Who Must Register

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:

  • a regular employee of a company or organization who devotes all or a fraction of his or her time to lobbying;
  • a sizeable law firm whose partners or employees undertake protecting the legislative interests of its clients;
  • a lobbying firm which employs several agents to further the objectives of many client-employers;
  • an individual who agrees to carry an organization’s banner to Olympia without payment except for travel and living expenses. 

All of these types of lobbyists must register unless they meet one of the statutory exemptions discussed below. 

Exemptions

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:

  1. Limit lobbying activities to appearances before public sessions of legislative committees or public hearings of state agencies;

  2. 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.

  3. Are working members of the print or broadcast media preparing news reports, feature articles or editorial comment;

  4. 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.

  5. Restrict their lobbying to no more than four days (or parts of four days) during any three consecutive months, and the total expenditures during that period for or on behalf of any member of the legislature, state elected officials, state public officers, or employees in connection with lobbying do not exceed $35.  (This exemption can be used in addition to an initial lobbying effort limited to public appearances.  See #1 above.)

Individuals who only monitor legislation and/or observe committee hearings and legislative floor debate do not need to register or report their activities.

When to Register

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.

 

Creating a User Account in the Electronic Application

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.

  1. At the home page of the PDC website (pdc.wa.gov), go to the Quick Links in the green band at upper right and click on File Online.
  2. When the next page displays, click on Lobbyist and Lobbyist Employers (L1, L2, and L3)
  3. If this is the first time accessing the electronic filing system, please take a few minutes to watch the video about how to set up your account.
  4. At the next page, click on the Create a new account located at left.
  5. In the User account page, complete the following;
  • Username
  • Email address (This must be a valid email address. All correspondence from the filing system will be sent to this address. The email is not made public and will only be used to activate the account, get a new password or to receive news or notifications by email).
  • Account Name: Full legal name (of user)
  • Telephone number (of user)
  • Address (of user)
  • Put a check mark in the "I certify" box
  • Click Create account
  1. An email will be sent with additional instructions to complete the user account setup.
  2. Log in to your email provider at the email address you provided above. In your Inbox look for an email from PDC with the subject "PDC new account information."
  3. Open the email where you will find a message that reads “Use the link below to access your account for the first time and set your password. This link can only be used once.” You MUST use the link provided within 24 hours of receiving the initial email.
  4. Click on the link provided.
  5. At the next page entitled "Reset Password," click the "Log in" icon.
  6. A password for the new user account must now be entered in the "Password" field and again in the "Confirm password" field.
  7. Click the "Save" icon. The user account is now set up and will take the user to their home page, where linking may be done to existing accounts, new lobbyists/firms may be added and new lobbyist employers may be added.

Terminating, Suspending and Reinstating Registrations

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.