Lobbying Activities by Grantees

B-202787: Published: Dec 29, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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GAO was asked to halt certain lobbying activities in which a grantee of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) had been engaged and to recover any appropriated funds that may have been expended in violation of laws which prohibit such lobbying. The managing attorney of the grantee made a mass mailing to inform attorneys of the jeopardy of its program due to proposed budget reductions and to solicit lobbying activity in support of continuing its program whose funding was under consideration by Congress. LSC is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that recipients do not use appropriated funds to influence the passage or defeat of legislation before Congress. Grantees cannot solicit others to contact their congressmen in connection with pending legislation which effects their programs. However, GAO lacks the statutory authority to halt lobbying activities by grantees of LSC or to recover funds illegally expended by them on such activities. H.R. 3480 would have the effect of making GAO decisions binding on LSC. However, even under this proposed legislation, GAO might still be unable to ensure compliance with its decisions if LSC chose to disregard them.

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