Questions About Updated Registration

Once registered, legislative agents and employers are each required to file an Updated Registration Statement two times a year. Updated Registration Statements are due July 31 for the reporting period January 1 through June 30; and January 31 for the reporting period July 1 through December 31.

A legislative agent is required to file only one Updated Registration Statement for each of the two reporting periods. The single Updated Registration Statement contains information for each of the agent's employers.

An employer is required to file only one Updated Registration Statement for all of its agents for each of the two reporting periods. Each agent and employer is responsible for the filing of their respective form.

An Updated Registration Statement has three types of information:

  1. Confirmation of the continuing existence of each engagement described in the Initial Registration Statement;
  2. A list of the specific ordinances or resolutions on which the agent actively advocated under that engagement during the period covered by the Updated Registration Statement;
  3. Details of any financial transactions.

The following pages explain in detail the individual reporting requirements for the legislative agent and the employer of the legislative agent. Specifically, the above three areas will be discussed - confirmation, ordinances, and financial transactions. For ease of understanding, the following explanations for the legislative agent will be with regard to a single engagement; if you have more than one engagement, each of the following requirements must be met with respect to each of your engagements.

Legislative Agent Updated Registration Statements

Confirmation Of Engagement: The Updated Registration Statement asks the legislative agent whether the agent continues to represent the employer for which the Updated Registration Statement is being completed. If you have answered the question "No," you must state the date of the termination.

If the date of termination falls within a reporting period, even one day, you are required to file an Updated Registration Statement for that reporting period. If you terminate an engagement at the beginning or in the middle of a reporting period, you may file your Updated Registration Statement at the time of termination, you are not required to wait until the end of the reporting period. It is suggested that this method is followed to insure the filing of the Updated Registration Statement is not forgotten.

List Of Specific Ordinances: The Updated Registration Statement requires you to list the specific ordinance(s) and resolution(s), by number, on which you actively advocated for this employer during the reporting period. Related to this is the requirement that you must give a brief description of each additional type of legislation to which the engagement relates, i.e., health care or insurance. If you have been actively advocating in an area different from or in addition to the types originally listed on your Initial Registration Statement, you must list each additional type for that employer.

Employer Updated Registration Statements

Confirmation Of Engagement: Each Updated Registration Statement asks the employer whether the agent continues to represent the employer for which the Updated Registration Statement is being completed. If you have answered the question "No," you must state the date of the termination.

If the date of termination falls within a reporting period, even one day, you are required to file an Updated Registration Statement for that reporting period. If you terminate an engagement at the beginning or in the middle of a reporting period, you may file your Updated Registration Statement at the time of termination, you are not required to wait until the end of the reporting period. It is suggested that this method is followed to insure the filing of the Updated Registration Statement is not forgotten.

List Of Specific Ordinances: Each Updated Registration Statement asks the employer to list the specific ordinance(s) and resolution(s), by number, on which the employer actively advocated during that reporting period.

Campaign Contributions

You are not required to report campaign contributions made to a public official on your Updated Registration Statement, and a member of the Council is not prohibited from soliciting or accepting a campaign contribution, if the contribution is reported in a campaign finance report under Chapter 117, Cincinnati Municipal Code.

Financial Transactions

Who Must File: Also included in the Updated Registration Statement is a Financial Transaction Statement. Financial transaction means a transaction or activity that is conducted or undertaken for profit and arises from the joint ownership or the ownership or part ownership in common of any real or personal property or any commercial or business enterprise of whatever form or nature between the following:

  1. A legislative agent, his employer, or a member of the immediate family of the legislative agent or his employer; and
  2. Any member of the Council, appointee of the Council, the director of a department created under the Administrative Code, or any member of the staff of a public officer or employee.

Immediate family means a spouse residing in the person's household and any dependent child.

"Financial transaction" does not include any transaction or activity if it is available to the general public on the same terms, or if it is an offer or sale of securities to any member of the Council, appointee of the Council, the City Manager, the director of a department created under the Administrative Code, any member of the staff of a public officer or employee that is governed by regulation D, 17 C.F.R. 2301.501 [2301.50.1] to 2301.508 [2301.50.8], adopted under the authority of the "Securities Act of 1933," 48 Stat. 74, 15 U.S.C.A. and following, or that is governed by a comparable provision under state law.

What Must Be Filed: Any legislative agent or employer who has had any financial transaction with or for the benefit of any member of the Council, appointee of the Council, the City Manager, the director of a department created under the Administrative Code, or any member of the staff of one of these public officers or employees shall describe the details of the transaction. Each transaction listed must include:

  1. The name of the public officer or employee;
  2. The purpose and nature of the transaction; and
  3. The date it was made or entered into.

An employer or legislative agent who is required to file a statement describing a financial transaction under this section shall deliver a photo copy of the actual statement to the public officer or employee with whom or for whose benefit the transaction was made at least 10 days before the date on which the statement is filed.

No employer shall be required to file any statement or to deliver a copy of the statement to a public officer or employee with whom or for whose benefit the transaction was made if the financial transaction to which the statement pertains is reported by a legislative agent engaged by the employer.

Review Of Statements

Both the Initial Registration Statement and Updated Registration Statements are reviewed by the Clerk of Council for accuracy and completeness.

Failure To Register Or File An Updated Registration Statement

If it is determined that a legislative agent or employer has failed to file either an Initial Registration Statement or an Updated Registration Statement, the Clerk of Council will send written notification by certified mail to the person or entity who failed to file the Statement regarding such failure. Any person or entity so notified shall, within 15 days after receiving the notice, file an Initial Registration Statement or Updated Registration Statement as the case may be. Failure to file the requested Statement within the 15 days may result in the referral of the matter to the appropriate prosecuting authority. If such a referral is made, the Clerk of Council will also notify the City Manager and each member of the Council of the referral.

Failure To Properly Disclose

After an Updated Registration Statement is filed, the Clerk of Council reviews each Statement to determine whether the Statement contains all of the required information. If it is determined a Statement is deficient, the Clerk of Council will send written notification by certified mail to the person or entity who filed the Statement regarding the deficiency. Any person or entity so notified shall, within 15 days after receiving the notice, file an amended Statement that contains all of the required information. Failure to file the requested amended Statement within the 15 days will result in the referral of the matter to the appropriate prosecuting authority. If such a referral is made, the Clerk of Council will also notify the City Manager and each member of the Council of the referral.

It is important to note that compliance with a "15 day letter" does not necessarily cure any deficiencies. A determination will be made on a case by case basis as to whether a referral should be made to the appropriate prosecuting authority notwithstanding the amendment.

In addition to the powers of the Clerk of Council, the Office of Contract Compliance and Municipal Investigations (OCCI) may investigate compliance with sections 112-01 to 112-17 of the Municipal Code and with section 2921.13 of the Revised Code in connection with statements required to be filed under these sections, and in the event of an apparent violation, shall report its findings to the City Prosecutor who shall institute proceedings as are appropriate.

Disputed Information

If a dispute arises between any member of the Council, appointee of the Council, the City Manager, the director of any department created in the charter or in the Administrative Code or any member of the staff or employee of such public official and an employer or legislative agent with respect to any statement required to be filed under section 112-1 - 112-17 of the Municipal Code, the member or employee, employer, or legislative agent may file a complaint with the OCCI. The OCCI shall proceed to investigate the complaint.
The complaint shall be filed at least three days prior to the time the statement is required to be filed with the Clerk of Council. The time for filing a disputed shall be extended pending the final decision of the OCCI. This extension does not extend the time for filing the non-disputed portions of the statement. The OCCI shall notify the parties of its final decision by certified mail. If the OCCI decides that the disputed expenditure or financial transaction should be reported, the employer or legislative agent shall include the matter in an amended statement and file the amended statement not later than ten days after the employer or agent receives notice of the decision of the OCCI by certified mail.

Termination Of Engagement

A legislative agent is required to notify the Clerk of Council within 30 days after the termination of an engagement. The form, entitled "Termination Notice" should be attached to the agent's last Updated Registration Statement. If the engagement exists for even one day into a reporting period, the agent and employer must file an Updated Registration Statement for that period. The agent and employer may file their respective Updated Registration Statements at the time of termination if the agent has only one employer or the employer has only one agent. Otherwise, the agent or employer must wait until the end of the reporting period.

Prohibitions & Public Inspection

Prohibitions: There are criminal penalties for non-compliance with the registration, record keeping, and updating requirements. Knowingly failing to file an Initial Registration Statement, maintain a record, or file an Updated Registration Statement is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree punishable by up to 30 days incarceration and a $250 fine. For an organization it is a fine of $2,000. Knowingly falsifying an Initial Registration Statement or an Updated Registration Statement is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. For an organization, it is a fine of $5,000. The Clerk of Council or OCCI will refer alleged violations to the appropriate prosecuting authority.

Public Inspection Of Statements: All Initial Registration Statements and Updated Registration Statements are public records and open to public inspection. Anyone may review all of the Statements and may request copies. Copies are 15¢ a piece, payable by check, cash, or money order.

False Statements, Contingent Fees & Campaign Contributions

False Statements: An employer or legislative agent who files any false statement is liable in a civil action to any public officer or employee who sustains damage as a result of the filing or publication of the statement.

Contingent Fees: No person shall engage any person to actively advocate in exchange for compensation that is contingent in any way upon the passage, modification, or defeat of any legislation. No person shall accept any engagement to actively advocate in exchange for compensation that is contingent in any way upon the passage, modification, or defeat of any legislation.

Campaign Contributions: Nothing in sections 112-01-112-17 of the Municipal Code shall require the reporting of, or prohibit a member of the Council from soliciting or accepting, a contribution from or expenditure by any person if the contribution or expenditure is reported in accordance with Chapter 117 of the Municipal Code.