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Commission Approves New Lobbying Rules

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The city's Lobbying Commission approved recommendations today that would significantly expand the definition of lobbying activities.

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Under the recommendations, which will now go to the City Council and mayor, the definition of lobbying activities would include legislation that has not been formally introduced as well as any attempt to influence oversight hearings and mayoral executive orders.

The commission also recommended that the law be clarified to encourage architects, engineers, planners and others engaged in technical work to register with the commission.

That last recommendation could shed light on decisions surrounding land use, said Citizens Union Public Policy Director Alex Camarda, who generally praised the commission's recommendations.

"Enhanced transparency will, however, only occur if the clerk's database revealing lobbying activity is modernized," he said in an e-mailed response.

Citizens Union is the sister organization of Gotham Gazette.

The commissioners' recommendations were a result of a prolonged process that began in March 2011 with a series of public hearings. A preliminary report was released in August 2011. That was followed by another hearing the next month. The final draft report was published Feb. 27, 2013.

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