Justice and Law Enforcement:

[Comments on Agency Lobbying Expenditures]

B-270875: Published: Jul 5, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 5, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO commented on whether five federal agencies expended federal funds lawfully when they engaged in certain lobbying activities. GAO noted that: (1) only the Department of Labor (DOL) was subject to an appropriation act lobbying restriction at the time of the questionable activity and the other four agencies were subject to only the criminal statute; (2) the Commodities Futures Trading Commission's memo, the Department of Energy's letter, and the Department of Veterans Affairs' communications with its employees did not violate lobbying restrictions, since the officials involved were Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees and the activities did not constitute substantial grass-roots lobbying; (3) the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) activities did not constitute grass-roots lobbying and EPA did not provide direct support to lobbying organizations; (4) DOL did not urge members of the public to contact their congressional representatives about the relevant legislation; and (5) proposed legislation would broaden the restrictions on agency lobbying activities and would cover DOL activities.

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