|Subject:||Federal Lobbying Restrictions||No. 95-10|
|Date: August 18, 1995|
(Note: This Important Notice is being sent to Account Managers, Chairpersons, Deans and Chancellors. Please forward to others who have a need to know.)
In March 1990, Important Notice 90-2 was issued relative to new lobbying restrictions. The topic is again receiving considerable attention and additions are being proposed to the law. Although there is no certainty that any changes will be made, the text of The Important Notice is being redistributed at this time to call attention to the requirements.
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 must certify for each project that no lobbying has taken or will take place.
The regulations use the term “influencing or attempting to influence” in describing what constitutes lobbying 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.” (Covered federal action means the awarding of any contract, grant, loan, cooperative agreement or amendment thereto.)
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 also discussing future funding of the program while there. The prohibition only applies when federal funds are used.
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.