Lobbies will have to register to work in Congress

Groundbreaking move for Spain first of a potential series of measures to emerge from official review of democratic institutions

In the upcoming months, the Spanish government hopes to put in place a long-awaited registry of lobby groups whose representatives work to try to convince lawmakers to push through certain legislation.

If approved, it will be the first time that lobbies will have to register and log their activities - a legislative milestone for Spain. At the European Parliament, lobby groups are encouraged to register but this is only done on a voluntary basis.

The new law is part of a package of reforms recommended by the Center of Political and Constitutional Studies, which is directed by Benigno Pendás, with advisors from La Moncloa prime minister's office also taking part by drafting its own legislation in this area.

Pendás is expected to appear before lawmakers to discuss his proposal, while La Moncloa has already prepared its draft regulation as part of a series of measures under the umbrella Transparency Law that the Rajoy administration has been pledging to introduce.

Only registered groups will be able to meet and confer with lawmakers and help prepare studies to introduce or improve legislation, according to La Moncloa's version.

If passed, the law will cover a wide range of groups, including the labor unions, NGOs, advocacy organizations, law firms, employers' groups and consulting firms.

Lobbying groups that work in Congress will also have to file periodic financial statements to show how much money they have drawn to work behind the scenes in parliament.

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