On Introduction 502: in Relation to the Contents of a Lobbyist’s Statement of Registration

CITIZENS UNION WRITTEN TESTIMONY
TO THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS
INTRODUCTION 502:
A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, IN RELATION TO THE CONTENTS OF A LOBBYIST’S STATEMENT OF REGISTRATION.

Delivered by Doug Israel, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
February 20, 2007


Citizens Union, a century old good-government organization, is a strong supporter of efforts to increase disclosure of lobbying and fundraising activities. Transparency in these areas is a vital tool in the fight to ensure that our elected officials act in the public interest and are not improperly influenced by lobbyists and donors. However, the information required must be consistent with the intent of the law and not compromise reasonably expected rights to privacy.

Citizens Union supports positive steps taken in 2006 to increase disclosure requirements and we commend the work of the Governmental Operations Committee and the City Council in this area. Today, we lend our support to Introduction 502 which would clarify and improve lobbyist disclosure requirements.


Citizens Union supports the following three major elements of Introduction 502:

  1. Requiring the inclusion on the lobbyists’ registration of the business and home address of lobbyists and those of their spouses and domestic partners, as well as the name and home address of their unemancipated child if a campaign contribution is made in the unemancipated child’s name, to assist the CFB in identifying non-matchable campaign contributions;

  2. Clarifying that lobbyists are not required to list the names of the their unemancipated children in annual registration forms, unless and until a campaign contribution is made, at which time the lobbyist would be required to disclose the names and home addresses of their unemancipated children within 48 hours after the contribution is made in the unemancipated child’s name;

  3. Requiring that the home addresses of lobbyists be kept confidential, along with those of their spouses, domestic partners and unemancipated children.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony on this matter. We look forward to continued efforts to improve the city’s disclosure laws and ensure that lobbyists and fundraisers do not gain unfair access to elected officials and other government employees.