Federal Lobbying

China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Lobbying Activities Gao ID: GGD-00-130R May 8, 2000

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.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.