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Lobbyists, lobbyists everywhere

Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Assistant City Attorney Lynn Carter reported to the City Council Audit and Finance Committee on Wednesday that the city had a total of 123 registered lobbyists, including business entities and individuals, as of Dec. 31, 2017. This is the highest number of registered lobbyists the city has recorded since Council started requiring the city attorney’s office to report on such registration, Carter said. (The Austin Monitor‘s predecessor, In Fact Daily, reported in 2013 that 58 lobbyists had registered with the city and that 60 lobbyists were registered in 2010.) Carter also told the committee that compliance had improved substantially since last year, with only four individual lobbyists failing to submit a quarterly activity report for the final quarter of 2017 by Jan. 10, 2018. All of those individuals did eventually file those reports, Carter said. Last year there was an argument going on between 19 lobbyists who are also attorneys about reporting the range of compensation they were receiving from their lobby clients. Another attorney, Fred Lewis, filed a complaint with the city’s Ethics Review Commission about that failure, but between the filing of the complaint in November 2017 and Feb. 7, 2018, each of the 19 respondents to the complaints had either filed corrected reports or otherwise resolved the allegations, according to Carter’s report. As a result, the complaints at the commission were dismissed.

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