Worth Noting

OLC Opinion Explores Anti-Lobbying Act Prohibition

August 18, 2009

The Executive Branch might claim that lobby restrictions for federal employees are very narrow as applied to White House Staff, but Section 1913 of title 18 of the attached memo, shows that has never been the view of Congress. The Obama Administration's practice is reckless and irresponsible—it never would have been tolerated under any other administration.

Section 1913 of title 18 currently provides:

No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation; but this shall not prevent officers or employees of the United States or of its departments or agencies from communicating to any such Member or official, at his request, or to Congress or such official, through the proper official channels, requests for any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business, or from making any communication whose prohibition by this section might, in the opinion of the Attorney General, violate the Constitution or interfere with the conduct of foreign policy, counter-intelligence, intelligence, or national security activities. Violations of this section shall constitute violations of section 1352(a) of title 31.

18 U.S.C.A. § 1913 (West Supp. 2005).

Memorandum Opinion for the General Counsel Department of Commerce (PDF Download)

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