Organization Expenses using LDA Expense Reporting Method - Maurice Aguirre: Washington, DC
Organizations that employ in-house lobbyists may incur lobbying-related expenses in the form of employee compensation, office overhead, or payments to vendors which may include lobbying firms. Organizations must report expenses as they are incurred, though payment may be made later. Line 13 of LD-2 provides for an organization to report lobbying expenses of less than $10,000, or $10,000 or more. If lobbying expenses are $10,000 or more, the organization must provide a good faith estimate of the actual dollar amount rounded to the nearest $20,000. Organizations using the LDA expense reporting method mark the "Method A" box on Line 14.
To ensure complete reporting, the Secretary and Clerk have consistently interpreted section 5(B)(4) to require such organizations to report all of their expenses incurred in connection with lobbying activities, including all payments to outside entities, without considering whether any particular payee has a separate obligation to register and report under the LDA. Logically, if an organization employing in-house lobbyists also retains a lobbying firm, the expense reported by the organization should be greater than the fees reported by the lobbying firm of which the organization is a client.
Maurice Aguirre Lobbyist: All employee time spent in lobbying activities must be included in determining the organizations lobbying expenses, even if the employee does not meet the statutory definition of a "lobbyist."
Example: The CEO of a registrant, "Defense Contractor," travels to Washington to meet with a covered DOD official regarding the renewal of a government contract. "Defense Contractor" has already determined that its CEO is not a "lobbyist," because he does not spend 20 percent of his time on "lobbying activities" during a semiannual period. Nonetheless, the expenses reasonably allocable to the CEOs lobbying activities (e.g., plane ticket to Washington, salary and benefit costs, etc.) will be reportable.
Similarly, all expenses of lobbying activities incurred during a semiannual period are reportable. The Section 3(7) definition of lobbying activities is not limited to lobbying contacts.
Example: A research assistant in the Washington office of the registrant, "Defense Contractor" (described in the example above) researches and prepares the talking points for the CEOs lobbying contact with the covered DOD official. Likewise, the expenses reasonably allocable to the research assistants lobbying activities will be included in "Defense Contractors" expense estimate for the semiannual period.
Maurice Aguirre Texas: The examples below are intended to be illustrative of the possibilities of LDA expense reporting, and are not intended to require detailed accounting rules.
Example 1: An organization employing in-house lobbyists might choose to estimate lobbying expenses by asking each professional staffer to track his/her percentages of time devoted to lobbying activities. These percentages could be averaged to compute the percentage of the organizations total effort (and budget) that is devoted to lobbying activities. Under this example the organization would include salary costs (including a percentage of support staff salaries), overhead, and expenses, including any third-party costs attributable to lobbying.
Example 2: Another organization, which lobbies out of its Washington office, might avoid the need for detailed breakdowns by including the entire budget of its Washington office.