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University Governance, Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance

Federal, State, and Local Elected Officials Reporting of Lobbying Activities, Expenditures and Gifts

Scope

Faculty and staff

Policy Statement

Federal and state laws govern the use of funds that can be spent on lobbying activities for all levels of government. These laws require the University to register as a lobbying entity and report lobbying activities as well as expenditures. Any violations of these laws could lead to significant penalties for the University ranging from large fines to criminal prosecution.

The Office of Government and Community Relations is the University's designated point-of-contact for federal, state, and local lobbying and must be contacted and informed of any planned activities that could be interpreted as lobbying by faculty, staff, and/or students prior to taking any action on behalf of the University.

Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, amended 2007
The University is required to comply with the Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act. On September 14, 2007 President Bush signed in to law the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, which amends the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995. The new Act prohibits federal officials and their staff from accepting gifts, including any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, forbearance, or other item having monetary value. There are a few exceptions, but to ensure Syracuse University is in compliance with federal law, SU employees must consult with the Associate Vice President of Government and Community Relations before offering any gift, meal, goods, or services to a federal official or his/her staff.

Under the guidelines of provisions known as the "Byrd Amendment" [31 U.S. C 1352 (b)], federal grantees, contractors, those with cooperative agreements with the federal government, are prohibited by law from using federal monies to lobby the Congress, federal agencies or their employees with respect to the awarding of specific contracts and grants. Researchers should consult the Vice President for Research and the Associate Vice President of Government and Community Relations before contacts with Congress or federal agencies are made.

Federal Reporting
Employees must disclose to the Office of Government and Community Relations on a quarterly basis all costs associated with any federal lobbying activities engaged in on behalf of Syracuse University, including but not limited to salary, benefits, travel, and printing. Federal lobbying activity is defined as lobbying contacts and any efforts in support of such contacts including preparation or planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time of its preparation, for use in coordinating with the lobbying activities of others.

Federal lobbying contact is defined as any oral, written, or electronic communication to a Member of Congress; congressional staff; senior federal executive branch employees, such as the President, Vice President, or Cabinet officials regarding the formulation, modification, or adoption of federal legislation; the administration or execution of a federal program or policy; or formulation, modification, or adoption of a federal rule, regulation, executive order, policy or position of the U.S. Government.

Employees must report their lobbying activities and the related costs on the Federal Relations Reporting Form and submit to the Office of Government and Community Relations each calendar year no later than the 10th day of the month following the quarterly period according to the following chart.

Federal Reporting Period Form due to Government and Community Relations
January 1 to March 31 April 10
April 1 to June 30 July 10
July 1 to September 30 October 10
October 1 to December 31 January 10

New York State Lobbying Act
The New York State Lobbying Act (Chapter 1040, Laws of 1981 and as subsequently amended) requires registration and regular reporting on lobbying activities to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) for both state and local government levels. Under this act, lobbying activities are defined as any activity conducted with the intent to influence the passage or defeat of legislation; the introduction or intended introduction of legislation; the approval or disapproval of legislation by the governor; the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law by a state agency; the outcome of any rate-making proceeding by a state agency; the passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, or any regulation by any municipality; or adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of local law, ordinance or regulation of any rate-making procedure by any municipality. The Lobbying Act also provides that lobbying on procurement contracts, Executive Orders and Tribal-State agreements are subject to enforcement by the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

State Reporting
Employees must disclose to the Office of Government and Community Relations on a bi-monthly basis all costs associated with any state or local lobbying activity engaged in on behalf of Syracuse University, including but not limited to salary, benefits, travel, and printing.

State lobbying activity is defined, in part, as any attempt to influence the passage or defeat of any local or state law, ordinance, resolution or regulation. This includes, but is not limited to, any oral, written or electronic communications to public officials such as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, Members of the State Legislature, state officers and employees, officers and employees of the legislature and municipal officers and employees, paid or unpaid, and any efforts in support of such contacts including preparation or planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time of its preparation, for use in coordinating with the lobbying activities of others to public officials.

Employees must report their lobbying activities and the related costs on the State Relations Reporting Form and submit to the Office of Government and Community Relations each calendar year no later than the 5th day of the month following the bi-monthly period according to the following chart.

State Reporting Period Form due to Government and Community Relations
January 1 to February 28/29 March 5
March 1 to April 30 May 5
May 1 to June 30 July 5
July 1 to August 31 September 5
September 1 to October 31 November 5
November 1 to December 31 January 5

New York State Public Employees Ethics Reform Act
The 2007 Public Employee Ethics Reform Act and Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 amended the New York State Lobbying Act and established new ethics and lobbying standards that in part:

  • Redefine "gift" as anything of "more than nominal value in any form including, but not limited to money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals, refreshment, entertainment, discount, forbearance or promise, having a monetary value." This supersedes the former definition of anything of value greater than $75.00.
  • Prohibit any lobbying entity or its personnel from offering or giving any gift of any value "unless under the circumstances it is not reasonable to infer that the gift was intended to influence" the elected officials.
Tickets to University Sporting and Other Events
To ensure compliance with lobbying laws, gifts of tickets to University sporting and other events are prohibited. All federal, state and local employees and elected officials must purchase tickets/parking passes for any sporting/entertainment events sponsored by the University. Payment must be made at the time the ticket/pass is received, not reimbursed at a later date.

Policy Administration

Links to Procedures and Related Information

Amended: September 2007
Amended: June 2009
Amended: June 2013


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