Registration and Reporting Requirements for Lobbyists

Empty Minnesota Capitol chamber with empty seats, the American and Minnesota state flags, and statues of prominent former Minnesota legislators.

Important Note: Lobbying rules were changed in the 2023 legislative session and details are still being determined. We will update this information as soon as possible.

Understanding and Reporting Under Minnesota’s Revised Lobbying Statutes 

In 2023, lawmakers made significant changes to Minnesota Statutes that govern lobbying activity, and Rules implementing these statutory changes will be coming soon. Join Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Jeff Sigurdson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board for this webinar, aimed at nonprofit lobbyists who need to know about the upcoming changes to the state’s lobbying reporting.

In this free webinar, you will learn:  

  • Why these new rules were put into effect 
  • Content of the draft rules 
  • New lobbying thresholds 
  • How to report under the new rules 
  • How it impacts you as a registered nonprofit lobbyist 
  • How to provide feedback on the new process and proposed rules

Access the webinar recording.   

The following information is from the Handbook for Lobbyists and Lobbyist Principals available from the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board.

Who Must Register as a Lobbyist in Minnesota

Please note: Each state has unique rules on lobbyist registration. Outside of Minnesota, consult your state’s Attorney General for state-specific guidelines.

You Must Register as a Lobbyist if You are:

  • An individual who is paid more than $3,000, from all sources, in any year for lobbying at the metropolitan, legislative, and state agency levels.
  • An individual who spends more than $250 of their own money in any year lobbying (not including travel expenses and membership dues).
  • Appointed local officials or employees of a political subdivision who spend more than 50 hours in any month lobbying.
  • You do not have to register as a lobbyist if you are:
    • a volunteer who lobbies and is not paid and does not spend any more than $250 (this dollar limit does not include costs for travel or membership dues);
    • administrative support staff, whose salary and associated administrative costs attributable to lobbying are reported as lobbying expenses by a lobbyist, if they do not communicate or urge others to communicate with public or local officials;
    • a public official;
    • an employee of the state, including an employee of any of the public higher education systems;
    • an elected local official;
    • a party or the party’s representative appearing in a proceeding before a state board, commission, or agency of the executive branch unless the board, commission, or agency is taking administrative action;
    • an individual engaged in selling goods or services to be paid for by public funds;
    • a member of the news media or its employees or agents engaged in the publishing or broadcasting of news items, editorial comments, or paid advertisements which directly or indirectly urge official action;
    • a paid expert witness whose testimony is requested by the body before which the witness is appearing, but only to the extent of preparing or delivering testimony; or
    • a party or the party’s representative appearing to present a claim to the legislature and communicating to legislators only by the filing of a claim form and supporting documents and by appearing at public hearings on the claim.

When Do I Register?

A lobbyist is required to register within five days after meeting one or more of the definitions listed above.

How Do I Register?

A lobbyist must sign and file a Lobbyist Registration form with the Board. The form may be printed from the Board’s website and is available from the Board’s office. A lobbyist must file a separate form for each individual or association that the lobbyist represents.

What If an Organization Has More than One Lobbyist

When you register you must select one of the following reporting options:

  • Authorizing lobbyist: You choose to authorize another lobbyist (reporting lobbyist) who lobbies for the same entity to report your lobbying disbursements to the Board
  • Reporting lobbyist: Reporting lobbyists must indicate on the Lobbyist Registration form that they will be reporting disbursements for additional lobbyists (authorizing lobbyists) representing the same entity.
  • Self-reporting lobbyist: Self-reporting lobbyists report only their own disbursements directly to the Board.

Further, an entity that employs lobbyists must designate one and only one lobbyist to report its disbursements. The designated lobbyist must indicate their status on the registration and the periodic reports.

Lobbyist registration is permanent until the lobbyist files a Lobbyist Termination Statement.

When and How Do I Report My Lobbyist Activities?

Lobbyist disbursement reports are due two times a year, January 15 (for June 1 through December 31 activities) and June 15 (for January 1 through May 31 activities) and are available for public viewing. Further, each principal that had a lobbyist registered with the Board during the previous calendar year must report annually on March 15. All reports may be filed electronically.

Registered lobbyists are prohibited from making contributions to a candidate or legislative caucus during a regular legislative session. For contribution limits and other prohibitions (e.g. ‘the gift ban’) please consult the Lobbyist Handbook from the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board.