Anti-Lobbying Restrictions Applicable to Community Services Administration Grantees

Headnotes: 

The anti-lobbying rider in the Community Services Administration (CSA) appropriation act is broader than the generally applicable restrictions on lobbying by executive officers, and prohibits recipients of CSA grant funds from engaging in any activity designed to influence legislation pending before Congress, including direct contacts with Congress.

Congress is under no obligation to make funds available to any agency for every authorized activity in any given fiscal year, and there should be no presumption that it has done so.

The anti-lobbying statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1913, and the general “publicity and propaganda” rider in the General Government Appropriations Act, have been narrowly construed to prohibit the use of federal funds for “grassroots” lobbying, but not to prohibit a wide range of necessary communications between the Executive on the one hand, and Congress and the general public on the other. The considerations that underlie this narrow construction are irrelevant to a prohibition against lobbying by private persons receiving federal grants and contracts.

Statements made by individual legislators and committees after the enactment of legislation carry little weight in statutory interpretation, and are not a sufficient basis for altering a conclusion required by the plain meaning of the statutory language.

Updated July 9, 2014