90-2  Obsolete

Restriction on Lobbying Activities from Federal Funds
March 1, 1990

In December 1989, the Office of Management and Budget published regulations to restrict lobbying activities of employees and consultants of federal grant and contract recipients. While the regulations were published as “interim final guidelines,” they were effective for all awards made after December 23, 1989.

The regulations prohibit the use of federal funds for lobbying members of congress, their staffs or employees of federal agencies on a specific grant, contract or cooperative agreement that exceeds $100,000. This includes new awards or modifications and amendments to existing awards. The University is being asked to certify for each project that no lobbying has taken or will take place.

The regulations are not clear on what constitutes lobbying. They use the term “influencing or attempting to influence” and define it as follows:

“Influencing or attempting to influence means making, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with any covered Federal action.”

For Employees
We now understand the regulations prohibit the use of federal funds to pay salary, travel, long distance calls and similar items to an employee or consultant who engages in a “covered federal action.” It would be especially easy to get into a lobbying situation in the case of someone going to an agency to report on current progress on a project but discussing future funding of the program while there. The prohibition only applies when federal funds are used.
For Consultants
Consultants hired by the University to assist with obtaining an award may not be paid out of federal funds. Non-federal funds can be used but if the effort is to influence a specific grant, contract or cooperative agreement, a disclosure statement on standard form LLL must be filed by the University. Employees who work less than 130 days in the year just prior to submission are considered in the same category as consultants.

Sanctions for violation of the regulations are subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such incident.