You are here: Home > Title 4: Ethics > Chapter 405: Lobbyists

Chapter 405: Lobbyists

 Section 405.01: Registration, Training, and Disclosure Requirements

  1. Registration. Except as provided in subsection (D), a lobbyist must register with the Inspector General as a lobbyist within thirty days after the start of lobbying activity on behalf of his or her client.  Lobbyists shall re-register every four (4) calendar years.  The registry application fee shall be $100.00.  Registrants shall make all required disclosures listed in subsection (B) on or before the date of registration, unless such information is explicitly exempt from disclosure by this Code or general law.  The effective date of registration will be upon the completion and filing of the registration form, payment of one registration fee, and completion of ethics training. Fees collected pursuant to this section shall support the Inspector General’s cost of administering the contractor and lobbyist registries.
  2. Annual Disclosure Requirements.  Each registered lobbyist shall disclose the following information on or before January 1 of each year:
    1. The name, phone number, and address of the registered lobbyist and all of its employees or agents who engage in lobbying activities;
    2. A list of all clients, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and nature of business, from whom the registered lobbyist receives compensation for engaging in lobbying activities;
    3. A statement of all matters on which the registered lobbyist has lobbied for each client in the past year, or on which the registered lobbyist is contracted to lobby in the future;
    4. A list of any past positions held by the registered lobbyist or any of its employees or agents as an elected official, employee, or board member of a city, county or state, and the period of time during which each individual held such position;
    5. Any other information as may be required by the Inspector General.
  3. Training.
    1. Every lobbyist shall complete an ethics training program conducted by the Inspector General prior to engaging in any lobbying activities with the County.
    2. Upon successful completion of any County ethics training program, lobbyists shall acknowledge, electronically or in writing, that they have received, read, understood, and agree to abide by the County ethics policy, including the provisions of this Title, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 102 and Ohio Revised Code Sections 2921.42 and 2921.43.
    3. Ethics training certification shall expire on December 31 of the respective year that is four (4) calendar years following the date of the ethics training.  A lobbyist may only renew its ethics training certification by completing a subsequent ethics training program conducted by the Inspector General.  Any lobbyist who fails to renew its ethics training certification shall be removed from the registry of approved lobbyists.
  4. The requirements of Section shall not apply to the following persons or entities:
    1. A person who owns, publishes, or is employed by a media outlet.  This subsection does not exempt persons whose relation to a media outlet is only incidental to a lobbying effort, or where a position taken or advocated by a media outlet directly affects a County policy in which the media outlet has a direct or indirect economic interest;
    2. Governmental entities and their agents, provided the communications relate solely to subjects of governmental interest;
    3. A not-for-profit corporation solely seeking to provide a free service, or financial or in-kind support, for a county program or initiative.
    4. An attorney or other person whose contact with a County employee or elected official is made solely as part of resolving a dispute with the County, provided that the contact is solely with County employees or officials who do not vote on, or have final authority over, the policy decision.

(Ordinance Nos.O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016; O2011-0008, Enacted 4/5/2011, Effective 4/8/2011; O2011-0004, Enacted 1/3/2011, Effective 1/10/2011)

Section 405.02: Gifts

  1. No lobbyist shall make a gift to an elected official, employee, or board member in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 102.03.
  2. Additionally, no lobbyist shall provide, pay for, or offer any gift to any elected official, employee, or board member where: 
    1. The gift  is intended to influence the elected official, employee, or board member in the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties;
    2. The gift is intended as a reward for any official action on the part of the elected official, employee, or board member.
  3. No lobbyist shall knowingly provide, pay for, or offer, any gift or multiple gifts having an annual aggregate face value of seventy-five dollars ($75.00) or more to a person the lobbyist knows, or reasonably should know, is an elected official, employee, or board member of the County.

  4. Presumption of influence. Subject to the exceptions listed in subsection (E), the following presumptions shall apply:

    1. A gift or multiple gifts made within the same calendar year having an annual aggregate value of seventy-five dollars ($75.00) or more are presumed to influence an elected official, employee, or board member in the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties.

    2. A gift to an elected official, employee, or board member is presumed to be intended to influence the performance or non-performance of his or her official powers or duties when the gift is from a private person or organization that seeks County action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the employee.

    3. A gift to an elected official, employee, or board member is presumed to be intended as a reward for official action when the gift is from a private person or organization that has obtained County action involving the exercise of discretion by or with the participation of the elected official, employee, or board member during the preceding twelve months.

  5. Notwithstanding the provisions in subsection (C), the following gifts shall not carry a presumption of influence:

    1. Gifts made to the County;

    2. Gifts given on special occasions, such as marriage, illness, or retirement, which are reasonable and customary, and which do not otherwise constitute a substantial and improper influence on the giftee;

    3. Meals and refreshments provided when an elected official, employee, or board member is a speaker in his or her professional capacity or participant at a conference or program and the meals and refreshments are made available to all participants;

    4. Invitations to or attendance at charitable fundraisers or community events that provide meals of an ordinary character and do not include entertainment of a significant value;

    5. Anything for which an elected official, employee, or board member, or his or her campaign committee where otherwise permitted by law, pays the face value, or at a discount available to all county employees or the general public;

  6. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, lobbyists shall not be prohibited from making any campaign contribution that is otherwise lawfully made under this Code and general law.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

Section 405.03: Discrimination

No lobbyist shall discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or genetic information.

(Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)

Section 405.04: Whistleblowers

All lobbyists shall have whistleblower responsibilities as specified in Chapter 406 of this Code.

 (Ordinance No. O2016-0002, Enacted 4/26/2016, Effective 5/27/2016)