Persons, including individuals and entities who lobby or are employed as lobbyists – either full or part-time – must register and report their income and expenditures unless exempt under one or more of the provisions listed below.
A lobbyist may be:
All of these types of lobbyists must register unless they meet one of the statutory exemptions discussed below.
Citizens who – on their own time and without payment or other consideration – write letters make phone calls, send e-mails, or have personal visits with officials in order to express their views on issues have no registration or reporting obligations so long as they do not spend money on whomever they are lobbying for such things as meals, drinks, or other entertainment, gifts, travel, or contributions.
Persons who attempt to influence the passage or defeat of legislation and/or the adoption or rejection of administrative rules are exempt from registering as lobbyists if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
Limit lobbying activities to appearances before public sessions of legislative committees or public hearings of state agencies;
At the request of a state agency, participate in that agency’s efforts to reach consensus on possible rulemaking under RCW 34.05.310(2). Once notice of a proposed rule has been published, efforts to influence actions on that proposed rule are no longer exempt.
Are working members of the print or broadcast media preparing news reports, feature articles or editorial comment;
Lobby without compensation or “other consideration” for acting as a lobbyist, provided no expenditures are made for or on behalf of the people being lobbied. A person who is reimbursed for lobbying expenses is receiving “other consideration” and is required to register regardless of whether the person is receiving other payment for his or her services. WAC 390-05-220 defines “other consideration” as payment for services, reimbursement or payment of expenses, promise or delivery of goods or services or granting of benefits or privileges that have a tangible and identifiable value.
Individuals who only monitor legislation and/or observe committee hearings and legislative floor debate do not need to register or report their activities.
A lobbyist must file a registration form (PDC Form L-1) within 30 days of being employed to lobby or before lobbying, whichever comes first. A lobbyist is required to file a separate L-1 for each employer. If any of the information on an L-1 changes once it is filed, the L-1 needs to be amended within one week of the change occurring. The registration must be filed electronically.
Someone who will be filing reports for lobbyists and/or lobbyist employers must get access to the electronic filing system. This is done by first setting up a user account. The current system is not specific to a single lobbyist/firm or lobbyist employer. This means that individuals who are filing for more than one lobbyist/firm and/or lobbyist employer may do so through ONE user account. If the user has already set up a user account, please proceed to one of the next steps to either set up a new lobbyist/firm or to link an existing lobbyist/firm or employer.
Registrations filed October 1, 2018 or later expire in January 2021, unless the lobbyist or lobbyist employer terminates the registration on an earlier date.
A lobbyist should terminate an employer’s registration when the lobbying functions have ended. Terminations must be done by amending the registration in the electronic filing application.
Lobbyist employers may terminate registrations by submitting a written statement identifying which lobbyist is being terminated and as of what date.
A lobbyist must file an L-2 for the last month or portion thereof for which he or she was registered. For example, if lobbying activities conclude on May 23, an L-2 covering May activity would be filed on or before June 15 and must include the termination notice.
A lobbyist may temporarily suspend a registration by amending the registration to indicate the months in which no lobbying will be done for a specific time, no lobbying expenditures will be made during the time specified and no compensation will be earned for lobbying. During the period of the suspension, no monthly L-2 reports are required.