The Must Do's and Important Don'ts of Nonprofit Advocacy (handout 5 of 5)

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Courtney Read Hoffman, Owner, CRH Capitol Communications and Jason Sabo, Founder, Frontera Strategies

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The Must Do's and Important Don'ts of Nonprofit Advocacy (handout 5 of 5)

  1. 1. The Texas Lobby Law www.ethics.state.tx.us Chapter 305 of the Government Code Chapter 36 of the Penal CodeIncludes: Lobby Registration Requirements Requirements to Report Lobby Activities Prohibitions on Various Activities Criminal Sanctions for Violations of all provisions of the lobby law except for the conflict of interest provision Civil Sanctions for Failing to Register as a Lobbyist if required to do so and for failing to file a required lobby activities report, and A Civil Sanction for Late Filing.Lobby Law Registration RequirementsA person is required to register as a lobbyist with the Texas Ethics Commission if in connection withcommunicating directly with one or more members of the legislative or executive branch to influencelegislation or administrative action, he/she exceeds either the compensation and reimbursementthreshold and or the expenditure threshold in a calendar quarter as established by rule of the commission.“Direct communication” means to “contact in person or by telephone, telegraph, letter, facsimile,electronic mail, or other electronic means of communication.”Compensation/Reimbursement ThresholdIf a person receives or is entitled to receive more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter in compensation andreimbursement from one or more persons to communicate directly with a member of the legislative orexecutive branch to influence legislation or administrative action. A reasonable calculation should be madebetween compensation for lobby activity and compensation for other activities. Preparation for a directlobby communication, such as participation in a strategy session or reviewing legislation, counts towardthe compensation threshold. A person can be exempt from lobby registration if no more than 5% of thatperson’s compensated time during a calendar quarter is attributed to lobby activities.Expenditure ThresholdIf a person makes total expenditures of more than $500 in a calendar quarter to make a direct lobbycommunication and those expenditures “are directly attributable to a member of the legislative orexecutive branch or the immediate family member of the legislative or executive branch” in one of thefollowing categories: “1) transportation and lodging 2) food and beverages; 3) entertainment; 4) gifts, 5)awards or mementoes, and 6) expenditures made for attendance at political fundraisers or charityevents.”

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