Director of Communications
ELEC Adopts NJSBA Position on Lobbying Regulations
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ-The NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) agreed with the NJ State Bar Association on July 10 when the commission decided not to adopt the proposed definition of “administrative proceeding with the state” regarding amendments and new rules proposed by ELEC to implement the “Legislative and Government Process Activities Disclosure Act.” The NJ State Bar Association asked for a clarification of the term so that attorneys would know with certainty when a communication was exempt from lobbying because it was made within the context of an “administrative proceeding.” The new regulations could have required many attorneys engaged in the practice of law to register as lobbyists and comply with ELEC reporting requirements.
In agreeing with the NJSBA position, the Commission specifically thanked NJSBA Immediate Past President Wayne Positan, and NJSBA members Paul Josephson and John Spinello for their comments and testimony on the proposal. The Commission noted from the comments received, the proposed definition “has not provided the desired clarification for an attorney who needs to know whether or not his or her communications is exempt from lobbying reporting requirements.” The Commission indicated it would revisit the definition in future rulemaking.
In 2004, the Legislative and Government Process Activities Disclosure Act expanded the scope of reportable lobbying activity to include lobbying concerning “governmental processes,” also called “administrative lobbying.” The amendments exempted from “governmental processes” any matters within the attorney-client privilege and matters concerning collective negotiations. In 2005, ELEC adopted an exemption from the scope of lobbying reporting for certain activity by an attorney representing a client. The exemption excluded “any communication by an attorney representing a client in the regular course of a routine litigation or administrative proceeding with the state, or in the course of a quasi-judicial civil or administrative proceeding with the state.”
The NJSBA took the position that the proposed amendments and rules usurp the Supreme Court’s exclusive authority to regulate the practice of law; seek to regulate government contract processes for which regulatory procedures already exist; and the act should be read in pari materia with other state administrative laws and rules.
The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the association’s website at www.njsba.com.
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