Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) Proposes Amendments

SRC’s Lobby Law Compliance Practice Helps Clients Navigate the new procedures

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) said they are planning to make some adjustments to the comprehensive lobbying regulations they finalized in 2018. The various changes include narrowing the list of who would need to be listed as a “grassroots lobbyist.” The regulations finalized in 2018 said that individuals who participate in activities that attempt to influence public officials indirectly, such as encouraging citizens to write their Legislators letters or calling their offices, on an issue would need to be disclosed on reports. However, the new changes say that not all of the individuals would need to be disclosed. Deputy Director of Lobbying Carol Quinn said at Tuesday’s meeting, “No individuals would be required to be listed as individual lobbyists based on their grassroots lobbying activity alone,” and, “The message is public. The focus is not really on the individuals behind it, but instead on who is paying for that grassroots lobbying message.”

It was also suggested that the commission may also make some changes to the regulations related to social media activity, with Quinn saying “We’re drafting language that would make personal social media posts presumptively not reportable lobbying,” and, “It would only be reportable if the person is actually hired to run the social media campaign through their personal social media platforms.” Quinn said that JCOPE is hoping to finalize the regulation changes by next January.

Shenker Russo & Clark has been, under Theresa Russo’s leadership, providing lobby law guidance to numerous clients on a wide spectrum of issues and acting as in-house lobby law counsel to many companies in New York State ̶ training employees, establishing systems for capturing and reporting lobbying activity, and taking all steps necessary to ensure compliance.

Theresa and her team routinely interface with JCOPE and the Office of the City Clerk in New York City, providing clients with lobby report filing guidance and representing them in civil penalty hearings and audits. In addition, Theresa teaches CLE courses on the constantly evolving lobbying laws in New York State and New York City.