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Lobbying Enforcement

There were 6,624 lobbyists registered with the Commission in 2008, representing 4,145 clients, compared to 5,357 lobbyists representing 3,271 clients in 2007. During this same period, there were 52 public corporations registered, compared to 57 the previous year.

According to semi-annual reports filed with the Commission for the 2008 calendar year, $197.7 million was spent on lobbying, up from $171.2 million the previous year which, significantly, had jumped $20 million from 2006. (See chart below.)

In 2008, there were 18,296 legislative bills before the Legislature and 1,737 rules, regulations, and rates pending before State agencies. The Commission's monitoring responsibilities also extend to lobbyists and clients attempting to influence any local law, ordinance, rule, regulation and rate pending before a municipality or its subdivision. A total of 686 registrations were filed for lobbyists active on local issues. The Commission also covers those attempting to influence determinations by a state or local public official relating to governmental procurement on both a State and municipal level. There were 307 registrations filed for lobbyists active on procurement matters; another 875 registrations were amended or filed by lobbyists active on both procurement and non-procurement matters.

Staff works with lobbyists and clients, to the fullest possible extent, to obtain compliance. This is done through outreach and education programs as described earlier in this report.

Lobbying activity in the Legislature and State agencies is monitored to detect non-registered special interest groups. In the Legislature, budget bills and other issues are identified to determine if any unregistered party has attempted to influence legislative action. In State agencies, Notices of Appearance submitted pursuant to Section 166 of the Executive Law are reviewed by Commission staff for unregistered lobbying activity. Last year, the Program Operations Unit opened 24 inquiries into unregistered lobbying activities; 4 registrations were filed as a result.

As required by statute, the Commission conducts a Random Audit Program that provides another independent and objective evaluation of reports and registration statements filed by lobbyists and their clients. An outside accounting firm certifies that the Random Audit Program is in compliance with the Act's provisions. This year, under the Random Audit Program, the Commission conducted 563 audits. These audits produced 22 formal findings regarding potential violations of the Lobby Act; 407 informal findings, which are minor errors in documentation or reporting; and 649 recommendations to improve record keeping or filing procedures.

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