Common Cause a Victim of Its Own Demands

The organization that fights for more disclosure on how lobbyists influence lawmakers has become a victim of its own demands.  Common Cause/New York has been fined for failing to file a lobbyist registration report required by state law.

It's the organization's second fine in two years.

The failure of Rachel Leon to fill out her 2001 Lobbyist Statement of Registration within the time contraints landed the organization a $1,000 fine.

Common Cause was fined $500 one year ago when it failed to file a 2000 semi-annual report on time. 

New York law requires lobbyists to file an explanation of how they spend their budgets for lobbying activities, a requirement supported by Common Cause.  Leon eventually filed her statement, 191 days late, according to commission Executive Director David Grandeau.

The fine is typical for paperwork violations, which generally range from $500 to $2,000.  The four-member Temporary State Commission on Lobbying can assess fines of up to $25,000 for other violations of lobbying rules.

In December, the commission assessed $7,950 in penalties against lobbyists.

Fines went to lobbyists or organizations representing the Certified Automative Parts Association, AT&T Wireless Services, MedPro, Inc. and the Institute of Scrap Recycling-NY Chapter, all for paperwork violations.  Fines ranged from $250 to $1,500.

Twenty-three other lobbyists, including those representing the State University of New York at Buffalo, the New York City Police Athletic League, and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, were fined $100 each for failure to file a bimonthly report on time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.