Illinois Lobbyist Registration Back On Line After Legal Complaint


After a hiatus since the new year, Illinois is once again requiring those who lobby Illinois government to sign in with the Secretary of State. As of Monday, lobbyists can once again register.

Illinois was set to charge lobbyists one thousand dollars each beginning in 2010, nearly triple what most had been paying. But the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit alleging that was too high a price to put on speaking to elected officials. A judge agreed that the registration price should be tied to the cost of lobbyist regulation and threw out the law. But that left Illinois without a registration program until now.

The Secretary of State's office has told lobbyists they must register, but the office will not collect a fee at this time. Cindi Canary with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says it's the right move.

"We all know that Illinois is just in an absolutely dire budget situation," said Canary. "So people are competing very fiercely for very limited dollars, and the public has a right to know who's trying to influence their government."

Lobbyists have until the end of this month to register. Once lawmakers set a new fee, lobbyists must pay it or their registration will be terminated.

Story source: AP