Application of Anti-Lobbying Laws to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's Open Letter to State Level Prosecutors
B-301022, Mar 10, 2004
This decision responds to Rep. Ron Paul's request seeking our opinion as to whether statements made in a letter issued by the Deputy Director for State and Local Affairs, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), violate applicable anti-lobbying provisions. Specifically, Rep. Paul asked that we determine whether a November 1, 2002, letter sent by the Deputy Director to various state level prosecutors in the United States violates the ban on spending funds for "publicity or propaganda." In addition, apart from considerations of whether any particular law has been violated, we were asked whether the Deputy Director's letter disseminated misleading information in connection with statements relating to the debate over legalization of marijuana.
We conclude that the Deputy Director did not violate applicable anti-lobbying provisions. In addition, apart from considerations of whether any particular law has been violated,we do not have a basis for criticizing the Deputy Director's November 1, 2002, statements relating to the debate over legalization of marijuana. Even though the statements may have been controversial, they were made within the context of ONDCP's statutory responsibilities, which include taking such actions as necessary to oppose efforts to legalize certain controlled substances such as marijuana.