New lobbying disclosure law will affect Emory lobbyists

As a result of recent federal legislation, any employee who engages in lobbying activities on behalf of Emory will have to report those activities, through the University, to the Clerk of the U.S. House of the Representatives and the Secretary of the U.S. Senate.

According to Associate Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Steve Moye, whose office compiles the records of University lobbying activities, two new laws went into effect on Jan. 1 that affect not only activities construed as lobbying, but also gifts, meals, entertainment and travel provided to legislators.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 requires all organizations that employ lobbyists and meet certain minimum threshold requirements to register with the appropriate House and Senate offices. The new law defines "lobbyist" as an individual who is employed by an organization "for services that include more than one lobbying contact" and devotes at least 20 percent of his or her time to "lobbying activities" over a six-month period for the organization. Emory has registered under these guidelines.

Lobbying contacts are defined as contacts by an employee or lobbyist with members of Congress, their staff, or senior officials of the executive branch, concerning influencing federal legislation; influencing federal rules and regulations and executive orders; negotiation, award or administration of federal programs, policies, grants, loans, permits or licenses; and nominations subject to Senate confirmation.

"What this means," said Moye, "is that any type of communication with a member of the legislative body or congressional staff must be reported." Testifying, according to Moye, is exempt under this legislation. The legislation is aimed at uncovering anything done in an effort to influence legislation, rules and regulations.

Under the new gift rules, senators and senate staff may not accept gifts or meals worth more than $50, with a total annual limit of $100 from any one source. House members and their staff may not accept any gifts or meals at all. Members of Congress and their staff still may be invited to speak on campus or participate in a conference, but any meals provided for the congressional guests must be an integral part of the event.

Moye is currently working on guidelines to be sent to deans and administrators who might be called on to lobby for the University. University officials participating in these types of events should report their activities to Moye. For further information, call Moye at 727-8876.

-- Nancy M. Spitler

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