CSU Policy: Contacts with State and Federal Agencies and Officials (Lobbying and Advocacy Activities)

Policy Title: Contacts with State and Federal Agencies and Officials (Lobbying and Advocacy Activities) Category: Administration
Owner: University President Policy ID#: 5-0006-002
Contact:
University President
Web: http://president.colostate.edu/
Email: presofc@lamar.colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-6211
Original Effective Date: 1/1/1972
Last Major Revision: 11/13/2015
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PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

This policy sets forth certain requirements and limitations on contacts with and visits by certain government officials, in order to facilitate compliance with federal laws and congressional rules and to enhance coordination of institutional priorities and efforts. It governs all lobbying and advocacy activities, as defined below, made by or on behalf of the university and creates requirements for engaging the services of lobbyists and advocacy firms, including consultants and contractors whose activities on behalf of the university may overlap into these areas.

APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY

This policy applies to all employees and organizational units of the university.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THIS POLICY

None.

DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY

Advocacy: Activities and services carried out for the purpose of advancing the university’s position or business interests through contacts with federal or state legislative or executive branch officials, staff or agency representatives. Advocacy does not include activities carried out in the ordinary course of business such as submitting a proposal for a grant or contract, performing under an existing contract, entering into an authorized cooperative agreement, or participating in academic or professional activities within the scope of one’s duties for the university.

Covered Government Official: For the purposes of this policy, a covered government official is any local, state, or federal official listed below.

Covered Federal Official: Covered federal officials include Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staffs, as well as members of the U.S. Senate and their staffs, including staff of joint committees, leadership groups, or committees of either House of Congress; and any employee of a working group or caucus organized to provide legislative services or other assistance to Members of Congress. Covered federal officials also include the Office of the President; Vice President; employees of the Executive Office of the President; Level I – V of the Executive Schedule (generally Assistant Secretaries, Commissioners, and above); Members of the Uniformed Services at pay grade above 0-7 (generally top military officers, such as Brigadier General and above); and any officer or employee in a position of a confidential, policy-advocating character.

Covered State and Local Officials: Includes the governor, the lieutenant governor, members of the general assembly, a member of a rule-making board or commission, and a rule-making official of a state agency which has jurisdiction over the subject matter of a rule, standard, or rate. Local ordinances regarding lobbying may also define Covered Officials for the municipality or county; in the absence of a definition, local government (county and municipal) Covered Officials include elected representatives, council members, office holders, and their respective staff members.

Lobbying: Lobbying involves the advocacy of an interest that is affected, actually or potentially, by the decisions of government leaders.

Lobbying Activity: Lobbying communications and any efforts in support of such communications, including preparation or planning activities, research, and other background work that is intended, at the time of its preparation, to contact a government official on behalf of Colorado State University.

Lobbying Communication: Any in-person or indirect unsolicited communication made on behalf of Colorado State University, including oral, written, or electronic communication, to influence government officials including, but not limited to: an appropriations request, action on legislation, rules, regulations, contracts, nominations, or any other governmental program or policy.

A lobbying communication is not:

  1. A communication required pursuant to an existing contract, permit, license, grant or loan.
  2. A speech, article, publication or other material that does not address an official position of the University, which is distributed and made available to the public through a medium of mass communication.
  3. Educational meetings and presentations to officials.
  4. Public testimony or written comments, that do not address an official position of the university, in response to a public proceeding.
  5. Personal lobbying communications using personal resources or that of a professional association.
  6. A communication required by subpoena or civil investigative demand, or otherwise compelled by statute, regulation or other action of a public agency.

Personal Lobbying Communication: Any lobbying communication made on personal time using personal resources setting forth personal opinions to government officials.

Professional Lobbying Communication: Any lobbying communication made to government officials on behalf of professional groups or organizations.

POLICY STATEMENT

In order to be effective in furthering the interests of the institution and its constituents, CSU must have a coordinated and cohesive approach to working with lobbyists, legislators and government agencies at all levels of government. When CSU colleges, departments or administrative units, or individual employees engage the services of lobbyists or undertake advocacy activities directly, this coordination is lacking and the risk of inconsistent positions and activities arises. Serious, adverse consequences to the institution can result from these disparate arrangements.

Advocacy and lobbying of Covered Officials are within the primary responsibility and authority of the Chancellor and the President. While some campus units may historically have carried out these activities independently, with or without the help of third party contractors and consultants, the risks of inconsistent messaging, waste of resources, and ineffectiveness are present when campus units engage in these activities independently. Coordination is required to help avoid these risks.

POLICY PROVISIONS

1.            Use of Funds for Lobbying

Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §1352, federal funds may not be used to influence or attempt to influence any member of the Executive or Legislative branches of government (including any agency employee) for the purpose of securing a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement or an extension, renewal, or modification of any of these. Charging travel expenses to a federal award or being paid from a federal award, while attempting to influence the award of federal funds for a specific program, is considered lobbying and is prohibited. Such expenditures by a third party on your behalf are prohibited as well. If non-federal funds are used for lobbying, a disclosure form must be submitted to the federal agency with the proposal or prior to the award. These requirements also apply to all subawards (i.e. subcontracts, cooperative agreements, etc.). In addition, no Federal student aid funding under the Higher Education Act of 1965 may be used to hire a registered lobbyist or pay any person or entity for securing an earmark.

2.            Engaging in Lobbying

Who May Engage in Lobbying:Only the CSU System Chancellor, CSU President, and persons expressly delegated by the Chancellor or President, are authorized to represent the university when interacting with Covered Officials, except in the ordinary course of business. The “ordinary course of business” includes activities such as performing work under a grant, contract or cooperative agreement that has previously been authorized, and submitting a grant or contract proposal through an agency’s regularly established application process. All University employees must use sound judgment and caution to assure that activities related to the proposal process don’t inadvertently stray into lobbying. For example, calling an agency official to request consideration of the university’s proposal or to persuade the official that CSU’s program is deserving of the award may violate the prohibition. All pre-award contacts with governmental officials in connection with a grant or contract proposal must be coordinated by and through the Office of Sponsored Programs. To assure that a correct determination is made as to whether an activity is lobbying, all university contacts with Covered Officials shall be coordinated through the Office of the President.

Personal Lobbying: CSU employees who engage in lobbying for personal or professional reasons unrelated to their position or duties at CSU, on their own time, using personal resources, should always make it clear to the Covered Official that their views are personal and they are not acting in a representative capacity for the university. This includes lobbying on behalf of a professional organization or society with which the employee is affiliated. CSU letterhead, email accounts, and titles conferred by CSU shall not be used in such communications.

3.            Contracting for Lobbying or Advocacy Services

The Colorado State University Foundation (CSUF), on behalf of CSUS and the President, maintains one or more contracts with registered lobbyists for purposes of furthering the institution’s interests and has primary responsibility for managing these contracts, and for making required disclosures and certifications related to lobbying. These contracts are the exclusive arrangements by which any lobbying or advocacy services as described herein may be obtained by or on behalf of CSU or any of its organizational units, unless an exception is expressly granted by the Chancellor, the President or the President’s designee. The following rules shall be observed:

  1. No university employee, agent, contractor or representative may engage the services of any firm or person for purposes of lobbying or advocacy, without the express, prior, written approval of the President or President’s designee. Any new contract or contract extension for any activity covered by this policy is prohibited unless approved, in advance, by the President or President’s designee, and any existing contracts involving such activities must be reported to the Office of the President.
  2. University employees must use sound judgment when engaging any consultant or service provider for activities that, even though not primarily intended as lobbying, may involve making contacts with governmental officials that could be considered lobbying contacts. (For example, a consultant retained to assist the university in “raising the profile” of the university or any of its programs may make lobbying contacts, seeking to make legislators aware of the university’s unique programs or capabilities in a particular area of interest).
  3. All contracts or proposed contracts to retain services that are or may be covered by this policy should be routed to the Department of Contracting Services in the Office of General Counsel for review prior to being negotiated or signed. Contracting Services will consult with the Office of the President to determine whether the scope of work involves activities covered under this policy.

 

REFERENCES

Lobbying Disclosure Act, P.L. 110-81, 2 U.S.C. §1602

Colorado Sunshine Law, Colo. Rev. Stat. §24-6-301

Limitation on use of appropriated funds to influence certain Federal contracting and financial transactions, 31 USC §1352

Faculty and Administrative Professionals Manual, Section D.7.8.2 Colorado Sunshine Act of 1972: Registration of Lobbyists

APPROVALS

APPROVED:

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

By: Anthony A. Frank, President

Date: /signed/ by Anthony A. Frank, September 24, 2014      

 

 

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