HARRISBURG – A report by the House Oversight Committee recommends new legislation to update lobbying disclosure laws, committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-Dover) and minority Chairman Matthew Bradford (D-Montgomery) announced today.
The detailed report is the result of a months-long investigation, the first for the committee, into Act 2 of 2018
, which improved transparency for lobbying disclosure by requiring the Department of State to make public records accessible in a timely manner. The law also increased penalties on lobbyists who didn’t register with the department.
“I wish to thank Majority Leader Bryan Cutler for recommending the law he sponsored to the committee for investigation. Too often once a bill becomes law, there is little oversight into its implementation. I applaud the leader for having the fortitude to have the law he sponsored scrutinized,” Grove said. “It is the committee’s hope the report will help improve lobbying disclosure in Pennsylvania so residents have better access to information.”
The committee’s review of the statute, its administration by the Pennsylvania Department of
State and enforcement by the State Ethics Commission led it to the conclusion that, while the
vast majority of principals, lobbying firms and lobbyists diligently follow the law regarding
registration and reporting of expenditures, the actual rate of compliance cannot be determined.
This is the primarily the result of the way the law is structured and, to a lesser degree,
implemented. Changes in the law are needed to enhance its goal of providing the public with an
accurate picture of the level of spending to influence decision making by state officials and
employees in the legislative and executive branches.
The report includes a series of recommendations to ensure lobbying disclosure information is readily available to the public. The report includes recommendations to the Department of State on ways to improve disclosure, as well as legislation, including:
• Enact legislation to make lobbyists the primary reporter.
• Enact legislation to ensure the Department of State can communicate audit findings to the State Ethics Commission.
• Enact legislation to clarify what the Department of State and State Ethics Commission are to provide in their annual reports and provide a date for when they need submitted.
• Enact legislation to clarify that the Department of State is to staff the Lobbying Disclosure Regulation Committee and how often the committee should meet to review regulations.
• Enact legislation to ensure the primary reasons for the adoption of regulations are to ensure transparency and assist stakeholders in complying with the law.
“While this was the first referral sent to the House Oversight Committee for investigation, the process was thorough and resulted in firm recommendations for the Department of State as well as potential legislation for the General Assembly to consider,” Bradford said.
The full report can be found on Grove’s website, RepGrove.com
. On the homepage, hover over the Resources tab and then click GOC Investigation Final Report.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross