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Last updated: 9/3/19

Lobbying in the City of Boston

Starting on April 16, 2019, lobbyists, lobbyist entities, and their clients must register with the City Clerk’s Office each year. They also need to file disclosure statements four times each calendar year.

The goal of this program is to promote good governance and transparency at the City of Boston. We plan to create a fair environment, where the same rules apply to everyone engaged in lobbying. To keep the trust of our citizens, we need to be able to give them access to information about those attempting to influence the City’s decisions.

Online lobbying registration

Provide Comments on the Lobbying Process

Have questions? Contact:

Lobbying fact sheet

We created a lobbying fact sheet to help you better understand the details and deadlines of this program.

Upcoming meetings

Meetings

There are no upcoming events available at this time.

Program history and requirements

History

The City of Boston’s lobbyist requirements took effect on April 16, 2019. These came as a result of a City ordinance that was:

  • passed by the Boston City Council on September 26, 2018, and
  • signed into law by Mayor Walsh on October 15, 2018.

The City Ordinance (Chapter 2-15.1) requires you to register with the City Clerk’s Office each year if you are a:

  • lobbyist
  • lobbyist entity, or
  • lobbying client.

You also must file disclosure statements four times each calendar year.

Requirements

In 2019, all lobbyists, lobbying entities, and clients must register starting on April 16. You’ll need to complete an online registration and acknowledge that you read and understood the lobbyist registration and regulations overview. Also in 2019, there will be two disclosure statement reporting requirements with:

  • a statement due on or before July 20, 2019, and
  • a statement due on or before October 20, 2019.

Please refer to the lobbyist registration and regulation overview for additional details on registration and reporting requirements.

Annual registration and fees

Annual registration

You have to register for the 2020 calendar year by December 15, 2019. You'll then register by December 15 each year for the upcoming calendar year. After January 1, 2020, if you establish yourself as a lobbyist, lobbyist entity, or client, you must register with the City Clerk within 10 days.

Annual Registration Fee
  • Lobbyists: $150
  • Lobbyist entities: $300
  • Lobbying clients: $150

If you stop activities as a lobbyist, lobbyist entity, or client, you need to file a Notice of Termination with the City Clerk.

Registration waiver

The City Clerk may waive the annual registration fee for:

  1. lobbyists or lobbying entities that exclusively represent not-for-profit clients
  2. lobbyists or lobbying entities that exclusively represent clients that employ fewer than 10 people and have been in business for fewer than five years, and
  3. clients that are not-for-profits or employ fewer than 10 people and have been in business for fewer than five years.
Making waiver requests

Please note: We are not granting waivers for 2019 filings. You will be able to make waiver requests starting with the December 15, 2019, filing for registration and reporting for 2020. The compliance commission will establish criteria for granting waivers.

To make a waiver request, we need to see proper documentation, including 501(c) (3) Certifications and Articles of Organization. Each lobbyist, lobbying entity, and client should make their request on behalf of themselves. Requests for lobbying entities should be made by someone with the authority to do so.

You can make a waiver request by sending an email to lobbying@boston.gov.

Quarterly statement reporting

Key dates

All lobbyists, lobbying entities, and clients must submit quarterly statement reports four times each year. For 2019, you only have to submit reports twice, on July 20 and October 20.

For the report due on July 20, 2019, you will need to include your information from April 16, 2019 — or the date of your registration with the City Clerk — through June 30, 2019. We start accepting reports on July 10. Since the statement report filing date is on a Saturday, you may file your reports by Monday, July 22, 2019.

Starting in 2020 and every year after that, quarterly statement reports are due on or before the following dates:

  • January 20
  • April 20
  • July 20
  • October 20
About the reports

The Lobbyist Statement Report includes five statements. The Lobbying Entity and Client Statement Reports include three statements. These are required under oath and must be uploaded through our online portal.

We will send an email reminder about the reporting requirements. That email will include a link to access your reporting form and instructions on how to complete the report. You can also download the reports as Word documents or PDFs by downloading the zip files below:

Lobbyist Statement Report

Lobbying Entity Statement Report

Client Statement Report

Our staff will review these reports for accuracy. If your report is incomplete or contains errors, we will email you and request for the updated information.

To view lobbyist, entity, and client statements, check out the municipal dataset.

Municipal Lobbying Compliance Commission

Commission members include:
  • Sammy Nabulsi
  • Vivien Li, and
  • Stephanie Everett.

City Council President Andrea Campbell and City Clerk Maureen Feeney, or their designees, also serve as ex-officio members. Sammy Nabulsi is the Commission Chairperson.

About the commission

Mayor Walsh appointed the three commissioners. They serve coterminous with the Mayor. The Mayor fills any vacancies for the unexpired term. The commission may create regulations for the administration of the lobbying ordinance. They can also investigate and make findings related to compliance with the lobbying ordinance.