Lobbying disclosure originated with the 1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (Title III of PL 79-601), which required persons or organization that attempted to influence legislation to register and disclosure expenditures and contributions received to the House and to the Senate on a quarterly basis. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (PL 104-65) made reporting requirements more stringent and required semi-annual reports from lobbyists.
For more background on lobbying disclosure, there are two Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports on the topic -- see The Lobbying Disclosure Act at 20 (2015) and Lobbying Registration and Disclosure (2017).
Lobbying reports since 1999 are easily findable online by searching either the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) Reports website maintained by the Senate or the Lobbying Disclosures website maintained by the House.
Another resource is the Center for Responsive Politics, which has a Lobbying Database with information back to 1998. The data here has been collected from the reports filed with the Secretary of the Senate.
For lobbying reports before 1998, most of the information contained in the forms is published in the Congressional Record. The Congressional Record prints the joint report from the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate and all registrations and quarterly reports received. The Congressional Record is freely available online through the GPO's GovInfo website and also through Congress.gov.
One option to find lobbying reports in the Record is to start from the Congressional Record (Bound Edition) page on GovInfo, select 'Search' in the upper right corner, and then in the search box that pops up, selected the 'Advanced' tab.
In that tab, under 'Refine by Collection' select 'Congressional Record Bound' and then under 'Search In' and 'Full-Text', search for ["Regulation of Lobbying Act"]. You can view the search results by year. Below is a screenshot of what this search looks like:
Another way to find lobbying reports in the Congressional Record is to use the indexes at the end of each bound volume. For example, if I'm looking for reports from 1960, I'd start from the Congressional Record (Bound Edition) page on GovInfo and scroll down to the volume for 1960 (Volume 106):
Then I'd open the PDF of the last section before the 'Daily Digest' and the 'Appendix,' which has the 'Index to the Proceedings' (in Volume 106, that's Part 15):
Once the PDF of the 'Index to the Proceedings' opens, navigate to the entry for 'LOBBYISTS'. This entry notes every page number in Volume 106 of the Congressional Record pertaining to the subject of lobbyists. Scroll to the bottom of the entry and under 'Reports' are listed four quarterly reports:
This tells you that the report for the first quarter of 1960 can be found starting on page 11400 and the report for the second quarter of 1960 can be found starting on page 19177.
With these page numbers written down, go back to the Congressional Record (Bound Edition) landing page, which lists all the Parts for Volume 106, and find the sections with these pages. Note: GovInfo lists the date range instead of the page numbers for each PDF, so it may take some trial and error to open the right section. Page 11400 can be found in the section for May 27, 1960 (opens PDF) in Part 9, and page 19177 can be found in the section for September 1, 1960 (opens PDF) in Part 14.
The screenshot below is the top of page 19177. The Congressional Record prints the form used for the report and only the essential answers are printed in the pages that follow:
To find the reports from the third and fourth quarters of 1960, go to Volume 107 (1961) and find the Index to the Proceedings (in Part 17) and work through this process again.
Here at the Center for Legislative Archives, we hold the Senate lobbying reports starting in the 81st Congress (1949). We have lobbying reports in paper form until 1983, after which we have them in microfilm. Please note that reports are arranged by quarter and then by name of the organization or individual filing -- there is no index for lobbying by subject.
If you have any questions or if you need help finding a specific report, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.