Contact Person: Rachel Arndt, 202-647-1068
M – Patrick F. Kennedy
M/PRI – Marguerite Coffey
L/M – Valerie Wenderoth
L/LFA - Shawn Pompian
L/Ethics – Chip Brooks
On March 20, 2009, the President issued an Executive Branch-wide Memorandum entitled “Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds.” Section 3 of the President’s Memorandum mandates interim specific protocols for oral communications with Federally registered lobbyists. This memo has been posted to the State Department’s website at www.state.gov/recovery. This interim guidance outlines the actions you are required to take, effective immediately, whenever you receive or participate in oral or written communications with any outside persons or entities who are exerting influence on the use of funds appropriated in the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” P.L. 111–5 (“Recovery Act”). The purpose of the President’s Memorandum and this initial guidance is to promote transparency in communications with Federally registered lobbyists and to facilitate Federal agencies’ merit-based decision-making in awarding Recovery Act funds. Accordingly, there is no prohibition on communications with Federally registered lobbyists, but any such communications must be in compliance with the following protocol:
A. Unrestricted Oral Communications with Registered Lobbyists on Logistical Questions Related to the Recovery Act
The President’s Memorandum does not place any restrictions on communications with registered lobbyists concerning general questions about the logistics of Recovery Act funding or implementation. Such matters include a request for a meeting, a request for the status of an action, or any other similar administrative request (e.g., how to apply for funding under the Recovery Act, how to conform to deadlines, to which agencies or officials applications or questions should be directed, or requests for information about program requirements and agency practices under the Recovery Act). Communications are not within the scope of “logistical questions” if the request is an attempt to communicate about:
B. Unrestricted Public Oral Communications with Registered Lobbyists at Widely Attended Gatherings
The President’s Memorandum is aimed at furthering the transparency of oral communications between Federal officials and registered lobbyists concerning the Recovery Act. Such transparency aims are achieved with respect to public communications made at widely attended gatherings (as defined in 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204(g)(2) and related guidance) that are attended by either a large number of people from throughout an industry or profession, or by those representing a wide range of interests. The President’s Memorandum imposes no further restrictions on such public oral lobbyist communications.
C. Non-Public Oral Communications with Federally Registered Lobbyists on Recovery Act Policy Matters or in Support of Specific Projects or Applicants for Funding
Other than the above situations, if you communicate with or are contacted, via telephone or in-person, by any persons outside the Federal government (including persons associated with for-profit companies, non-profit organizations and State and local governmental entities) regarding Recovery Act matters, you should ask if any person participating in the oral communication is a Federally registered lobbyist under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. If any person is a Federally registered lobbyist, please take the following steps:
D. Written Communication from Federally Registered Lobbyists
Please forward all written communications you receive from Federally registered lobbyists regarding specific projects, applications, or applicants for Recovery Act funding to Rachel Arndt (M/PRI) via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately upon receipt. The written communication will then be forwarded for posting to the Department’s website within 3 business days.
If you have any questions about the President’s Memorandum, or this interim guidance, please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” at the Department’s website www.state.gov/recovery, which provides specific examples or you may contact Rachel Arndt at email@example.com.