Lobby Electronic Filing
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the registration fee?
2. How do I pay the lobby Registration fee if I file electronically?
3. Will I get a receipt for an online payment?
4. Can I pay a late-filing penalty online?
5. Is there a Macintosh version of the software?
6. Can I print a copy of my report?
7. How do I get a filing password?
8. What do I do if I forget my password?
9. Can I change the password assigned by the Ethics Commission?
10. How will I know if the Ethics Commission has received a filing?
11. How do I find out what is the latest version of the software?
12. How do I find out what version of the software I am using?
13. How do I update the software to the latest version available?
14. How do I file a Lobby Activities Report for last year?
The annual lobby registration fee is $750 for all registrants except organizations exempt from federal taxes under the IRS Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) and lobbyists who represent only such organizations. The annual fee for those registrants is $150. The fee is not prorated for lobbyists who are registered for only a portion of the year.
Independent Contractors. The registration fee is $75 for a person who is required to register under section 305.0041 of the Government Code and who meets all of the following criteria: 1) the person is an independent contractor as defined by Texas Ethics Commission Rule § 34.1(5); 2) the person's only direct communication as a registrant is with a member of the executive branch to influence administrative action as an independent contractor; 3) the compensation for the communication is totally or partially contingent on the outcome of a purchasing decision, or negotiations regarding such decisions, and the amount of the purchasing decision does not exceed $10 million; and 4) the person is also required to register under the compensation threshold set by section 305.003(a)(2) of the Government Code but does not exceed the expenditure threshold set by section 305.003(a)(1) of the Government Code. An independent contractor who is required to register as a lobbyist under the lobby law but who does not meet all of these criteria is subject to the $750 registration fee. An independent contractor who qualifies for the $75 registration fee but who ceases to meet the criteria at any time during the calendar year becomes subject to the $750 registration fee.
Section 34.1(5) of the Ethics Commission Rules defines an "independent contractor" as a person, including a consultant, who communicates with a member of the executive branch concerning state agency purchasing decisions involving a product, service, or service provider or negotiations regarding such decisions. The term does not include an employee, as defined by section 305.022(e) of the Government Code, of a vendor.
If you choose to file your lobby registration on-line, you must pay the registration fee on-line with a credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa) or electronic check. A non-refundable processing fee is included in the price if you choose to pay electronically. If you choose to file your lobby registration by submitting a CD or diskette, you may pay by check or money order.
You will receive a confirmation of payment from ePay and be able to print a copy of the confirmation.
No. To pay a late-filing penalty, you must submit a check or money order.
No. You must have a computer with a Windows-based operating system to use the software.
You can print a copy of a report at any time. From the main menu of the software, click on the button labeled "Preview a Document." (You must have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to preview a report.) After clicking on "Preview a Document," the report will appear on the screen. After verifying that it is the report you want to print, click on "Print" at the top of the page. After you print the report, close the window by clicking on the "X" in the top right-hand corner of the page.
Filers may obtain a password by submitting Form LOBBY PASS to the Ethics Commission. You can download this form at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/elf_lobby_pass.pdf.
Form LOBBY PASS allows you to provide a secret question and answer to the Ethics Commission. The commission will provide your password to you over the telephone, as long as you can answer the secret question that you submitted. At the bottom of Form LOBBY PASS, you may also authorize the Ethics Commission to release your password to a specific person, provided that person can answer the secret question.
If the Ethics Commission provided a password to you because you had been registered in the past, you may wish to complete Form LOBBY PASS so that you have a secret question and answer on file with the Ethics Commission.
Yes. You can change your password on the Ethics Commission's website by entering your account number, selecting your filer type, and then entering your current password.
If you selected "File Report Online" before entering your password, a confirmation number should appear in a pop-up window; e.g. TXL-123456. We suggest you write down the confirmation number for your records. You should also enter your email address on the same screen as the password. If the filing was successful, you should receive an email within 15 minutes from "Oracle Database Owner," which also contains the confirmation number. If you don't see a confirmation number, the filing did not succeed. You should try again or call TEC for assistance.
If you selected "File Report on CD/Disk" rather than "File Report Online," you will not see a confirmation number and you will not be able to enter your email address. For this reason, we do not recommend filing to CD/Disk unless you are unable to file online. After filing to disk, the name of the file will be displayed; e.g. C:\LOBB000495248.pdp.asc. You should write down the file name, then click on CLOSE, and then click on EXIT PROGRAM. Use "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer" to verify that the file is on the disk or CD before mailing it to the Ethics Commission.
Also, please check the Lobby Reports page of our website within a few days to verify that the report has been posted.
Check our website's Lobby Software Information page to find out what is the latest version of the software.
Click on the ABOUT menu at the top of the Lobby software. Look for the version of the software. If you do not see the ABOUT menu, exit the Lobby software and restart it.
The Lobby software (version 2.2.0 or higher) will automatically deliver updates to you when you open the software and are connected to the internet. The software prompts you to download the latest version from the Ethics web site if a more recent version is found. You may also click on the TOOLS menu and select UPDATE SOFTWARE.
If you are attempting to file an Activities Report that covers the previous year, you MUST file the report under your previous year’s Lobby Registration. If you have a new computer, or if you lost your data, you must create a placeholder Registration for the previous year. The placeholder Registration must be marked "Filed", which can be accomplished by selecting the previous year’s Lobby Registration and pressing the Ctrl and F keys simultaneously. Your data should look similiar to the figure below:
In this example, the filer has created a placeholder Lobby Registration for the year 2011 so that the annual Activities Report for the year ending 12/31/2011 can be filed in January 2012.
Last Revision: June 13, 2012