In 2007, Congress amended the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), effective Jan. 1, 2008. The amended LDA affects University of Missouri faculty and staff who contact senators, representatives, their staffs or members of the executive branch at certain grade levels (including high-ranking employees of federal agencies) on behalf of the university, even if contact is made primarily on behalf of other organizations. See list of federal agencies and departments. The act entirely prohibits certain activities, such as providing a gift in exchange for past or future official actions by a Member of Congress (e.g. in appreciation for a bill favorable to public universities), and restricts or requires reporting of others.
Examples of activities that must be reported include:
- A professor who participates in lobbying activities of national, state, professional or other association or organization, and, while doing so, also contacts members of Congress and/or staff regarding funding of research at the University of Missouri. The contact and professor’s travel and trip expenses must be reported by the university.
- While in Washington, D.C., for a professional meeting, a physician-professor contacts a member of Congress regarding federal funding for cancer research at the university. The contact and professor’s travel and trip expenses must be reported by the university.
To ensure that the university is compliant with the changes in the law, it is important that faculty and staff adhere to the following:
- Coordinate and report all contacts on behalf of the university or on their own behalf as employees of the university with members of Congress or their staffs or employees or high-ranking employees of federal agencies with the UM System Office of Government Relations to ensure compliance with this law.
- While in Washington, D.C., on association or organization business, faculty and staff do not mix University of Missouri specific business with the association message in order to keep expenditures and reporting clean.
- If university business is conducted while on association business, faculty and staff must report all monies expended on behalf of such contacts (including travel and trip expenses). For example, if while attending a five-day conference, contact is made on behalf of the university during only one day, expenditures to be reported must include roundtrip airfare, one night’s hotel, and one day’s meals.
- No gifts should be provided to members of Congress, their staffs or employees of federal agencies.
- No non-state sources of monies (such as foundations, grants, gifts, etc.) should be used in contacts with members of Congress, their staffs or with federal agencies.
The Office of Government Relations encourages faculty and staff to contact our office with questions relating to this law at (573) 882-2726.