Legal Constraints on Lobbying Efforts in Support of Contra Aid and Ratification of the INF Treaty

Headnotes: 

The Administration may expend appropriated funds on grass-roots lobbying and assistance to private groups in support of ratification of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but it may not communicate its support of the treaty through the undisclosed use of third parties.

The President, his aides, and cabinet officials may use appropriated funds for grass-roots lobbying in support of aid to the Contras until legislation is introduced. Although activities having the principal purpose of grass-roots lobbying would be prohibited after legislation is introduced, Administration officials could still engage in a wide variety of informational activities, such as writing letters, giving speeches, and briefing opinion leaders, as long as such communications on behalf of the Contras are not made in the guise of third parties.

Updated July 9, 2014