Guidelines on Prohibited Lobbying Activities

United States Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C. 20240

January 12, 2005

To:                  All Employees

From:              Director

Subject:           Guidelines on Prohibited Lobbying Activities 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees are encouraged to actively develop relationships with Members of Congress and their staffs, so they fully understand the Service’s mission and the actions that we are undertaking to accomplish that mission. Following the guidelines outlined below should allow Service employees to work effectively with Congress without compromising their integrity as public servants or create confusion regarding the Service’s position on legislative initiatives and possible regulatory reforms.

Federal employees are prohibited from using appropriated funds to lobby a Member of Congress on a matter of personal interest. This includes matters of concern to any outside organization with which they are affiliated. Individuals are required to refrain from using their official position to further their personal views by engaging in a lobbying campaign or participating in events designed to support or oppose legislation. Improper expenditure of any amount of appropriated funds in any form--salary, equipment, supplies, etc.--constitutes a violation of the anti lobbying statutes. This includes the use of Service resources such as the e-mail system and Web links to external servers if such a link would appear to provide official endorsement of lobbying for a political agenda.

Employees are not prevented from communicating with any Member of Congress on any official matter in their official capacity when responding on behalf of the Service and accurately representing the views of the Administration and the Service. Under these circumstances, they will be expressing the position of the Service, which may or may not be the same as their own position.

In addition, employees always have the right to petition Congress, either individually or collectively, on any subject. As long as they do it as a private citizen, on their own time, and with their own supplies or equipment.

For more information about this memorandum, contact the Office of the Solicitor in the Department of the Interior.