Lobbyists required to register with county

Those who lobby supervisors and their aides on county business will be subject to increased public scrutiny regarding what issues they’re lobbying on and who they work for after supervisors approved on Tuesday an ordinance requiring lobbyists to register with the county.

Current law requires no disclosure of lobbying efforts, but the new ordinance — which takes effect Jan. 1, 2008 — will shed light on any back-door maneuverings going on outside the public’s view, according to Supervisor Rich Gordon, who brought the proposal forward and has spent more than a year fighting for a higher degree of openness around lobbying and government ethics.

The plan requires those who lobby supervisors or their aides to pay an annual $100 registration fee and file biannual disclosure forms detailing lobbying activities, who they work for, what issue they are lobbying on, how much they are paid, gifts given and a description of lobbying activity.

“I’m pleased that we were able to craft something that achieved unanimous support,” said Gordon. “It shows that this board is committed to a transparent, public process.”

While not suggesting there have been ethical lapses in the past, passing such a law puts San Mateo County on par with other

jurisdictions such as San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties, Gordon said.

“There is such distrust of government these days, that I think this is another way to have leadership in San Mateo County say ‘There is nothing hidden here,’” Gordon said.

Failing to register as a lobbyist or filing false disclosure information could be punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and six months in jail, Assistant County Counsel Michael Murphy said.

Government agencies, nonprofits and the media are not considered lobbyists under the law, Murphy said.

“I feel like we’ve now put in place the missing piece and that we have a solid ethics package for the citizens of this county,” Gordon said.

New lobbyist requirements

Lobbyists must pay $100 a year to register.

Biannual reports submitted by lobbyists must include:

» Name of lobbyist’s business or employer.

» List of clients for whom the lobbyist works.

» Description of issue lobbied on.

» Summary of lobbying activity.

» Amount of compensation, gifts.

Disclosure forms must be filed within 15 days of the required dates: June 30 and Dec. 31.

Registration, reports and forms must be filed with County Counsel’s Office.

– Source: San Mateo County Counsel’s Office

ecarpenter@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

Badly needed rain cooled off pedestrians on Market Street in The City on Wednesday. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Storm door opens in San Francisco — what will the rains bring?

‘Come Monday, fire season in Northern California should be done’

Newly appointed City Attorney David Chiu will play a key role in an upcoming legal battle between gig economy companies and The City. (Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)
City Attorney David Chiu faces immediate test in major gig economy lawsuit

DoorDash and Grubhub are suing San Francisco over price controls

FILE — In-N-Out Burger, the popular California fast-food chain, is resisting San Francisco's public health rules that require indoor diners to show proof of vaccination. (J. Emilio Flores/The New York Times)
When it comes to San Francisco vaccine rules, In-N-Out should heed Biblical advice

Burger chain’s vaccine fight distracts from its tasty burgers and French fries controversy

The Walgreens at 4645 Mission St. in The City is among those slated to close. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Walgreens says it’s closing five SF stores due to crime. Where’s the data?

Walgreens should be transparent, enlighten city leaders about crime’s effect on business

Lake Hennessey, a reservoir for Napa, looked dry in June. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and asked residents to redouble water conservation efforts. <ins>(Mike Kai Chen/New York Times)</ins>
Newsom declares drought emergency across California

State closed out its second-driest water year on record

Most Read