FINAL ADVISORY OPINION 97-06
Reporting of Gifts When There is a Contract to Monitor
Indiana Lobby Registration Commission
(Determination made at public meeting on September 9, 1997)
(Ratification at public meeting of January 28, 1998)
VOTES ON RATIFICATION
Chairman Bepko (in absentia) - yes
Vice-Chairman Krahulik - yes
Commissioner Hicks - yes
Commissioner Abbs - yes
Questions and written comments may be directed to
Indiana Lobby Registration Commission,
115 W. Washington, Suite 1375, Indianapolis, IN 46204
If there is no legislative action upon which the agent or principal is attempting to impose influence, there is no duty to file a lobbyist's Report of Legislative Gift or Purchase, regardless of the amount of the gift. However, if it is determined that the gift was given with the intention of influencing legislative action, there is a duty to register and report.
Corporation "X" is not a registered lobbyist. X provides goodwill gifts, in the form of tickets to a major sporting event, to legislators each year, regardless of whether it is actively lobbying the legislature. In the past, X had the agent actively lobby on certain issues. However, the agent only monitored the legislature this year. The total value of the gifts to the legislators was in excess of $30,000 during a three month period. The tickets came directly from X to the legislators. X has no duty to register and report the gifts with the Commission.
I.C. 2-7-3-6(a) requires that "a lobbyist shall file a written report with respect to a member of the general assembly whenever either of the following occurs: (1) The lobbyist has made a purchase described in IC 2-2.1-3-2(7) with respect to that mem ber. (2) The lobbyist has made a gift described in IC 2-2.1-3-2(8)."
I.C. 2-2.1-3-2(8) requires a legislator to report on its statement of economic interest "the name of any person or entity from whom the member . . . received the following: (A) any gift of cash from the lobbyist. (B) Any single gift other than cash h aving a fair market value in excess of one hundred dollars ($100). ( C) Any gifts other than cash having a fair market value in the aggregate in excess of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Thus, the aggregate value of the tickets would cause the gifts t o be reported by legislators on their statements of economic interest.
The gift alone does not trigger a duty to register as a lobbyist. It must be determined whether X or its agent was "engaged in lobbying." "Lobbying" means "communicating by any means, or paying others to communicate by any means, with any legislativ e official with the purpose of influencing legislative action." I.C. 2-7-1-9.
An agent who merely monitors the action of the legislature is not communicating with the legislators. Although an entity or person, in giving gifts to legislators, is communicating by any means, each time a gift is given to a legislator does not mean it communication was done with the "purpose of influencing legislative action."
To the extent there is no legislative action upon which the agent or principal is attempting to impose influence, there is no duty to file a lobbyist's Report of Legislative Gift or Purchase, regardless of the amount of the gift. It should be noted, however, that facts and circumstances which support a finding that there was an intent to influence legislative action with the gift will be carefully considered by the Commission.