International Lobbying Regulation Research
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Important Links Types of Regulation Major Shortcomings/Weaknesses
CountryLobbying LegislationCode of ConductLobbyist Registry Regulatory BodyRegistration Registration Incentives DisclosureElectronic FilingPublic AccessReportingLobbyist DefinitionsLobbying Definition Lobbying Target DefinitionCooling Off PeriodEnforcement/OversightSanctionsOther
United States Identity and description of activities; identity of clients and description of their activities; income from client; expenses associated with lobbying efforts; identity of other participants and financial contributors; involvement of foreign entities; issue area being lobbied on; agencies contacted during lobbying; names of employees and any former government employees; details on contributions to political parties and politicians. The Government Accountability Office is responsible for auditing compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Maximum civil sanction is $200,000 fine; maximum criminal punishment is 5 years in prison. Lobbyists are prohibited from providing officials with gifts or benefits.
Australia regulation rules were first introduced in 1983, removed in 1996, and reinstated in 2008 when the parliament passed the Lobbying Code of Conduct. Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet manages a searchable database. Changes must be submitted within 10 days of the change (section 5). Lobbyists get a hall pass providing access to parliamentary space. No financial information disclosed.Yes. Yes, online. A lobbyist is any individual, company, or organization that lobbies on behalf of a third party client, or whose employees conduct lobbying for a third-party client (section 3). The code does not apply to any legal persons lobbying on their own behalf (section 3). For 18 months after leaving office, former ministers and parliamentary secretaries cannot lobby on matters they deal with in their last 18 months in office (section 6). The same rule exists for senior civil service and army personnel, althought the cooling off period is 12 months (section 7). No idenpendent body has been created or identified to oversee lobbying regualtion. Removal from the register. Several Australian states also have lobbying regulations in place, including Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland. Government officials shall not knowingly meet with lobbyists who are not registered (section 4). Weak enforcement and penalties have crippled the regulations. The code only covers the government, so MPs that are in the opposition technically aren’t covered and do not have to be reported on. No independent body to oversee regulation. Definitions only cover lobbyists who represent third-party clients.
Canada Registration Act passed 1989 and ammended in 1995, 2003, and 2008, when it was renamed the Lobbying Act. Nearly all lobbyists register for free online. N/AMonthly updates. Identity and description of activities; identity of clients and description of their activities, funding; issue area being lobbied on; agencies contacted during lobbying; names of employees and any former government employees. Specific legislation, regulations, programs, grants etc.Yes. Yes, online. Monthly communications report if lobbyist initiates (includes names, dates, subject matter) Arranging meetings between client and officials is also lobbying. Lobbyist: consultant and in-house. "Significant part of time" rule for determining. Lobbying is any communication with a public office holder to influence legislation, regulations, programs, policies, spending decisions, or contracts. Lobbying is also arranging a meeting between a public office holder and any other person. MPs, Senators, parliamentary staff, government employees, armed services, and federal police. 5 year period for high-level, designated public officials. Commissioner can waive this. Commisioner of Lobbying responsilble for oversight of lobbying regulations, registry maintenance, code of coduct compliance, and outreach/education about regulations. The Commissioner is an independent agent of the parliament. Maximum civil sanction is $200,000 fine; maximum criminal punishment is 2 years in prison.Lobbyists are prohibited from providing officials with gifts or benefits. Lobbyists are obliged to provide officials with accurate information. Also in Code: lobbyists must avoid apparent and real conflicts of interest.
France (Senate) and (National Assembly) the National Assembly and the Senate maintain lobbyist registries. Registration is voluntary in both cases. Registered lobbyists recieve a hall pass. No financial information. Clients are disclosed. Yes. Yes, online. Bureau of the National Assembly. System is voluntary and does not cover all that lobby the government.
Germany the beginning of each year an interest group list is made and published. Groups that request inclusion get a hall pass. Groups can’t be heard by officials if they are not on the list -- but parliament can invite groups not on the list to provide information on an ad hoc basis. This gives certain groups an end-around and limits the effectiveness of the system. Data about the registrant (members, officials) and areas of interest. No financial information, specific issues lobbying on, or individuals/orgs lobbying on behalf of.Yes. Yes. President of the Bundestag. Codes of conduct for both lobbyists and MPs exist. Voluntary registry and not really a lobbyist registry -- only covers organizations and works mostly to provide physical access to parliamentary space. Originally envisioned as a way to institutionalize the role of trade associations/labor unions in policymaking.
Hungary XLIX, Lobbying Activities was passed in April 2006, came into effect in September 2006, and was repealed in 2011. Voluntary registry set up in 2006 entitled registrants to a hall pass. Quarterly reports outlined contacts, frequency of contact, gifts given etc. and were posted on the Central Office of Justice web page. Hungarian authorities encouraged registration, by March 2010 there were 248 individuals and 44 orgs. Law was repealed in 2011, cited as failing to neither create more transparency nor facilitating business-govt interaction. Fewer than half of the active lobbyists have registered.After registration, lobbyists receive a numbered license which gives them access to the government bodies that are lobbied (section 14). Registered lobbyists may also submit an official opinion to be entered into the record. They are also able to send MPs documentation about the issues they are lobbying on and bring MPs to trade conferences and events related to the issues lobbied on (though they cannot reimburse them for the cost of their participation). Quarterly. Registration requires: name, date of birth, photo, employer name, subject matter of bill to be addressed (sections 7 and 8). must verify a clean criminal record and higher education degree, name, birthday, subject matter/bill, employer info; Yes, online. Lobbyists must submit quarterly reports to the resgistrar. Reports contain what they attempted to influence, they objectives of their activities, how they lobbied, and the names of the officers they lobbied (section 30). Lobbyists are defined as individuals or groups who lobby on behalf of a third party client for a contract. Professional lobbyists can seek to influence the legislative, executive, or local government. No cooling off period. Central Office of Justice manages registry (and is an executive agency), which is available online; registered individuals must submit quarterly reports which are public. 40,000 euro fines (section 17) and removal from the registry for one to three years (section 16). Registrar has the right to publish the names of lobbyists found to have broken or not complied with the rules (section 20). Code of conduct: lobbyists are prohibited from using insider information, lobbying with a conflict of interest, and engaging in any unethical behavior, no gift giving. May not lobby officials to not perfrom mandated duties. Lobbyists must have clean criminal record and a degree in higher education. Law was repealed in 2011
Israel must apply for permission to lobby with a Committee of the Knesset. There are under 200 official lobbyists working in the Knesset. The Knesset is not required to publish all information in the lobbyists application. They must, however, publish the lobbyists name, employer/corporation, and political party membership. Lobbyists target Members of the Knesset (or MPs). One year cooling off period for MPs and ministers. Committee chaired by the Knesset Speaker and two deputies -- one from the coalition and one from the opposition -- rweviews lobbyists applications and permits access. Liability for wrongdoing extends to other lobbyists who work for the same corporation. Lobbyists must where ID badges provided them by the Knesset when they are in the Knesset building. ID badge contains the name of the individual and the corporation they work for. The target of lobbying activities is narrowly defined to only include MKs. Other high ranking civil servants should be included in this definition.
Lithuania Law on Lobbying Activity was passed June 2000, came into effect 2001, and was amended in 2003.Began in 2001. Includes contract lobbyists who lobby the legislative branch and specifically excludes non-profit lobbying. In 2007, there were 13 registered lobbyists, 11 were active (according to the Official Gazette). Registered lobbyists can assist in drafting legislation and can submit proposals in the drafting of legal acts. Annual. Registration requires: name, name of client, employer, bills lobbying on. Must notifty changes in 6-10 days. Must also provide individual spending reports and notify registrar of salary received. A lobbyist is a legal or natural person recorded in the Register of Lobbyists in the manner perscribed by the law. Lobbyists must have clean criminal record and a degree in higher education (chapter 1, article 2, section 3). Lobbying is any activity performed by an individual or legal entity meant to influence the legislative process on behalf of a client, paid or otherwise (section 2). Former politicians or elected officials must wait at least one year before registering. Chief Official of the Ethics Commission is an independent body that enforces lobbying legislation. In May of every year to COEC must send an annual report on lobbying activities to the Seimas (chapter 3, article 13). COEC has been openly critical about narrow scope of the legislation. Suspensions of activities and modest fines. One may not lobby on a legal act that is directly related to that indviduals election or appointment. Lobbying is any activity meant to influence the legislative process (section 3), paid or otherwise (this makes the law broad and too vague to be effective, as any publicly aired opinion could be seen as an effort to influence the process). Also, lobbying is defined as being done on behalf of a client -- leaves out nonprofits, individuals, etc.
Poland Act on Legislative and Regulatory Lobbying was passed in July 2005 and came into effect in March 2006. Mandatory registry started in 2005, but only for contract lobbyists. Reports published in public bulletin include contacts, issues lobbied on. Overall, a very limited regulatory scheme. N/ARegistration requires: name, address, company name, subject matter/bill addressed, list of employers, whether or not the work is compensated.Yes. Yes, online. Lobbied authorities are also responsible for reporting. A lobbyist is an individual who is paid to perform lobbying activities, or an activity carried out for or on behalf of a third party to ensure that its views are fully represented in the legislative or regulative processes. Lobbying is any legal action designed to influence the legislative or regulatory action of a public authority (article 2). Since only legislative lobbying is addressed, presumably only MPs and legislative staff are considered targets. Targets responsible for reporting. N/AMinister of Internal Affairs and Administration manages the registry. It is an executive agency and published an annual summary of lobbying activity. Lobbied authorities are also responsible for reporting. Fines of up to 16,000 euro against those who lobby professionally but do not register. This fine can be reapplied for multiple breaches of the law. Poland's law is more concerned with creating procedures for public consultation than enhancing transparency or rooting out conflicts of interest. Much of the reporting (issues lobbied on, etc.) done by the target of lobbying. Act only targets legislative lobbying and only includes contract lobbyists. Very limited scope. Registry is not handled by an independent entity.
Taiwan Lobbying Act passed in 2007 and came into force in August 2008. Lobbyists must register with the government agency or institution that they wish to lobby (article 13). Targets of lobbying are also required to submit reports on who lobbies them, when it happens, what types of issues are discussed, etc. Registry includes financial statement of income, spending, etc. Lobbyists must prepare financial disclosures indicating how much they spent on lobbying efforts (article 17). Yes.Registry info is public; but process takes around 2 months, so access is not timely. Lobbied officials must inform the appropriate agency who lobbied them, when the meeting took place, and what issues were discussed (article 16). Any legal persons (indivdiuals, organizations, etc.) who attempt to influence the formulation or enactment of legislation. Individuals do not need to be compensated to be considered lobbyists. Lobbying is the activity of lobbyists designed to influence formulation or enactment of legislation (article 2). The legislation identifies the President, the Vice President, the executive branch, and legislators at any level of government as targets of lobbying (article Minsitry of the Interior is charged with overseeing the legislation (article 3). There is no central body that oversees and maintains the registry. Financial penalties range from TWD 500,000 - 2,500,00 (or 11,000 - 55,000 euro) (article 21). Lobbyists must pass professional and technical examinations. Loopholes: staff and personal assistants are not considered targets of lobbying activities. Also, anyone can claim that they were petitioning or making a plea, and not lobbying. The registration system is more similar to recieving a lincese, thus limiting timely information disclosure and weakening the individuals right to petition the government. Requiring that lobbyists pass professional and technical examinations is overly burdensome.
Ukraine is the legal influence wielded by employed and registered individuals to influence the public policy process. Since lobbying is by definition a legal activity, registration helps alleviate view of lobbyists as crooks.
GeorgiaLobbyists must register to lobby the President, Vice President, and all legislators in representative institutions at all levels of government.
Netherlands registering lobbyists in July of 2012. The register includes only those lobbyists who have a pass to access parliamentary space. Registry does not contain all of the necessary information and is only available in PDF format.
Macedonia Lobbying bill included registry; however, confusion over who constitutes a lobbyist has delayed implementation. The Genearl Secretary of the Parliament is responsilbe for overseeing the implementation and enactment of the lobbying law. It is rare in Europe for a body of the legislature to be responsilbe for this. Poor definition of who constitutes a lobbyist.
Austria Lobbying and Advocating for Transparency Law was passed in July 2012. A person who engages in lobbying activites as an employee or contractor of a lobbying firm. Lobbying is any contact with government officials to influence their decision making process on behalf of a client. Federal, state and local government officials. The Federal Minister of Justice Manages the registry.
Mexico (Senate) and (House of Representatives)
EU Institutions is optional. Lobbyists who register must respect the lobbyists code of conduct. A one year hall pass is provided for registrants. Registered lobbyists must disclose general information about their activities, incluidng the name of lobbying organization they work for, issues of interest, name, address, position, and how long they seek to lobby the EP, financial information about their clients, and funding received from EU institutions. Yes.Yes, online. Not all registered information is publically available. Lobbyists can be public, private, or non-governmental bodies that can provide parliament with knowledge and specific expertise in various fields. Lobbying is defined as knowledge exchange between lobbyists and government officials. No definition of lobbying targets provided. None. Secretary General
Ireland [PART 3]Not available yet

Standards in Public Office Commission
[Section 8] A person shall not carry on lobbying activities unless the
person is a registered person.
Registration Mandatory in Section 8[Section 11] name; address; career ("business or main activities," perhaps to diffrentiate in-house lobbyists from hired ones); any e-mail address, telephone number or website address; any registration number issued to the person by the Companies Registration Office; if a company, the person’s registered office.Does not seem to be in place. Not stipulated in law, and a search of the Commission's web site yielded no online registration.Y, intended to be onlineTriannually.
[Section 12(4)] (a) "relevant information" about the client being lobbied for--name, address, business/activities, email address/telephone number/website, lobbyist registration number, address of client's office if company; officials lobbied and their govt office lobbied; the subject matter and intended results of lobbying; the type and extent of the lobbying activities carried on; the name of the person who had primary responsibility for carrying on the lobbying activities; the name of each person who is or has been a designated public official employed
by, or providing services to, the registered person who was engaged in carrying on lobbying activities, and seemingly optional additional information in Section 12(7).

[Section 12(7)] the name of any other person involved in carrying on lobbying activities; any other matters which seem useful for transparency, essentially. Vague.
[Section 5] Lobbyists can be in-house or hired figures that make "relevant communications."[Section 5] “relevant communications” means communications (whether oral or written and however made) made personally (directly or indirectly) to a designated public official.

An (extensive) list of exceptions in Section 5(3)
[Section 6] The following are designated public officials: Ministers of the Government and Ministers of State; other members of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann; members of the European Parliament for constituencies in the State; members of local authorities; special advisers appointed under section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997; public servants of a prescribed description; any other prescribed office holders or description of persons.[Section 22] One year cooling period.Standards in Public Office Commission[Sections 20-21] Class C fine [fine not exceeding €2,500] for late filings, prefaced by a 200 Euro fixed payment as a warning about the Class C fine. If this fixed payment is fulfilled, investigation/charge is dropped.Ireland allows for delayed publication of information slightly at the lobbyist filier's discretion. [Section 14]

Also refer back to the many exceptions on lobbyist reporting in [Section 5(3)]
Slovakia (Proposed)