Each legislative agent and employer must file an Initial Registration Statement which is a joint registration for each legislative agent engaged by an employer. Legislative agents engaged by more than one employer must file separate Initial Registration Statements for each engagement, i.e., for each employer. Similarly, each employer must file an Initial Registration Statement for each legislative agent engaged or employed. For example, if an employer engages four legislative agents, four separate Initial Registration Statements must be filed representing the four engagements.
When should you register?
Each legislative agent and employer is required to file an Initial Registration Statement within 10 days of the engagement of the legislative agent. Initial Registration Statement forms are available from the Clerk of Council.
- Where do you register?
The Initial Registration Statement is filed with the Clerk of Council. The Initial Registration Statement may be mailed to the Clerk of Council, 801Plum Street, Room 308, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 or may be filed personally.
- What is the registration fee?
There is a $25 registration fee for each Initial Registration Statement filed. The payment must be by check or money order only, made payable to Clerk of Council. An Initial Registration Statement will not be accepted without the fee.
- How long is the registration valid?
Following registration, the legislative agent will be issued a card by the Clerk of Council showing that the legislative agent and the employer are registered. The registration card and registration are valid from the date of its issuance until the next thirtieth day of November of an odd-numbered year. In other words, all registrations expire at the end of each two-year session of the Council. Upon expiration, you are no longer registered as a legislative agent and employer, you must file a new Initial Registration Statement for the next two-year period.
- What information is required on the Initial Registration Statement?
Each Initial Registration Statement is required to contain the following information:
- The name, business address, and occupation of the legislative agent;
- The name and business address of the employer on whose behalf the legislative agent is actively advocating. If the employer is a trade association or other charitable or fraternal organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, the statement need not list the names and addresses of each member of the association or organization, so long as the association or organization itself is listed;
- A brief description of the type of legislation to which the engagement relates.
- Any changes in the information provided on the Initial Registration Statement are required to be indicated on the next Updated Registration Statement filed by the agent or employer.
- Who should be registered as the employer?
The person or entity on whose behalf you will be actively advocating is required to be listed as the employer. As noted above, an employer is a person who "directly or indirectly" engages a legislative agent. Therefore, by definition, if a client is paying someone to advocate on their behalf, even though not paying the legislative agent directly, the client is indirectly engaging the legislative agent and should therefore be listed as the employer.
Prohibitions & Public Inspection
Prohibitions: There are criminal penalties for non-compliance with the registration, record keeping, and updating requirements. Knowingly failing to file an Initial Registration Statement, maintain a record, or file an Updated Registration Statement is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree punishable by up to 30 days incarceration and a $250 fine. For an organization it is a fine of $2,000. Knowingly falsifying an Initial Registration Statement or an Updated Registration Statement is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. For an organization, it is a fine of $5,000. The Clerk of Council or OCCI will refer alleged violations to the appropriate prosecuting authority.
Public Inspection Of Statements: All Initial Registration Statements and Updated Registration Statements are public records and open to public inspection. Anyone may review all of the Statements and may request copies. Copies are 15¢ a piece, payable by check, cash, or money order.
False Statements, Contingent Fees & Campaign Contributions
False Statements: An employer or legislative agent who files any false statement is liable in a civil action to any public officer or employee who sustains damage as a result of the filing or publication of the statement.
Contingent Fees: No person shall engage any person to actively advocate in exchange for compensation that is contingent in any way upon the passage, modification, or defeat of any legislation. No person shall accept any engagement to actively advocate in exchange for compensation that is contingent in any way upon the passage, modification, or defeat of any legislation.
Campaign Contributions: Nothing in sections 112-01-112-17 of the Municipal Code shall require the reporting of, or prohibit a member of the Council from soliciting or accepting, a contribution from or expenditure by any person if the contribution or expenditure is reported in accordance with Chapter 117 of the Municipal Code.