Lobbyist Bill Takes Hold in Conn. Ethics Law

Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Office of State Ethics announced a new educational campaign designed to inform the public about the practice of lobbying.

The “Are You A Lobbyist?” campaign will help educate the public about what it means to be a lobbyist and prominently display cards titled “Are You a Lobbyist?” in reception areas of state buildings.

“Many citizens communicate with government officials in an effort to achieve legislative or administrative action,” Governor Rell said. “This is normal and is welcomed in an open and democratic form of government.

“However, if a person either spends or receives $2000 or more in a calendar year on such efforts, that person must register with the Office of State Ethics as a lobbyist. Our public awareness campaign is aimed at prompting anyone who meets the criteria to register as a lobbyist with the Office of State Ethics.”

“The bottom line is that we want to increase compliance with state law,” Office of State Ethics Executive Director Benjamin Bycel said. “We feel that raising awareness about the law will serve to increase transparency and, ultimately, public confidence in government.

“In a very short amount of time, Connecticut has come so far in terms of ethics reform. This campaign will only help to make Connecticut more of a model for the rest of the nation.”

Since taking office in 2004, Governor Rell has made ethics reform in Connecticut a top priority. The Governor has signed legislation that has restructured the state Ethics Commission. Governor Rell has also made sweeping changes in state contracting procedures while establishing a State Contracting Standards Board by executive order.

In 2005, the Governor signed into law sweeping campaign finance reform. The legislation created a system for publicly financing campaigns, banned lobbyist and contractor contributions and sharply limited contributions from political action committees.

Content Last Modified on 3/12/2007 3:49:25 PM