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Lobbying Rules

RULES OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
TITLE 51: CITY CLERK
CHAPTER 1: LOBBYING

51 RCNY § 1-01

§ 1-01 Advisory Opinions on Questions Relating to Lobbying.
(a) The City Clerk will issue advisory opinions on questions relating to lobbying on a case-by-case basis in response to written requests from persons subject to the jurisdiction of the City Clerk, or who reasonably believe they may be subject to such jurisdiction.

(b) Such written requests shall set forth in a clear and concise manner the question raised and shall set forth a statement of the actual facts prompting such inquiry.

(c) The City Clerk will not issue an advisory opinion based upon a hypothetical set of facts. Inquiries may be directed to:

Lobbyist Registrations
Office of the City Clerk
Municipal Building
Room 265
New York, New York 10007

Editor's Note:
Effective January 12, 2009, the address for Lobbying Registrations is Office of the City Clerk
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013

§ 1-02 Fees for Lobbyist Registration.
Each statement of registration required to be filed pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-213, shall be accompanied by a fee of $150 for the first client registered and a fee of $50 for each additional client registered.

§ 1-03 Enforcement of the Lobbying Law.
(a) Violation of the Lobbying Law. (1) General. Any lobbyist or client who violates any provision of the Lobbying Law or these Rules, shall be subject to the penalties available under §3-223 of the Lobbying Law and subdivision b of this section.

(2) Examples of violations. Lobbyists and, where applicable, clients are subject to penalty for violations of the Lobbying Law that include, but are not limited to, the following:

(i) Failure of a lobbyist to register, or failure of a lobbyist to register a client;

(ii) failure to submit any required disclosure report (Registration, Periodic Report, Lobbyist Annual Report, Client Annual Report, Fundraising Report, Political Consulting Report);

(iii) late filing of any registration or report;

(iv) failure to complete any section or portion of a report;

(v) failure to supply correct information in any report;

(vi) failure to pay any required fee;

(vii) failure to pay a penalty in a stated period of time may result in payment of an additional penalty if the initial penalty so provides.

(3) Extensions. A lobbyist or client requesting an extension in the filing of lobbyist or client reports should request such an extension prior to the filing deadline.

(i) Extensions are a courtesy and will be granted only for good cause and within the discretion of the City Clerk;

(ii) a request for an extension shall be in writing;

(iii) an extension should be requested no later than two business days before the date of deadline;

(4) Incomplete and incorrect reports. Where a lobbyist or client submits any report or registration that is incorrect or incomplete, the City Clerk may take the following action: The lobbyist or client shall be notified by certified mail of any incorrect or incomplete report, which may be returned to the lobbyist or client at the discretion of the City Clerk.

The lobbyist or client shall have 14 business days from the date of mailing of the notification to cure said defective report. Failure to cure within 14 business days shall result in the lobbyist or client being deemed in default as to the submission of said report.

(5) Notification and opportunity to cure. Pursuant to the Administrative Code, § § 3-223 (c), (d) and (e), where a lobbyist or client fails to comply with any section of the Lobbying Law, the City Clerk shall, by certified mail, notify them of the nature of their noncompliance and notify them that compliance must be made within 14 business days of mailing of such notice.

(6) Recipient of notification. The Principal Officer or other person duly designated by a lobbyist on the registration form shall be deemed an appropriate recipient of any mailed notice of communication from the City Clerk pursuant to the Lobbying Law. A lobbyist's registration form shall also identify the Principal Officer of the client or other person duly designated by a client to receive any mailed notice of communication from the City Clerk pursuant to the Lobbying Law and such Principal Officer or person shall be deemed an appropriate recipient of any such notice.

(b) Penalties. (1) Penalties available under the Lobbying Law. A person or organization who violates the Lobbying Law is subject to the penalties available under subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d) of § 3-223 of the Administrative Code.

(i) Pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-223(a), except as provided in § 3-223(b), any person or organization who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of the Lobbying Law shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. In addition to such criminal penalties, said person or organization shall be subject to a civil penalty, in an amount not to exceed thirty thousand dollars, to be assessed by the City Clerk, or an order to cease all lobbying activities subject to the jurisdiction of the City Clerk for a period of time as determined by said Clerk not to exceed sixty days, or both such civil penalty and order;

(ii) Pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-223(b), any person or organization who violates a cease and desist order of the City Clerk issued under subdivision (a) of this section or enters into a contingency agreement or accepts or pays any contingency fees as proscribed in Administrative Code § 3-218, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. In addition to such criminal penalties, said person or organization shall be subject to a civil penalty, in an amount not to exceed thirty thousand dollars, to be assessed by the City Clerk;

(iii) Pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-223(c), following a failure to make and file any statement or report required by the Lobbying Law, the City Clerk shall notify the person or organization of such fact by certified mail that such filing must be made within fourteen business days of the date of mailing of such notice. The failure to file any statement or report within such time shall constitute a class A misdemeanor. In addition to such criminal penalties, said person or organization shall be subject to a civil penalty, in an amount not to exceed twenty thousand dollars, to be assessed by the City Clerk;

(iv) In addition to any other penalties prescribed in the Lobbying Law and these Rules, any lobbyist or client who fails to file in a timely manner any statement or report required by the Lobbying Law or these Rules, shall be subject to late filing penalties as follows:

(A) Any person or organization who has never previously filed a statement of registration or any other filing required pursuant to the Lobbying Law and these Rules and is filing for the first time shall be charged a late filing fee of $10 per day for each day the required filing is late. If more than one filing is due the total late filing fee shall be equal to the sum of $10 per day multiplied by the number of such late filings.

(B) Any other person or organization shall be charged a late filing fee of $25 per day for each day the required filing is late. If more than one filing is due the total late filing fee shall be equal to the sum of $25 per day multiplied by the number of such late filings.

(C) Such late filing shall be treated as an incorrect or incomplete report pursuant to § 1-03(a)(4) of these Rules.

(D) For the purposes of the imposition of a late filing fee, all filings must be received by the due date for such filing. If such due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or city holiday, the filing must be received by the next city business day.

(v) Pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-223(d), any person or organization who violates any provision of the Lobbying Law not punishable by subdivisions (a), (b), or (c) of § 3-223 shall be subject to a civil penalty, in an amount not to exceed twenty thousand dollars, to be assessed by the City Clerk.

(2) Guidelines for penalties. Penalties may reflect the frequency and extent of a lobbyist's or client's record of violations. Mitigating or aggravating factors may be considered. Penalties shall be assessed by the City Clerk after a hearing on a case-by-case basis.

(c) The Hearing. (1) Pursuant to the Administrative Code § 3-223(f), only after a hearing shall the City Clerk assess the amount of a civil penalty or duration of an order to cease and desist.

(2) Designation of OATH. Pursuant to Charter § 1048(a), the City Clerk designates the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) to conduct on its behalf all hearings involving violations of the Lobbying Law.

(3) The hearing officer. The hearing shall be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by OATH for that purpose. The ALJ shall have all the powers conferred by law to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, require the attendance of witnesses and production of records, rule upon requests for adjournment, rule upon evidentiary matters and to otherwise regulate the hearing, observe the requirements of due process and effectuate the purposes and provisions of applicable law.

(4) The ALJ shall preside over the hearing, make all procedural rulings, and make a statement on the record describing the nature of the proceedings, the issues, and the manner in which the hearing will be conducted.

(5) All testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation administered by the ALJ.

(6) The person or organization charged shall be entitled to be represented, to have witnesses give testimony and to otherwise present relevant and material evidence on behalf of such person or organization, to cross examine witnesses and to examine any document or other item offered into evidence.

(7) A typed or recorded copy of the record of the hearing shall be prepared by OATH; a copy shall be provided upon request for a reasonable cost.

(8) At the discretion of the ALJ, the hearing may be adjourned for good cause upon the request of either party or upon the ALJ's own motion and with notice to the parties.

(9) The hearing shall be conducted in conformity with procedural requirements of applicable law and the rules of procedure adopted by OATH which are not inconsistent with these Rules.

(10) After the conclusion of the hearing, the presiding ALJ shall prepare a report and recommendation.

(11) The report of an ALJ shall summarize the evidence presented and contain an analysis of the legal and factual issues, with recommended findings of fact and recommended disposition.

(12) The report shall be sent to the City Clerk for a final determination of the facts and a final disposition.

(13) A copy of the report shall also be delivered or mailed to the person or organization charged.

(d) Decision after the hearing. (1) The hearing decision shall be made and issued by the City Clerk and shall be based exclusively on the record and transcript of the hearing. In reaching a decision, the City Clerk may review the memoranda of law of the parties, if any. The City Clerk shall not be bound by the ALJ's recommendation, in whole or in part, as may be appropriate. The decision shall be in writing and shall state reasons for the determinations and, when appropriate, direct specific action.

(2) A copy of such decision shall be mailed by the City Clerk to the person or organization charged and the attorney or representative of such person or organization, if any.

(3) In the event that a decision is adverse to the person or organization charged, in whole or in part, the person or organization has the right to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 1-04 Lobbyist Registration Unit-Requests to View Documents.
All reports and registrations filed pursuant to the Lobbying Law for calendar year 2006 and before shall be kept for five years in the Office of the City Clerk and shall be open to public inspection. All reports and registrations filed pursuant to the Lobbying Law for calendar year 2007 and thereafter shall be kept in electronic form in the Office of the City Clerk, shall be available for public inspection and shall be posted on the internet as soon as practicable. Such inspection is subject to the following regulations:

(a) Requests to view reports or registrations will be accepted by the Office of the City Clerk, 1 Centre Street--Room 265, New York, New York, or any subsequent address, during regular business hours. Requests that cannot be fulfilled on the day of request may be held over until the following business day;

(b) All properly submitted, valid requests will be honored in as timely a manner as the scope of the request and the availability of staff and equipment will allow;

(c) Members of the public may purchase copies of reports and registrations upon the payment of a sum equal to 25 cents per page.

§1-05 Lobbyist Reporting Periods.
Pursuant to Administrative Code § 3-216 (a)(1), commencing on January 1, 2008 the six bi-monthly reporting periods are:

January 1 through the last day of February -- due by March 15th;
March 1 through April 30 -- due by May 15th;
May 1 through June 30 -- due by July 15th;
July 1 through August 31 -- due by September 15th;
September 1 through October 31 – due by November 15th;
November 1 through December 31 -- due by January 15th.

§ 1-06 Complaints, Commencement of Formal Proceedings and Pleadings.
(a) Notice. If the City Clerk makes an initial determination, based on a complaint, investigation, or other information available to the City Clerk, that there is probable cause to believe that a lobbyist or client has violated a provision of the Lobbying Law or these Rules, the City Clerk shall notify the lobbyist or client of its determination in a written notice. The notice shall contain a statement of the facts upon which the City Clerk relied for its determination of probable cause and a statement of the provisions of the Lobbying Law or these Rules allegedly violated. The notice shall afford the lobbyist or client an opportunity, either orally or in writing, to respond to, explain, rebut, or provide information concerning the allegations in such notice within fifteen days of service of the notice. The notice shall also inform the lobbyist or client of his or her right to be represented by counsel or any other person.

(b) Lobbyist's and client's duty to cooperate; City Clerk's duty to report to Department of Investigation.

(1) Where the City Clerk conducts an investigation, the lobbyist or client shall cooperate with the representatives of the City Clerk. In any case where the City Clerk refers a complaint and/or other information available to the City Clerk to the Department of Investigation, the lobbyist or client shall cooperate with representatives of the Department of Investigation.

(2) If the City Clerk determines, on the basis of a complaint, investigation, or other information available to the City Clerk, that a willful violation of the Lobbying Law has been or may have been committed, then the City Clerk shall expeditiously report such determination, and any information relating thereto, to the Department of Investigation.

(3) Where the City Clerk receives a report that a criminal violation of law, including but not limited to a violation of Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter, and excluding a violation of the Lobbying Law, has been or may have been committed, the City Clerk shall report any information relating thereto to the Department of Investigation within five days of receipt thereof.

(4) Where the City Clerk suspects, on the basis of a complaint, investigation, or other information available to the City Clerk, that a criminal violation of law, including but not limited to a violation of Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter, and excluding a violation of the Lobbying Law, has been or may have been committed, the City Clerk shall expeditiously report such suspected violation, and any information relating thereto, to the Department of Investigation.

(c) Request for a Stay. In response to the City Clerk's notice, the lobbyist or client may apply to the City Clerk for a stay of the proceedings, for good cause shown. The City Clerk may grant or deny such request in its sole discretion.

(d) Admission of Facts. If, in response to the City Clerk's notice, the lobbyist or client admits to the facts contained therein or to a violation of the provisions of the Lobbying Law or these Rules and elects to forgo a hearing, the City Clerk may, notwithstanding § 1-03(c)(1) of these Rules, issue an order finding a violation and imposing the penalties it deems appropriate under the Lobbying Law or these Rules.

(e) No Probable Cause Finding. If, after receipt of the lobbyist’s or client's response, the City Clerk determines that there is no probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the City Clerk shall dismiss the matter and inform the lobbyist or client and the complainant, if any, in writing of its decision.

(f) Determination of Probable Cause. If, after consideration of the lobbyist’s or client's response, the City Clerk determines that there remains probable cause to believe that a violation of the provisions of the Lobbying Law or these Rules has occurred, and the lobbyist or client has not elected to forgo the hearing, the City Clerk shall direct a hearing to be held in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 1-03(c) of these Rules.

(g) Petition. The City Clerk shall institute formal proceedings by serving a petition on the lobbyist or client. A copy of the petition shall also be sent to OATH at the time the lobbyist or client is served with the petition. The petition shall set forth the facts which, if proved, would constitute a violation of Lobbying Law or these Rules, as well as the applicable provisions thereof which are alleged to have been violated. The petition shall also advise the lobbyist or client of the lobbyist’s or client's rights to file an answer, to a hearing, to be represented at such hearing by counsel or any other person, and to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence.

(h) Answer. (1) General Rule. The lobbyist or client shall answer the petition by serving an answer on the City Clerk within eight days after service of the petition, unless a different time is fixed by the City Clerk. A copy of the answer shall also be sent to OATH at the time the City Clerk is served with the answer. The lobbyist or client shall serve the answer personally or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. Upon written request of the lobbyist or client stating the specific reason for such request, submitted no later than five days prior to the due date for such answer, the City Clerk may for good cause grant an extension of time for the lobbyist or client to submit the same.

(2) Form and Contents of Answer. The answer shall be in writing and shall contain specific responses, by admission, denial, or otherwise, to each allegation of the petition and shall assert all affirmative defenses, if any. The lobbyist or client may include in the answer matters in mitigation. The answer shall be signed and shall contain the full name, address, and telephone number of the lobbyist or client. If the lobbyist or client is represented, the representative's name, address, and telephone number shall also appear on the answer, which shall be signed by either the lobbyist or client or by his or her representative.

(3) Effect of Failure to Answer. If the lobbyist or client fails to serve an answer, all allegations of the petition shall be deemed admitted and OATH shall proceed to hold a hearing in which prosecuting counsel shall submit for the record an offer of proof establishing the factual basis on which the Administrative Law Judge conducting the hearing may issue an order. If the lobbyist or client fails to respond specifically to any allegation or charge in the petition, such allegation or charge shall be deemed admitted.

(i) Amendment of Pleadings. Pleadings shall be amended as promptly as possible upon conditions just to all parties. If a pleading is to be amended less than twenty-five days before the commencement of the hearing, the amendment may be made only on consent of the parties or by leave of the Administrative Law Judge conducting the hearing.

§ 1-07 Certification.
The certification of statements and reports required by Administrative Code § 3-222 must be performed by a Principal Officer.

§ 1-08 Definitions.
"Lobbying Law" shall mean subchapter 2 of chapter 2 of title 3 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

"Rules" shall mean chapter 1 of title 51 of the Rules of the City of New York.

"Principal Officer" shall mean the chief administrative officer (the person who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract on behalf of the organization) of the lobbyist or client if either is an organization or the lobbyist or client if either is a person.

“Unemancipated child” shall mean any son, daughter, stepson, or stepdaughter who is under age eighteen at the time of reporting, unmarried, and living in the household of the reporting individual.

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