Federal Lobbying:

Lobbying the Executive Branch

T-GGD-91-70: Published: Sep 25, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Byrd amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to influence federal officials in awarding contracts, and certain other federal laws requiring disclosure of contingency fee arrangements for obtaining contracts, focusing on: (1) the status of implementation of the Byrd amendment in selected agencies; (2) compliance with amendment certification and disclosure requirements; and (3) explanations for the relatively low number of lobby disclosure forms filed compared to the number of funding actions of federal agencies. GAO noted that: (1) 28 of the 31 agencies surveyed in April and May of 1991 implemented the amendment and issued required reports on the amendment covering 1991; (2) three agencies had not implemented the amendment because they did not know that it applied to them; (3) required certifications and disclosure forms were not always made and disclosure forms that were filed were often incomplete, lacking such required information as payments to lobbyists, the names of persons lobbied, and the dates of service; (4) neither the amendment nor the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) implementing guidance requires agencies to ensure that disclosure forms are completed; and (5) reasons for the relatively small number of disclosure forms filed include lack of experience in implementing the new amendment, ambiguity in the definition of lobbying, the failure of some agencies to implement the amendment, the lack of agency systems for routinely reporting program or management officials' lobbying contacts, and the exclusion of certain types of program advocacy from the act.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The 104th Congress passed this legislation (S.1060), and the President signed into law "The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995" (P.L. 104-65) on December 19, 1995.

    Matter: Congress should clarify the Byrd amendment to specify whether disclosure forms are due at the time of application for funds or at the time of receipt.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOT IG has completed an investigation and reported the results to the agency head.

    Recommendation: The Inspector General (IG), Department of Transportation (DOT), should further investigate the Federal Aviation Administration's compliance with the Byrd amendment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB has issued additional guidance in the form of proposed regulations that address this recommendation. Following the enactment of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, signed by the President on December 19, 1995, OMB issued interim final amendments to its governmentwide guidance on lobbying on January 18, 1996.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should require agencies to ensure that disclosure forms are complete.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB has issued additional guidance in the form of proposed regulations that address this recommendation. Following the enactment of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, signed by the President on December 19, 1995, OMB issued interim final amendments to its governmentwide guidance on lobbying on January 18, 1996.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should clarify OMB disclosure form instructions to ensure that total dollars paid to lobbyists are reported and to eliminate the inconsistency between the form and its instructions regarding descriptions of service.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB has issued additional guidance in the form of proposed regulations that address this recommendation. Following the enactment of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, signed by the President on December 19, 1995, OMB issued interim final amendments to its governmentwide guidance on lobbying on January 18, 1996.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should amend OMB guidance on certification to require a statement on whether persons did or did not use nonappropriated funds for lobbying.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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