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ADVISORY OPINION 1988-5
FACTS

A law firm represents a cultural organization seeking a public service contract from the Department of Cultural Affairs. One of the firm's attorneys prepares the application for the public service contract, and meets with the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs regarding that application.

ISSUE
Does an attempt to influence the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs through activities relating to an application for a public service contract, undertaken on behalf of a cultural organization, constitute "lobbying" within the meaning of the New York City Administrative Code?

OPINION
New York City Administrative Code section 3-211 enumerates types of activities that can constitute lobbying when performed in connection with certain actions undertaken by specified governmental bodies or officials. In defining the term "lobbying" relative to the city agency, New York City Administrative Code Section 3-211(c) (1) states in pertinent part:

"The term "lobbying" or "lobbying activities" shall mean any attempt to influence:
(iv) the adoption or rejection by an agency of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law,
(v) the outcome of any rate making proceeding before an agency, (vi) any determination by an agency in connection with a proposed concession agreement, or
(vii) any determination of a board or commission, other than a determination in an adjudicatory proceeding."
The Department of Cultural Affairs is an "agency" within the meaning of section 3-211(c) 1); Administrative Code Section 1-112 (1) defines the term "agency" as:
"[a] city, county, borough, or other office, department, division, bureau, board or commission, or a corporation, institution or agency of government, the expenses of which are paid in whole or in part from the city treasury." (emphasis added)

While the Department of Cultural Affairs does fall under the Administrative Code's definition of "agency", the activities of the law firm's attorney do not fall under its definition of lobbying before an agency. An attempt to influence the Department of Cultural Affairs through activities relating to an application for a public service contract is not an attempt to influence: the adoption or rejection by an agency of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law; the outcome of any rate making proceeding before an agency; or any determination by an agency in connection with a proposed concession agreement. Thus, in sum, an attempt to influence the Department of Cultural Affairs through activities relating to an application for a public service contract, undertaken on behalf of a cultural organization, does not constitute "lobbying" within the meaning of the New York City Administrative Code.

CARLOS CUEVAS City Clerk and Clerk of the Council
KATHERINE E. TIMON Counsel
WILLIAM THYMIUSGeneral Deputy General Counsel

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