Office of Government Relations » Contact with Government Officials » Reporting Federal Lobbying Contacts

Reporting Federal Lobbying Contacts

University policy requires University employees who engage in federal lobbying activities to contact the Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy prior to the contact with a federal government official. Within seven days after the contact, the employee must file an official report concerning the contact.

If circumstances make obtaining prior authorization impractical for a Chancellor, Vice Chancellor or University unit head, then the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor/unit head may engage in a lobbying contact with a federal government official without prior authorization. However, the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor/unit head must ensure that the lobbying contact is in accordance with the University’s legislative, policy, research, and budgetary priorities, as established by the President and the Office of Government Relations and Advocacy. In addition, within seven days after the contact, the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor/unit head must file an official report concerning the contact.

Examples of Lobbying Activities

The following examples are designed to help you identify common activities that are generally considered lobbying activities and will require reporting. For a more complete description of lobbying activities and reporting requirements, please review the policy on lobbying compliance.

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    • You travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with congressional staff to discuss the funding needs of your research field.
    • You call the Assistant Secretary of a federal agency from your campus office to advocate on behalf of a proposal for funding that the University submitted to the agency.

    While in Washington, D.C., for a professional association meeting, you contact a member of Congress regarding federal funding for university cancer research.

Activities Not Considered Lobbying

The following examples will help you identify common activities that are generally not considered lobbying activities and thus do not need to be reported. For a more complete description of lobbying activities and reporting requirements, please review the policy on lobbying compliance.

Click the [+] icon to see examples of activities.

    A Congressional or agency staffer contacts you to review a paper you authored and asks you to present your findings to her boss.

    You are a leader in the Faculty Senate. At a campus event, you engage in a discussion with a member of Congress about a federal law issue impacting employee benefits on the campus that is the subject of current discussion and debate in the Faculty Senate. You disclose your Faculty Senate leadership position, indicate that the Faculty Senate is grappling with the issue, and express Faculty Senate concerns about the issue. Because you are speaking on behalf of the Faculty Senate, not the University, this is not lobbying. Nevertheless, you should make it clear that you are speaking on behalf of the Faculty Senate, not the University.

If you have any questions about whether you have engaged in lobbying activity, email lobbyingdisclosure@tennessee.edu.