#EthicsMatters: Recent Ethics Decisions of Interest (March 2019)

Miami-Dade County Ethics

This #EthicsMatters brief focuses on the — Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust’s (COE) Recent Decisions of Interest – as published on March 13, 2019.

Here is one of the important decisions —

Mandatory Disclosure Principal Ownership Interest (+5%)

“Meanwhile, a report presented to Ethics Commissioners associated with the soccer investigation found that the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and most municipalities in the County have not enforced the provision requiring that those with a five percent or greater stake in a corporate entity be identified on the lobbyist registration form as required by the ordinance.

 In fact, Miami-Dade County’s online lobbyist registration system neglected to include that question, and a review of paper registration forms filed with the County Clerk found almost all were non-compliant with that disclosure requirement. Only Miami Beach and Surfside insist that ownership information be completed for lobbyists representing corporations, trusts and partnerships.

 Other non-compliance issues discovered in the more than year-long review of lobbyist registrations are being addressed with the County Clerk. Additionally, representatives of Miami told Ethics Commissioners the City is adding a two-part principal ownership question to its form and will ensure compliance. Because of the actions taken by the local governments to rectify the oversights, Mr. Winker withdrew a different complaint against the City of Miami for its alleged failure to enforce its own lobbying rules.”

So, who is a lobbyists and therefore needs to register?

The Miami-Dade County Code defines lobbyists as “any person firm or corporation seeking to influence any action, decision or recommendation of County Personnel” including the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

Any individuals retained to influence County decisions and any Principal or employee whose scope of work includes lobbying activities MUST register with the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners.

Where do lobbyists register?

Lobbyists can now register or renew their registrations online.

When & what ethics courses do lobbyists need to complete?

The Miami-Dade County Code requires that all lobbyists take a Lobbyist Ethics Course approved by the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust within 60 days of their lobbyist registration. A certificate of completion must be sent to the Clerk of the Board.

The Commission on Ethics requires that lobbyists complete a Refresher Course every two (2) years following their initial registration.


Stay tuned for future #EthicsMatters with vitally important ethics decisions and regulations on County government lobbying and lobbyist registrations.

As always, we hope this information is helpful.

Warmest personal regards,

Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq.

Governmental Affairs Counsel

 

Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. 30 Anniversary

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