Federal Lobbying

Lobbying the Executive Branch Gao ID: T-GGD-91-70 September 25, 1991

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.


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