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Lobbying FAQs

The following frequently asked questions related to lobbying are compiled from the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics' Guidelines to the New York State Lobbying Act document.

Read the entire Guidelines to the New York State Lobbying Act [pdf].

What is lobbying?

Any attempt to influence items such as the following:

  • The passage or defeat of any legislation or resolution by either house of the state legislature including but not limited to the introduction or intended introduction of such legislation or resolution or approval or disapproval of any legislation by the governor
  • The adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of a gubernatorial executive order
  • The adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law by a state agency
  • The outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency
  • The passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation by any municipality or subdivision thereof
  • The adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of an executive order issued by the chief executive officer of a municipality
What is a state public official?
  • The governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller or attorney general
  • Members of the state legislature
  • State officers and employees including:
    • Heads of state departments and their deputies and assistants
    • Officers and employees of statewide elected officials
    • Officers and employees of state departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, councils or other state agencies
    • Members or directors of public authorities, other than multi-state authorities, public benefit corporations and commissions at least one of whose members is appointed by the governor, and employees of such authorities, corporations and commissions
    • Officers and employees of the legislature
    • Municipal officers and employees
What do I need to do if I want to invite a public official to campus?

To ensure that the College remains in compliance with the Lobbying Act, discuss your plans to invite a public official to campus with the Office of Government Affairs.

What is a gift?

Anything more than nominal value given to a public official in any form including, but not limited money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals refreshments, entertainment, discount forbearance, or promise having a monetary value. No individual who is authorized to lobby on behalf of the College shall offer or give a gift to any public official.

What is a Reportable Business Relationship?

A relationship in which compensation is paid by Fisher in exchange for any goods, services or anything of value, the total value of which is in excess of $1,000 annually, to be performed or provided by or intended to be performed or provided by a statewide elected official, state officer, state employee (including SUNY and SUNY faculty). If you are aware of a Reportable Business Relationship, contact the Office of Government Affairs immediately.

What are reportable expenses?

A reportable expense is any expenditure incurred for the purpose of lobbying. Reportable expenses include, but are not limited to, expenses related to the following:

  • Advertising
  • Telephone
  • Electronic advocacy
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Tickets
  • Entertainment
  • Parties
  • Receptions or similar events
  • Advocacy rallies
  • Consultant services
  • Courier services
  • Expense for non-lobbying support staff, and courier services when said expenses are part of a lobbying effort
  • Salaries and fringe benefits paid to administrative staff supporting lobbying activities
  • Salaries and fringe benefits of individuals engaged in lobbying activities

All individuals engaged in direct or indirect lobbying must retain all of their receipts for and/or records of lobbying expenses on file for a period of three years.

What do I do if I don’t know the exact value of a lobbying expenses?

In cases where it is not possible for you to determine the exact dollar amount or value of expenses relating to the printing, reproduction, or mailing of letters, memoranda, or other written communications (for example, when such printing or reproduction was produced in-house), good faith estimates of such costs may be used. Records in support of such estimates should be retained.

What is the best way to track my reportable expenses?

Use activity codes LOBBYF and LOBBYS to track your reportable expenses in Banner.

What do I need to know if I want to lobby as a private individual and not on behalf of the College?

When lobbying as a private individual, it is important that you refrain from using College resources to support your activities (e.g. email, phone, work hours, etc.). You are allowed to reveal your job title, but you must clearly indicate that you are not representing the College. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Government Affairs.