House Approves Cutler Measure to Toughen Penalties on Lobbyists who Defy Lobbyist Disclosure Act

Rep. Bryan Cutler’s (R-Peach Bottom) proposal to increase penalties for violators of Pennsylvania’s Lobbyist Disclosure Act (LDA) received unanimous approval in the House today. 

“This legislation is about restoring trust in Harrisburg,” said Cutler.  “People deserve to know which members are being lobbied for which causes because that kind of transparency will lead to greater integrity.  Lobbyists have an important function to play in developing and advocating policy in Harrisburg, but they also have a responsibility to be accountable for their actions.  If this bill becomes law, I believe we will see even fewer cases of lobbyists failing to report their activities.” 

House Bill 103 would increase the maximum administrative penalty the Ethics Commission may impose when a lobbyist or principal has engaged in unlawful practices under the LDA from $2,000 to $10,000.  These acts could include attempting to influence a state official by extortion, coercion or bribery; attempting to influence a state official by providing campaign contributions; refusing to identify a principal; or advising a person to violate the LDA.   

In addition, the legislation increases the length of time the commission may prohibit an individual from lobbying from five to 10 years.  Finally, the bill would address negligent failure to report, as required under LDA, by increasing penalties from $50 per day late to $250 per day late. 

The legislation was included as part of a package of bills, called the Pennsylvania Agenda for Trust in Harrisburg (PATH), put forth by House Republicans to reform state government.  Other measures in the package include legislation to make the Right-To-Know law applicable to public procurement contracts and a bill to create an online database, open to the public for searches, of all state government expenditures. 

Cutler noted that identical legislation to House Bill 103 passed the House unanimously last year, but did not make it the governor’s desk prior to the end of session. 

“The Senate will now consider, and hopefully soon act upon, the bills the House sent over today,” said Cutler.  “I am hopeful all the proposals in the package become law because they are truly in the best interest of Pennsylvania’s citizens.” 

State Representative Bryan Cutler
100th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley

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