- Policy Resources
- News & Analysis
- Your State
Christian Smith-Socaris on November 4, 2008 - 2:33pm
Even as the federal government does almost nothing to force
lobbyists to disclose their activities, most states require some degree of disclosure
on lobbyists. Disclosure laws typically require lobbyists to list who
they are lobbying for on what issues. The amount of each lobbying
contract is also typically disclosed. Additionally, lobbying activities
should be overseen by an independent body that has the authority to investigate
lobbying activities for compliance with the disclosure law, the ability to
punish violators, and a mandate to make lobbying information easily accessible
to the public. While many states are ahead of the federal government on
this issue, many even now don't require lobbyists and their employees to report
what they spend, and many other loopholes remain in existing state laws.
Best practices for lobbying disclosure and oversight include:
- Monthly reporting of lobbying expenditures, including lobbying contract information and lobbyist compensation.
- Online posting of lobby data, updated frequently.
- A way to see who is lobbying on a particular bill and whether they are lobbying for or against it.
- Aggregating information regarding how much particular industries are spending on lobbying.