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Interpretative Opinion 09-07: Lobbyist Registration Requirements

May 14, 2009
 

Thomas E. Redmond
Deputy Director, Government Relations
University of the District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Building 39, Room 301 T
Washington, DC 20008

Re: Lobbying

Dear Mr. Redmond:

This responds to your request for an opinion concerning whether the Director of the Office of Government Relations and the Deputy Director for the University of the District of Columbia, are required to register as lobbyists with the Office of Campaign Finance. You also indicated that both individuals are full-time salaried employees of the University whose primary responsibilities are federal relations and District relations respectively.

D.C. Official Code § 38-1202.01(b) (2001 Edition) provides that “[t]here is hereby authorized to be established an independent agency of the government of the District of Columbia known as the University of the District of Columbia which shall be governed by the Board of Trustees as established in subsection (a) of this section.”

D.C. Official Code § 1-1105.01(8) provides that “[t]he term lobbyist means any person who engages in lobbying. Public officials communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with other public officials shall not be deemed lobbyists for the purpose of this chapter, so long as such public officials do not receive compensation in addition to their salary for such communications or solicitations and make such communications and solicitations in their official capacity.”

D.C. Official Code § 1-1105.01(9) provides that “[t]he term official in the executive branch means the Mayor, any officer or employee in the Executive Service, persons employed under the authority of §§ 1-609.01 through 1-609.03 (except § 1-609.03(a)) paid at a rate of GS-13 or above in the General Schedule or equivalent compensation under the provisions of subchapter XI of Chapter 6 of this title or designated in § 1-609.08 (except paragraphs (9) and (10) of that section) or members of boards and commissions designated in § 1-1106.02(a).”

D.C. Official Code § 1-1105.01(11) provides that “[t]he term public official means any official in the executive, judicial or legislative branch of the District of Columbia government.”

Because both the Director and Deputy Director are full-time salaried employees of the University of the District of Columbia which is an independent agency of the District of Columbia government, and their primary responsibilities include interaction with federal and District officials on behalf of the University, it does not appear that their activity could reasonably be interpreted as lobbying. Moreover, there is no indication that either employee receives any compensation in addition to their salaries for their interaction with federal or District officials.

Finally, because both employees are public officials within the definitions of D.C. Official Code § § 1-1105.01(9) and 1-1105.01(11), their interaction with other public officials on behalf of the University is considered appropriate activity which falls within the scope of their duties.

The foregoing is an Interpretative Opinion of the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code §1-1103.05, you are entitled to request an Advisory Opinion from the Board of Elections and Ethics on this transaction or activity.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact William O. SanFord, Senior Staff Attorney at (202) 671-0550.