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Published on Friday, May 31, 2013

City lobbying restrictions

The Public Disclosure Commission recently sent out a clarification regarding city lobbying restrictions as they relate to legislative coalitions of public and private organizations. If your city has joined or are thinking about joining public/private coalition, please be aware of their limitations.

Public agencies have lobbying restrictions that private entities do not. Any coalition that includes public agencies will be subject to the public agencies’ lobbying restrictions.

Namely, unless a public agency has express authority, the agency cannot

  1. Engage in indirect lobbying such as asking members of the public to call their legislators, organizing public rallies, and other grass roots lobbying activities or
  2. Use public funds to entertain or provide gifts to the individuals lobbied.
Furthermore, a public agency is limited to directly lobbying its own issues. RCW 42.17A.635.

If your city has questions, Lori Anderson at the PDC can provide additional information or consult the PDC’s Public Agency Lobbying handbook. (Lori.anderson@pdc.wa.gov, (360) 664-2737 or 1-877-601-2828)

Categories: General government