Code of the District of Columbia

Part E. Lobbyists.


§ 1–1162.27. Persons required to register.

(a) Except as provided in § 1-1162.28, a person shall register with the Director of Government Ethics pursuant to § 1-1162.29 and pay the required registration fee if the person receives compensation or expends funds in an amount of $250 or more in any 3-consecutive-calendar-month period for lobbying. A person who receives compensation from more than one source shall register under this section if the person receives an aggregate amount of $250 or more in any 3-consecutive-calendar-month period for lobbying. Failure to register as required by this section shall result in a civil penalty.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the registration fee for lobbyists shall be $250.

(2) The registration fee for lobbyists who lobby solely for nonprofit organizations shall be $50. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "nonprofit organization" means an organization exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved October 22, 1986 (68A Stat. 163; 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)).

(c)(1) There is established as a nonlapsing fund the Lobbyist Administration and Enforcement Fund (“Lobbyist Fund”), which shall be administered by the Ethics Board. The funds in the Lobbyist Fund shall be used by the Ethics Board solely for the purpose of administering and enforcing this subchapter.

(2) All fees collected under subsection (b) of this section by the Ethics Board shall be deposited into the Lobbyist Fund. All funds deposited into the Lobbyist Fund, and any interest earned on those funds, shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time, but shall be continually available for the uses and purposes set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection without regard to fiscal year limitation, subject to authorization by Congress.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 227, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 1012(c), 63 DCR 10775.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1161.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(bb) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 0 DCR 0).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(bb) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).


§ 1–1162.28. Exceptions.

(a) A person need not register with the Director pursuant to § 1-1162.29 if the person is:

(1) A public official, or an employee of the United States acting in his or her official capacity;

(2) A publisher or working member of the press, radio, or television who, in the ordinary course of business, disseminates news or editorial comment to the general public;

(3) A candidate, member, or member-elect of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission; or

(4) An entity specified in § 47-1802.01(4), whose activities do not consist of lobbying, the result of which shall inure to the financial gain or benefit of the entity.

(b) Any person who is exempt from registration under any provision of this section, except a person exempt from registration under the provisions of subsection (a)(1) of this section, may be a registrant for other purposes under this part; provided, that no activity engaged in by the person shall constitute a conflict of interest under the provisions of § 1-1162.23. Registrants have no obligation to report activities in furtherance of exempt activities under this section in activity reports required under § 1-1162.30.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 228, 59 DCR 1862.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1162.27 and § 1-1162.31.


§ 1–1162.29. Registration form.

(a) Each registrant shall file a registration form with the Director of Government Ethics, signed under oath, on or before January 15th of each year, or no later than 15 days after becoming a lobbyist (and on or before January 15th of each year thereafter). If the registrant is not an individual, an authorized officer or agent of the registrant shall sign the form. A registrant shall file a separate registration form for each person from whom he or she receives compensation.

(b)(1) The registration shall be on a form prescribed by the Director of Government Ethics and shall include:

(A) The registrant’s name, permanent address, and temporary address while lobbying;

(B) The name and address of each person who will lobby on the registrant’s behalf;

(C) The name, address, and nature of the business of any person who compensates the registrant and the terms of the compensation; and

(D) The identification, by formal designation, if known, of matters on which the registrant expects to lobby.

(2) The Director of Government Ethics shall publish in the District of Columbia Register on or before February 15th and on or before August 15th of each year a summary of all information required to be submitted under this subsection.

(c) No later than 10 days after a registrant files a registration form with the Director of Government Ethics, the Director of Government Ethics shall publish on the Ethics Board’s website a summary of all information required to be submitted under this section.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 229, 59 DCR 1862.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1162.27, § 1-1162.28, and § 1-1162.30.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(cc) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 0 DCR 0).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(cc) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).


§ 1–1162.30. Activity reports.

(a) Each registrant shall file with the Director of Government Ethics between the 1st and 10th day of July and January of each year a report signed under oath concerning the registrant’s lobbying activities during the previous 6-month period. If the registrant is not an individual, an authorized officer or agent of the registrant shall sign the form. A registrant shall file a separate activity report for each person from whom he or she receives compensation. The reports shall be public documents and shall be on a form prescribed by the Director of Government Ethics and shall include the following:

(1) A complete and current statement of the information required to be supplied pursuant to § 1-1162.29;

(2)(A) Total expenditures on lobbying broken down into the following categories:

(i) Office expenses;

(ii) Advertising and publications;

(iii) Compensation to others;

(iv) Personal sustenance, lodging, and travel, if compensated;

(v) Other expenses;

(B) Each expenditure of $50 or more shall also be itemized by the date, name, and address of the recipient, and the amount and purpose of the expenditure;

(3) Each political expenditure, loan, gift, honorarium, or contribution of $50 or more made by the registrant or anyone acting on behalf of the registrant to benefit an official in the legislative or executive branch, a member of his or her staff or household, or a political committee or political action committee established for the benefit of the official, be itemized by date, beneficiary, amount, and circumstances of the transaction; including the aggregate of all expenditures that are less than $50;

(4) Each official in the executive or legislative branch and any member of the official’s staff, including personal and committee staff, who has a business relationship or a professional services relationship with the registrant shall be identified by name and the nature of the business relationship with the registrant;

(5) Each official in the executive or legislative branch with whom the registrant has had written or oral communications during the reporting periods related to lobbying activities conducted by the registrant shall also be included in the report, identifying the official with whom the communication was made;

(6) Each person whom the registrant has given compensation to lobby on his or her behalf; and

(7) All bundled contributions in accordance with rules promulgated by the Ethics Board.

(b) Each registrant shall obtain and preserve all accounts, bills, receipts, books, papers, and documents necessary to substantiate the activity reports required to be made pursuant to this section for 5 years from the date of filing of the report containing these items. These materials shall be made available for inspection upon requests by the Director of Government Ethics after reasonable notice.

(c) Each registrant who does not file a report required by this section for a given period is presumed not to be receiving or expending funds that are required to be reported under this part.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 230, 59 DCR 1862; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-79, § 2(b), 61 DCR 153.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1162.28.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-79 substituted “political committee or political action committee” for “campaign or testimonial committee” in (a)(3); deleted “and” from the end of (a)(5); substituted “; and” for “shall also be listed in the report” in (a)(6); and added (a)(7).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(dd) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 0 DCR 0).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(dd) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

Editor's Notes

Section 7009 of D.C. Law 21-160 repealed § 3 of D.C. Law 20-79. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 20-79 have been given effect.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-79: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-79 provided that the act shall apply upon the latest of: (1) The inclusion of the fiscal effect of the act in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) January 31, 2015.

A certification dated February 4, 2015, that the fiscal effect of the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013, D.C. Law 20-79, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on March 13, 2015 (62 DCR 2988).


§ 1–1162.31. Prohibited activities.

(a) No registrant or anyone acting on behalf of a registrant shall offer, give, or cause to be given a gift or service to an official in the legislative or executive branch or a member of his or her staff that exceeds $100 in value in the aggregate in any calendar year. This section shall not be construed to restrict in any manner contributions authorized in §§ 1-1163.33, 1-1163.34, and 1-1163.38.

(b) No official in the legislative or executive branch or a member of his or her staff shall solicit or accept anything of value in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(c) No person shall knowingly or willfully make or cause to be made any false or misleading statement or misrepresentation of the facts relating to pending administrative decisions or legislative actions to any official in the legislative or executive branch;

(d) No person shall, knowing a document to contain a false statement relating to pending administrative decisions or legislative actions, cause a copy of the document to be transmitted to an official in the legislative or executive branch without notifying the official in writing of the truth.

(e) No information copied from registration forms and activity reports required by this part or from lists compiled from such forms and reports shall be sold or utilized by any person for the purpose of soliciting campaign contributions or selling tickets to a testimonial or similar fundraising affair or for any commercial purpose.

(f) No public official shall be employed as a lobbyist while acting as a public official, except as provided in § 1-1162.28.

(g)(1) No lobbyist or registrant or person acting on behalf of the lobbyist or registrant, shall provide legal representation, or other professional services, to an official in the legislative or executive branch, or to a member of his or her staff, at no cost or at a rate that is less than the lobbyist or registrant would routinely bill for the representation or service in the marketplace.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this section, a nonprofit organization that routinely provides legal representation or other services to clients at no cost may provide such representation or services to such client when doing so serves the purposes for which such services are routinely provided.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 231, 59 DCR 1862; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-79, § 2(c), 61 DCR 153.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-79 deleted “and the representation and services are not provided by a lobbyist or registrant” from the end of (g)(2).

Editor's Notes

Section 7009 of D.C. Law 21-160 repealed § 3 of D.C. Law 20-79. Therefore the changes made to this section by D.C. Law 20-79 have been given effect.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-79: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-79 provided that the act shall apply upon the latest of: (1) The inclusion of the fiscal effect of the act in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) January 31, 2015.

A certification dated February 4, 2015, that the fiscal effect of the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013, D.C. Law 20-79, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on March 13, 2015 (62 DCR 2988).


§ 1–1162.32. Penalties; prohibition from serving as lobbyist; citizen suits.

(a) Notwithstanding § 1-1162.21 and except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person who willfully and knowingly violates any of the provisions of this part shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned for not more than 12 months, or both.

(b) In addition to the penalties provided for in subsection (a) of this section, any person convicted of the misdemeanor specified in that section may be prohibited from serving as a lobbyist for a period of 3 years from the date of the conviction.

(c) Any person who files a report or registration form required under this part in an untimely manner shall be assessed a civil penalty of $10 per day up to 30 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) that the report or registration form is late. The Ethics Board may waive the penalty imposed under this subsection for good cause shown.

(d) Should any provision of this subchapter not be enforced by the Ethics Board, a citizen of the District of Columbia may bring suit in the nature of mandamus in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, directing the Ethics Board to enforce the provisions of this part. Reasonable attorneys fees may be awarded to the citizen against the District should he or she prevail in this action, or if it is settled in substantial conformity with the relief sought in the petition prior to order by the court.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 232, 59 DCR 1862.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1001.02.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(ff) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 0 DCR 0).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(ff) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).