Arizona Republic reporters Dustin Gardiner, Rob O’Dell and Richard Ruelas discuss Phoenix’s recent efforts to crack down on lobbyists and how it will affect residents, city government and the media.
Attention all paid lobbyists: Phoenix doesn’t want to hear that the dog ate your registration forms.
That’s the not-so-subtle message of the city’s tougher lobbying ordinance that took effect July 1. The law creates penalties, including fines and possible jail time, for lobbyists who flout the city’s regulations.
To help roll out the new rules (and avoid excuses that strain reason), the city installed a registration kiosk in the lobby outside the offices of the mayor and City Council members.
For emphasis, a placard near it reads: “Paid lobbyists must be registered with the City Clerk.” Twelve new lobbyists have registered since the ordinance took effect.
Phoenix’s lobbyist crackdown follows a report in The Arizona Republic that showed the city’s rules were useless.
The Republic reported that a high-profile law firm had violated the city’s lobbying law and filed falsified documents (the incident is under investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office). But nobody could face penalties under the city’s old lobbying ordinance because, city officials said, they realized it was toothless.
That led to a May council vote to put some bite in it. They made it enforceable, specified penalties and tightened the rules in other areas.
Now, forgetting to register should be difficult, unless Clifford the Big Red Dog manages to get inside City Hall and eat the kiosk.
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