Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2001-6

Advisory Opinion No. 2001-6
Advisory Opinion No. 2001-6

Application Of The Lobbyist Code’s Reporting Requirements To In-House Communicator Lobbyists

The Commission has received an inquiry from a registered client lobbyist regarding the following financial disclosure issue. The lobbyist, a private, for profit corporation, utilizes in-house employees as its communicator lobbyists. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-96(e), the client lobbyist’s periodic financial disclosure reports shall include compensation paid in furtherance of lobbying, provided that "If the compensation is required to be reported for an individual whose lobbying is incidental to his regular employment, it shall be sufficient to report a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying." See, also, Regulations of Conn. State Agencies 1-92-48(a)(2) which state with regard to such pro rata compensation "…neither the total salary of the communicator registrant nor the fraction of that salary which lobbying represents need be disclosed."

The client lobbyist has advised the Commission that, as is not uncommon in the corporate sector, the salaries of its lobbyist/employees are kept confidential. To protect this confidentiality, the client lobbyist has been utilizing the following calculation to prepare its reports: it takes the annual salaries of all the professionals working in its government relations unit, divides this total by the number of such professional employees, and utilizes the resultant average when reporting compensation paid to its individual communicator lobbyists.

Clearly, this method of calculation, while well intended, is not in compliance with the previously cited statutory and regulatory mandates, which require the use of the actual pro rata salary of the individual communicator who performs the lobbying. In an effort to protect potentially confidential information regarding those individuals’ salaries, the Commission’s Regulations specify that neither the total salary of the communicator lobbyist nor the faction represented by lobbying need be reported. Id. To the extent the mere reporting of pro rata amounts based on time devoted to lobbying and in furtherance of lobbying in any way indicates the relative salaries of the corporation’s lobbyist/employees, this is a consequence of complete and accurate lobbyist financial disclosure which cannot be avoided.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:03:54 AM