Shockwaves abound as new regs classify PR as lobbying

New York is the first state to categorize public relations as lobbying. Watch out, industry leaders are fighting mad.

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From what I’ve seen over the years, PR pros aren’t easily shocked.

However, New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) has managed to stun most in the industry.

Earlier this year, JCOPE passed regulations that require PR consultants to provide information on their relationships and interaction with the media and government officials in the state of New York. Doesn’t it sound like the kind of accountability that lobbyists must provide?

According to the scope of the rules, PR practitioners or firms working with New York State officials could be labeled as lobbyists because of their potential influence on public officials via the media.

The new guidelines say that a PR professional in the Empire State is considered a lobbyist if any of the following situations apply:

The result of PR initiatives includes introducing, passing or defeating a bill

The PR message takes a clear position on a bill

The PR efforts are an attempt to influence a public official in regards to a bill

The move has prompted public relations practitioners, agencies and professional organizations to ask how this label could be associated with the entire PR industry.

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