Title 51: City Clerk

Chapter 2: Commissioner of Deeds

§ 2-01 Qualifications.

To become a Commissioner of Deeds, an individual:

  1. must be a citizen of the United States of America;
  2. must be a resident of the City of New York, or be an attorney who maintains a law office within the City of New York (such attorneys are deemed residents of the City by NYS Executive Law §§ 140(5) and (5-a) for the purpose of becoming a Commissioner of Deeds);
  3. must be at least 18 years of age;
  4. must not have been removed from the Office of Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds;
  5. must be an attorney, an attorney’s employee, someone serving a clerkship in a law office, or someone who has qualified for a Certificate of Fitness from the Office of the City Clerk. After the oath or affirmation is administered, the Commissioner of Deeds should place the appropriate one of the following statements (called a “jurat”) after the person’s signature: “Sworn to before me this ____________________ day of __________,  19 ____.” The jurat must be followed by the signature and other information of the Commissioner of Deeds as described above.

   (1) Acknowledgements. For the purpose of a Commissioner of Deeds, an acknowledgement is a declaration by a person that he is in fact the person who is described in a particular document and that he has executed (signed) that particular document. There is no particular form that must be used in taking an acknowledgement. For an acknowledgement to be valid, the Commissioner of Deeds must ask the person making the acknowledgement:

      (i) to identify himself to the satisfaction of the commissioner of deeds;

      (ii) whether he is the person described in the document; and

      (iii) whether it is in fact his signature on the document.

(It is not essential for the person to sign the document in the presence of the Commissioner of Deeds.)

After taking an acknowledgement, the Commissioner of Deeds must place a statement on the document or attach a statement to the document as evidence of her taking the acknowledgment. Whatever form used, the statement must recite all the matters that were required to be done, known or proved on the taking of the acknowledgement, together with the name and substance of the declaration of the person making the acknowledgement. An acceptable form of such a statement is: “On this ________________ day of __________, 19 ____, before me came (person’s name), to me known to be the individual described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that he executed the same.” This must be followed by the Commissioner’s signature and other information as described above.

§ 2-02 Certificates of Fitness – Qualifications.

To qualify for a Certificate of Fitness from the Office of the City Clerk, an applicant for the office of Commissioner of Deeds:

  1. must not have any outstanding tax bills or any unpaid traffic tickets; and
  2. must not have been convicted of:

   (1) any felony; or

   (2) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon; or

   (3) making or possessing burglar’s tools; or

   (4) buying or receiving or criminally possessing stolen property; or

   (5) unlawful entry of a building; or

   (6) aiding escape from prison; or

   (7) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit-forming narcotic drugs; or

   (8) practicing or appearing as attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered (Judiciary Law § 478; former Penal Law § 270); or

   (9) soliciting legal business on behalf of an attorney (Jud. Law § 479; former Penal Law § 270-a); or

   (10) entering a hospital to negotiate a settlement or obtain a release statement from a patient (Jud. § 480; former Penal Law § 270-b); or

   (11) being an employee or another attached to a hospital, police department, prison, court, or bail bond institution, who assisted or abetted the solicitation of persons or the procurement of a retainer for or on behalf of an attorney (Jud. Law § 481; former Penal Law § 270-c); or

   (12) unlawfully practicing law (Jud. Law § 484; former Penal Law § 271); or

   (13) purchasing claims for the purpose of commencing a lawsuit (Jud. Law § 489; former Penal Law § 275); or

   (14) as an attorney, sharing legal fees with a non-attorney (Jud. Law § 491; former Penal Law § 271); or

   (15) “jostling,” i.e., taking certain actions designed to aid or commit pickpocketing (Penal Law § 165.30; former Penal Law § 722); or

   (16) fraudulent accosting (Penal Law § 165.30; former Penal Law § 722); or

   (17) aggravated harassment in the second degree via electronic, print, or other medium (Penal Law § 240.30(1); former Penal Law § 722); or

   (18) loitering for the purpose of engaging another in deviate sexual intercourse or other deviate sexual behavior (Penal Law § 240.35(3); former Penal Law § 722); or

   (19) violation of §§ 550; 551, or 551-a of the former Penal Law; or

   (20) vagrancy or prostitution.

  1. must, if applying on or after January 1, 1990, have earned a grade of at least 65 percent on a written examination to be administered by the Office of the City Clerk in accordance with 51 RCNY § 2-03 of these Rules.

§ 2-03 Certificates of Fitness – Application and Examination.

(a) Commencing January 1, 1990, the City Clerk will not issue a Certificate of Fitness to any applicant for the Office of Commissioner of Deeds until and unless the applicant has earned a grade of at least 65 percent on a written examination administered by the Office of the City Clerk.
  1. Applicants shall take the examination prior to submitting their application and fees. An application shall not be considered complete unless the applicant has earned a grade of at least 65 percent on the written examination prior to the submission of the application form.
  2. The written examination shall be administered by the Office of the City Clerk in accordance with a schedule and in such places as shall be set and announced from time to time by the City Clerk.
  3. The written examination shall be of a format type as shall be set and announced by the City Clerk from time to time. Examples of formats include, but are not limited to, short answer, essay question, multiple choice, true/false, or any combination thereof; open book; or closed book.
  4. The examination shall be based solely on information contained in the City Clerk’s rules for the Office of Commissioner of Deeds.
  5. All earned grades shall be final. Applicants who do not earn a passing grade shall be free to try again to earn a passing grade at any and all future, regular test administrations by the Office of the City Clerk.

§ 2-04 Applications.

(a) Obtain and complete the appropriate application form as per the instructions.
  1. Have the application notarized.
  2. Applicants serving clerkships in the offices of attorneys, and whose clerkship certificates are on file with the proper officials, shall submit an affidavit to that effect. (First-time applicants only.)
  3. Other employees of attorneys shall submit an affidavit, sworn to by a member of the law firm, stating that the applicant is a proper and competent person to perform the duties of a Commissioner of Deeds. (First-time applicants only.)
  4. Submit a certified check or money order for the appropriate amount. Upon being notified of appointment, the applicant must appear in person at the Office of the City Clerk and take an oath of office. In so doing, the applicant must swear or affirm that: he is a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the State of New York, the City of New York and the county of (name of the county); that he will support the constitutions of the State of New York and of the United States, and that he will faithfully discharge the duties of the Office of Commissioner of Deeds.

§ 2-05 Term of Office.

The term of office for a Commissioner of Deeds is two years, commencing from the date of appointment.

  1. For individuals who are residents of the City of New York: Any Commissioner of Deeds who ceases to be a resident of New York City automatically gives up his or her office of Commissioner of Deeds. When any Commissioner of Deeds ceases to be a resident of New York City he or she must immediately notify the Office of the City Clerk.
  2. For attorneys who are deemed “residents” of the City of New York by virtue of having law offices within City: Any Commissioner of Deeds who ceases to maintain a law office within New York City automatically gives up his or her office of Commissioner of Deeds. When any Commissioner of Deeds ceases to maintain a law office within New York City he or she must immediately notify the Office of the City Clerk.

§ 2-06 Procedures for Exercising the Powers of a Commissioner of Deeds.

(a) Required information. On each document sworn to, acknowledged, or proved before him, a Commissioner of Deeds must affix, in black ink,

   (1) his signature;

   (2) his printed, typewritten, or stamped name;

   (3) his office title;

   (4) his official number; and

   (5) the date when his term expires. An example of the form to be followed is:

      (signature) Jane Sample Commissioner of Deeds, New York City 123456789 Term Expires: (date)

A Commissioner of Deeds must sign the name under which she was appointed; she may use no other. When a Commissioner of Deeds marries during the term of office, the Commissioner must continue to use any pre-marriage surname when signing as a Commissioner of Deeds. However, if the Commissioner wishes to include a new, marriage surname, the Commissioner must use the pre-marriage surname in the Commissioner’s signature and printed name, and then add the marriage surname in parentheses after the signature. When the term of office expires, the Commissioner’s renewal application may be made either under the pre-marriage or the marriage surname. When the renewal is granted the Commissioner must perform all functions solely under the name used on the renewal application. A Commissioner of Deeds must immediately notify the Office of the City Clerk concerning any changes of address. It is optional to have an official stamp or seal. A Commissioner of Deeds appointed in the City of New York may administer oaths and take acknowledgements or proofs of deeds and other documents in any part of the City of New York.
  1. Administering oaths and taking acknowledgement or proofs.

   (1) Oaths. For the purpose of a Commissioner of Deeds, an oath is a person’s verbal pledge that her statements contained in a document are true. An affirmation is the equivalent of an oath and may be administered to anyone who objects to taking an oath as a matter of principle. Oaths and affirmations must be administered in legally acceptable forms. An acceptable form for administering an oath is: “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of the statement made and subscribed by you are true and correct?” An acceptable form for administering an affirmation is: “Do you solemnly, sincerely, and truly, declare and affirm that the statements made and subscribed by you are true and correct?” When an oath or affirmation is administered, the person swearing or affirming must express assent to the oath or affirmation by the words “I do” or words of like meaning. For an oath or affirmation to be valid, whatever form is used, it is necessary that:

      (i) the person swearing or affirming be personally present before the Commissioner of Deeds;

      (ii) the person unequivocally swears or affirms that what she states is true;

      (iii) the person swears or affirms as of that moment; and

      (iv) the person consciously and conscientiously takes upon herself the obligation of an oath or affirmation.

   (2) Proofs.

      (i) A proof is used in place of an acknowledgement on certain instruments. A proof is a formal declaration by a person who witnessed the signing of an instrument and who himself signed as a subscribing witness, which declaration sets forth:

         (A) the witness’ place of residence;

         (B) that the witness knew the individual who is described in and who executed (signed) the instrument; and

         (C) that the witness actually saw the individual sign the instrument.

      (ii) As with acknowledgements, there is no prescribed form for taking a proof. For a proof to be valid, the commissioner of deeds must be satisfied that:

         (A) the witness is who she claims to be;

         (B) the witness is stating her correct place of residence;

         (C) the witness does in fact personally know the individual who executed the instrument; and

         (D) the witness actually saw the individual execute the instrument. When a proof is taken, the Commissioner of Deeds must place a statement on the document or attached thereto as evidence of her having taken the proof. Whatever form is used, the statement must recite all the matters that were required to be done, known, or proved on the taking of the proof, together with the name, place of residence, and substance of the declaration of the person giving proof. An acceptable form of the statement is: “On this ________________ day of __________,  19 ____, before me came (person’s name), to me known to be the individual who subscribed as witness the foregoing instrument and declared that she resides at (house and street), (town or city), (state), that she knows personally (person’s name), that she knows the person to be the individual described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and that (the person) executed the foregoing instrument in her presence.” This statement must be followed by the Commissioner’s signature and other information described above.

   (3) Fee. The fee for administering an oath or taking an acknowledgement or proof is twenty-five cents.

  1. Authentication. “Authentication” in this case involves a County Clerk affirming the genuineness of a certificate of acknowledgement, proof, or oath taken before a Commissioner of Deeds. The significance of authentication is as follows: When an instrument or paper is sworn to, proved, or acknowledged before a Commissioner of Deeds within the City of New York, it can be recorded and read in evidence in any office of any County Clerk within the City of New York or in the Office of the Register of the City of New York without the need for further proof. However, for such an instrument to be read into evidence, without the need for further proof, anywhere in New York outside the five boroughs of the City, it is necessary that the instrument first be authenticated by one of the County Clerks in the City of New York. To permit people to have instruments authenticated, a Commissioner of Deeds may file his autograph signature and certificate of appointment in the office of any County Clerk in New York City. Certificates of appointment may be obtained from the Office of the City Clerk.

§ 2-07 Restrictions.

(a) A Commissioner of Deeds must be and remain a resident of New York City. If a Commissioner of Deeds ceases to be a New York City resident he vacates his office and must immediately notify the City Clerk.
  1. A Commissioner of Deeds appointed within the City of New York cannot perform official functions anywhere except within the five boroughs of the City of New York.
  2. A Commissioner cannot certify any document to a transaction in which the Commissioner has an interest (financial) or to which the Commissioner of Deeds is a party.
  3. A Commissioner of Deeds cannot charge a fee for administering oaths of office to: a member of the legislature; any military officer; an inspector of election; a clerk of the poll; or any other public officer or public employee.
  4. The powers of a Commissioner of Deeds are personal and cannot be delegated to anyone.
  5. A Commissioner of Deeds who is an employee or stockholder of a corporation may take the acknowledgement or proof of any party to a written instrument executed by the corporation, or may administer an oath to any other officer, employee, or stockholder of the corporation, except when the Commissioner of Deeds himself is one of the parties executing the instrument either as individual or as a representative of the corporation.
  6. A Commissioner of Deeds has no power to protest a negotiable instrument (e.g., a promissory note or bill of exchange).
  7. A Commissioner of Deeds cannot take an acknowledgement or proof of the execution of a will.

§ 2-08 Professional Conduct.

(a) General. A Commissioner of Deeds is a public officer, and is so regarded under the laws of the State of New York. As such, a high standard of professional conduct is required and expected of each individual having an appointment as a Commissioner of Deeds. Moreover, the care with which a Commissioner of Deeds performs her duties can often be the only thing that ensures the integrity of a particular document. In performing the functions of his or her office, a Commissioner of Deeds must:

   (1) take an acknowledgement or proof, or administer an oath, only when the individual is personally present (taking proofs or acknowledgements, or administering oaths, over the telephone or otherwise is absolutely illegal);

   (2) always satisfy himself as to the true identity of the individual giving the acknowledgement or taking an oath; and

   (3) always follow the appropriate forms when administering oaths, issuing certificates, etc. In addition to the prohibition against the careless performance of the duties of the office of Commissioner of Deeds, there are strict legal proscriptions against the deliberate abuse of the office:

  1. Official misconduct. A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or deprive another person of a benefit:

   (1) he commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized; or

   (2) he knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

Official misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor.

(NYS Penal Law § 195.00.)

  1. Issuing a false certificate. (Falsely stating that someone took an oath or gave an acknowledgement of proof.) A person is guilty of issuing a false certificate when, being a public servant authorized by law to make or issue official certificates or other official written instruments, and with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another person, he issues such an instrument, or makes the same with intent that it be issued, knowing that it contains a false statement or false information.

Issuing a false certificate is a Class E felony.

(NYS Penal Law § 175.40.)

  1. Forgery in the second degree. A person is guilty of forgery in the second degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:

   (1) a deed, will codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise effect a legal right, interest, obligation or status; or

   (2) a public record, or an instrument filed or required or authorized by law to be filed in or with a public office or public servant; or

   (3) a written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant or governmental instrumentality.

Forgery in the second degree is a Class D felony.

(NYS Penal Law § 170.10.)

  1. Fees. A public officer or other person who charges a fee for his service which is greater than the amount allowed by statute, or which charges a fee for services that were not actually rendered, is liable, in addition to the punishment prescribed by law for the criminal offense, to an action on behalf of the person aggrieved, in which the plaintiff is entitled to treble damages. (Outline of NYS Pub. Off. Law §§ 67(2), (3), (4).)
  2. Fraud in office. A Commissioner of Deeds who, in the exercise of the powers, or in the performance of the duties of such office, shall practice any fraud or deceit, the punishment for which is not otherwise provided for by this act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (NYS Exec. Law § 135-a(2).)
  3. Acting without authority. Anyone who holds himself out to the public as being entitled to act as a Commissioner of Deeds or conveys the impression that he is a Commissioner of Deeds, without having been appointed a Commissioner of Deeds, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (NYS Exec. Law § 135-a(1).)
  4. Penalties. In addition to the criminal and civil penalties outlined above, any kind of misconduct in office by a Commissioner of Deeds is punishable by removal from office. Section 140 of the New York State Executive Law vests the Office of the Mayor with the power to remove a Commissioner of Deeds from office for cause shown. Commissioners have the right to answer charges brought against them. (NYS Exec. Law § 140(12).) Removal from office as a Commissioner of Deeds of the City of New York disqualifies an individual from ever again being appointed to that office. In addition, that individual is disqualified from becoming a Notary Public. Anyone removed from office as a Commissioner of Deeds who, after learning of such removal, continues to perform the functions of that office, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Chapter 1: Lobbying

§ 1-01 Definitions.

When used in this chapter:

“Administrative Enrollment” means an enrollment in e-Lobbyist of a lobbyist or client effectuated by the City Clerk.

“ALJ” means Administrative Law Judge.

“Alternate Principal Officer” means a person appointed by the Principal Officer as an authorized representative who is permitted to certify Reports on behalf of the Principal Officer.

“Authorization Letter” means the letter submitted pursuant to § 3-213(c)(3) and (4) of the Lobbying Law if a lobbyist is an employee of a client.

“City Clerk’s Address” means the City Clerk’s street address, its email address or fax number. Its street address is 141 Worth Street, Attn: Lobbying Bureau, New York, NY 10013. Its email address is lobbyist_helpdesk@cityclerk.nyc.gov. Its fax number is (212) 669-4224.

“Co-lobbyist” means a lobbyist retained and compensated by another lobbyist to lobby on behalf of the latter’s client.

“Designee” means a person identified by the Principal Officer in e-Lobbyist as an authorized representative.

“DOI” means the Department of Investigation.

“DoITT” means the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

“e-Lobbyist” means the City Clerk’s electronic filing system where lobbyists and clients submit and certify Reports as required by the Lobbying Law.

“Lobbying Law” means subchapter 2 of chapter 2 of title 3 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

“Lobbying Bureau” means the lobbying bureau of the Office of the City Clerk, City of New York, which is charged with enforcing the Lobbying Law.

“OATH” means the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

“Principal Officer” means an employee who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract on behalf of a lobbyist or client.

“Retainer” means the written agreement, or the written statement of the substance of any oral agreement, between a lobbyist and client or a lobbyist and Co-lobbyist pursuant to § 3-213(c)(3) and (4) of the Lobbying Law.

“Reports” mean all filings required by the Lobbying Law, including statements of registration, periodic reports, lobbyist annual reports, client annual reports, termination notices, fundraising and political consulting reports, and any amendments thereof, unless otherwise stated.

“Respondent” means the lobbyist or client in any action brought before OATH by the City Clerk pursuant to the Lobbying Law or the Rules.

“Rules” mean 51 RCNY Chapter 1.

§ 1-02 Advisory Opinions.

(a) The City Clerk will issue advisory opinions on a case-by-case basis in response to written requests from persons who reasonably believe they may be subject to the jurisdiction of the City Clerk.

   (i) Written requests for advisory opinions must be delivered to the City Clerk’s Address by first-class mail, hand-delivery, email or fax. These requests must clearly set forth the question raised and a statement of facts prompting the inquiry.

   (ii) The City Clerk will send a copy of the advisory opinion to the requestor by email or first-class mail when the opinion is published.

  1. The City Clerk may issue advisory opinions on questions relating to the Lobbying Law on its own initiative or in response to informal inquiries if, in the sole discretion of the City Clerk, an advisory opinion will facilitate compliance with the Lobbying Law or the Rules.

§ 1-03 e-Lobbyist Enrollment.

(a) Generally. Every lobbyist and client required to file Reports under the Lobbying Law must enroll in e-Lobbyist before filing any Reports. Enrollment in e-Lobbyist is only required once.

   (1) Client Enrollment. If a client retains a lobbyist for the upcoming year on or before December 31 of the current year and the client anticipates exceeding the reporting threshold, the client must enroll no later than January 10. If a client retains a lobbyist on or after January 1, such client must enroll no later than ten (10) days after retaining such lobbyist.

   (2) Lobbyist Enrollment. If a lobbyist is retained by a client for the upcoming year on or before December 31 of the current year and the lobbyist anticipates exceeding the reporting threshold, the lobbyist must enroll no later than January 10. If a lobbyist is retained by a client on or after January 1, such lobbyist must enroll no later than ten (10) days after being retained.

  1. Proof of a Corporate Filing. As part of its enrollment, a lobbyist or client must submit proof of a corporate filing. The name listed on the lobbyist’s or client’s enrollment must be identical to the name on the corporate filing.

   (1) Forms. Proof of a corporate filing, showing the legal name of the entity, includes a copy of the:

      (i) print out of the online database entry of the department of state, or a similar agency;

      (ii) filing receipt from the department of state or a similar agency;

      (iii) articles of incorporation;

      (iv) certificate of incorporation;

      (v) articles of organization;

      (vi) certificate of limited partnership;

      (vii) certificate of registration;

      (viii) certificate of assumed name; or

      (ix) certificate of type of not-for-profit corporation.

   (2) Affidavit in Lieu of A Corporate Filing. If the lobbyist or client is not incorporated, it must submit an affidavit in lieu of a corporate filing. The name listed on the lobbyist’s or client’s enrollment must match the name on the affidavit.

   (3) If the name on the proof of a corporate filing or affidavit in lieu thereof and the name on the lobbyist’s or client’s enrollment are not identical, the City Clerk will reject the enrollment.

   (4) If a lobbyist or client includes both corporate and “doing business as” names in the enrollment, the City Clerk will reject the enrollment.

  1. Non-Enrollment Extension. If a lobbyist’s client or a client’s lobbyist fails to enroll by the applicable deadline, such lobbyist or client must request an extension to file any Report pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-11(a)(1). If such lobbyist or client fails to timely request an extension, the Report will be deemed late if the Report is filed after the filing deadline set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-11(c)(2) and (3).
  2. Failure to Enroll.

   (1) If a lobbyist or client fails to enroll within the time set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-03(a)(1) and (2), the City Clerk will send a formal notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, advising the lobbyist or client of the violation.

   (2) Administrative Enrollment.

      (i) If the lobbyist or client fails to cure the violation within fourteen (14) business days after the date of mailing of the formal notice described in 51 RCNY § 1-03(d)(1), the Lobbying Bureau may create an Administrative Enrollment on its behalf.

         (A) The City Clerk will notify the lobbyist or client affected by the non-enrollment (hereinafter referred to as “affected lobbyist” and “affected client,” respectively), as well as the lobbyist or client enrolled pursuant to 51 RCNY 1-03(d)(2)(i) (hereinafter referred to as “administrative enrollee”), by email and certified mail, return receipt requested, that an Administrative Enrollment was created.

         (B) The City Clerk will commence a proceeding in OATH, pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-13, seeking civil penalties against the administrative enrollee.

      (ii) The City Clerk may also create an Administrative Enrollment pursuant to the following conditions:

         (A) a lobbyist does not anticipate exceeding the reporting threshold for being retained or employed to lobby in a calendar year; or

         (B) a client does not anticipate exceeding the reporting threshold for retaining or employing a lobbyist in a calendar year; and

         (C) the non-enrollment of the lobbyist or client described in (A) or (B) of this subparagraph may result in the incurring of late filing penalties by the affected lobbyist or affected client required to file Reports on behalf of a lobbyist or client described in clause (A) or (B) of this subparagraph.

      (iii) If an Administrative Enrollment is required pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of this subdivision, the affected lobbyist or affected client must notify the Lobbying Bureau of the need to create an Administrative Enrollment under this subparagraph prior to the statement of registration’s filing deadline.

      (iv) After the creation of an Administrative Enrollment, the City Clerk must notify the affected lobbyist and/or affected client by email and certified mail, return receipt requested that the Administrative Enrollment was created.

§ 1-04 Principal Officer.

(a) Generally. A lobbyist or client must designate a Principal Officer in e-Lobbyist. A lobbyist or client may not designate more than one Principal Officer at any given time.

   (1) If the Principal Officer engages in lobbying activity as defined in § 3-211(c) of the Lobbying Law, the Principal Officer must be designated in e-Lobbyist as a “Certifying Principal Officer-Employee who lobbies” or any equivalent designation in any subsequent modification of e-Lobbyist.

   (2) If the Principal Officer does not engage in lobbying activity as defined in § 3-211(c) of the Lobbying Law, the Principal Officer must be designated in e-Lobbyist as a “Certifying Principal Officer-Employee” or any equivalent designation in any subsequent modification of e-Lobbyist.

  1. Responsibilities. The Principal Officer must:

   (1) complete the enrollment form and agree to the terms of use agreement in e-Lobbyist;

   (2) be listed on all statements of registration in which the Principal Officer lobbies on behalf of the registered client;

   (3) certify all Reports pursuant to § 3-222 of the Lobbying Law;

   (4) be the recipient of all official communications sent by the Lobbying Bureau; and

   (5) be the signatory on any documentation relating to:

      (i) an application for a waiver or reduction of late filing penalties, as described in 51 RCNY § 1-12(f);

      (ii) the deactivation of an inadvertent statement of registration or other Reports, as described in 51 RCNY § 1-10;

      (iii) a Retainer or an Authorization Letter, whenever practicable;

      (iv) a payment plan agreement entered into with the City Clerk to pay penalties in installments; or

      (v) an application for amnesty, as described in 51 RCNY § 1-16.

  1. The Principal Officer must not:

   (1) violate the e-Lobbyist terms of use agreement; or

   (2) disclose his or her e-Lobbyist password.

  1. Change in the Principal Officer.

   (1) Upon a change in Principal Officer, the lobbyist or client must designate a new Principal Officer in e-Lobbyist.

   (2) Notification to Lobbying Bureau. The lobbyist or client must submit notice of the change in Principal Officer by email or fax to the City Clerk’s Address no later than five (5) business days after the change in Principal Officer.

   (3) Content. The notice of change must include the new Principal Officer’s name, email address, telephone number and business/organizational title. The email address must be the Principal Officer’s email address.

§ 1-04.1 Alternate Principal Officer.

(a) Generally. Notwithstanding paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of 51 RCNY § 1-04, the Principal Officer may appoint one individual to be an Alternate Principal Officer to certify Reports in e-Lobbyist.
  1. Procedure.

   (1) To appoint an Alternate Principal Officer, the Principal Officer must submit to the Lobbying Bureau an application on such forms as prescribed by the City Clerk. The application must include:

      (i) the Principal Officer’s name, email address, telephone number and business/organizational title;

      (ii) the Alternate Principal Officer’s name, email address, telephone number and business/organizational title;

      (iii) the business name of the lobbyist or client;

      (iv) the reason for the appointment of an Alternate Principal Officer; and

      (v) a certification stating: “Notwithstanding the appointment of an Alternate Principal Officer, the Principal Officer shall remain responsible for the veracity, accuracy and timeliness of all information filed on behalf of the lobbyist or client in e-Lobbyist. The Principal Officer is liable for applicable fines and penalties if the filings submitted to the Lobbying Bureau are inaccurate, incomplete or late.”

   (2) The Alternate Principal Officer must create an account in e-Lobbyist and agree to the terms of use agreement. The Alternate Principal Officer may not disclose his or her e-Lobbyist password to anyone under any circumstances.

   (3) The Alternate Principal Officer must be listed in e-Lobbyist as an “Alternate Principal Officer” or such other title as the City Clerk designates.

  1. Effect of Designation.

   (1) The Alternate Principal Officer may certify all Reports in e-Lobbyist.

   (2) Notwithstanding the appointment of an Alternate Principal Officer, the Principal Officer of the lobbyist or client must continue to comply with his or her obligations as described throughout this subchapter.

  1. Alternative Certification Affidavit of Principal Officer.

   (1) After a Report is certified by an Alternate Principal Officer, the Principal Officer must, on forms prescribed by the City Clerk, complete, sign, and notarize, an alternative certification affidavit attesting that he or she has read the Report and that the information contained in the Report is accurate and complete.

   (2) Such alternative certification affidavit must be submitted to the Lobbying Bureau:

      (i) by uploading the completed alternative certification affidavit to the Reports filed in e-Lobbyist; or

      (ii) by email, first-class mail or fax.

  1. Notwithstanding any provision of these Rules to the contrary, Reports that are certified by an Alternate Principal Officer are deemed filed, for timeliness purposes, on the date the alternative certification affidavit is received by the Lobbying Bureau.
  2. Effective Date. This section shall take effect on February 1, 2017.

§ 1-05 Designee.

(a) Generally. A Principal Officer may designate up to two persons to be Designees in e-Lobbyist. The Principal Officer must list each Designee's name and email address in the appropriate section of e-Lobbyist. Each designee will have his or her own e-Lobbyist account.
  1. A Designee may:

   (1) enter information in Reports;

   (2) receive copies of automatically generated emails sent to the Principal Officer from e-Lobbyist;

   (3) communicate with the Lobbying Bureau regarding specific Reports filed by the lobbyist or client that the Designee represents;

   (4) submit an extension request pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-11(a)(1); or

   (5) submit any application or request listed in 51 RCNY 1-04(b)(5).

  1. A Designee must not:

   (1) certify Reports;

   (2) have access to the Principal Officer’s e-Lobbyist password; or

   (3) disclose his or her e-Lobbyist password.

§ 1-06 Compliance Officer.

(a) Generally. Any of the following persons may be a compliance officer:

   (1) an individual employed by a lobbyist or client whose job duties include compliance with the Lobbying Law;

   (2) a third-party entity retained by a lobbyist or client to engage in compliance with the Lobbying Law; or

   (3) an attorney retained by a lobbyist or client.

  1. A compliance officer may:

   (1) assist the Principal Officer or the Designee in completing Reports;

   (2) communicate with the Lobbying Bureau regarding specific Reports filed by the lobbyist or client represented by the compliance officer;

   (3) submit an extension request pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-11(a)(1);

   (4) submit any item listed in 51 RCNY § 1-04(b)(5); or

   (5) submit payment of any late filing or civil penalty incurred by the lobbyist or client represented by the compliance officer.

  1. A compliance officer need not be designated in e-Lobbyist.
  2. A compliance officer must not:

   (1) certify Reports; or

   (2) have access to the Principal Officer’s or Designee’s e-Lobbyist password.

§ 1-07 Co-Lobbyist Filing Procedure.

(a) Generally. When a Co-lobbyist engages in reportable lobbying activity, the lobbyist (hereinafter referred to as "Primary Lobbyist"), the Co-lobbyist and client involved in such activity must follow the reporting requirements described in this section.
  1. Reporting Requirements.

   (1) The Primary Lobbyist.

      (i) The Primary Lobbyist must file a statement of registration listing both its client and the Co-lobbyist together with:

         (A) the Retainer between the client and the Primary Lobbyist;

         (B) the Retainer between the Primary Lobbyist and the Co-lobbyist; and

         (C) a letter signed by the client designating the Co-lobbyist to lobby on its behalf.

      (ii) The Primary Lobbyist must file all applicable Reports and must detail the compensation paid by the client to the Primary Lobbyist. Compensation paid by the Primary Lobbyist to the Co-lobbyist must be reported as an expense of the Primary Lobbyist.

      (iii) The start date listed on the Primary Lobbyist’s statement of registration must be the start date listed in the Retainer between the client and the Primary Lobbyist.

   (2) The Co-Lobbyist.

      (i) The Co-lobbyist must file a statement of registration listing the client and the Primary Lobbyist together with:

         (A) the Retainer between the Primary Lobbyist and the Co-lobbyist; and

         (B) a letter signed by the client designating the Co-lobbyist to lobby on its behalf.

      (ii) The Co-lobbyist must file all applicable Reports and must detail the compensation paid to the Co-Lobbyist by the Primary Lobbyist and any expenses.

      (iii) The start date listed on the Co-lobbyist’s statement of registration must be the date the client signed the letter designating the Co-lobbyist to lobby on its behalf, unless otherwise noted in such designation letter.

   (3) The Client. The client must file the client annual report listing:

      (i) the Primary Lobbyist;

      (ii) the Co-lobbyist;

      (iii) compensation paid to the Primary Lobbyist; and

      (iv) any reimbursed expenses paid to the Primary Lobbyist and/or Colobbyist.

§ 1-08 Requirements for Retainers and Authorization Letters.

(a) Retainers.

   (1) All Retainers must contain:

      (i) the compensation payable to the lobbyist;

      (ii) the duration of the term of representation, including the specific date the retainer takes effect (hereinafter “start date”);

      (iii) the client’s name, which must be identical to the client’s name listed in the enrollment; and

      (iv) the terms of any third-party payments for the lobbyist’s services, if applicable.

   (2) The Principal Officer of each party to the Retainer must sign the Retainer, unless it is impracticable. If the Principal Officer is unable to sign the Retainer, another person with capacity to legally bind the parties to a contract must sign the Retainer.

   (3) Whenever an amendment is made to a Retainer, the lobbyist or Co-lobbyist must file an amended statement of registration and submit the amended Retainer and the original Retainer within ten (10) days as required by § 3-213(d)(1) of the Lobbying Law.

   (4) Failure to include any term of the Retainer required by this section of the Rules shall result in the statement of registration being deemed incomplete and may result in civil penalties pursuant to the procedures set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-12(c)(3).

  1. Authorization Letters.

   (1) All Authorization Letters must contain:

      (i) the names of the employees whom the client anticipates will lobby on its behalf;

      (ii) the time period during which such employees anticipate lobbying; and

      (iii) the signature of the Principal Officer.

   (2) Whenever a client anticipates that additional employees will engage in lobbying on its behalf, an amended statement of registration listing the additional employees must be filed within ten (10) days, along with a supplemental Authorization Letter and the original Authorization Letter, as required by § 3-213(d)(1) of the Lobbying Law.

  1. Start Date.

   (1) If there is no start date specified in the Retainer or Authorization Letter, the later of any date (i) stamped onto the Retainer or Authorization Letter or (ii) listed alongside the document’s signatures will be deemed the start date.

   (2) The start date listed on the statement of registration must match the start date of the Retainer or Authorization Letter.

   (3) The timeliness of the statement of registration will be determined by the start date, the signature date or the date of receipt of the duly executed Retainer.

  1. End Date.

   (1) A Retainer or Authorization Letter will be deemed invalid if the end date has already occurred at the time of submission. The lobbyist must submit a supplemental letter that the Retainer or Authorization Letter is still in effect in the current calendar year.

   (2) If a Retainer or Authorization Letter does not contain a specific end date and the start date occurred in a previous filing year, the lobbyist must submit a supplemental letter, signed by the parties to the Retainer or Authorization Letter, stating that such Retainer or Authorization Letter remains in full force and effect in the given calendar year.

   (3) The end date on the statement of registration must match either the end date of the (A) Retainer or Authorization Letter or (B) supplemental letter submitted pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-08(d)(1) or (2), if applicable.

  1. Clarification Requirement. If there is a discrepancy between the start and/or end dates in the Retainer or Authorization Letter and the statement of registration, the City Clerk may require that the lobbyist file an amended statement of registration and:

   (1) correct the start and/or end date provided on the statement of registration; or

   (2) submit a letter explaining the discrepancy; and

   (3) submit copies of all effective Retainers or Authorization Letters.

§ 1-09 Registration Fees.

Pursuant to § 3-213(e) of the Lobbying Law, statements of registration must be accompanied by (1) a fee of $150 for the first statement of registration and (2) a fee of $50 for each additional statement of registration.

§ 1-10 Deactivation of Reports by the City Clerk.

(a) Generally. The City Clerk may, at the request of a lobbyist or client, deactivate inadvertently filed statements of registration, fundraising and political consulting reports, or client annual reports.
  1. Inadvertently Filed Statements of Registration.

   (1) Eligibility. A statement of registration will be deemed inadvertently filed when, subsequent to the filing of a statement of registration, the City Clerk determines that:

      (i) there is no expectation that the reporting threshold will be exceeded;

      (ii) the activity which was the basis for the filing of the statement of registration does not constitute lobbying activity under §§ 3-211(c) et seq. of the Lobbying Law;

      (iii) the statement of registration was mistakenly filed as a result of a duplicate enrollment of the lobbyist or client; or

      (iv) similar circumstances exist that necessitate deactivation by the City Clerk.

   (2) Non-Eligibility. The termination of a Retainer or Authorization Letter by either or both parties will render the pertinent statement of registration ineligible for deactivation.

   (3) Process to Deactivate an Inadvertent Statement of Registration.

      (i) The lobbyist must contact the Lobbying Bureau to discuss the inadvertent statement of registration. The City Clerk must make an initial determination as to whether the statement of registration is eligible for deactivation. If the statement of registration is deemed eligible, the City Clerk must notify the lobbyist of the determination.

      (ii) No later than ten (10) business days after such notification, the lobbyist must submit an affidavit, on forms prescribed by the City Clerk, by first-class mail, email, fax or hand-delivery to the City Clerk’s Address. The affidavit must include all facts and circumstances that led the lobbyist to conclude that the statement of registration was inadvertently filed and the reasons it should be deactivated.

      (iii) If the statement of registration is deemed inadvertent, the City Clerk must deactivate the statement of registration.

   (4) Removal of Data. If a statement of registration is deactivated after the data in the Reports is submitted to other City agencies that collect and use lobbying data, the lobbyist may contact such agencies to request removal of such information from that agency’s database.

  1. Other Reports Eligible for Deactivation.

   (1) A client or lobbyist may request the deactivation of (i) a client annual report or (ii) a fundraising and political consulting report, respectively.

   (2) Deactivation of a Client Annual Report: Eligibility. A client annual report will be deemed inadvertently filed when the City Clerk determines that:

      (i) there is no expectation that the client will exceed the reporting threshold;

      (ii) the activity which was the basis for filing the client annual report does not constitute lobbying activity under §§ 3-211(c) et seq. of the Lobbying Law;

      (iii) the client annual report was mistakenly filed as a result of a duplicate enrollment of the lobbyist or client; or

      (iv) similar circumstances exist that necessitate deactivation by the City Clerk.

   (3) Deactivation of a Fundraising and Political Consulting Report: Eligibility. A fundraising and political consulting report will be deemed inadvertently filed when the City Clerk determines that:

      (i) the filing of a statement of registration was inadvertent for any of the reasons stated in 51 RCNY § 1-10(b)(1);

      (ii) the fundraising and/or political consulting activity which was the basis for filing the report does not constitute fundraising and/or political consulting activity under § 3-211(h) and (i) of the Lobbying Law;

      (iii) the fundraising and political consulting report was mistakenly filed as a result of a duplicate enrollment of the lobbyist; or

      (iv) similar circumstances exist that necessitate deactivation by the City Clerk.

   (4) The process to deactivate an inadvertent client annual report or fundraising and political consulting report is the same process as set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-10(b)(3).

  1. Party who May Request Deactivation. Only the Principal Officer of the entity that filed a Report may request deactivation of that Report.
  2. Effect of Deactivation. When the City Clerk deactivates any Report listed in 51 RCNY § 1-10(a):

   (1) the Reports cannot be viewed or accessed in e-Lobbyist;

   (2) all periodic reports associated with a deactivated statement of registration will be deactivated and not viewable or accessible in e-Lobbyist;

   (3) all deactivated Reports will not be viewable or accessible by the public;

   (4) no additional Reports will be required;

   (5) no further automatically generated emails from e-Lobbyist regarding such Reports will be sent to the lobbyist or client;

   (6) original Retainers or Authorization Letters submitted with a deactivated statement of registration will be returned to the lobbyist or client;

   (7) the deactivated Reports will not be subject to selection for a random audit; and

   (8) the deactivated Reports will not be reactivated for any reason.

  1. Reports Deactivated in Error.

   (1) If it is later determined that deactivation was made in error, any deactivated report must:

      (i) be re-filed by the lobbyist or client;

      (ii) be subject to penalties under the Lobbying Law, if applicable.

   (2) The lateness of any re-filed Report will be based on the due date of the original Report and the date on which the deactivated Report was re-filed.

§ 1-11 Extension of a Filing Deadline.

(a) Lobbyist or Client Extension Request.

   (1) A lobbyist or client may request an extension of the filing deadline of any Report. Requests for extensions must be received by the City Clerk prior to the filing deadline of the applicable Report. A request for an extension must be in writing and delivered by first-class mail, hand-delivery, email or fax to the Lobbying Bureau at the City Clerk’s Address. Extensions will only be granted for good cause as determined by the City Clerk.

  1. Technical Extension. If, on the date of the filing deadline, a lobbyist or client is unable to file a Report due to a technical failure of e-Lobbyist, the City Clerk may grant an extension only when:

   (1) The lobbyist or client contacts the Lobbying Bureau before the filing deadline by telephone or in person to resolve the technical issue that is preventing the filing of a Report by the filing deadline.

   (2) If, after the consultation described in paragraph one of this subdivision, the lobbyist or client remains unable to file the Report, the lobbyist or client must submit, by email or fax, proof of the technical failure, no later than the close of business on the date of the filing deadline.

   (3) Proof of a technical failure must include:

      (i) A screenshot from e-Lobbyist containing the error message received when the filing was attempted;

      (ii) Evidence of electronic communications between the lobbyist or client and the Lobbying Bureau determining that a technical failure occurred and remains unresolved as of the filing deadline; or

      (iii) Similar evidence of a technical failure that the City Clerk deems appropriate.

   (4) Lobbyists or clients who are unable to file a Report due to a technical failure of e-Lobbyist after the close of the Lobbying Bureau’s office hours on the filing deadline may be granted a technical extension if they submit a screenshot from e-Lobbyist containing the error message. The screenshot must show that the time of the attempted filing was prior to the filing deadline.

   (5) Under no circumstances will the following be considered a technical failure:

      (i) Failure of the lobbyist or the client to change its Principal Officer;

      (ii) The Principal Officer’s inability to retrieve, change or reset his or her password;

      (iii) Any technical failure that is reported after the filing deadline; or (iv) The failure of the lobbyist or client to request an extension pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-03(c).

   (6) A technical failure that is reported after the filing deadline will be subject to late filing penalties starting from the date of the filing deadline until the date such failure was reported to the City Clerk. If the City Clerk can verify that a technical failure prevented the filing, an extension will be issued and the late filing penalties will be tolled until the technical failure has been resolved.

   (7) The City Clerk may verify the technical failure with DoITT. If DoITT concludes that a technical failure did not occur, the City Clerk will not provide a technical extension to the filer who submitted the request.

  1. Automatic Extensions.

   (1) If the filing deadline of a Report falls on a Saturday, Sunday or City holiday, the filing deadline will be extended to the following business day.

   (2) If a statement of registration cannot be filed due to the client’s failure to enroll in e-Lobbyist pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-03, and an extension, as set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-03(c), has not been requested, the filing deadline of the statement of registration will be extended to two (2) business days after the date the client enrolls or an administrative enrollment has been completed on the client’s behalf.

   (3) If a client annual report cannot be filed due to the lobbyist’s failure to enroll in e-Lobbyist pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-03, and an extension, as set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-03(c), has not been requested, the filing deadline of the client annual report will be extended to two (2) business days after the date the lobbyist enrolls or an administrative enrollment has been completed on the lobbyist’s behalf.

   (4) If there is a system-wide problem with e-Lobbyist the City Clerk will notify all filers of such problem and the filing deadline may be extended to a date established by the City Clerk upon consideration of the nature and length of the system-wide problem.

§ 1-12 Enforcement of the Lobbying Law.

(a) Generally. Any lobbyist or client who violates any provision of the Lobbying Law or Rules will be subject to the penalties set forth in Section 3-223 of the Lobbying Law.
  1. Types of Violations. Lobbyists and clients may be subject to a penalty for the following:

   (1) failure to enroll in e-Lobbyist as required by § 3-213(a)(3) of the Lobbying Law;

   (2) failure to file any Report as required by §§ 3-213, 3-215, 3-216, 3-216.1 and 3-217 of the Lobbying Law;

   (3) failure to include a term of a Retainer or Authorization required by 51 RCNY § 1-08;

   (4) knowingly and willfully providing incorrect information to the City Clerk pursuant to § 3-223(a) of the Lobbying Law;

   (5) failure to pay the registration fee as required by § 3-213(e) of the Lobbying Law;

   (6) failure to fully cooperate with any inquiry made by the City Clerk in accordance with § 3-212(a) of the Lobbying Law;

   (7) failure of a Principal Officer to certify any Report as required by § 3-222 of the Lobbying Law;

   (8) failure, by the applicable deadline in the Lobbying Law, to:

      (i) enroll in e-Lobbyist pursuant to § 3-213(a)(3) of the Lobbying Law and 51 RCNY § 1-03(a);

      (ii) file any Report, including failing to complete any required portion thereof or supplying incorrect information, pursuant to §§ 3-213; 3-215; 3-216; 3-216.1 and 3-217 of the Lobbying Law;

      (iii) file a Retainer or Authorization Letter as required by § 3-213(c)(3) and (4) of the Lobbying Law;

      (iv) respond to a lawful subpoena issued by the City Clerk pursuant to § 3-212(a) of the Lobbying Law; or

      (v) pay any civil penalty assessed by the City Clerk in accordance with § 3-223 of the Lobbying Law;

   (9) the Principal Officer or Designee intentionally disclosing his or her e-Lobbyist password in violation of 51 RCNY § 1-04(c)(2) or 51 RCNY § 1-05(c)(3), respectively;

   (10) failure to comply with the terms of use agreement of e-Lobbyist pursuant to § 3-212(a) of the Lobbying Law; or

   (11) any other act or omission that constitutes a violation of the Lobbying Law or Rules.

  1. Enforcement Procedures.

   (1) Late Filings.

      (i) Generally. Any lobbyist or client who fails to file a Report by the deadline for such Report will be subject to late filing penalties. Pursuant to § 3-223(c)(2) of the Lobbying Law, a lobbyist or client who has never previously filed a Report will be charged a late filing penalty of ten dollars ($10) per day for each Report that is late and all other lobbyists or clients will be charged a late filing penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25) per day for each Report that is late. Late filing penalties accrue from the day after the filing deadline through, and including, the day the Report is filed, and include weekends and holidays.

      (ii) Notice. Pursuant to § 3-223(c)(1) of the Lobbying Law, following either the failure to file or the late filing of a Report, the City Clerk will send a notice by email and certified mail, return-receipt requested, advising the lobbyist or client of the following:

         (A) if a Report has not been filed, that such Report must be filed and the applicable late filing penalty paid no later than fourteen (14) business days after the date of emailing or mailing of the notice by the City Clerk, whichever is earlier; or

         (B) if a Report has been filed late, that the applicable late filing penalty must be paid no later than fourteen (14) business days after the date of emailing or mailing of the notice by the City Clerk, whichever is earlier.

      (iii) Formal Action. If the lobbyist or client fails to file the late Report or satisfy the late filing penalty within fourteen (14) business days of the emailing or mailing of the notice by the City Clerk, whichever is earlier, the City Clerk may commence a formal proceeding in OATH, pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-13. The City Clerk, in addition to late filing penalties, may seek civil penalties in an amount set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-12(d)(1).

   (2) Unreported Lobbying Activity.

      (i) Initiation of Investigation.

         (A) Public Complaint. If a member of the public suspects a person, business or organization is engaged in unreported lobbying, a complaint may be submitted in writing to the City Clerk’s Address by first-class mail, hand-delivery, email or fax.

         (B) City Clerk Investigation. The City Clerk may initiate an investigation of suspected unreported lobbying at its discretion.

      (ii) Notices.

         (A) Initial Notice. Upon the commencement of an investigation of unreported lobbying, the City Clerk will notify the subject of the complaint (hereinafter “Subject”) by certified mail, return-receipt requested, of the allegations.

         (B) Answer to Initial Notice. The Subject may respond in writing to the initial notice and explain, rebut or provide other information concerning the allegations. The response must be in writing, delivered by first-class mail, hand-delivery, email or fax to the Lobbying Bureau at the City Clerk’s Address no later than fourteen (14) business days after the date of mailing of the initial notice. The Subject may request an extension to answer for good cause and must make such request in writing and deliver it by first-class mail, hand-delivery, email or fax to the Lobbying Bureau at the City Clerk’s Address prior to the deadline.

         (C) Failure to Answer the Initial Notice. If the Subject fails to answer the initial notice, the City Clerk will make a determination of the allegations contained in the complaint based upon the available evidence.

      (iii) Investigation. The City Clerk will investigate the allegations contained in the complaint by reviewing any and all available evidence.

      (iv) Determinations.

         (A) Determination of No Probable Cause. If the City Clerk determines that there is no probable cause that a violation of the Lobbying Law or the Rules has occurred, the matter will be dismissed and the Subject will be notified in writing of such dismissal.

         (B) Determination of Probable Cause. If the City Clerk determines that there is probable cause that a violation of the provisions of the Lobbying Law or the Rules has occurred, the City Clerk will issue a finding of probable cause.

      (v) Formal Action. Upon determining that probable cause exists, the City Clerk may commence a proceeding in accordance with the procedures set forth in one of the following sections:

         (A) 51 RCNY § 1-12(c)(1) for the imposition of late filing penalties; or

         (B) 51 RCNY § 1-13 to seek civil penalties in an amount set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-12(d), if applicable.

   (3) Other Violations. Any violation of the Lobbying Law or Rules not punishable under § 3-223(a), (b) or (c) of the Lobbying Law will be enforced pursuant to the following procedure:

      (A) Formal Notice. The City Clerk will send a formal notice by email and certified mail, return-receipt requested, advising the lobbyist or client of the violation.

      (B) Formal Action. If the lobbyist or client fails to cure the violation within fourteen (14) business days after the date of emailing or mailing of the formal notice, whichever is earlier, the City Clerk will commence a proceeding in OATH, pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-13. In such proceeding, the City Clerk will seek civil penalties in an amount set forth in 51 RCNY § 1-12(d).

  1. Civil Penalties.

   (1) Pursuant to § 3-223(c) and (d) of the Lobbying Law, lobbyists or clients that fail to cure a violation within fourteen (14) business days after the date of emailing or mailing of a notice to cure, whichever is earlier, will be subject to a civil penalty based upon the following schedule:

~

1 - 30 $1,000
31 - 60 $1,500
61 - 90 $2,000
91 - 120 $2,500
121 - 150 $3,000
151 - 180 $3,500
181 - 210 $4,000
211 - 240 $4,500
More than 240 $5,000 - $20,000

~

   (2) Notwithstanding the schedule provided in 51 RCNY § 1-12(d)(1), the City Clerk may consider aggravating and mitigating factors based on the frequency and extent of the lobbyist’s or client’s record of violations in increasing or decreasing any civil penalty.

  1. Settlement or Satisfaction of a Violation.

   (1) Generally.

      (i) A violation of the Lobbying Law may be settled or satisfied by filing a Report, if applicable, and paying any late filing penalty or civil penalty, if applicable.

      (ii) If a violation is settled or satisfied after a formal proceeding begins in OATH, a notice of withdrawal without prejudice will be filed by the City Clerk with OATH and served upon the lobbyist or client by first-class mail or email.

  1. Waiver or Reduction of Late Filing Penalties. If a lobbyist or client is subject to a late filing penalty, a lobbyist or client may request a waiver or reduction of such late filing penalty pursuant to § 3-223(c)(2) of the Lobbying Law.

   (1) A request for a waiver or reduction of a late filing penalty must be received by the City Clerk no later than fourteen (14) business days after the date of emailing or mailing of the notice, whichever is earlier, issued by the City Clerk pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-12(c)(1)(ii). Such request must be sent in writing by first-class mail or hand delivery to the City Clerk’s Address on forms prescribed by the City Clerk.

   (2) A request for a waiver or reduction must include:

      (i) a cover letter setting forth the applicant’s name, business address and name of the Principal Officer; and

      (ii) an affidavit stating:

         (A) The applicant’s annual operating budget;

         (B) Whether the applicant lobbies solely on its own behalf;

         (C) The number of lobbying matters, number of hours spent on such matters and, for periodic reports, the amount of compensation and expenditures that were not reported during the relevant period;

         (D) A narrative detailing significant impediments to the timely filing of the Report; and

         (E) Any other facts that may be helpful to the City Clerk in making a determination.

   (3) Significant impediments, as used in 51 RCNY § 1-12(f)(2)(ii)(D), are limited to:

      (i) the death of the Principal Officer or Designee or immediate family member thereof;

      (ii) the illness of the Principal Officer or Designee; or

      (iii) a force majeure.

   (4) To the extent possible, all statements made in the affidavit should be corroborated by supporting documents that can be either submitted for review or made available for inspection by the City Clerk.

   (5) The City Clerk may request additional evidence to support any statements made in the affidavit. If additional documentation is requested, the applicant must submit such documentation by first-class mail or hand-delivery to the City Clerk’s Address no later than seven (7) days after the date of mailing of the City Clerk’s request.

   (6) The City Clerk will notify the applicant in writing of its determination regarding the request as soon as practicable. Any such determination made by the City Clerk is final. If the waiver or reduction request is denied, payment of the applicable late filing penalty must be made no later than fourteen (14) days after the date of mailing of such denial.

§ 1-13 Formal Proceedings.

(a) Designation of OATH. Pursuant to New York City Charter § 1048(a), the City Clerk designates OATH to conduct all hearings involving violations of the Lobbying Law. OATH's Rules of Practice govern all aspects of the proceedings except as provided in this section of the Rules.
  1. Petition. The City Clerk initiates a formal proceeding in OATH by serving a petition on the Respondent’s Principal Officer by email and certified mail, return receipt requested. If the Respondent notifies the City Clerk that Respondent is represented by counsel before the OATH proceeding begins, the City Clerk will serve the petition upon both Respondent’s Principal Officer and its counsel.
  2. Answer. The Respondent must serve an answer to the petition upon the Petitioner by email, mail or fax to the City Clerk’s Address no later than ten (10) business days from the mailing of the petition.
  3. Effect of Failure to Answer. If Respondent fails to serve an answer within ten (10) business days, all allegations in the petition will be deemed admitted and OATH will proceed to hold a default hearing. At the default hearing, the City Clerk shall submit, for the record, an offer of proof establishing the factual basis on which the presiding ALJ may issue a report and recommendation. If Respondent fails to respond specifically to any individual allegation in the petition, such individual allegation or charge shall be deemed admitted.
  4. Adjournment. A hearing may be adjourned upon written consent of both parties submitted to the ALJ no later than two (2) days prior to the hearing. If consent of both parties cannot be obtained, an adjournment may be granted at the discretion of the ALJ for good cause, upon the request of either party or upon the ALJ’s own motion, with notice to the parties.
  5. Depositions. Depositions may be taken without leave from OATH as deemed necessary by the City Clerk.
  6. Decision after the Hearing.

   (1) The City Clerk will issue a final decision in writing after the hearing based exclusively on the record and the transcript of the hearing. The City Clerk shall not be bound by the ALJ’s recommendation in whole or in part. The final decision may consist of a letter from the City Clerk concurring with the ALJ’s recommended findings and disposition. The City Clerk’s decision after the hearing constitutes a final agency determination.

   (2) The City Clerk must send a copy of the decision by email and certified mail to the Respondent and its counsel, if applicable.

   (3) In the event that a decision is adverse to the Respondent, in whole or in part, the Respondent may seek judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 1-14 Duty to Cooperate.

(a) Lobbyist's and Client's Duty to Cooperate. A lobbyist or client must cooperate with the City Clerk.
  1. City Clerk’s Duty to Report to DOI. If the City Clerk determines, on the basis of a Report, complaint, investigation or other information available to the City Clerk that a willful violation of the Lobbying Law has been, may have been or will be committed, the City Clerk will report the determination and any related information to DOI.

§ 1-15 Requests to Review Reports Filed with the Lobbying Bureau.

(a) Records. All Reports must be:

   (1) kept in electronic form at the Office of the City Clerk;

   (2) available for public inspection upon request; and

   (3) posted on the Internet as soon as practicable.

  1. Viewing Records. Requests to view Reports may be presented by hand-delivery, first-class mail, fax or email to the Lobbying Bureau at the City Clerk’s Address.
  2. Copies of Records. Copies of Reports may be purchased for twenty-five (25) cents per page.

§ 1-16 Amnesty.

(a) Generally. On January 1, 2016, a six-month amnesty program shall commence pursuant to § 3-223(i) of the Lobbying Law.
  1. Eligibility.

   (1) Amnesty will be available to:

      (i) any lobbyist who was required to have filed, but has never filed, a statement of registration pursuant to § 3-213 of the Lobbying Law at any time on or after December 10, 2006; or

      (ii) any client who was required to have filed, but has never filed, an annual report pursuant to § 3-217 of the Lobbying Law at any time on or after December 10, 2006.

   (2) Parties who act as both lobbyist and client will be eligible for amnesty only in the capacity in which such party qualifies pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section. If the applicant qualifies as both a lobbyist and a client, the applicant shall be eligible for amnesty in both capacities.

   (3) Amnesty will not be available to any lobbyist or client who is:

      (i) the subject of any pending criminal investigation relating to any violation of the Lobbying Law; or

      (ii) a party to any pending criminal litigation in any court of law relating to any violation of the Lobbying Law.

  1. Notice of Intent to Participate. Prior to January 1, 2016, a lobbyist or client may file a notice of intent to participate in the amnesty program on forms prescribed by the City Clerk. This filing entitles the lobbyist or client to the benefits provided by § 3-223(i)(2) of the Lobbying Law.

   (i) Effect of Notice of Intent to Participate.

      (A) Once a notice of intent to participate is filed, the participant must comply with the Lobbying Law and file Reports immediately, if applicable.

      (B) The Clerk will not assess any late filing penalties or civil penalties against the participant for the period from December 10, 2006 to the date of the filing of the notice of intent to participate. Such late filing penalties and civil penalties will be waived if the participant files a written application for amnesty and complies with all applicable provisions of the Lobbying Law.

      (C) In order to qualify for amnesty, the participant must also file an application, as described in 51 RCNY § 1-16(d), between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.

  1. Amnesty Requirements.

   (1) To apply for amnesty, a lobbyist or client must file an application on forms prescribed by the City Clerk. The amnesty application must include:

      (i) the applicant’s name and business address;

      (ii) a summary of the lobbying activities, fundraising activities, or political consulting activities performed by the lobbyist from January 1, 2015, to either (A) the date that the amnesty application was filed, or (B) the date the notice of intent to participate, as described in 51 RCNY § 1-16(c), was filed; and

      (iii) a certification stating: “All statements contained in the application are true, accurate and complete and are made under the penalty of perjury. In addition, it is understood that the Office of the City Clerk will act in reliance on the statements made in this application.”

   (2) Submission of Application. Applications must be submitted by email, first-class mail or hand-delivery to the City Clerk’s Address, Attention: Amnesty. Any applications submitted by email or handdelivery must be received no later than 11:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on June 30 2016. Any application submitted by first-class mail must be postmarked no later than June 30, 2016.

  1. Effect of Amnesty. If amnesty is granted, the City Clerk will waive any late filing and civil penalties that could be assessed against such lobbyist or client, as set forth in § 3-223 of the Lobbying Law, for the period from December 10, 2006 to the earlier of (i) the date the application was filed or (ii) the date the notice of intent was filed. Such lobbyist or client shall not be subject to any criminal penalties authorized by § 3-223 of the Lobbying Law, for the period from December 10, 2006 to the earlier of (i) the date the application was filed or (ii) the date the notice of intent was filed.
  2. Denial of Amnesty.

   (1) Reasons for Denial. An applicant may be denied amnesty if:

      (i) the applicant is ineligible pursuant to 51 RCNY § 1-16(b); or

      (ii) the application does not contain the information required by 51 RCNY § 1-16(d).

   (2) Process of Denial. If the City Clerk determines that an applicant is not entitled to amnesty, the City Clerk will issue a written statement describing the reasons for such denial and will send the statement to the lobbyist or client as soon as practicable.

   (3) Pending Criminal Investigation. If the City Clerk determines that an applicant is not eligible for amnesty because such applicant is the subject of a pending criminal investigation or is a party to pending criminal litigation, and such criminal investigation or litigation does not result in any criminal liability, such applicant may re-file for amnesty as long as the amnesty program has not ended. The applicant must resubmit its original application, any requisite documentation, the letter from the City Clerk determining that the applicant is not eligible for amnesty, and evidence, satisfactory to the City Clerk, that the criminal investigation or liability did not result in any criminal liability.

   (4) Effect of Denial of Amnesty. If amnesty is denied, any applicable penalties will not be waived and the City Clerk may proceed with any administrative, civil or criminal action against the lobbyist or client.

Chapter 3: Marriages

§ 3-01 Marriage License Application Forms.

(a) Both parties must be present in order to obtain a blank marriage license application. The prospective bride and prospective groom must fill out the application in the City Clerk's office and present it for processing.
  1. Under no circumstances shall a clerk give out a blank application for a marriage license unless both the prospective bride and prospective groom are personally present before that clerk, except that where, for religious or health reasons or, in the sole discretion of the City Clerk, by reason of other exigent circumstances, both parties to the marriage cannot be present at the same time, the City Clerk may waive the requirement imposed by subdivision (a) of this section.
  2. The foregoing do not apply to cases where City Clerk personnel must issue a marriage license in a prison or a hospital or where the parties have submitted the application for a marriage license by electronic means.

§ 3-02 Issuing Licenses Outside of the Office.

Marriage licenses may be issued only at the Marriage Bureau in the ordinary course of the business day. There are only two exceptions to this section: cases where an individual is confined to a hospital, and cases where an individual is confined in prison. Such issuance is strictly a courtesy, and is therefore entirely subject to the availability of personnel and the schedule of the office.

  1. In a hospital case, there are three requirements that must be met before a license may be issued:

   (1) the parties must present a statement from the doctor indicating that the sick party is seriously ill, that he or she will be confined to the hospital for a very long period of time, that there is a possibility that the sick person will not survive the illness, and that the sick person is mentally competent to apply for the marriage license; and

   (2) the parties must call ahead of time or make arrangements for the license to be issued; and

   (3) the parties must be willing to furnish our clerk with transportation to and from the hospital, and must arrange on their own for someone to return to the office to pick up the marriage license after it has been prepared.

  1. In a prison case, the requirements are as follows:

   (1) the parties must present a written statement from the social worker, warden, or other authorized person granting consent for the issuing of the marriage license in the prison; and

   (2) the parties must contact the office ahead of time to request the license to be issued and to make all necessary preparations.

§ 3-03 Hearings Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 15.

(a)  Production of witnesses or notarized affidavits to establish identity. If in the opinion of the issuing clerk there appears to be some question as to the identity of one or both of the parties, the City Clerk, pursuant to the provisions of § 15 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law, may compel the production of witnesses, certified official records or notarized affidavits to establish the identity of the parties.
  1. Request for review of City Clerk’s preliminary denial of marriage license.

   (1) Applicants who have been preliminarily denied a marriage license by the City Clerk may request a review of such determination by paying a $25 fee and filing a request for a review on such form as may be provided by the City Clerk no later than 30 days after such preliminary denial. The City Clerk may waive this fee upon a showing of financial hardship.

   (2) Duty of the City Clerk. Within fifteen days of receipt of a request for review the City Clerk shall forward to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) such request for review, a written statement outlining the reason for the preliminary denial of the marriage license and the documentary evidence supporting the preliminary denial, all of which documentation with the exception of the request for review shall constitute the petition. A copy of the petition shall be mailed contemporaneously to the applicant via certified mail return receipt requested.

   (3) Notice to spouse of record. Where the marriage license was denied because of the existence in the records of the City Clerk of a prior non-terminated marriage, the City Clerk shall exert its best efforts to notify the spouse of record of the impending action. The spouse of record shall be given twenty-one days from the date of mailing to respond to such notification. In such response, the spouse of record may request an opportunity to be heard on the issue, either in writing or at the hearing, if OATH decides a hearing is warranted. Upon request contained in such response, the City Clerk shall forward to the spouse of record all documentation exchanged among OATH, the City Clerk and the applicant.

   (4) Applicant’s duty to respond. Applicant shall, no later than thirty days after he or she receives the petition, submit in duplicate an answer to the City Clerk including therein any documentary evidence or other proof which may include notarized affidavits in support of his or her claim. Upon written request of the applicant stating the specific reason for such request, submitted no later than five days prior to the due date for such answer, the City Clerk may for good cause grant an extension of time for applicant to submit the same. Upon receipt of the answer the City Clerk shall forward a copy thereof to OATH. Applicant’s failure to respond by the deadline set forth herein, including any extension granted by the City Clerk pursuant to this sub-paragraph, shall be deemed a withdrawal of the applicant’s challenge to the City Clerk’s preliminary decision and such preliminary decision shall thereafter be deemed final.

   (5) Designation of OATH. Pursuant to Charter § 1048, the City Clerk designates OATH to conduct on its behalf all the reviews and hearings referred to herein.

   (6) The reviewing officer. An administrative law judge (“ALJ”) employed by OATH shall review the petition and the answer no later than fifteen days after the date of receipt of both the petition and the answer as well as any documentation presented by the spouse of record, if any. If upon such review the ALJ shall conclude that such evidence is sufficient to form a conclusion then the ALJ shall prepare no later than thirty days after receipt of all of the documents referred to in the first sentence of this paragraph a report summarizing the evidence presented, an analysis of the legal and factual issues, recommended findings of fact and recommended disposition. Such report shall be sent to the City Clerk for a final determination of the facts and a final disposition. Alternatively, if the ALJ shall conclude that the evidence presented is insufficient to form a conclusion, the ALJ shall convene a hearing at a date to be determined in such ALJ’s sole discretion but no later than sixty days from the date of such initial review. Upon notification thereof by such ALJ, which notification may be electronic, the City Clerk, not later than five days after the date of such notification, shall notify the applicant as well as his or her attorney or other representative, if any, and the spouse of record, if any, of the date of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested. Such notification shall be post-marked no later than thirty days prior to the date of such hearing.

   (7) Use of expert witness. It shall be the obligation of any party intending to present the testimony of expert witness or witnesses at the hearing to notify the ALJ and the opposing parties of such intention no later than fifteen days prior to the date of the hearing and to submit to both the ALJ and the opposing parties no later than seven days prior to the date of the hearing copies of any reports, filings or any other documentation produced by such expert witness or witnesses which such party intends to use at the hearing. The ALJ may grant an extension of time to the parties.

   (8) The hearing. The ALJ shall preside over the hearing, make all procedural rulings, and make a statement on the record describing the nature of the proceedings, the issues, and the manner in which the hearing will be conducted. The ALJ shall have all the requisite powers conferred by law to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, require the attendance of witnesses and production of records, rule upon requests for adjournment, rule upon evidentiary matters and to otherwise regulate the hearing, observe the requirements of due process and effectuate the purposes and provisions of applicable law. All testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation administered by the ALJ. The City Clerk shall have the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant should not be granted a marriage license.

   (9) The applicant and the spouse of record, if any, may be represented by an attorney or other representative of his or her choice.

   (10) The applicant as well as the City Clerk and the spouse of record, if any, may have witnesses, may give testimony and may otherwise present relevant and material evidence on his or her behalf, may cross-examine witnesses and may examine any document or other item offered into evidence.

   (11) A recorded copy of the record of the hearing shall be prepared by OATH; upon request a compact disc audio recording of the hearing, at no cost, or a transcript of the hearing, at a cost to be determined by OATH, may be provided.

   (12) At the discretion of the ALJ, the hearing may be adjourned for good cause upon the request of any of the parties or upon the ALJ’s own motion and with notice to the parties.

   (13) The hearing shall be conducted in conformity with procedural requirements of applicable law and the rules of procedure adopted by OATH which are not inconsistent with these rules. In the event of any conflict of laws, the rules of this section shall be determinative and controlling.

   (14) After the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ shall prepare a report summarizing the evidence presented, an analysis of the legal and factual issues, recommended findings of fact and a recommended disposition. Such report shall be sent to the City Clerk for a final determination of the facts and a final disposition.

   (15) Final decision.

      (i) The City Clerk’s final decision shall be in writing and shall state reasons for the determinations and, when appropriate, direct specific action. Notwithstanding the foregoing, such final decision need not be a separate formal document and a report submitted to the City Clerk pursuant to paragraph b(6) or b(14) hereof together with a letter from the City Clerk concurring with the recommended findings of fact and recommended disposition shall constitute a final decision. In reaching such final decision, the City Clerk may review the petition and answer and memoranda of law of the parties, if any, and any record of the hearing. The City Clerk shall not be bound by the ALJ’s recommendation.

      (ii) A copy of such final decision shall be mailed by the City Clerk to the applicant and his or her attorney or representative, if any, and the spouse of record, if any.

      (iii) Any of the aggrieved parties have the right to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 3-04 Marriage Chapel.

(a) The Office of the City Clerk performs civil marriage ceremonies only. No references to religion or deity are made.
  1. Where the personal presence of “both parents” at the wedding ceremony is required by § 11-a(c) of the Domestic Relations Law, the Office of the City Clerk shall deem the requirement met when the party or parties whose consent was required for the issuance of the license is/are personally present at the wedding ceremony. All such parties must have proper identification with them showing their signature. In addition, custodial parents must present a divorce decree or death certificate; guardians must present guardianship papers.
  2. Every couple must have at least one witness who must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Food and drink are not allowed in any City Clerk’s Office chapel or chapel waiting room. The throwing of rice or other objects is also prohibited.

§ 3-05 Release of Marriage Records.

(a) In the ordinary course of business, marriage records shall be released only:

   (1) to the parties to the marriage;

   (2) to individuals presenting written authorization from one of the parties to the marriage (the authorization must be notarized); or

   (3) to attorneys in cases where such records are required as evidence in a legal proceeding. The following restrictions do not apply to records that are at least 50 years old, or to records where both parties to the marriage are deceased.

  1. Where a party to the marriage sends a third party to obtain their marriage record without a letter of authorization, that third party may make the request and pay the fee if that third party consents to having the record mailed directly to the party to the marriage. The record will not be released directly to the unauthorized third party.
  2. If a person requires information regarding a current or prospective spouse’s marital history, the Office of the City Clerk will, upon the payment of the appropriate search fee, the furnishing of an approximate marriage date, and sufficient information to search under at least one party’s name, confirm only the fact of a prior marriage or a subsequent fraudulent acquisition of a marriage certificate with a party other than the inquiring spouse subsequent to their marriage by a “yes” or “no” answer. Under no circumstances will a copy of the record be provided. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to permit a divorced person to obtain the information described in this sub-paragraph with respect to his or her former spouse.
  3. Any requestors whose requests are refused by the Records Division pursuant to the above subdivisions, but who feel nevertheless that their requests are for a statutorily proper purpose, may send their requests in writing for review by the City Clerk, at 1 Centre Street – Room 265, New York, New York, 10007. Requests may be approved or denied in whole or in part. All approvals shall be in writing.
  4. All over-the-counter requestors must present identification when applying to obtain a marriage record.
  5. Over-the-counter requests may be honored only when accompanied by payment in the form of a money order or certified check.
  6. A person making an over-the-counter record request involving a multi-year search pre-dating 1973 will be asked to return for the results another day, or can have the record mailed to them if they prefer.

§ 3-06 Marriage Officiant Registration.

Pursuant to § 11-B of the Domestic Relations Law, the Office of the City Clerk will accept the registration of officiants to perform wedding ceremonies within the City of New York upon presentation of documentary proof of authority as outlined below.

  1. In the case of clergy, the person wishing to register (hereafter “the registrant”) must comply with one of the following:

   (1) In cases where the denomination publishes a directory of its clergy, the registrant may show that he or she is listed in that directory. If the registrant’s name does not yet appear in the denominational directory, the registrant claiming membership in that denomination may instead present written confirmation for that membership from the body that puts out the directory. Such confirmation can also consist of a certificate or letter showing that the registrant graduated from the seminary or theological school pertaining to the denomination.

   (2) In cases where the denomination does not have such a directory, the registrant must show several pieces of documentary proof of authority. First, the registrant must present an ordination certificate accompanied, if necessary, by an English translation thereof. In lieu of an ordination certificate, the registrant must present a “license to minister” or a letter of appointment from his or her religious body, i.e., from its hierarch or its board of trustees. Second, the registrant must present a letter from his or her local congregation verifying that he or she is the pastor or associate pastor of that congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. Lastly, if the church is incorporated, the registrant must present a copy of the articles or incorporation. If the church is not incorporated, the registrant must submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

   (3) In cases where the registrant belongs to a denomination that does not have a directory and does not grant certificates of ordination or license to minister, the registrant must present a letter stating that he or she is the recognized spiritual leader of a congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. The registrant must also submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

  1. In the case of judges, registrants must present identification that shows them to be members of the judiciary of the Unified Court System of the State of New York. In the case of retired judges, registrants must also present proof that they have been certified pursuant to Paragraph (j) of Subdivision two of § 212 of the Judiciary Law.
  2. In the case of all other civil officials authorized to solemnize weddings, registrants must present documentary evidence identifying themselves as holders of their respective offices.
  3. In the case of chaplains of the armed forces of the United States, registrants must present active military identification that indicates their occupation.

Chapter 4: Domestic Partner Registration

§ 4-01 Domestic Partner Affidavit Form.

(a) Both parties must be present at the time of submitting their affidavit to register as domestic partners at the City Clerk's office. Parties must provide acceptable identification as specified in 51 RCNY § 4-03, and register during regular business hours.
  1. Both partners must sign the affidavit in the presence of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds who will then sign and notarize the document before the affidavit is submitted for registration in the City Clerk’s office.
  2. The foregoing do not apply to cases where City Clerk personnel are processing a domestic partnership registration in a prison or a hospital, pursuant to 51 RCNY § 4-02.

§ 4-02 Accepting Registration Outside of the Office.

Domestic partners may register at the office of the City Clerk during regular business hours. Exceptions to this provision will be made only in those cases where an individual is confined to a hospital and in cases where an individual is confined in prison. The acceptance of prison or hospital registration is a courtesy, and is therefore entirely subject to the availability of personnel and the schedule in the office,

  1. In a hospital case, the following requirements must be satisfied before registration will occur:

   (1) The parties must present a statement from the doctor or hospital indicating that the sick party is seriously ill, that the party will be confined to the hospital for a very long period of time, that there is a possibility that the sick person will not survive the illness, and that the sick person is mentally competent to apply for registration of a domestic partnership;

   (2) The parties must call ahead of time or make arrangements for the registration application to be completed; and

   (3) The parties must be willing to furnish City Clerk personnel with transportation to and from the hospital and must arrange on their own for someone to return to the City Clerk office to pick up the domestic partner registration certificate and pay any registration filing fee.

  1. In a prison case, the requirements are as follows:

   (1) The parties must present a written statement from the social worker, warden or other authorized person granting consent for the processsing of the domestic partner registration in the prison; and

   (2) The parties must contract the City Clerk’s office ahead of time to request that a domestic partner affidavit be registered and to make all necessary preparations.

§ 4-03 Identification to Register.

1.  Acceptable forms of identification. At the time of submitting an application to register a domestic partnership, each party must present identification. Identification documents acceptable for registration purposes are:

  1. valid drivers license, learner’s permit or identification card issued by the department of motor vehicles of a state or territory of the United States;
  2. original birth certificate;
  3. valid passport;
  4. school records;
  5. immigration card;
  6. employee identification card; and
  7. such form of identification deemed acceptable by the City Clerk. All documents that are not written in English must be translated into English with an affidavit attesting to the accuracy of the translation.

2.  Production of witnesses or notarized affidavits to establish identity for persons who do not possess forms of identification pursuant to subdivision 1 above. If in the opinion of the issuing clerk there appears to be some question as to the identity of one or both of the parties to the prospective domestic partnership, the City Clerk may compel the production of witnesses, certified official records or notarized affidavits to establish the identity of the parties.

3.  Request for review of City Clerk’s preliminary denial of domestic partnership.

  1. Applicants who have been preliminarily denied a domestic partnership by the City Clerk may request a review of such determination by paying a $25 fee and filing a request for a review on such form as may be provided by the City Clerk no later than 30 days after such preliminary denial. The City Clerk may waive this fee upon a showing of financial hardship.
  2. Duty of the City Clerk. Within fifteen days of receipt of a request for review the City Clerk shall forward to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) such request for review, a written statement outlining the reason for the preliminary denial of the domestic partnership and the documentary evidence supporting the preliminary denial all of which documentation with the exception of the request for review shall constitute the petition. A copy of the petition shall be mailed contemporaneously to the applicant via certified mail return receipt requested.
  3. Notice to domestic partner or spouse of record. Where the domestic partnership registration was denied because of the existence in the records of the City Clerk of a prior non-terminated domestic partnership registration or marriage, the City Clerk shall exert its best efforts to notify the domestic partner or spouse of record of the impending action. The domestic partner or spouse of record shall be given twenty-one days from the date of mailing to respond to such notification. In such response, the domestic partner or spouse of record may request an opportunity to be heard on the issue, either in writing or at the hearing, if OATH decides a hearing is warranted. Upon request contained in such response, the City Clerk shall forward to the domestic partner or spouse of record all documentation exchanged among OATH, the City Clerk and the applicant.
  4. Applicant’s duty to respond. Applicant shall, no later than thirty days after he or she receives the petition, submit in duplicate an answer to the City Clerk including therein any documentary evidence or other proof which may include notarized affidavits in support of his or her claim. Upon written request of the applicant stating the specific reason for such request submitted no later than five days prior to the due date for such answer, the City Clerk may for good cause grant an extension of time for applicant to submit the same. Upon receipt of the answer the City Clerk shall forward a copy thereof to OATH. Applicant’s failure to respond by the deadline set forth herein, including any extension granted by the City Clerk pursuant to this paragraph, shall be deemed a withdrawal of the applicant’s challenge to the City Clerk’s preliminary decision and such preliminary decision shall thereafter be deemed final.
  5. Designation of OATH. Pursuant to Charter § 1048, the City Clerk designates OATH to conduct on its behalf all the reviews and hearings referred to herein.
  6. The reviewing officer. An ALJ employed by OATH shall review the petition and the answer no later than fifteen days after the date of receipt of both the petition and the answer as well as any documentation presented by the domestic partner or spouse of record, if any. If upon such review the ALJ shall conclude that such evidence is sufficient to form a conclusion then the ALJ shall prepare no later than thirty days after receipt of all of the documents referred to in the first sentence of this paragraph a report summarizing the evidence presented, an analysis of the legal and factual issues, recommended findings of fact and recommended disposition. Such report shall be sent to the City Clerk for a final determination of the facts and a final disposition. Alternatively, if the ALJ shall conclude that the evidence presented is insufficient to form a conclusion, the ALJ shall convene a hearing at a date to be determined in such ALJ’s sole discretion but no later than sixty days from the date of such initial review. Upon notification thereof by such ALJ, which notification may be electronic, the City Clerk, not later than five days after the date of such notification, shall notify the applicant as well as his or her attorney or other representative, if any, and the domestic partner or spouse of record, if any, of the date of the hearing by certified mail return receipt requested. Such notification shall be post-marked no later than thirty days prior to the date of such hearing.
  7. Use of expert witness. It shall be the obligation of any party intending to present the testimony of expert witness or witnesses at the hearing to notify the ALJ and the opposing parties of such intention no later than fifteen days prior to the date of the hearing and to submit to both the ALJ and the opposing parties no later than seven days prior to the date of the hearing copies of any reports, filings or any other documentation produced by such expert witness or witnesses which such party intends to use at the hearing. The ALJ may grant an extension of time to the parties.
  8. The hearing. The ALJ shall preside over the hearing, make all procedural rulings, and make a statement on the record describing the nature of the proceedings, the issues, and the manner in which the hearing will be conducted. The ALJ shall have all the requisite powers conferred by law to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, require the attendance of witnesses and production of records, rule upon requests for adjournment, rule upon evidentiary matters and to otherwise regulate the hearing, observe the requirements of due process and effectuate the purposes and provisions of applicable law. All testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation administered by the ALJ. The City Clerk shall have the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant should not be granted a domestic partnership.
  9. The applicant and the domestic partner or spouse of record, if any, may be represented by an attorney or other representative of his or her choice.
  10. The applicant as well as the City Clerk and the domestic partner or spouse of record, if any, may have witnesses, may give testimony and may otherwise present relevant and material evidence on his or her behalf, may cross-examine witnesses and may examine any document or other item offered into evidence.
  11. A recorded copy of the record of the hearing shall be prepared by OATH; upon request a compact disc audio recording of the hearing, at no cost, or a transcript of the hearing, at a cost to be determined by OATH, may be provided.
  12. At the discretion of the ALJ, the hearing may be adjourned for good cause upon the request of any of the parties or upon the ALJ’s own motion and with notice to the parties.
  13. The hearing shall be conducted in conformity with procedural requirements of applicable law and the rules of procedure adopted by OATH which are not inconsistent with these rules. In the event of any conflict of laws, the rules of this section shall be determinative and controlling.
  14. After the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ shall prepare a report summarizing the evidence presented, an analysis of the legal and factual issues, recommended findings of fact and a recommended disposition. Such report shall be sent to the City Clerk for a final determination of the facts and a final disposition.
  15. Final decision.

   (i) The City Clerk’s final decision shall be in writing and shall state reasons for the determinations and, when appropriate, direct specific action. Notwithstanding the foregoing, such final decision need not be a separate formal document and a report submitted to the City Clerk pursuant to paragraph 3(f) or 3(n) hereof together with a letter from the City Clerk concurring with the recommended findings of fact and recommended disposition shall constitute a final decision. In reaching such final decision, the City Clerk may review the petition and answer and memoranda of law of the parties, if any, and any record of the hearing. The City Clerk shall not be bound by the ALJ’s recommendation.

   (ii) A copy of such final decision shall be mailed by the City Clerk to the applicant and his or her attorney or representative, if any, and the domestic partner or spouse of record, if any.

   (iii) Any of the aggrieved parties have the right to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 4-04 Domestic Partner Registration Certificate.

Upon completion of the application process, the City Clerk will issue a domestic partnership registration certificate to the registered partners.

§ 4-05 Release of Domestic Partners Registration Records.

Domestic Partner Registration information and documents shall not be subject to public inspection or disclosure. In the ordinary course of business, domestic partner records shall only be released to either of the parties to the registration in person, after proper identification has been submitted to the City Clerk staff. No requests shall be accepted via telephone. Further, domestic partnership information released pursuant to written authorization from one of the parties to the domestic partnership shall only be released if such written authorization is notarized.

§ 4-06 Modification of Domestic Partner Registration.

After a domestic partnership has been registered by the City Clerk, such record will only be modified or amended upon the filing of a written request for amendment form and offering adequate evidence to justify the proposed change of the record.

§ 4-07 Termination of Domestic Partnership.

(a) Either or both of the parties to a registered domestic partnership, may file a termination statement with the City Clerk.
  1. If the termination statement is not signed by both, then the party who has not signed the termination must be given notice of such termination by registered mail, return receipt requested.
  2. The City Clerk will provide written notice of the filing of a termination to both parties of the registered partnership.
  3. The termination statement must be filed in person except that in circumstances where in-person filing is impossible or such filing would create a hardship, the City Clerk may permit such filing by certified mail.

§ 4-08 Registration Fees.

(a)  The registration fee for filing a domestic partnership is thirty-five dollars.
  1. The fee for filing a termination of a domestic partnership is twenty-seven dollars.
  2. The fee for obtaining a second or subsequent certificate for a registered domestic partnership is nine dollars per certificate.
  3. The fee for amending a domestic partnership registration is twenty-seven dollars
  4. The fee for a domestic partnership ceremony is twenty-five dollars.
  5. All fees required under this section are to be only paid in cash or by such other means as deemed acceptable in the sole discretion of the City Clerk.

§ 4-09 Domestic partnership ceremony.

(a)  Upon receipt of the applicable fee and subsequent to the registration of the domestic partnership, the City Clerk or an emloyee of the City Clerk designated for such purpose shall, upon request, conduct a ceremony in the City Clerk chapel to recognize the formation of a domestic partnership.
  1. No ceremony is required to formalize a domestic partnership.