Lobbying

Lobbying is the exercising of influence in which an individual (a lobbyist) attempts to influence a decision by decision-makers (lobbied persons), who are active in drafting and adopting legislation, general documents, and public policies. Such an individual exercises said influence in a non-public manner and in the interest of an interest group.

Pursuant to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act (IPCA), “lobbying” is the activity of lobbyists who in the name of interest groups exercise non-public influence on the decision-making of state bodies, the Bank of Slovenia, local community bodies and administrations, and holders of public authority in the discussion and adoption of regulation and other general documents, and on the decision-making of state bodies, the Bank of Slovenia, local community bodies and administrations, and holders of public authority in other matters except those subject to judicial and administrative proceedings, other proceedings carried out according to the regulations governing public procurement, and other proceedings in which the rights and obligations of individuals are decided upon. Any non-public contact of a lobbyist with lobbied persons established with the intention of influencing the content or the procedure of adopting the aforementioned decisions constitutes an act of lobbying (Point 14 of Article 4 of the IPCA).

The IPCA limits the definition of lobbying by limiting decision-makers (lobbied persons) only to state bodies, local community bodies and administrations, the Bank of Slovenia, and holders of public authority, and decisions only to those applying to the adoption of regulation and other general documents as well as other matters except those subject to judicial and administrative proceedings, proceedings carried out according to the regulations governing public procurement, and other proceedings in which the rights and obligations of individuals are decided upon. The IPCA classifies any non-public contact of a lobbyist with lobbied persons as exercising influence.

Such exercising of influence is legitimate, but it must be legally regulated and transparent.

For legal lobbying as stipulated by the IPCA, all of the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • a non-public contact between the lobbied person and the lobbyist or the representative of an interest group must take place;
  • the purpose of exercising influence must apply to decision-making within the public sector (the public sector for the purposes of lobbying being defined as state bodies, the Bank of Slovenia, local community bodies and administrations, and holders of public authority) in matters of public importance, and;
  • exercising the influence, i.e. lobbying, is performed in the interest of, in the name of, or on the account of an interest group.

Lobbying in accordance with the IPCA is a legitimate activity by means of which interest groups may access formal centres of decision-making power on matters of public importance in a formal and transparent manner.

Lobbying is not permissible in:

  • judicial proceedings;
  • administrative proceedings,
  • proceedings carried out according to the regulations governing public procurement, and; 
  • other proceedings in which the rights and obligations of individuals are decided upon (recruitment-, disciplinary, etc.).

All of the above proceedings are legally regulated proceedings which stipulate specific procedural rights of parties to the proceeding. As a result, exercising influence on the decision-makers and their decisions in these proceedings is not permissible or is prohibited and may even constitute illegal conduct.

Minor offences

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (the Commission) may impose the following sanctions on lobbyists, lobbied persons, and public-sector bodies that may be subject to lobbying pursuant to the IPCA, as well as on interest groups:

  • sanctions for violations on part of the lobbyist are defined in Articles 73 and 74 (administrative sanctions), and in Article 77 (minor-offence sanctions) of the IPCA;
  • sanctions for violations on part of the lobbied person are defined in Article 77 of the IPCA (minor-offence sanctions);
  • sanctions for violations on part of the public-sector body are defined in Article 78 of the IPCA (minor-offence sanctions),
  • sanctions for the interest group (minor-offence sanctions) are defined in Article 79 of the IPCA.

In case of a suspicion of a breach of the provisions on lobbying which constitute a minor offence pursuant to the IPCA, the Commission as the minor-offence body acting through an authorised official will initiate a minor-offence proceeding and reach a decision on the offence whereupon it may impose a sanction pursuant to Articles 77 (minor offences by natural persons), 78 (offences by legal persons) and 79 (offences by an interest group) of the IPCA.

Lobbying is presented in greater detail in Systemic Explanation of Lobbying (only in Slovene).

Forms

The lobbied person is obliged report to the Commission on any contact with a lobbyist within eight days. Two forms were prepared for this purpose:

The lobbied person makes a record of a contact with a lobbyist during which no breaches of Articles 58 and 70 of the IPCA were detected using the form Records made by lobbied persons at a contact with lobbyists. If the lobbied person detected a breach of the provisions of the IPCA on lobbying during a contact with a lobbyist, they report this using the form Reporting on prohibited lobbyist actions by lobbied persons.

A lobbyist entered into the Registry of Lobbyists is obliged to submit a written report on their work to the Commission until 31st January of the current year for the previous year, or no later than 30 days after the expiry of validity of the registration (for the relevant portion of the current year).

For this purpose, the form Report on the lobbyist’s work was prepared for the lobbyist.

A registered lobbyist is obliged to submit a report on their work to the Commission even if they carried out no lobbying activities during the year for which they are obliged to submit a report to the Commission.

Forms for lobbyists

Interest groups

Interest groups are obliged to submit a report to the Commission on the lobbying activities of non-registered lobbyists.

An interest group for which a non-registered lobbyist (an employee, or an elected or otherwise legitimate representative) carried out lobbying activities is obliged to submit a written report on the lobbying activities by 31st January of the current year for the previous year, or may alternatively submit a separate report for every contact with a lobbied person. An interest group reports to the Commission using the form Report on the activity of the interest group.

A non-profit interest private-sector group with no employees is not obliged to submit a report on lobbying activities to the Commission. All interest groups engaged in gainful or profitable activity on the market are obliged to report on lobbying activities regardless of the number of employees, including those with no employees.

Forms for interest groups

For help with completing the forms, contact us by phone no. +386 (1) 400 57 10.

Legal provisions

13. “Interest groups” means legal persons governed by private law, and other legally regulated forms of association of natural or legal persons, on behalf and for the account of which a lobbyist performs a lobbying activity;
14. “Lobbying” means the activities carried out by lobbyists who, on behalf of interest groups, exercise non-public influence on decisions made by state, the Bank of Slovenia and local community bodies and holders of public authority in discussing and adopting regulations and other general documents and on decisions made by state bodies, the Bank of Slovenia, the bodies and administrations of local communities, and holders of public authority on matters other than those which are subject to judicial and administrative proceedings, other proceedings carried out according to the regulations governing public procurement, and proceedings in which the rights and obligations of individuals are decided upon. Lobbying means any non-public contact made between a lobbyist and a lobbied party for the purpose of influencing the content or the procedure for adopting the aforementioned decisions;
15. “Lobbyist” means any person who is engaged in lobbying and who is entered in the register of lobbyists or a person who is engaged in lobbying and is an employee of an interest group and lobbies on its behalf or a person who is an elected or otherwise legitimate representative of such an interest group;
16. “Lobbied persons” means holders of public office and public employees in state bodies, the Bank of Slovenia, local community bodies and administrations and holders of public authority who are responsible for decision-making, or who participate in the discussion and adoption of regulations, other general documents and decisions pursuant to point 14 of this Article and with whom lobbyists communicate for lobbying purposes;

Article 56

(Lobbying and lobbyists)

(1) Lobbying activities may be performed only by registered lobbyists, with the exception of the persons listed in paragraph four of Article 58 of this Act.

(2) A lobbyist may be any person having reached the age of majority who is not employed in the public sector, has not been deprived of the capacity to enter into contracts and has not been given a final sentence for a premeditated crime prosecuted ex officio in the Republic of Slovenia of imprisonment for a term of more than six months.

(3) Officials may not lobby until two years have elapsed from the date of termination of their office.

Article 56a

(Exceptions to lobbying)

Actions taken by individuals, informal groups or interest groups for the purpose of influencing the decision-making of state bodies, bodies of self-governing local communities and other organisations vested with public authority in the consideration and adoption of regulations and other general documents in the area directly relating to the systemic issues of strengthening the rule of law, democracy, and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is not considered lobbying under the provisions of this Act.

2. (Lobbyist associations)

Article 57

(Lobbyist associations)

Lobbyists may form lobbyist associations which adopt the code of professional ethics.

3. Registration of lobbyists

Article 58

(Entry in the register)

(1) Lobbying activities may be performed by a domestic or foreign natural person entered in the register of lobbyists in the Republic of Slovenia, which is kept by the Commission. Entry into the register shall be a prerequisite for the commencement of lobbying activities.

(2) Lobbying activities for legal persons may be performed only by natural persons entered in the register of lobbyists in the Republic of Slovenia.

(3) Lobbyists shall be entered in a register that contains the following data: the personal name of the lobbyist, tax ID number, the address where the notices and invitations referred to in paragraph two of Article 67 of this Act are to be received, the registered office or name and the head office of the company, sole trader or interest group if that is where the lobbyist is employed, and the areas in which the lobbyist has registered an interest.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, persons carrying out lobbying activities for the interest group in which they are employed shall not be obliged to enter into the register of lobbyists. The same shall apply to the legal representative or elected representative of the interest group.

(5) A fee shall be charged for entry into the register in accordance with the act governing administrative fees.

(6) The data in the register shall be made public, with the exception of the tax ID number.

(7) Foreign lobbyists shall be entered into the register on the basis of officially translated documents proving, mutatis mutandis, that the conditions referred to in paragraph three of this Article have been met.

(8) Lobbyists shall report any change regarding the data for entry into the register within eight days of its occurrence.

Article 59

(Entry documents)

In order to be entered into the register, a foreign natural person must also submit an extract from the public register for a lobbyist individual sole trader, company or interest group if they employ the lobbyist in question.

Article 60

(Issuing a decision)

(1) The Commission shall issue a decision on entry into the register or a decision on removal from the register within 15 days of receipt of the application for entry or after the reasons for removal from the register have arisen.

(2) A lobbyist shall be entered in the register on the date on which the decision is served.

(3) Confirmation of entry shall be issued to the lobbyist on the basis of the decision on entry into the register. The confirmation form shall be determined by the registration authority.

(4) A lobbyist shall return the confirmation form to the registration authority within eight days of the expiry of validity of the registration or the removal from the register.

Article 61

(Completing the entry data)

(1) If the Commission finds that a lobbyist candidate has failed to submit all the required data and enclosures for the entry or renewal of the entry into the register, it shall invite the candidate, within five days at the latest, to submit them within the time limit set. This time limit may not be shorter than 5 days or longer than 15 days.

(2) If the lobbyist candidate submits the data in question within the time limit set, the Commission shall issue a decision on entry into the register to the candidate within the next 15 days.

(3) If the lobbyist candidate fails to submit the required data within the time limit referred to in paragraph one of this Article, the candidate’s application for entry into the register shall be dismissed.

Article 62

(Removal from the register)

The Commission shall remove a lobbyist from the register on the following bases:

– if it has been established that the data and documents used for entry into the register are false;

– if they have been given a final sentence of imprisonment for premeditated crime prosecuted ex officio in the Republic of Slovenia for a term of more than six months;

– if it finds that they no longer meet the criteria for entry into the register;

– if they state in writing that they no longer wish to be a lobbyist or carry out lobbying activities.

4. Reporting obligations for lobbyists

Article 63

(Report by the lobbyist)

(1) A lobbyist entered in the register of lobbyists in the Republic of Slovenia shall report in writing to the Commission on their work within the following timeframes:

– by 31 January of the current year for the previous year and

– by no later than within 30 days of the expiry of the validity of registration.

(2) A lobbyist entered in the register of lobbyists in the Republic of Slovenia shall keep the documentation on which reporting to the Commission is based for five years from the date on which the report referred to in the preceding paragraph is submitted.

(3) The interest group for which the person referred to in paragraph four of Article 58 of this Act lobbies shall also report to the Commission on lobbying using the electronic form available on the Commission’s website, either regularly or by 31 January of the current year for the previous year at the latest. The report shall contain the lobbyist’s name and surname and the information referred to in indents four, five and six of Article 64 of this Act.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, a non-profit private sector interest group without employees shall not report on lobbying.

Article 64

(Content of the report)

The report referred to in the preceding Article shall contain the following:

– the lobbyist’s tax ID number;

– data on interest groups for which the lobbyist has lobbied;

– data on the amount of payment received from interest groups for each matter in which the lobbyist has lobbied; if lobbying is a part of a service contract that also includes other activities and the value of lobbying cannot be clearly determined, the lobbyist shall state the value of the service contract and the percentage of payment for lobbying;

– the statement of the purpose and objective of lobbying for a particular interest group;

– the names of state bodies in which the lobbyist has lobbied and persons lobbied by the lobbyist;

– types and methods of lobbying for a particular matter in which the lobbyist has lobbied;

– the type and value of donations made to political parties and the organisers of electoral and referendum campaigns.

Article 65

(Verifying and completing the report)

The Commission shall verify whether the report contains all the data required. If it finds that the report is incomplete in this respect, the Commission shall request the lobbyist to properly complete the report within the time limit set. This time limit may not be shorter than 20 days and not longer than 30 days.

Article 66

(Verifying the accuracy of data and statements)

The Commission may verify the accuracy of the data and statements contained in the report by carrying out the following:

– viewing the lobbyist’s documentation referred to in Article 64 of this Act;

– making enquiries with interest groups for which the lobbyist has lobbied;

– making enquiries with state bodies in which the lobbyist has lobbied and persons lobbied by the lobbyist;

– making enquiries with political parties and the organisers of electoral and referendum campaigns;

– proposing that competent authorities conduct an audit of the operations of the lobbyist, a company, sole trader or interest group employing the lobbyist, or interest groups for which the lobbyist has lobbied.

4. Providing information

Article 67

(The lobbyist’s right to information)

(1) In a written request for access to information of a public nature under the act governing access to information of a public nature, the lobbied person is not required to meet the conditions stipulated in paragraph one of Article 69 of this Act.

(2) A lobbyist entered in the register of lobbyists in the Republic of Slovenia shall have the right to be invited to all public presentations and all forms of public consultations with regard to the areas in which they have registered an interest and shall be informed thereof by the state bodies and local communities concerned.

Article 68

(Informing persons lobbied and lobbying record)

(1) In carrying out lobbying activities, a lobbyist may meet the persons lobbied or submit to them any verbal or written information and material on matters in which the lobbyist carries out lobbying activities for interest groups. In so doing, they must provide the data referred to in paragraph two of this Article and paragraph one of Article 69 of this Act.

(2) At every contact with the lobbyist who intends to carry out lobbying activities, the person lobbied shall make a record containing the following data: the lobbyist’s personal name, information on whether the lobbyist has identified himself or herself in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the area of lobbying, the purpose and aim, the name of the interest group or any other organisation for which the lobbyist is lobbying, any enclosures and the date and place of the lobbyist’s visit. The person lobbied shall forward a copy of the record to their superior and the Commission within eight days. The obligation of persons lobbied to keep a record shall also apply in the event of contact referred to in paragraph three of Article 69 of this Act. The Commission shall keep lobbying records for a period of five years.

(3) Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, the person lobbied shall not keep a record if an attempt at contact was made in writing and does not contain all the data referred to in paragraph one of Article 69 of this Act and if this letter is immediately and without any further contact with the sender entered in the documentary records archive.

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph two of this Article, in case of an email addressed to several representatives of the same body, only the first addressee lobbied shall report such a message and notify the other addressees thereof.

(5) The Commission may require the person lobbied to supplement the record of lobbying within eight days if it establishes that the record is missing any prescribed data.

(6) Records of contact with lobbyists shall be submitted by means of an electronic form, which is available on the Commission’s website.

Article 69

(The lobbyist’s duty of identification)

(1) A lobbyist shall show to the persons lobbied their identification and an authorisation obtained from the interest group to lobby in a particular matter. The lobbyist shall also state the purpose and objective of the lobbying in question.

(2) The persons lobbied may agree to have contact with the lobbyist only after verifying whether the lobbyist is entered in the register of lobbyists (exceptions to this are referred to in paragraph four of Article 58 of this Act).

(3) If, during contact with a particular lobbyist, a conflict of interest arises on the part of the person lobbied, the person lobbied shall refuse any further contact with the lobbyist.

5. Prohibitions

Article 70

(Prohibited actions of lobbyists)

(1) A lobbyist may not lobby outside the scope specified in point 14 of Article 4 of this Act.

(2) A lobbyist may not provide incorrect, incomplete or misleading information to the persons lobbied.

(3) When carrying out lobbying activities, a lobbyist may not act in contravention of regulations on the prohibition of the acceptance of gifts in connection with the discharge of the duties of the office or public duties of the persons lobbied.

Article 71

(Reporting prohibited lobbyist actions)

(1) If a lobbyist fails to act in accordance with the preceding Article or is not entered in the register of lobbyists in accordance with Article 58, the person lobbied shall report the lobbyist to the Commission within ten days of the attempt to lobby in question.

(2) Persons lobbied shall be obliged to report the contact referred to in paragraph four of Article 58 to the Commission in the event that it is made in a non-public manner.

(3) If the persons lobbied consider the contact referred to in the preceding paragraph to be illegal or contrary to the purpose of this Act, they must refuse it and inform the Commission thereof.

Article 72

(Right to a make statement with regard to the report)

(1) In the event that a report referred to in the preceding Article is filed, the Commission shall inform the lobbyist or reported person of this and shall set the time limit by which the lobbyist or reported person may make a statement with regard to the report. This time limit may not be shorter than 15 days and not longer than 30 days.

(2) The lobbyist or reported person may make a statement referred to in the preceding paragraph orally or in writing for the record before the Commission.

(3) The Commission may verify the accuracy of data contained in the report and in the statement of the lobbyist or reported person in accordance with Article 66 of this Act.

Article 73

(Sanctions for failure to comply with the provisions of this Act)

(1) The Commission shall impose the following sanctions on a lobbyist who has failed to submit the report referred to in Article 63 of this Act or complete it in accordance with Article 65 of this Act or for whom it has been established in accordance with Article 66 of this Act that they have given false information in the report:

– a written reminder,

– a ban from lobbying activities for a specified period of time, which may not be shorter than 3 months or longer than 24 months,

– removal from the register.

(2) The sanctions referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be entered in the register of lobbyists.

(3) The Commission may impose a sanction depending on the gravity of the violation, on the consequences that ensue, and on whether the violation is a first-time or repeat violation.

Article 74

(Sanctions for violations of the duty of identification and the prohibition regarding lobbyist actions)

(1) The Commission may impose the following sanctions on a lobbyist who has acted in contravention of Articles 69 or 70 of this Act:

– a written reminder,

– a ban from further lobbying activities in a particular matter,

– a ban from lobbying for a specified period of time, which may not be shorter than 3 months or longer than 24 months,

– removal from the register.

(2) The Commission may impose a sanction depending on the gravity of the violation, on the consequences that ensue, and on whether the violation is a first-time or repeat violation. The sanctions referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be entered in the register of lobbyists.

For the purpose of exercising supervision over lobbying and strengthening the transparency of influence on the decision-making in the public sector, the Commission keeps a publicly accessible Register of Contacts with Lobbyists.

From 1st January 2018, the records made by lobbied persons with lobbyists are timely published in the Erar app. Until 2018, as part of Project Transparency, the Commission had published up-to-date lists of reported contacts with lobbyists, which are accessible below.

The obligation to report applies to all contacts with lobbyists, which may take any form of communication between individuals, i.e. in person, in writing, by telephone, by e-mail, or via other means and channels of communication.

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