B-206411(1),L/M, JUL 12, 1982, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

B-206411(1),L/M: Jul 12, 1982

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WE QUESTION WHETHER THE DEFINITION OF LOBBYING CONTAINED IN DAR SEC. 15-205.51 IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ANTI-LOBBYING RESTRICTION CONTAINED IN SECTION 607(A) OF THE ANNUAL TREASURY. THAT SECTION IS NOT LIMITED TO PROCUREMENT-RELATED LEGISLATION. WE BELIEVE THERE IS MERIT TO GSA'S VIEW THAT "PERMITTING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS TO CHARGE LOBBYING COSTS AS CONTRACT COSTS WOULD *** REPRESENT A PUBLIC SUBSIDY ***.". WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE DAR DEFINITION OF LOBBYING IS TOO RESTRICTIVE. WE ARE SENDING A COPY OF THIS LETTER TO MR.

B-206411(1),L/M, JUL 12, 1982, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. JAMES T. BRANNAN, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE:

THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) RECENTLY PROPOSED AN AMENDMENT TO THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (FPR) WHICH WOULD MAKE THE COST OF LOBBYING, AS DEFINED, UNALLOWABLE UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS. THE FPR DEFINITION DIFFERS FROM THE DEFINITION IN DEFENSE ACQUISITION REGULATION (DAR) SEC. 15-205.51(A) IN THAT IT DEFINES LOBBYING AS ANY ACTIVITY INTENDED OR DESIGNED TO DIRECTLY INFLUENCE LEGISLATORS AND THEIR STAFFS TO FAVOR OR OPPOSE LEGISLATION OR OTHER OFFICIAL ACTIONS. THE DAR, ON THE OTHER HAND, DEFINES LOBBYING AS ANY SUCH ACTIVITY RELATING TO "THE PROCUREMENT OF SPECIFIC SUPPLIES OR SERVICES BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT."

WE QUESTION WHETHER THE DEFINITION OF LOBBYING CONTAINED IN DAR SEC. 15-205.51 IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ANTI-LOBBYING RESTRICTION CONTAINED IN SECTION 607(A) OF THE ANNUAL TREASURY, POSTAL SERVICE, AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATION ACT. THAT SECTION READS AS FOLLOWS:

"NO PART OF ANY APPROPRIATION CONTAINED IN THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT, OR OF THE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE BY ANY CORPORATION OR AGENCY, SHALL BE USED FOR PUBLICITY OR PROPAGANDA PURPOSES DESIGNED TO SUPPORT OR DEFEAT LEGISLATION PENDING BEFORE CONGRESS."

OBVIOUSLY, THAT SECTION IS NOT LIMITED TO PROCUREMENT-RELATED LEGISLATION. IN ADDITION, WE BELIEVE THERE IS MERIT TO GSA'S VIEW THAT "PERMITTING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS TO CHARGE LOBBYING COSTS AS CONTRACT COSTS WOULD *** REPRESENT A PUBLIC SUBSIDY ***."

ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE DAR DEFINITION OF LOBBYING IS TOO RESTRICTIVE. WE THEREFORE WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR VIEWS ON THIS MATTER, FROM BOTH A POLICY AND LEGAL STANDPOINT.

WE ARE SENDING A COPY OF THIS LETTER TO MR. PHILIP READ OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION.