Maine's lobbyist disclosure law is administered by the Ethics Commission. Every lobbyist in Maine must file a joint registration with each of the lobbyist's employers (clients) after lobbying more than eight (8) hours in a calendar month on behalf of that client. (Please read the definitions of lobbying, lobbyist, and legislative action and the Lobbying FAQs to determine if you qualify as a lobbyist.)
A lobbyist and their employer (client) register by filing a joint registration and paying a registration fee of $250 and an additional $125 fee for each lobbyist associate. The joint registration must be filed within 15 business days of the lobbyist has engaged in more than eight (8) hours of compensated lobbying on behalf of a client in a calendar month. Please note that the eight (8) hour threshold only applies to when a lobbyist and client must register. Once a lobbyist is registered, all lobbying activity must be reported, regardless of the number of hours spent lobbying during a month. Joint registrations must be filed by using the online registration feature.
Every joint registration expires at the end of the lobbying year (November 30). Registrations may also be terminated if the employer notifies the Commission that it is no longer engaging the lobbyist.
Lobbyists and associates are required to attend annual harassment training.
Pursuant to 3 MRS §170-B, Legislators, Legislative staff, and lobbyists must complete annual in-person harassment prevention training under the oversight of the Legislative Council, including the topics of sexual harassment and racial harassment. Registration for the annual harassment training program is now open. This training is being provided to lobbyists for free. The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar has approved the program for general CLE credits; however, it will not fulfill the Harassment and Discrimination CLE requirement under the Maine Bar Rules. Please click on one of the links below to register. Training will take place via Zoom. Upon registration you will receive a popup window containing the Zoom link; please copy and paste this link into your calendar as you will not receive a confirmation email.
Thursday January 19, 2023 at 1:00 pm: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe_pc4WawYTOYWoCWhtPMfJXgRS2mz7PEhFAG9I_P3JeQZGmQ/viewform?usp=sf_link
Thursday January 19, 2023 at 5:00 pm: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWCQa9P4EpFo7Z-6bvP_e2Gefz6-wNsrrYpi2ckgDP1DRHxg/viewform?usp=sf_link
If you have any questions or issues with your registration, please contact: Amanda Goldsmith, at Amanda.Goldsmith@legislature.maine.gov or (207) 287-1615.
Termination of Registration
A lobbyist or a client may terminate a joint registration by filing a notice of termination with the Ethics Commission. A notice of termination informs the Commission that the lobbyist is no longer engaged by the client for the purpose of lobbying. The termination notice must be filed within 30 days of the termination.
Filing the termination notice relieves the lobbyist of the obligation to file monthly reports. If a lobbyist wishes to resume lobbying on behalf of the client filing the termination statement, the lobbyist and client will need to re-register.
Every registered lobbyist is required to file monthly reports beginning the month of registration through the end of the lobbying year (November 30), or through when the lobbyist files a Notice of Termination or Non-Session Waiver, whichever occurs first. Reports are due by 11:59 p.m. on the 15th day of the month (unless the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, then the report is due on the next business day) following the month covered by the report (e.g., the report for April is due on May 15th). All reports, including requests for waiver, must be filed using the e-filing system. There are two types of monthly reports:
Activity reports: If a registered lobbyist engages in any lobbying during a month, that activity must be reported in an Activity report. Lobbying activity includes all compensated time spent lobbying regardless of whether that time exceeds 8 hours in a month. Information on the long-form report includes:
- the amount of compensation received during the month;
- other expenses incurred in the course of lobbying;
- legislative actions and documents that were the subject of lobbying during the month; and
- money or things of value given to or on behalf of Legislators.
No-Activity reports: A No-Activity report may only be filed if a registered lobbyist has not engaged in any lobbying or received any compensation for expenses during a month. By filing a Non-Activity report, the lobbyist is affirming that no lobbying or services in support of lobbying were performed during the month.
Penalties: The penalty for a late registration is $100 per month until the registration is submitted. Lobbyists who file late reports will be assessed a penalty of $100 per month until the report is filed. If the report is filed within 24 hours after the due date, the penalty is reduced to $50. A lobbyist who fails to file a report or pay a fee may be suspended from lobbying.
A registered lobbyist is required to file monthly reports beginning the month they register through the end of the lobbying year (November 30). However, after the legislative session is concluded, if the lobbyist anticipates no further lobbying for a client through November 30, the lobbyist may file a request for a non-session waiver with his or her final monthly report for the session. The filing of the request relieves the lobbyist of the duty to file subsequent monthly reports for that client.
If the lobbyist does engage in any lobbying after filing a non-session waiver, the lobbyist must resume filing monthly reports beginning with the month in which lobbying resumed.
Contributions & Gifts to Officials
Prohibited Campaign Contributions
Maine Law generally prohibits contributions by lobbyists and lobbyist associates to the Governor, members of the Legislature, constitutional officers of the State, and their staff or agents. A lobbyist or lobbyist associate may not make a contribution to these officials at any time – whether the Legislature is in session or not – unless the lobbyist or lobbyist associate is eligible to vote in the district in which the official is running. (For example, a lobbyist who is registered to vote in State Senate District #20 may give a contribution to the State Senator who is running for re-election to that district or and may contribute to the Governor.) These restrictions also apply to candidates running for Governor and the Maine Legislature who are not currently in those offices. During a legislative session, clients of a lobbyist and a law or consulting firm employing the lobbyist may not make a contribution to these officials.
These prohibitions also apply to contributions directly and indirectly solicited or accepted by, or given, offered and promised to a political action committee, ballot question committee, or party committee of which the Governor, a member of the Legislature, a constitutional officer, or the staff or agent of these officials is a treasurer, officer, or primary fundraiser, or decision-maker. These prohibitions do not apply to certain non-partisan, charitable events, or a Legislator’s campaign for federal office.
Gifts to Legislators and Officials
Lobbyists must include in their monthly reports a record of any money paid directly to or on behalf of legislators, officials of the legislative branch, and members of their immediate family.
The Legislative Ethics Law forbids a Legislator or a member of his or her immediate family from accepting a gift (other than a campaign contribution) from persons affected by legislation or who have an interest in a business affected by proposed legislation, where it is known or reasonably should be known that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the Legislator in the performance of his official duties or vote, or is intended as a reward for action on his part. For more information, please see Section 1014(B) of the Legislative Ethics Law and the Commission's guidance to Legislators.