Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Q. I’m registered as a legislative lobbyist in Indiana. How should I keep track of reportable expenditures for my upcoming report due in November?
A. The Indiana Lobby Registration Commission (ILRC) is currently in the process of reviewing the reporting guidelines for lobbyist expenditures and gifts. As fall kicks off and the November reporting deadline will soon be upon us, it is important to review key reporting changes.
Specifically, the ILRC does not consider a meal expenditure on behalf of a legislator to be a gift, but instead, an entertainment expenditure, as long as the lobbyist is present when the meal is consumed. Per the ILRC’s reporting guidelines, please make sure you save an itemized receipt outlining the exact cost of the meals associated with reportable legislators. Here are some important things to remember regarding entertainment expenditures, including meals:
- When determining how much to attribute to a particular legislator, only direct costs must be associated with the legislator. Unlike most states, determining a pro-rata cost of an official’s meal by dividing the bill by the number of people present is not permissible. Instead, you must save an itemized receipt, and attribute only the amount of the specific items ordered for that particular legislator. Tax and tip must be appropriately allocated as well.
- If you are not present when making an expenditure, this qualifies as a gift, and is subject to special reporting guidelines. Starting with this reporting period (form was not developed until late April), a gift report must be submitted if a gift is given to a legislator equaling $50.00 per day, or $250.00 in the aggregate. This report is due 15 business days after the gift is given. A copy must be sent to the legislator who is named in the report. Moreover, informed prior consent must be obtained from the legislator before the gift is given.
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(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
Myra Cottrill, Esq. is a Client Specialist at State and Federal Communications, Inc.