Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Ethics Commission Fact Sheet: Lobbyist Registration and Training

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This fact sheet explains how to register as a lobbyist in San Francisco.  Lobbyists must file a registration report, pay initial registration fees, train, and pay annual fees.

Registration and Training Timeline

After qualifying as a lobbyist Do not contact another City officer until you register.
Within 5 days of qualifying Register with the Ethics Commission* and pay an initial registration fee of $500.**
On or before every February 1 Pay an annual re-registration fee of $500.**
If you fail to pay the fee by the deadline, your lobbyist registration will be cancelled automatically.
Within one year of registering Complete initial training session.

*If you qualify as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant, you must register as both.  

**You do not need to pay registration fees if you are lobbying as a full-time employee of a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.  You must present proof of your organization’s tax-exempt status to receive the waiver.

Registration

To register, you must set up an online electronic reporting account with the Ethics Commission and provide:

  • Your name, business address, email address, and business phone number;
  • The name, business address, email address, and business phone number of your employer (if applicable);
  • The name, business address, email address, and business phone number of each client you are lobbying on behalf of (if applicable); and
  • A professional quality digital color photograph of your head and shoulders.  It must be in JPEG format, no larger than 2 megabytes and 130 pixels in width by 150 pixels in height (the registration system provides a sizing tool that allows you to re-size a larger image to the correct dimensions).

When you register, you must pay an initial registration fee of $500.  On or before every February 1 after you register, you must pay an annual re-registration fee of $500.

You may pay these fees online by using a debit/credit card, check, or e-check. 

Training

As a lobbyist, you must complete the following training sessions held by the Ethics Commission:

  • Initial training within one year of registration; and
  • Any additional training sessions required by the Ethics Commission’s Executive Director.

These sessions are available on the Ethics Commission’s website as video trainings.

For each training session, you must file a signed declaration stating that you have completed the session.  This declaration must be submitted on or before the deadline for completing the session. 

Terminating Your Registration

To terminate your registration, you must end all activity that requires registration and reporting.  You must file a final monthly disclosure report covering all lobbying activity through the date of your termination.  You must indicate on this report that it represents your termination statement.

The San Francisco Ethics Commission and the UC Hastings Center for State & Local Government Law collaborated to produce this fact sheet. Its guidance is necessarily general. Refer to the Lobbyist Ordinance and its implementing regulations regarding your specific situation.

Last Updated 12/8/14

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