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Advisory Opinion

IECDB AO 2004-11

 

June 23, 2004

Lynh Patterson
Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Public Health
Lucas Bldg., 321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Dear Ms. Patterson:

This opinion is in response to your letter of June 17, 2004, requesting an opinion from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. We note at the outset that the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to the application of Iowa Code chapters 68A and 68B and rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 351.

FACTUAL STATEMENT:

We understand you request this opinion in your capacity as the Legislative Liaison for the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). You advise us that a youth coalition known as Just Eliminate Lies (JEL) is authorized in Iowa Code section 142A.9 and as is considered to be a program under the direction of IDPH. JEL would like to lobby as a group using the organization’s name.

QUESTIONS:

1. Is it permissible for JEL to lobby as its own entity?

 

2. Is the organization bound by the executive branch lobbying restrictions?

OPINION:

We first note that our jurisdiction in interpreting the lobbying laws in Iowa Code chapter 68B is limited to activities before the executive branch of state government.

In answer to your questions, nothing in Chapter 68B prohibits JEL from engaging in lobbying activities as a separate organization and using the name of the organization. In fact, if members of JEL are engaged in executive branch lobbying activities,1 compliance with the executive branch lobbying laws and Board rules would be required. In addition, it is better public disclosure for the group to register and lobby under its own name.

If questions arise as to whether or not an individual associated with JEL is required to register as an executive branch lobbyist, we invite you or JEL to seek further guidance from the Board. We also remind you that this opinion is limited to activities before the executive branch of state government and does not speak to any interpretation of the lobbying laws as they apply to the General Assembly or to any House or Senate Ethics rules on lobbying the legislature.

BY DIRECTION AND VOTE OF THE BOARD

James Albert, Board Chair
Phyllis Peters, Vice Chair
Janet Carl
Gerald Sullivan
Betsy Roe
John Walsh

Submitted by: W. Charles Smithson, Board Legal Counsel


1See Iowa Code section 68B.2(13) and Board rules 351—8.1 through 8.3 for guidance on who and who is not considered a “lobbyist” and for the definition of “executive branch lobbying.”

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