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On ethics: Joan P. Sullivan

Joan P. Sullivan, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC, Attorneys at Law in Albany, NY

An interview by Adam Turteltaub, CHC, CCEP, SCCE & HCCA Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & International Programs.

AT: What exactly constitutes lobbying and what triggers the various government requirements?

JS: Generally speaking, lobbying is an attempt to influence an outcome of a governmental decision. Most people think of lobbying as a dirty word, because it conjures images of a well-paid professional lobbyist serving a corporate interest at the expense of the public good. But the truth of the matter is, lobbying happens all the time and can serve as a useful way to educate government decision-makers. Lobbying can occur anywhere by ordinary employees. Whether an activity is “reportable lobbying” and what is required will depend upon the jurisdiction in which you’re operating (i.e., federal, state, local) and it can be quite technical. Of course, many of the lobbying laws have many exceptions to consider as well.

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