Questions regarding the Lobbying Disclosure Act and the Penn State reporting process should be directed to:
Director of Government and Community Relations
117 Old Main
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-6563
Fax: (814) 863-8476
What constitutes reportable lobbying activity?
The term “lobbying activities” means lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others. Penn State faculty and staff are required to report time and expenses for lobbying efforts made on the University’s behalf to Government and Community Relations for inclusion in Penn State’s quarterly lobbying reports.
Federal lobbying activities include contacts (in person, e-mail, letter or by phone) with covered executive and legislative branch officials regarding:
- legislation, legislative proposals, rules, regulations, executive orders, programs, policies, or positions of the government;
- administration or execution of federal programs or policies (including federal contracts and grants); and,
- nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
In general, covered executive branch officials are political appointees, not program managers or grant administrators. Covered legislative branch officials are generally Members of Congress and their staff and employees.
Do I need to report every time I communicate with my program sponsor about my federal grant?
Probably not. In general, covered executive branch officials are not program managers or grant administrators. If you have any questions about whether an individual is a covered official, please contact Government and Community Relations.
I have been asked to testify before Congress. Should I report this time and expense?
It is not considered a lobbying activity if you were asked by a Member of Congress or a Congressional Committee to testify, or if you provide a written response to a request for information.
I traveled to Washington with my professional association and visited Members of Congress and staff to discuss the association’s legislative priorities. Should I report this time and expense to Government and Community Relations?
No. These lobbying contacts would not be on behalf of the University. Penn State faculty and staff are only required to report to Government and Community Relations those lobbying efforts made on behalf of the University.
I was in Washington, DC to participate in a conference. While I was there, I met with my Congressman to discuss a Penn State priority with the Director of Federal Relations. How should I report this time and expense?
In this scenario, the time and expenses spent directly on lobbying must be reported. So, travel time to and from any meetings and expenses related to travel (e.g., taxi fare), as well as time spent in meetings, must be reported.
How much time spent lobbying triggers a report?
There is no minimum threshold that triggers the obligation to report lobbying expenses to Government and Community Relations. Any amount of time spent lobbying on behalf of the University, or preparing materials intended for a lobbying contact, must be reported to Government and Community Relations.