Lobbying data is an essential resource when researching influence over elected officials. As many states now require electronic filing of lobbyist reports, data on lobbyist registrations and expenditures has become much easier to search and download. That said, the approaches to presenting, indexing and providing access to this data vary widely by state. To make this easier to navigate, VR Research has prepared this 50 state guide for how to access, search and download lobbying data.
Lobbying data is available in all 50 states but varies widely in accessibility and information provided to the public. Typically in most states lobbyists or lobbying firms must file some form of lobbyist registration, which identifies their client, which time periods they were representing their client, and oftentimes lists the names of the individual lobbyists working on that account. Many states also require lobbyists to file reports of their activity and expenditures. What is disclosed here can vary greatly state-to-state, but may include the lobbying fees incurred by the client, the expenses for meeting with legislators or in providing gifts or meals, and sometimes the names of legislators who have taken meetings and the issues discussed.
As for what is required to be reported in a given state, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has prepared an excellent guide to lobbying requirements in all 50 states which is located here.
There are some states which stand out as providing comprehensive and easy to access lobbying data. Among these, Hawaii and Washington provide easy access to lobbying data which is downloadable in several formats. Maine and Florida also provide lobbying data that can be downloaded and easily searched. Two states, Maryland and Colorado, do not provide downloadable data but do allow a variety of searches and provide expansive information on gifts to legislators, bills lobbied, campaign contributions by lobbyists and lobbyist compensation.
The chart below provides summary information about and links to lobbying data in all 50 states.
|Alabama||Registered Lobbyist List downloadable as pdf. Contains client information. Available from 2008 to present. 2014 data downloadable to excel but excel download does not contain client information.|
|Alaska||Lobbyist Directories with client, lobbying interest and compensation information are available from 2005 to present in pdf format.
Employer of Lobbyist Directories with client, lobbying interest and compensation information are available from 2005 to present in pdf format.
Year End Summaries are available indexed by lobbyist and employer which contain compensation and reimbursement information from 2004 to present in pdf format.
|Arizona||Searchable by lobbyist, employer or public body.
No expenditure or compensation information available online.
|Arkansas||Registration and activity reports available from 2005 to present. Reports are downloadable as pdfs. No data download.|
|California||Can search by lobbyist or firm name for payments received. Data is downloadable into excel or tab delimited format.
Can search alphabetical list by firm/lobbyist name to access pdfs of filings.
Can search alphabetical list of entities that spend more than $5,000 to influence legislation without hiring or employing a lobbyist and review pdfs of activity reports.
|Colorado||Registration and activity reports searchable by lobbyist. Reports are viewable. Cumulative salary data is available by year.
Can search by firm be employing lobbyist for list of lobbyist names.
Can search by bill number to get list of lobbyist/firms who were active on bill.
|Connecticut||Lobbyist information searchable by lobbyist name. Reports downloadable with full list of lobbyists and client information.
Can download pdf’s of annual reports from 2009 to present.
Searches only work with Internet Explorer as browser.
|Delaware||Lobbyist information searchable by lobbyist name or employer name. Information is not downloadable.
Information is available on money spent by lobbyists and on issues lobbied through “lobby report” search.
Can download complete list of lobbyists in excel but not information on payments made.
|Florida||There is no name search but compensation reports are listed alphabetically by name of lobbyist and can be downloaded in delimited text format.
Full data sets of registered lobbyists can be downloaded in delimited text format.
|Georgia||Can search by lobbyist name or client name.
Can search lobbying expenditures by elected official name, lobbyist name, client name and download information in excel.
Can download lobbyist roster in pdf format. Includes compensation information.
|Hawaii||Registrations, organization’s expenditure statements and lobbyist expenditure statements all provided as dataset with many ways to sort or define data. Data can be downloaded in 8 formats.|
|Idaho||Yearly lists by lobbyist and employer available in pdf format. There is no name search.
Disclosure reports available in pdf format. The reports at not searchable. The reports are scanned by year.
|Illinois||Can search by lobbyist name or client name. Can search for expenditure reports which are pdfs.|
|Indiana||Can search by lobbyist or employer name and can click into summary information of reports.|
|Iowa||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can click into reports. Information is not downloadable.|
|Kansas||Itemized expenditure data is available and searchable by lobbyist or client name for the current year only. The information is not downloadable or formatted in a way that makes it easy to copy into a spreadsheet.
Lobbyist directories are available by year and are available here.
|Kentucky||Can search by lobbyist or employer name. Can go into expenditure and annual reports to obtain data. Data in reports in not downloadable.|
|Louisiana||Can search by lobbyist or employer and access expenditure reports. Can also search expenditures by legislators’ name.|
|Maine||Can search by lobbyist name and client for lobbying activity information. Can download information as csv, xls, pdf.
Can download full dataset of lobbyist/client and of lobbyist compensation by year as csv, xls, pdf.
|Maryland||Can search by lobbyist an employer. Can search registrations, activity reports, event reports, gift reports and campaign contributions. Results will allow clicking into actual report.|
|Massachusetts||Can search by lobbyist, entity or client. Cannot download client results into table. Can view information from disclosures. Information can be saved as a pdf.|
|Michigan||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Some disclosure information is linked and can obtain summary information.|
|Minnesota||There is no name search of lobbyist data. There are lists organized by lobbyist name or employer name.
You can search by lobbyist/employer and link to pdfs of activity reports.
|Mississippi||Can search by lobbyist or client. Compensation information searchable and downloadable in xls.
Can search for and save pdfs of activity reports.
|Missouri||Can search by lobbyist name, principal (employer) name. Can access reports which are pdfed.
Can search for expenditures by elected official. Information is provide in tabular format but is not downloadable.
|Montana||Can search by lobbyist or principal. Can access activity reports by principal.|
|Nebraska||Can access reports by searching for lobbyist’s name. Information is not downloadable.|
|Nevada||Information is available organized by lobbyist or employer. Expenditure information is available. The information is not downloadable but could be copy and pasted into excel.|
|New Hampshire||There is no name search. Activity reports are all available on the website and are organized by lobbyist name. The reports are in pdf.|
|New Jersey||Can search and download pdfs of activity reports. Search is by entity name (client or firm).|
|New Mexico||Can search by lobbyist or lobbyist employer. Can download summary information from reports in excel and download pdfs of reports.|
|New York||Can search by lobbyist or employer name. Can download full dataset from 2007 to present. Can search by public monies/public corporation expenditures on lobbying.|
|North Carolina||Can search by lobbyist name and download pdfs of filings.|
|North Dakota||List of registered lobbyists and organizations available online. Lobbyist Expenditure Reports are filed with the state, but are not available online.|
|Ohio||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can search expenditures and registrations.|
|Oklahoma||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can search transactions and expenditures. Data is not downloadable.|
|Oregon||No name or employer search. PDF files of expenditures by year are available in alpha order by lobbyist and by client name.
Lobbyist/Client list available for current year and is in excel format.
|Pennsylvania||Can search by lobbyist or client. Data can be exported to excel.
Can generate reports by subject, gift expenditures, indirect communications and registrations by subject.
|Rhode Island||Can search by lobbyist name by session and view filings.|
|South Carolina||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can access summary information and click into full report.|
|South Dakota||Can be searched by lobbyist or employer. Summary information provided including expense report information.|
|Tennessee||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can download search results into excel. Can click into summaries and review full report information.|
|Texas||Can search by lobbyist or employer. Can search expenditure reports.|
|Utah||Can search by lobbyist name and download expenditure data into excel for 2013 and 2014. Prior years, can view summary information on expenditures.
Can search by lobbyist name and obtain registration information. Data can be downloaded into excel.
|Vermont||Can search by lobbyist name or employer for information about clients, compensation and gifts. Data is not downloadable.
Can search by legislator for information on gifts from lobbyists.
|Virginia||Can search by lobbyist or employer name for information about clients and compensation. Information is not downloadable.
Through the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit, you can search by lobbyist/employer name and can obtain compensation, expenditure, client and issues lobbied information. Data is not downloadable.
|Washington||Can search by lobbyist, employer or public agency. Data including compensation and expenditures can be downloaded as pdf or xls.|
|Washington, DC||Can search by lobbyist or client name. Lobbyist activity reports are downloadable as individual PDFs. Search is by entity name (client or firm). Searchable from 2013 to present.|
|West Virginia||No searchable data. List of registered lobbyists and list of lobbyist employers available by year from 2005 to present.|
|Wisconsin||Can search by lobbyist or employer name. Can obtain information on clients, issued lobbied, compensation, expenditures and effort. Data is not downloadable.|
|Wyoming||No search available. A lobbyist list with client information is available in pdf from 1998 to present.|