Federal Lobbying:

China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Lobbying Activities

GGD-00-130R: Published: May 8, 2000. Publicly Released: May 11, 2000.

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L. Nye Stevens
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed efforts by the White House China Trade Relations Working Group and selected agencies to garner support for permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China, focusing on: (1) whether these efforts may be in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1913; and (2) applicable appropriations provisions that prohibit the expenditure of appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda purposes or to lobby Congress.

GAO noted that: (1) some agencies provided preliminary information pertaining to PNTR activities at initial meetings with GAO; (2) the bulk of the material that GAO has received to date was provided during the week of May 1, 2000; (3) this material included speeches, talking points, fact sheets, and electronic mail (e-mail) messages; (4) because of time constraints, GAO instructed the White House and other agencies in GAO's initial discussions to provide the requested documents on a continual, rolling basis, rather than waiting until all documents are compiled and ready for GAO's review, and they have done so; (5) GAO has not yet obtained all requested data for China PNTR-related travel; (6) GAO's review of documents received to date--for example, speeches, talking points, fact sheets, e-mail messages--show extensive outreach and coordination by the administration with outside groups such as public corporations and trade coalitions; (7) GAO has not yet received all of the information requested and have not been able to completely review what has been received; (8) therefore, GAO is not in a position at the present time to say that the criminal lobbying provision at 18 U.S.C. 1913 or the applicable appropriations restrictions have been violated; and (9) GAO expects that the agencies will provide additional information on a continuing basis.

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