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Chapter 2.12 Regulation of Lobbying Entities


- Note

(Chapter added by Ordinance No. 179843, effective April 1, 2006.)


2.12.010 Purpose.

The City finds that, to preserve the integrity of its decision making processes, lobbying entities that engage in efforts to influence City officials, should report their lobbying efforts to the public.


2.12.020 Definitions.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 180205, 180620, 180917, 181204, 182389, 182671,  184046, 184882, 185304, 186028 and 186176, effective August 30, 2013.)  As used in this Chapter unless the context requires otherwise:

A.  “Calendar quarter” means one of the four three-month periods of January 1 to March 31, April 1 to June 30, July 1 to September 30 and October 1 to December 31.

B.  “Calendar year” means the period of January 1 through December 31.

C.  “City director” means the director or individual in charge of the following or its successors: the Bureau of Transportation, the Office of Management and Finance, the Office of Government Relations, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, the Bureau of Emergency Communications, Portland Fire & Rescue, the Bureau of Police, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Environmental Services, the Portland Water Bureau, the Bureau of Development Services, the Portland Housing Bureau, the Bureau of Revenue, the City Budget Office, the Office of Equity and Human Rights, the Bureau of Fire and Police Disability and Retirement, the Bureau of Human Resources, the Bureau of Internal Business Services, the Bureau of Technology Services and the Portland Development Commission.

D.  “City official” means any City elected official; the at will staff of a City elected official; any City director as defined in this section; or appointee to the Portland Development Commission, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, the Design Commission, and the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Board.

E.  “Consideration” includes a gift, payment, distribution, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, and includes a contract, promise or agreement, whether or not legally enforceable.

F.  “Official action” means introduction, sponsorship, testimony, debate, voting or any other official action on any ordinance, measure, resolution, amendment, nomination, appointment, or report, or any matter, including administrative action, that may be the subject of action by the City.

G.  “Lobby” or “Lobbying” or “Lobbies” means attempting to influence the official action  of City officials.  Lobbying includes time spent preparing emails and letters and preparing for oral communication with a City official.  Lobbying does not include:

1.  Time spent by an individual representing his or her own opinion to a City official.

2.  Time spent participating in a board, committee, working group, or commission created by City Council through approval of resolution or ordinance.

3.  Time spent by a City official or City employee acting in their official capacity as an official for the City.

4.  Time spent submitting a bid, responding to related information requests, and negotiating terms on a competitively bid contract or intergovernmental agreement.

5.  Oral or written communication made by a representative of a labor organization that is certified or recognized, pursuant to ORS 243.650 et seq., as the exclusive bargaining representative of employees of the City of Portland, to the extent that such communications do not deal with actual or potential ordinances that are unrelated to the collective bargaining process, or implementation or application of any collective bargaining agreement provision.

6.  Formal appearances to give testimony before public hearings or meetings of City Council.

7.  Work performed by a contractor or grantee pursuant to a contract with or grant from the City.

8.  Time spent by any person holding elected public office, or their specifically authorized representative, acting in their official capacity.

H.   “Lobbying entity” means any individual, business association, corporation, partnership, association, club, company, business trust, organization or other group who lobbies either by employing or otherwise authorizing a lobbyist to lobby on that person’s behalf.

I.  “Lobbyist” means any individual who is authorized to lobby on behalf of a lobbying entity.

J.  “Person” means any individual, business association, corporation, partnership, association, club, company, business trust, organization or other group.

K.  “Gift” means something of economic value given to a City official without valuable consideration of equivalent value, including the full or partial forgiveness of indebtedness, which is not extended to others who are not City officials on the same terms and conditions; and something of economic value given to a City official for valuable consideration less than that required from others who are not City officials.  However, “gift” does not mean:  

1.  Campaign contributions, as described in ORS Chapter 260.

2.  Gifts from family members.


2.12.030 Registration for Lobbying Entities.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 180205, 181204 and 187854, effective September 1, 2016.)

A.  Within three working days after a lobbying entity has spent 8 hours or more or estimates that it has spent cumulative 8 hours or more or has spent at least $1,000 during any calendar quarter lobbying, the lobbying entity shall register with the City Auditor by filing with the Auditor a statement containing the following information:

1.  The name, address, email, website and telephone number of the lobbying entity;

2.  A general description of the trade, business, profession or area of endeavor of the lobbying entity;

3.  The names, addresses, email, website and telephone number of all lobbyists who are employed by or otherwise authorized to lobby on behalf of the lobbying entity. The list must include:

a.  Individuals who are paid to lobby for the interests of the lobbying entity.

b.  Other persons, including lobbying entity employees or volunteers, who are authorized to lobby on behalf of the lobbying entity.

c.  Previous City of Portland employment status of individuals who are paid or otherwise authorized to lobby on the entity’s behalf, the affiliated bureau(s) or office(s) of employment, and dates of employment.

4.  The subjects and any specific official actions of interest to the lobbying entity.

B.  A business, organization, or association who anticipates registering as a lobbying entity is encouraged to register at the beginning of each calendar year.

C.  Registrations shall expire December 31 of every year.  Lobbying entities shall renew their registrations once the 8-hour threshold has been reached in each calendar year.   

D.  An authorized representative of the lobbying entity must sign the registration required by this Section.


2.12.040 Quarterly Reporting Requirements for Lobbying Entities.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 180205, 180620, 181204, 186176 and 187854, effective September 1, 2016.)

A.  A lobbying entity registered with the City Auditor or required to register with the City Auditor shall file a report, if the lobbying entity has spent an estimated 8 hours or more or at least $1,000 during the preceding calendar quarter lobbying, with the City Auditor, by April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15, showing:

1.  The specific subject or subjects of the official action of interest to the lobbying entity, including but not limited to the names of City officials a lobbying entity met with or contacted through direct mail, email or telephone regarding such subject or subjects, the name of the registered lobbyist representing the entity and the date of the contact

2.  A good faith estimate of total moneys, if the total exceeds $1,000, expended by the lobbying entity or any lobbyist employed by or otherwise authorized to lobby on behalf of the lobbying entity, for the purpose of lobbying City officials on behalf of the lobbying entity in the preceding calendar quarter reporting period for:

a.  Food, refreshments, travel and entertainment;

b.  Printing, postage and telephone;

c.  Advertising, direct mail and email;

d.  Miscellaneous and gifts;

e.  Compensation paid to lobbyists; and

f.  Reimbursements to lobbyists for their expenses.

3.  The name of any City official to whom or for whose benefit, on any one occasion, the lobbying entity made an expenditure in excess of $25 in the preceding calendar quarter for the purposes of lobbying, and the date, name of payee, purpose and amount of that expenditure.

B.  Statements required by this section need not include amounts expended by the lobbying entity for personal living and travel expenses and office overhead, including salaries and wages paid for staff providing clerical assistance and others not engaged in lobbying activities and maintenance expenses. If the amount of any expenditure required to be included in a statement is not accurately known at the time the statement is required to be filed, an estimate of the expenditure shall be submitted in the statement and designated as an estimate. The exact amount expended for which a previous estimate was made shall be submitted in a subsequent report when the information is available.

C.  A lobbying entity shall update any information submitted in Section 2.12.030 that has changed since registration.

D.  A statement required by this section shall include a copy of any notice provided to a City official under ORS 244.100.

E.  An authorized representative of the Lobbying Entity must sign the declaration required by Section 2.12.090 A. for each quarterly report.

F.  Lobbying entities who expect to spend 8 hours or more lobbying City Officials in a calendar quarter, but do not anticipate spending over $1,000 in the same reporting period for the purpose of lobbying may sign and file a certificate of limited expenditure provided by the Auditor’s office in lieu of the financial portion of the quarterly report described in Section 2.10.040 A.2.  The certificate affirms that the lobbying entity will spend less than the threshold required for quarterly financial reporting of moneys expended under Section 2.12.040 A.2.  If a lobbying entity  that files a certificate of limited expenditure spends over $1,000 in a calendar quarter for the purpose of lobbying, the lobbying entity shall withdraw the certificate of limited expenditure and shall report moneys expended pursuant to Section 2.12.040 A.2.

G.  A lobbying entity may amend a quarterly report without penalty if it files the amended report within 25 days after the end of the calendar quarter.


2.12.050 Exemptions to Registration and Reporting Requirements for Lobbying Entities.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 180620 and 181204, effective September 7, 2007.)  In addition to the thresholds set forth in Section 2.12.030 and 2.12.040 for the registration, reporting and financial reporting of lobbying entities, Sections 2.12.030 and 2.12.040 do not apply to the following persons:

A.  News media, or their employees or agents, that in the ordinary course of business directly or indirectly urge official action but that engage in no other activities in connection with the official action.

B.   Lobbying entities that spent fewer than 8 hours lobbying during every calendar quarter in a calendar year.

C.   Any lobbying entity that satisfies all three of the following requirements:

1.   Complies with state public record and meeting laws or with the standards referenced in Section 3.96.020 G.;

2.   Is classified as a non-profit organization, registered with the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division; and

3.   Is formally recognized by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or through City Council resolution or ordinance.


2.12.060 Declaration Required by Lobbyists

(Amended by Ordinance No. 180205, effective June 7, 2006.)  Prior to offering public testimony before City officials, at the beginning of any meetings or phone calls with City officials, or in emails and letters to City officials, a lobbyist must declare which lobbying entity he or she is authorized to represent for that communication.


2.12.070 Reporting Requirements for City Officials.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 180205, 180620, 187854 and 187961, effective September 1, 2016.)

A.  City officials shall file written reports documenting any gifts, meals or entertainment in excess of $25 received from a lobbying entity, regardless of the entity’s registration status, or any person authorized to lobby on the lobbying entity’s behalf.  Such reports shall include:

1.  Name of lobbying entity, and if applicable, name of lobbyist;

2.  Subject of lobbying;

3.  Value of gift, meal or entertainment; and

4.  Date of receipt.

B.  City officials shall file written reports after a lobbyist or lobbying entity, regardless of the entity’s registration status, has agreed to make a donation of personal or real property to the City. Such reports shall include:

1.  Name of lobbying entity, and if applicable, name of lobbyist;

2.  Gift or donation requested;

3.  Purpose of donation; and

4.  Date of request.

C.  The reports, if any, required by subsections 2.12.070 A. and B. shall be filed with the City Auditor 15 days after the end of the calendar quarter.  City officials, other than elected officials, are not required to file reports with the Auditor if the amount of the gift, meal or entertainment is less than $25 or if no gifts or donations have been requested in the calendar quarter.

D.  City Elected officials and City directors shall post their calendars of activities that reflect official City business 15 days after the end of the calendar quarter for the previous calendar quarter, unless an elected official or City director determines that such posting poses a safety threat.

1.  Unless otherwise exempted, calendars required by this Section shall note the date and length of scheduled official business that includes other City Elected officials, City directors or outside parties. Calendar items must list primary participants or organizations in attendance. 

2.  Elected officials’ and City directors’ quarterly calendars required by this Section shall be retained in accordance with City Administrative Rules and posted publicly on the originating office’s website for a period of at least one calendar year.

E.  A City Official may amend a quarterly report without penalty if he or she files the amended report within 25 days after the end of the calendar quarter.


2.12.080 Prohibited Conduct.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 187854, effective September 1, 2016.)

A.  No former City elected official shall, for a period of 2 years after the termination of the official’s term of office, lobby for money or other consideration a City elected official or their salaried at-will staff.

B.   No former salaried at-will staff of a City elected official, shall, for a period of 1 year after the termination of employment, lobby for money or other consideration any City elected official or their salaried at-will staff.

C.  No former City director shall, for a period of 2 years after termination of the director’s appointment, lobby for money or other consideration the current City director of the office or bureau to which the former City director was appointed or, regarding matters within the powers and duties of the bureau to which the former City director was appointed, the City elected official in charge of the office or bureau to which the City director was appointed. 

D.  No Former City employee shall lobby a City Official for money or other consideration regarding a contract if the employee exercised contract management authority with respect to that contract while employed by the City. This prohibition shall be for the duration of the contract.

E.  The prohibitions in this Section shall not apply to:

1.  Prevent any former City elected official or other City employee from representing himself or herself, or any member of his or her immediate family, in their individual capacities, in connection with any matter pending before the City;

2.  The activities of any former City elected official or other City employee who is an elected or appointed officer or employee of any public body, when that former City elected official or other City employee is solely representing that agency in his or her official capacity as an officer or employee of the public body;

3.  Any ministerial action.  For purposes of this subsection, a ministerial action is one that does not require a City official or other City employee to exercise discretion concerning any outcome or course of action.

4.  Prevent City officials or other City employees from seeking information or participation from former City elected officials or other City employees where the public interest would be served by the information or participation.


2.12.090 Verification of Reports, Registrations and Statements.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 181204, effective September 7, 2007.)

A.  Each report, registration or statement required by this Chapter shall contain or be verified by a written or electronic declaration that it is made under the penalties of false swearing.  Such declaration shall be in lieu of any oath otherwise required.

B.  No person shall willfully make and subscribe any document which contains or is verified by a written or electronic declaration for false swearing which the person does not reasonably believe to be true and correct to every matter.


2.12.100 Public Nature of Reports, Registrations and Statements.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 186176, effective August 30, 2013.) All information submitted to the City Auditor in any report, registration or statement required by this Chapter is a public record and will be posted on Office of the Auditor website within three business days after receipt, except if the information is subject to amendment under this Chapter, the Auditor will post the information within three business days after the amendment period has closed.


2.12.110 Auditor’s Duties.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 187854, effective September 1, 2016.)  In carrying out the provisions of this Chapter, the City Auditor:

A.  Shall prescribe forms for registrations, statements and reports, and provide such forms to persons required to register and to file such statements and reports;

B.  Shall accept registrations and reports in an electronic format;

C.  Shall accept and file any information voluntarily supplied that exceeds the requirements of this Chapter;

D.  Shall make registrations, statements and reports filed available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours, and make copies available.  The Auditor may charge fees to recover the cost of retrieval and copying;

E.  May audit whether registrations and reports required by this Chapter have been completed properly and within the time frames specified in this Chapter;

F.   May initiate investigations and accept and investigate complaints of alleged violations of this Chapter;

G.   May make such inquiries and obtain such reasonable assistance and information, including records, from any office or person as the Auditor shall require for enforcement purposes, including requests to produce documentary or other evidence that is reasonably relevant to the matters under investigation;

H.  May recover all reasonable costs incurred in enforcement in this Chapter, including but not limited to attorney’s fees.

I.  Is authorized to adopt administrative rules to carry out the duties and to administer the provisions of this Chapter.


2.12.120 Penalties.

(Amended by Ordinance No. 187854, effective September 1, 2016.)  A person who violates any provision of this Chapter or fails to file any report, registration or statement or to furnish any information required by this Chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $3,000 per violation.  By administrative rule, the Auditor shall establish enforcement criteria with increased fines for repeated violations.  At the request of the Auditor, the City Attorney may seek civil penalties and enforcement of any provision of this Chapter in Multnomah County Circuit Court or other appropriate venue.


2.12.130 Severability.

If any provision of this Chapter, or its application to any person or circumstance, is held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Chapter and its application to other persons and circumstances, other than that which has been held invalid, shall not be affected by such invalidity, and to that extent the provisions of this Chapter are declared to be severable.