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West Virginia
Ethics Commission

210 Brooks Street, Suite 300
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone
(304) 558-0664
WV Toll Free
1-866-558-0664
Fax
(304) 558-2169
Office Hours
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Email comments and feedback to:
ethics@wv.gov

 Lobby Opinions


The following advisory opinions relate to lobbying.  Click on the number to view the entire opinion in .pdf format.

LOBBYING

90-136   Registered Lobbyist 
    meals, beverages and snacks for public officials at association's annual meeting 
    must record guests and report amount expended on each

90-147   Registered Lobbyist 
    expenditures on non-incumbent candidates for office 
    contributions to political action groups (PACs) or political parties not reportable 

90-159   City Council Members & Mayor 
    not required to register with the Ethics Commission to lobby at the state level

90-177   Non-profit Corporation Members 
    required to register if they make expenditures on state officials or employees in connection with lobbying

90-181 State Employee Association Members 
    would be required to register if they made lobbying expenditures

90-181 State Employee Association 
    must report expenditures on dinner to which all state legislators are invited

90-182 Registered Lobbyist 
    purely private and personal gift of more than nominal value to a state legislator is permitted

90-189 Private Company Employees 
    may lobby at group functions and need not register, if they spend no money on lobbying

90-193 Health Centers Association 
    reception for its employees and legislators is a lobbying event 
    events of civic organizations are not, ordinarily, lobbying events

90-200 Nonprofit Association 
    must report the cost of distributing free coffee cups to legislators

91-28 National Campaign Committee 
    must register as lobbyist because of planned letter writing campaign aimed at state legislators

91-47 Chamber of Commerce 
    may not pay $39 greens fees for legislators

91-73 Council of Trade Associations 
    must register and report meal expenditures on legislators

91-81 Registered Lobbyist 
    must report cost of gifts of dinner tickets to state officials and identity of recipients

93-23 Council of Trade Associations 
    reporting alternatives established - opinion limited to specific Trade Association

93-25 County Public Official 
    county public library official not required to register to lobby on legislation affecting library budgets - additional conditions imposed by opinion

93-43 Industry Lobbyist/Member of Regulating State Commission 
    Lobbyist may serve on Commission which regulates the businesses which employ him and will not lobby on issues involving the Commission

93-45 Registered Lobbyist 
    must report expenditures on meals for public servant's immediate family members and identify them  
    expenses for hospitality suite at out of state legislative conference are "Group Entertainment" expenses for reporting purposes

94-09 Registered Lobbyist 
    must report gratuity as part of meals & beverages lobbying expenditure

94-10 Registered Lobbyist 
    may not give all Legislators free trip to examine operation of out of state gambling operations

99-09 State Board 
    Board Members exempt from lobbyist registration requirements

2002-05 Registered Lobbyist 
    should not serve on State’s Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission

2005-08 Registered Lobbyist 
    2005 amendments to Act require multiple employees of lobbying firm to pay additional $100 filing fee for each client they represent

2005-21 Private Company 
    Employees whose regular duties involve sales may participate in a “Day at the Capitol” without registering as lobbyists

2005-23 Trade Association 
    Ordinary employees of companies in association who contact their Legislators to express opinions are not required to register 
    Lobbyist for trade association is responsible for expenditures made in his presence or at his direction, but not independent expenditures. 
    Individual companies need to determine if an employee should register

2007-12 Non-Profit Corporation 
    Inviting all Legislators to a charitable fund raising event during regular Legislative session triggers lobbyist registration requirement 
    Host organization may provide free tickets to Legislators for reception where food and beverages are served even if ticket price exceeds $25 
    Businesses who contribute to event not required to report contributions

2008-03 Candidate for State Legislature 
    May not continue to operate business which provides lobbying services or register as a lobbyist while serving in Legislature

2008-06 Public Official 
    May participate in a tournament by paying the entrance fee himself or reimbursing the vendor the difference between the admission fee and the $25.00 gift limit. Public funds may not be used to pay the entry fee or the buy-down.

2010-07 Registered Lobbyist 
    Must register on behalf of a non-profit organization if she volunteers her lobbying services to the non-profit without compensation.  

2011-04  Per Diem  Legislative Attorney
    Per Diem Legislative Attorney, who is not, on July 1, 2011, a Legislative employee as defined by the internal Revenue Service, is not subject to the newly enacted revolving door prohibition regarding registration as a lobbyist. 
    Independent contractors are not covered by the Ethics Act.

2011-19   State Licensing Board / Lobbyist
      A State Licensing board may hire it's former Executive Director as a contract employee/lobbyist; he must register on their behalf. Since he is a contract employee the contract for his services does not trigger the one year waiting period.

2011-19 - A State Licensing Board
May spending public funds to hire registered lobbyist, to serve as a Legislative liaison.
Registered lobbyist retained by a public agency as Legislative liaison must register as a lobbyist.
Revolving door prohibition does not apply to contract employee/former executive director who terminated employment befor July 1, 2011 cut-off date.  (§6B-3-2(e))

2012-18  - Registered Lobbyist asks whether she must register as a lobbyist on behalf of a client who has retained her to assisit with bidding on a State Contract.

LOBBYING: GRASSROOTS

90-191 Nonprofit Association 
    campaign limited to its own membership is not a grassroots lobbying campaign

91-01 Association of Businesses 
    are not sponsors of grassroots lobbying campaign when working to influence decisions of state boards

2002-12 Registered Lobbyist 
    Newspaper ads constitute a grass roots lobbying campaign





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