Review of New City of Phoenix Lobbying Ordinance Requirements

Client Alert

Review of New City of Phoenix Lobbying Ordinance Requirements

Do you or your staff interact with the City of Phoenix for business purposes? If so, those individuals may need to register as a lobbyist with the City.

  • A lobbyist is a person paid by a third party to advocate for or oppose an action the City of Phoenix officials are considering. A City official is now expanded to include, in addition to the Mayor and City Council, any person who serves in an administrative office or on a City of Phoenix board, committee, subcommittee or commission, the City Manager and the executive staff, and all City of Phoenix Department and function heads. Function heads include any person who has the authority to grant or deny something on behalf of the City.
  • A person who advocates or opposes an action of the City must register as a lobbyist within five days of the lobbying activity. These actions to include, but are not limited to, obtaining or checking on the status of a permit, license or project approval. The ordinance does not apply to volunteers lobbying a city official on behalf of a non-profit or someone lobbying on behalf of himself.
  • In addition to registering, lobbyists must now identify themselves to City officials and disclose the name of their client in all oral and written communications. This requirement does not include a person providing strictly technical assistance provided they do not make any inquiries or comments to City officials regarding the status of the City’s decision to approve or deny something that their employer is seeking from the City.
  • The ordinance expressly does not include quasi-judicial proceedings, which are zoning projects and, although not expressly exempted from the ordinance, does not include procurement activities, which are addressed in a separate section of the City code.
  • Enforcement penalties have also changed significantly. If the City Prosecutor determines a person violated the ordinance by failing to register, the person will receive a notice in the mail that they have fifteen days to register as a lobbyist and cure the violation. The first two offenses by a lobbyist within a seven-year period carry a mandatory fine of $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense. A third violation within the same time period is a mandatory criminal misdemeanor. The lobbyist is also suspended from lobbying at the City for 90 days for the first offense, 180 days for the second offense and one year for the third offense.
  • The time period for filing lobbyist expenditure reports is shortened to the fifteenth day of the month following the end of each quarter. Lobbyists can now register and file expenditure reports electronically from their computer or from a new registration kiosk located in the lobby of the City Council offices.

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