered entities now provide notification to a recipient when they give benefits that would be reportable if they were registered, or does this new notice requirement apply only to registered client lobbyists required to report pursuant to subsection 1-96(e)?

Specifically, the legislation requires that "any person who (1)(A) is doing business with or seeking to do business with the department or agency in which a public official or state employee is employed or (B) is engaged in activities which are directly regulated by such department or agency and (2) gives to such public official or state employee anything of value which is subject to the reporting requirements pursuant to subsection (e) of section 1-96 … shall, not later than ten days thereafter, give such recipient a written report stating the name of the donor, a description of the item or items given, the value of such items and the cumulative value of all items given to such recipient during that calendar year." (Emphasis added). In introducing the legislation, Senator Gary Lebeau stated that the bill "requires certain people who give public officials or state employees a reportable item, to give them a report stating the donor’s name, the item’s description and the value, so we in the circle would receive a report when we receive a gift that is reportable." See, Senate Debate on Bill No. 8005, June 23, 1997 at p. ____.

In essence, the General Assembly has enacted legislation to enable its members to be notified directly when an item is reportable pursuant to subsection 1-96(e). It is undisputed that subsection 1-96(e) applies to registered client lobbyists only. Accordingly, by the plain language of the statute, the new notice requirement applies only to registered client lobbyists required to report pursuant to 1-96. If in fact the General Assembly intends for unregistered entities doing business with or seeking to do business with the state to likewise comply with these new reporting requirements, then corrective legislation is in order.

It should also be noted that a parallel reporting provision is contained in 8 of June 18 Special Session Public Act No. 97-6. Again, pursuant to subsection 1-96(e), these parallel reporting requirements apply only to registered client lobbyists. If the General Assembly likewise intends for these reporting requirements to apply to communicator lobbyists and business organizations as well, then corrective legislation for 8 is also appropriate.

By order of the Commisison,

Maurice FitzMaurice
Chairperson



Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:03 AM