by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 6 April 2007) – Pennsylvanians can now search a unified online database of registered lobbyists.
After lobbyist disclosure legislation passed last year, Pennsylvania lost the distinction of being the only state in the country without universal requirements.
Now, in accordance with the new law, the Department of State has assembled registration information at a searchable website.
Project manager and deputy department commissioner Chet Harhut emphasizes that anyone can navigate this site – not just Capitol insiders who are familiar with the terminology and trappings of lobbying.
For example, he says, you can search for each of three types of players – lobbyists, principals and firms.
"Lobbyists are the actual people doing the lobbying. A principal is someone who would hire the lobby. It could be a company (or) a corporation. A firm is just a company that has a bunch of lobbyists under it," Harhut says.
Click here to access the site.