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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

What is a lobbyist?

According to Minnesota Statutes 10A.01, Subdivision 21, "Lobbyist" means an individual

  • Engaged for pay or other consideration of more than $3,000 from all sources in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials; or
  • Who spends more than $250, not including the individual's own traveling expenses and membership dues, in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials.

"Lobbyist" does not include

  • A public official
  • An employee of the state, including an employee of any of the public higher education systems
  • An elected local official
  • A nonelected local official or an employee of a political subdivision acting in an official capacity, unless the nonelected official or employee of a political subdivision spends more than 50 hours in any month attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit other than the political subdivision employing the official or employee, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials, including time spent monitoring legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, and related research, analysis, and compilation and dissemination of information relating to legislative or administrative policy in this state, or to the policies of metropolitan governmental units;
  • 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 while engaged in selling goods or services to be paid for by public funds
  • A news medium or its employees or agents while 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
  • 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.
  • An individual who volunteers personal time to work without pay or other consideration on a lobbying campaign, and who does not spend more than the limit in paragraph (a), clause (2), need not register as a lobbyist.
  • An individual who provides administrative support to a lobbyist and whose salary and administrative expenses attributable to lobbying activities are reported as lobbying expenses by the lobbyist, but who does not communicate or urge others to communicate with public or local officials, need not register as a lobbyist.