University of Kansas Compliance with Federal Lobbying Laws
Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as amended by Public Law 110-81, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, entities such as the University of Kansas that employ in-house lobbyists are subject to stringent federal ethics disclosure rules. Under the law, whoever knowingly fails to comply with any provision of this act may be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined up to $200,000.
The University of Kansas fully complies with the law and requests your assistance in compliance. This policy details what is expected of all university employees with regard to the law and the reporting requirements.
Any University of Kansas employee intending to communicate on behalf of KU with Congress, the executive branch, and/or federal agencies.
KU is required to make quarterly reports on its federal lobbying contacts and activities undertaken on behalf of KU. The report must include communications with the executive branch, Congress, and federal agencies by the university’s registered lobbyist and from any KU employee who engages in lobbying activities on behalf of KU. The quarterly reports are filed with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Faculty and staff who engage in any federal lobbying activities on behalf of KU (see detail and definition below) must provide the KU Office of Public Affairs and Federal Relations an accounting of the time and funding spent within five working days of any such activity. The report should include who was contacted, when, and how much time was expended preparing and making the contact. This report shall be sent to the Director of Federal Relations, Jack Cline at 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 221, Washington, D.C. 20001, within five working days of any activity that meets the definition of federal lobbying.
If a contact with a federal official is meant to influence a congressional vote, executive order, federal agency decision, federal agency policy, federal agency contract or any other federal government action for the specific benefit of the University of Kansas, then that lobbying contact must be reported and accounted.
If you have questions as to whether a communication or activity with Congress or a federal agency on behalf of KU should be accounted in KU’s quarterly lobbying reports, contact the Office of General Counsel at (785) 864-3276, or Jack Cline, the Director of Federal Relations, at (202) 434-4790.
Faculty and staff should also be aware of specific federal laws, such as the Byrd Amendment, and regulations regarding the prohibition of using federal funds for any lobbying activity. More information can be obtained through the Office of Research Integrity at the KU Center for Research (KUCR).
What information on lobbying contacts and activities must be reported to KU for inclusion in its quarterly federal lobbying reports?
Employees must disclose the costs (salary, benefits, and travel costs) associated with any federal lobbying contacts and/or activities on behalf of the university and the specific issues upon which the employee engaged in lobbying activities, including, if applicable, a list of bill numbers and references to specific executive branch actions.
Additionally, the university’s quarterly federal lobbying reports will disclose dues paid for membership in associations, consortiums, or other ad hoc organizations in which the university is actively overseeing, managing and implementing lobbying strategies on behalf of the University of Kansas and its education, research, and service missions. Examples are the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), The Science Coalition and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
This reporting requirement does NOT cover faculty and staff professional/personal memberships in associations or professional societies which are not actively lobbying for KU.
Any KU employee who is a federally registered lobbyist must disclose any personal contributions or donations equal to or in excess of $200 to federal candidates or officeholders, political party committees, and political action committees.
Additionally, any KU employee who is a federally registered lobbyist must disclose the date, recipient, and amount of funds contributed or disbursed: 1) to pay the cost of an event to honor or recognize a legislative branch official or executive branch official; 2) to entities named for a legislative branch official, or to a person or entity in recognition of such official; 3) to an entity established, financed, maintained or controlled by a legislative branch official or executive branch official; 4) to pay the costs of meetings or retreats held by or in the name of legislative branch officials or executive branch officials; 5) to Presidential library foundations or Presidential inaugural committees that equal or exceed $200. This information must be disclosed to the Office of Public Affairs semiannually by July 30th and January 30th (or next business day should either of those days fall on a weekend or holiday).
Finally, any university department or office that specifically undertakes efforts to recognize a member of Congress or member of the executive branch by sponsoring an event to expressly honor, present an award, or include on an invitation as a host or guest must disclose the costs associated with that event to the Office of Public Affairs semiannually ten days prior to July 30th and January 30th of each year (or next business day should either of those days fall on a weekend or holiday).
This policy does not prohibit faculty and staff from active participation in your federal government. The University of Kansas encourages all faculty and staff to take part in our government. Many professional associations that represent specific academic fields, such as engineering, chemistry, nursing, or the humanities and many higher education associations hold annual federal legislative conferences in Washington, D.C. to support programs and budgets of stakeholder federal agencies. Visiting with covered congressional and executive branch officials on behalf of these programs, but not specifically for the benefit of the University of Kansas, does not count as an official KU lobbying contact.
Likewise, the University of Kansas believes engagement in government is important. There are no prohibitions on faculty and staff communicating with covered officials as private citizens, so long as they are not using state equipment, university stationery, or university email and not conveying official KU positions or policies for or on behalf of KU.
Additionally, the ethics law exempts from reporting and accounting routine communications with the federal government when they pertain only to information-gathering questions and discussion, and there is not an attempt to influence a covered federal official.
How can we limit the reporting/regulatory burden on faculty and staff?
Faculty and staff can ease compliance with the law by channeling all anticipated or planned lobbying activities and contacts that are needed for KU through the Director of Federal Relations.
If you need to communicate on behalf of KU with a covered federal official and the communication is intended to influence a federal official in Congress, the executive branch, or a federal agency, please contact the Director of Federal Relations at (202) 434-4790. The Director of Federal Relations can provide assistance for the contact. More importantly, doing so ensures that you are not violating federal law nor subject to related significant penalties.
What other restrictions are there pertaining to lobbying?
A provision commonly referred to as the Byrd Amendment (31 U.S.C. 1352) prohibits the use of federal contract, grant, loan or cooperative agreement funds to pay any person for influencing or attempting to influence a member, officer, or employee of the executive or legislative branches or an officer or employee of a federal agency with respect to certain specified actions. The specified actions include the following:
· awarding of a federal contract;
· making of a federal grant;
· making of a federal loan;
· entering into of a cooperative agreement; or
· the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment or modification of any of these.
Any person who requests or receives a federal contract, grant, loan or cooperative agreement is required to file a certification that no payments prohibited by the Byrd amendment have been made using appropriated funds, and a declaration providing information with respect to any payments made using other than appropriated funds. Violations of the Byrd amendment may result in the imposition of civil penalties from $10,000 to $100,000.
Doesn’t my state disclosure form already cover this?
No. Federal ethics law is completely separate and distinct from any Kansas ethics law or regulation. Compliance with Kansas state law does not translate into compliance with federal ethics law. If you have questions about Kansas ethics law, you should contact the KU Office of General Counsel at (785) 864-3276.
Under the law, whoever knowingly fails to comply with any provision of this Act may be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined up to $200,000.
Office of Public Affairs 230 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Jack Cline, Director
Phone in Washington, D.C.: 202-434-4790
KU Office of General Counsel
Lobbying Contact: A lobbying contact means any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a covered official (member of Congress, congressional staff, senior federal executive branch employees, such as the president, vice president, cabinet officials, commissioners of regulatory bodies, directors of federal research agencies, administrators of federal agencies, and any member of the uniformed services with rank of Brigadier General or Rear Admiral (O-7) or higher regarding:
· The formulation, modification, or adoption of federal legislation (including legislative proposals);
- The formulation, modification, or adoption of a federal rule, regulation, executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States Government;
· The administration or execution of a federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration of a federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license); or
· The nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Please note, a list of covered federal officials is available at https://policy.drupal.ku.edu/sites/policy.drupal.ku.edu/files/docs/covered-officials.pdf.
Lobbying Activities: Lobbying activities means lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation or planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts and coordination with the federal lobbying activities of others. This covers federal lobbying contacts of federal officials in Washington, D.C., as well as federal officials in Kansas and across the United States.
Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor on January 27, 2009; List of Covered Officials and Federal Lobbying Contact and Expense Reporting Form added 5/1/2009; reviewed and updated February 8, 2013 by the Policy Office in consultation with the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of the General Counsel.