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Disclosure Requirements and On-Line Applications

Lobbying Filings

The on-line Lobbyist Registration Application allows lobbyists and clients to register and report 24 hours a day via the Internet. Electronic filers may view the status of their filings on-line and make necessary changes immediately. Filers electing not to register and report electronically may still opt to send paper filings to the Commission, whose staff then enters the data electronically.

This on-line application has significantly improved public disclosure of lobbying information. An interactive query screen offers an extensive number of search criteria to locate lobbyist and client records. Seven different reports on lobbyists and clients are available online, to be selected, reviewed, printed or imported with up-to-date lobbying data, at no cost.

Reviewing Statements and Reports Filed by Lobbyists, Clients and Public Corporations:

All statements and reports received by the Commission are reviewed for accuracy and completeness. In 2009, over 43,500 completed electronic and paper filings and lobbying contracts were reviewed. Upon completion of a preliminary review, Commission staff utilizes various programs to verify the accuracy and completeness of reporting. The Discrepancy Investigation Program is one such program. It compares the compensation reported in a lobbyist's bimonthly report against that reported in the client's semi-annual report. In 2009, 360 discrepancies were investigated. This program also permits the Commission to verify the accuracy of information provided in both reports.

Reportable lobbying expenses, such as advertising, legislative receptions, and "lobby days" are independently monitored by Commission staff to ensure that the special interest groups funding such activities are registered as required and that the associated event costs are properly disclosed in lobbying reports. In 2009, $6,167,701 was reported for advertising expenses and $1,609,013 was reported for event related expenses.

Ethics Filings

More than 27,000 people filed financial disclosure statements in 2009, with 88 percent filing electronically.

Financial disclosure also is required of the four statewide elected officials (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller), the State chairs of recognized political parties and certain county chairs of these parties.

The statements include the names of spouses and unemancipated children, major assets, sources of income, liabilities, sources of gifts, reimbursements, interests in trust, deferred income, real property owned, offices held with a political party, any licenses from a State agency, and other information.

The Commission on Public Integrity may grant an exemption from filing to individuals who earn above the filing rate (which was $84,863 in 2009) but who have been determined by their agencies not to be policymakers. An exemption request may be submitted either by an individual, or by a State agency or employee organization on behalf of a group of individuals who share the same job title or employment classification. For an exemption to be granted, an individual's job duties may not involve the negotiation, authorization or approval of:

Financial disclosure statements are available for public inspection. However, the law requires that the value of certain income, assets and liabilities, each of which must be listed as being within a category based on a range of values, is not publicly available.

There were 36 requests to inspect 193 financial disclosure statements, a significant decrease from the previous year, when there were 96 requests to inspect 372 financial disclosure statements.

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