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Montgomery County Ethics Commission

Lobbying: General Information and Instructions


REGISTRATION:  Pursuant to the County's Public Ethics Law at Chapter 19A, Article V of the Montgomery County Code and except as provided in that law, any individual or organization must register as a lobbyist if that individual or organization:

Spends more than $500 or receives more than $500 to communicate with a public employee to influence legislative action by a County agency; or

Spends more than $500 on meals, beverages, transportation, lodging, services, special events or gifts to influence executive or administrative action by a County agency.

Registration is accomplished by completing and filing the Lobbying Registration Form with the Montgomery County Ethics Commission within 5 days after an individual or organization first meets the requirements for registration.

Effective Dates of Registration:  A registration is effective for the period identified on the registration form unless a Notice of Termination is filed. 

Notice of Termination:  A lobbyist may file a notice terminating the effectiveness of a registration with the Commission.  A semi-annual activity report must be filed with the termination notice for the period from the end of the last prior semi-annual period to the date of termination.

Annual Registration Fee: A fee of $125 per client must accompany each new lobbyist registration; in addition, in each subsequent year after a registration has been filed, a fee of $125 must be paid to the Montgomery County Ethics Commission to continue the effectiveness of the prior registration. 

SEMI-ANNUAL ACTIVITY REPORTS:  Each registered lobbyist is required to file semi-annual reports of activities for each registration on file by the end of the month following the end of each semi-annual period for which the lobbyist is registered.  For the semi-annual period ending June 30, the Lobbying Activity Report is required to be filed by July 31 of that year.  Likewise, the Lobbying Activity Report for the semi-annual period ending December 31 must be filed by the following January 31. An activity report must be filed for a reporting period for which a lobbyist is registered even if the lobbyist engages in no lobbying activities and has no reportable compensation or expenses in that period.

NOTICE ON PROHIBITION ON CONTINGENT COMPENSATION:  A person may not be employed as a lobbyist for compensation that depends on or varies with the success or defeat of any legislative, administrative or executive action by a County agency or upon any other contingency connected with any action of the County Government.

PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS:  A violation of the lobbying provisions of the Public Ethics Law may be punished as a misdemeanor, with fines of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both, per violation.  Each day a violation continues constitutes a separate offense.  If the lobbyist is a business entity and not a natural person, each officer and partner of the business entity who knowingly authorized or participated in the violation is guilty of the misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is subject to these same penalties.

Questions may be referred to the Ethics Commission by email to: robert.cobb@montgomerycountymd.gov

 For reports on lobbyists and expenditures by lobbyists: see Annual Reports


Ethics Commission annual reports are available in Portable Document Format (PDF).
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