Advisory Opinions

When a Legislator Marries a Lobbyist

Indiana Lobby Registration Commission

(Ratification vote taken at public meeting of February 9, 1999)

Chairman Bepko - yes
Vice-Chairman Krahulik - yes
Commissioner Abbs - yes
Commissioner Hicks - yes

Questions and written comments may be directed to Indiana Lobby Registration Commission, 115 W. Washington, Suite 1375, Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-9860


An Employer Lobbyist (AA@) employs a compensated lobbyist (AB@) who is married to a legislator. A provides normal employee and fringe benefits to B, and compensates B in a customary manner.


I.C. 2-7-1-9 defines Alobbying@ as Acommunicating by any means, or paying others to communicate by any means, with any legislative official with the purpose of influencing legislative action.@ When a spouse gifts the other spouse who is a legislator, it is presumed that any material communication is not made with the purpose of influencing legislative action. Similarly, gifts made incidental to a marriage relationship are not made for the purpose of influencing legislative action. Accordingly, there is no duty to report such as lobbying expenditures.

When A provides B with such things as insurance, salary, or other normal employee benefits, it is not making a gift to the legislator. A must report the value of B=s salary and benefits as reportable lobbying expenditures, regardless of the fact that B is married to a legislator. (See, FAO 97-4; FAO 98-02).

Employee benefits which are shared by the legislator who is a spouse of B are lobbying expenditures. A reports the value of the benefit given to B, and not the value of the benefit as received by the legislator. For example, if A provides B with a whole life insurance policy, A reports as a lobbying expenditure the amount it paid to fund the whole life policy. A need not report as a lobbying expenditure the proceeds paid to the legislator on the policy in the event of B=s death.

Gifts made by A to the legislator/spouse are reportable lobbying expenditures, unless they are gifts made to the legislator by A in the legislator=s capacity as B=s spouse. A gift made to the legislator which was a gift made to all spouses of A=s employees would not, for example, be considered a reportable lobbying expenditure for A. If the legislator receives a gift from A which was not given to other spouses of A=s employees, it is reasonable to infer that the gift was made by A for the purpose of influencing legislative action.

An exception is made for those gifts given by A to B and the legislator/spouse when the gift was a wedding gift. Wedding gifts are presumed to have been made to both B and the legislator/spouse, and not to the legislator/spouse.