Lobbying

About Lobbyists

Definition of a Lobbyist


The definition of a lobbyist under Missouri law is contained in §105.470 of the Missouri Revised Code. In general terms, a lobbyist is an individual attempting to influence the state executive, state legislative, state judicial, or elected local government officials’ actions and meets one or more of the following:

  • Is acting in the ordinary course of business
  • Is engaged in pay as a lobbyist
  • Is designated to act as a lobbyist by any person, business entity, governmental entity, religious organization, nonprofit corporation, association or other entity
  • Spends $50 or more on behalf of public officials, annually, from January 1 through December 31st

Types of Lobbyists and Their Descriptions


The four types of lobbyists are: executive, elected government official lobbyist, judicial lobbyist, and legislative lobbyist.

Lobbyist Type Description
Executive Lobbyist A person attempting to influence the executive branch of state government’s actions taken by an elected/appointed official or government employee.
Elected Local Government Official Lobbyist A person employed specifically for the purpose of attempting to influence any local government official’s (county, city, town, or village with annual operating budget over $10 million dollars) acts.
Judicial Lobbyist A person acting or attempting to act to influence purchasing decision(s) of the judicial branch of government.
Legislative Lobbyist A person attempting to influence any action or matter pending before Missouri House or Senate (legislature). A legislative lobbyist includes attorneys at laws engaged in activities described above except for the exceptions defined in 105.470, RSMo.

What’s Not a Lobbyist – Examples


See the table below for specific examples. In general, the following are examples of individuals who would not be considered a lobbyist:

  • General Assembly member
  • Elected state official
  • Journalist or someone preparing or publishing news information in print or electronic medium
  • Person acting in the scope of employment by the general assembly, executive branch, public official or state employee
  • Person responding to a request for information from a public official or executive branch employee
  • Other person(s) defined in 105.470, RSMo.
Lobbyist Type What’s Not a Lobbyist – Examples
Executive
  • Appearing or inquiring before a state board, commission, department, division, or executive branch
  • Preparing, filing, or responding to an audit about a tax return, public document, permit/contract, permit/license/certificate application, or any document filed with the state or a political subdivision
  • Selling goods or services paid for with public funds as long as you are trying to influence only the person authorized to enter into a contract for the goods or services
  • Participating in a public hearing or public proceeding on rules, grants, other matters
Judicial
  • Appearing or inquiring before a state court about a complaint, citation, summons, adversary proceeding, or contested case
  • Participating in a public hearing or public proceeding on rules, grants, other matters
Legislative
  • Testifying as a witness before the general assembly or any committee of the general assembly

Complying with Lobbying Reporting Requirements


Step 1: Determine if You Are a Lobbyist

A lobbyist is an individual attempting to influence the state executive, state legislative, state judicial, or elected local government’s actions.

Step 2: Identify the Lobbyist Type 

An individual may qualify for multiple types of lobbyist.


Lobbyist Type Description
Executive Lobbyist A person attempting to influence the executive branch of state government’s actions taken by an elected/appointed official or government employee.
Elected Local Government Official Lobbyist A person employed specifically for the purpose of attempting to influence any local government official’s (county, city, town, or village with annual operating budget over $10 million dollars) acts.
Judicial Lobbyist A person acting or attempting to act to influence purchasing decision(s) of the judicial branch of government.
Legislative Lobbyist A person attempting to influence any action or matter pending before Missouri House or Senate (legislature). A legislative lobbyist includes attorneys at laws engaged in activities described above except for the exceptions defined in 105.470, RSMo.

Step 3: Register as a Lobbyist

No later than five (5) days after beginning lobbyist activities, file a Lobbyist Registration Statement. On the registration, the types of lobbyist must be identified. A lobbyist principal is the organization, corporation, or association employing the lobbyist or in whose interest the lobbyist appears/works. Upon registering and paying the $10 registration fee, the Missouri Ethics Commission provides the information necessary for the lobbyist to electronically report and maintain lobbyist information.

Step 4: Enter and Update Principal Information

Upon receipt of the lobbyist id and password, the lobbyist must enter their lobbyist principal(s) electronically into the system. The lobbyist is responsible for recording any principal changes or the lobbyist’s employment within one week of a change. This can be done electronically.

Step 5: Electronically File Monthly Lobbyist Reports

By the close of business on the 10th of each month, the registered lobbyist must electronically report their expenditures for the prior month and any direct business relationships/associations/partnerships the lobbyist has with a public or elected local government official. Reports filed past the 10th of the month are subject to a $10 per day late filing fee.

Step 6: Reporting Legislation Supported or Proposed

By March 15th and May 30th of each year, each lobbyist or lobbyist principal must file a paper report, the List of Principals and Legislative Action report with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The lobbyist or lobbyist principal must provide a general description of any legislation proposed, actions taken by the executive branch of government, and whether or not the lobbyist principal supported or opposed the action.

Step 7: Annually Renewing the Lobbyist Registration

Lobbyists electronically renew their registration with the Missouri Ethics Commission December 1st through January 5th, of each year. A lobbyist may also renew using the Lobbyist Registration Statement. If the renewal is not completed with the Missouri Ethics Commission prior to January 6th, the lobbyist registration is terminated.

Information Reported by a Lobbyist


Monthly Reporting

A registered lobbyist must report, on a monthly basis (for the prior month), information about the monies spent on behalf of elected officials, their employees, spouses, and dependent children and any direct business relationships/associations/partnerships the lobbyist has with a public or elected local government official. These reports are available on the Commission’s website the 1st day of each month.

Reported Lobbyist Expenses

Section 105.473, RSMo., requires that lobbyist's report expenditures for the executive, judicial, and legislative branch of government. Categories include: beverages, entertainment, food, gifts, media, printing, publication, other advertising, and travel.

A lobbyist may report the total of money spent for an occasion (reported as a group expenditure), along with the occasion date and description, when any of the following are invited in writing:

  All Senate members
  All House of Representative members
  All members of a joint committee of the General Assembly
  All members of a standing committee of the General Assembly
  All members of a caucus in the House or Senate, majority or minority party

Expenses which are NOT Reported

The following are examples of items a lobbyist would not be required to report:
  • Gifts, souvenirs, mementos, or services, unrelated to lobbyist activity and given to family members related within the third degree of the lobbyist or principal.
  • Contributions to the public official's campaign committee or candidate committee reported pursuant to Chapter 130, RSMo.
  • Items or services offered to the general public, of minimal value, and not motivated by the recipient’s status as a public official.
  • The transfer of any item, provision of any service, or granting of any opportunity necessary for a public official or employee to perform their duty in their official capacity. An example includes entrance fees to any sporting event, museum, or other venue when the official or employee is participating in their official capacity.
  • Any amounts spent by a lobbyist or lobbyist principal on him or herself.
Reporting Legislation Supported or Opposed

By March 15th and May 30th of each year, each lobbyist or lobbyist principal must file a report providing a general description of any legislation proposed, actions taken by the executive branch of government, and whether or not the lobbyist or lobbyist principal supported or opposed the action.

Reporting Change in Lobbyist’s Employment or Principals

The lobbyist is responsible for recording any principal changes or the lobbyist’s employment within one week of the change. This can be done electronically.

Lobbying

FAQ's

View frequently asked questions regarding lobbyist and lobbyist requirements.

Educational Resources

View a variety of different resources regarding ethics laws, including publications and training opportunities.