Montana Lobbyist listings on the Web
|January 30, 2007||View for printing|
Listings showing who's lobbying the Montana Legislature and who they're working for are now available on the World Wide Web. The listings reflect lobbyists and principals registered with the Commissioner of Political Practices, information that's readily available now for the first time to anyone with internet access.
"This is a first, small step toward what will eventually be full access to all the information reported for lobbying and political campaigning in Montana," according to Dennis Unsworth, Commissioner of Political Practices.
The listings can be found at http://www.lobbysearch.mt.gov
Lobbyists who earn more than $2300 per calendar year to lobby the legislature are required to register under Montana's law. They pay a $150 license fee and must list who they're lobbying for. Businesses, associations, government agencies and others who pay lobbyists to work on their behalf must also register, and are listed on the website as well.
Unsworth said about a dozen forms related to lobbying, political campaigns, ethics laws, and related complaints are available on-line now in a format that can be filled-in at a personal computer, also for the first time. And a back-up phone line and fax machine have been added to handle heavy incoming fax traffic around reporting deadlines.
Montana's campaign and lobby disclosure laws get high marks, but the lack of on-line disclosure offsets that, Unsworth said. Searches require sifting through paper records at the office in Helena, or at the local county election administrator's offices, and can be tedious and time-consuming. He said technology will change that, and work is underway to make all the information reported readily available over the internet.
The service was cooperatively developed and is supported by the Commissioner of Political Practices, the Department of Administration's Information Technology Services Division, Fiserv Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV), Montana Interactive LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment provider NIC (Nasdaq: EGOV), and AssureIT LLP, of Clancy Montana. Startup funding was provided by the Montana Secretary of State from candidate filing fees.
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