The Department of City Clerk has promulgated these rules and regulations relative to lobbying activity pursuant to and in accordance with the Code of Ordinances. Chapter 2013-3, Number 84 (approved February 28, 2013), entitled: “An Ordinance Relative to Lobbyist Registration” (hereafter, LRO).
These rules and regulations are available for public inspection or request at the Department of City Clerk, City Hall, Room 311, 25 Dorrance Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, and on the City website, www.providenceri.com. If any part of these rules and regulations is found to be in conflict with any applicable law, such part shall be inoperative, null and void insofar as it is in conflict with said law, but the remainder of these rules and regulations shall be in full force and effect.
In order for the Department of City Clerk to properly provide for and implement the provisions of the LRO, these rules and regulations shall apply with respect to legislative branch lobbying activity and related action in the City of Providence.
CITY OF PROVIDENCE LOBBYING ACTIVITY
The purpose of the LRO is to create registration and disclosure requirements for individuals acting as municipal lobbyists. The registration requires lobbyists to provide pertinent information for the benefit of the general public, the mayor and the city council. The LRO is not intended to discourage or prohibit the exercise of constitutional rights.
In order to preserve responsible government, people must have the ability to petition for the redress of grievances and to express freely their opinions on pending legislation and current issues Public confidence in the integrity of the legislative process is strengthened by the identification of persons and groups who, on behalf of private interests, seek to influence the content, introduction, passage, or defeat of such legislation and by the disclosure of funds expended in that effort.
WHO MUST REGISTER AND REPORT
Any person, who, as an appointed representative, seeks to influence a municipal decision, must register and report. This includes any attorneys, accountants, or consultants.
Lobbyists must register with the City Clerk within 30 days of their first lobbying activity, by filing a Statement of Registration in accordance with procedures set forth by that office.
The is a $25.00 annual fee to be paid by the lobbyist for each entity he or she will represent. Lobbying registration fees are payable to the clerk at the time of registration.
Lobbyists must verify that all information contained on the registration and reporting forms is true and accurate.
Once the application is submitted online, an automatic receipt will be generated and it will include an identification code. That code number should be written onto your check for registration and mailed to the Office of the City Clerk at 25 Dorrance Street, Room 301 Providence, RI 02905
Your badge will be mailed to the address on your check, unless otherwise noted.
NOTE: A lobbyist ID Badge will not be issued until your registration fees have been paid in full for all entities you wish to represent in City Hall.
One report is required per lobbyist each quarter, with certain optional sections requiring multiple submissions dependent on lobbying activity if a lobbyist is serving multiple clients. Reports include the name of the lobbyist, the employer(s) or client(s), employer’s address, telephone number, email address, and the amount of client salary or compensation related to lobbying. Reports must also detail the lobbyist’s activities, including the city official(s) and municipal decision(s) concerned, as well as other information.
Quarterly reports shall be filed for the periods of:
- January through March
- April through June
- July through September
- October through December
Quarterly Reports shall include the lobbyist’s salary or compensation related to lobbying, the lobbyist’s activities, including the city official(s) contacted and municipal decisions(s) concerned, and also shall include any expenditure, gift, honorarium, or campaign contribution, in cash or in kind, equal to $25.00 or more for each occurrence concerning any city official, paid or incurred by the person who engages the lobbyist.
A final report shall be filed by each lobbyist not later than January 15th of each year. The report shall include all money or anything of value which in the aggregate exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250) provided or promised to any city official within the preceding calendar year. “Money” and “anything of value” (see Chapter 2013-3, Section 6, subsection b-iii and b-iv) shall mean any fee, salary, commission, expense, allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, royalty, rent, capital gain, gift, loan, reward, favor or service, gratuity or special discount, or any other form of recompense that constitutes income under the Federal Internal Revenue Code. In the event no compensation has been paid or received, and no expenses have been paid or incurred during the preceding calendar year, an annual report stating such information shall be filed not later than January 15th.
The lobbyist should also share this report with those named in the report immediately, because not later than January 15th of each year, every person, corporation, or association specified in this subsection shall provide an exact copy of the report to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission and to any city official to whom the person, corporation, or association provided or promised money or anything of value which in the aggregate exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250) within the preceding calendar year.
An Identification Badge shall be issued by the City Clerk to every lobbyist and worn at all times while in City Hall on official lobbyist business. The color of the badge shall change each year and all lobbyists shall wear the badge where it can be seen at all times while in City Hall on official lobbyist business.
Once the payment is fully processed, the Clerk will issue the lobbyist an identification badge. The badge will reflect the lobbyist’s name and registration number, the lobbyist’s employer, and the client being represented. A person lobbying on behalf of more than one client will receive a separate registration number and badge for each client. The color of the badge will change annually.
Every lobbyist must conspicuously display the badge on his or her clothing whenever the lobbyist is in City Hall or in City offices. It is insufficient for a lobbyist to carry the badge on his or her person or belongings. A lobbyist representing more than one client must wear each applicable badge.
Any lobbyist found to have intentionally violated any provision of the LRO may be subject to administrative penalties of $250.00 per day of violation, not to exceed $25,000.00 in any calendar year, and/or removal of such lobbyist from the register and prohibition of lobbying activity until the following year or until compliance is established.
LOBBYING WITHOUT COMPLIANCE PROHIBITED
No lobbyist shall lobby, and no person shall employ a municipal lobbyist, unless the lobbyist’s name appears on the Clerk’s register of lobbyist, and unless both the lobbyist and the employer are in full compliance with the Ordinance and these rules and regulations.
ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS
Any person, corporation, association, or lobbyist who is found to have violated any provision of this ordinance may be subject to administrative penalties imposed by the City’s municipal integrity officer as the circumstances may merit, upon notice and opportunity to be heard before the municipal integrity officer.
Said penalties include the imposition of a fine not to exceed $250 per violation. Each day of violation shall constitute a new violation of this ordinance. Any violator who has been issued a fine may appeal said fine within twenty (20) days to the Providence Municipal Court.
If any provision of these rules and regulations or the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the provisions or application of the rules and regulations which can be given effect, and to this end the provisions of these rules and regulations are declared to be severable.