University updates policy, reminds employees of lobbying laws

November 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University recently updated the policy that provides guidelines on contact with or visits by state and federal officials, and is reminding employees who engage in lobbying to notify the Office of Government and Community Relations.

Under Penn State Policy AD50, Penn State employees who engage in lobbying on the University’s behalf must notify the Office of Government and Community Relations and provide information on the time and costs related to those activities. State and federal laws require this information, which is reported quarterly to the U.S. Congress and Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Federal: Participation in federal lobbying activities requires completion of the Federal Lobbying Contact and Expense Reporting Form, which must be submitted to Amanda Wintersteen, director of federal relations, immediately following such activities. Federal lobbying activities include contact in person, in writing or by phone with certain legislative and executive branch officials made on behalf of the University.

It is not considered a lobbying activity if asked to testify before a committee or respond to a request for information. However, University employees are strongly encouraged to notify the Office of Government and Community Relations of such a request as staff are able to provide assistance. Faculty and staff are reminded that federal funds may not be expended for lobbying purposes. Additional detail and frequently asked questions regarding federal lobbying on behalf of the University can be found online.

State: Participation in state lobbying activities requires completion of a Lobbying Expenses Form and Gift of Value Form, which must be submitted to Mary Ann Chavey, executive assistant, immediately following such activities. State lobbying reportable items include:

  • any expenses incurred, and the documents to substantiate such expenses, on account of lobbying efforts undertaken on behalf of the University, and
  • any time an item of value, such as a gift, meal or transportation, is provided to a member of the legislative and executive branches, any state official, employee or their immediate family, on behalf of Penn State. Additional detail regarding state lobbying can be found online.

The University recently updated Policy AD50 to reflect changes in administration and how the policy is implemented. However, the reporting requirements have not changed. Contacts with government officials and staff of a personal nature must be made in the name of the individual making the contact or on behalf of the professional society, and shall in no way imply that the contact is being made on behalf of the University. University letterhead and email are not to be used in presenting personal or professional society views in such cases. Questions regarding United States and Pennsylvania lobbying disclosure laws can be addressed by calling the Office of Government and Community Relations at 814-865-6563.

Last Updated November 20, 2015