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Ethics Requirements for Lobbyists

The Public Ethics Law defines lobbying as "communicating with a public official of the legislative or executive branch of county government, in the presence of that public official, for the purpose of influencing legislative or executive action." (§ 7-1-501, Baltimore County Code, 2015) The same section of the Code contains an extensive definition of "lobbyist." A person who thinks that he or she engages in lobbying should consult the Baltimore County Code, 2015 to determine whether that person falls under the definition of lobbyist.

Lobbying Forms

Each lobbyist is required to file a lobbying registration form (PDF) with the Ethics Commission on or before the year in which the lobbyist expects to engage in lobbying or within five days after engaging in lobbying activities. (§ 7-1-502 of the Baltimore County Code, 2015)

Each lobbyist is also required to file a report of the lobbyist's activities (PDF) during the preceding year on or before January 31 of each year. (§ 7-1-506, Baltimore County Code, 2015)

A lobbyist who fails to submit these forms is subject to criminal prosecution that may result in a fine up to $1,000, up to 90 days in jail or both.

Public Ethics Law Training

Council Bill 35-17 (PDF) requires the Baltimore County Ethics Commission to provide training on the requirements of the County public ethics law twice a year to registered lobbyists (PDF). These individuals must complete the training within six months after registering as a lobbyist and then once a year each calendar year thereafter. One training must be offered in January of each year. The required training will cover all aspects of the County public ethics law, including:

  • The purposes of the public ethics law
  • The Ethics Commission and its processes for complaints and advisory opinions
  • Requirements for lobbyists, including registration and annual reports
  • Issues important to public officials that lobbyists should understand, including conflicts of interest and financial disclosure

Date and Location

Training dates will be scheduled and posted in the near future.

Revised November 7, 2019         


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