Communicating with government officials to try to win California state contracts would be considered lobbying under legislation the Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday despite opposition from the state’s campaign-finance watchdog.
While state law requires people who seek to influence legislators or state agencies to register as lobbyists, and mandates that their clients disclose how much they spend on lobbying, those rules do not extend to bidding on state contracts.
Assembly Bill 1200 would change that. If Brown signs the bill, people who communicate with government officials about contracts enough to earn $2,000 or more a month for their efforts would have to register as lobbyists. It would apply only to people working on contracts worth at least $250,000.
The bill “will bring transparency to the state procurement process,” said Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park.
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Legislators passed the bill 72-0, overriding objections of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The agency, which tracks political spending and would need to implement the law, said the measure would extend regulators beyond their traditional scope and criticized it for covering only contract lobbyists and not those employed full-time by a given organization.
“This bill will not accomplish what the proponents are promising the public,” FPPC spokesman Jay Wierenga said in an emailed statement. “Rather, it will increase the cost of doing business in California without any increase in meaningful disclosure.”