Update on Istook Lobbying Language

During the past few months, there have been heated debates in Congress over legislation that would place strict limits on the amount of advocacy performed by anyone who receives federal grants. Throughout this debate, APA has continued to alert members of Congress to the unintentional effects such legislation would have on individual grant recipients. Of particular concern is the broad definition of advocacy used in the legislation and the provision that would make grant recipients ineligible to apply for or receive grants for 5 years if they inadvertently exceeded their advocacy limit.

The legislation has been modified considerably as a result of pressure from countless concerned organizations and individuals. The interim result was an amendment that was attached to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, a bill that was signed into law by the President in December. The amendment would prohibit nonprofit organizations that engage in lobbying activities over a set limit from receiving federal money in the form of grants or contracts. This law affects only organizations; it does not affect individual grant recipients.

Unfortunately, it looks as if we're not out of the woods yet. Word from the Hill indicates the drafters of the original grant-recipient legislation intend to try once more to get new legislation through Congress. This new legislation may again be aimed at individual grant recipients as well as organizations. At this point, no specific details on the legislation have been disclosed. The only information available at present suggests the legislators may try to change the granting process at federal agencies. Interested individuals should look for news of this legislation in the coming months. When available, details will be posted on the APA Public Policy Web page.

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