Lobbying Guidelines

In order to increase our effectiveness in Washington, the University’s federal activities must be managed and coordinated through Federal Relations. If you have recently engaged in lobbying, please let us know by filling out this form.

As a not-for-profit educational institution, Boston University is permitted to engage in certain types of lobbying activity, provided the University complies with legal requirements under federal and state law, including registration and annual reporting requirements. The Guidance on Advocacy at Boston University provides more information.

The University has two offices that oversee lobbying activities on behalf of the University:

  • Federal Relations advocates on behalf of the University with members of Congress, Congressional staff, and executive branch officials regarding federal legislation, adoption of regulations, and the administration of federal programs or policies.
  • Government & Community Affairs advocates on behalf of the University with members of the state legislature and executive officials in the Commonwealth, as well as with local elected and appointed officials regarding state and local legislation, adoption of regulations, and administration of state and local programs or policies.

All members of the University community are expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Authorization to Lobby

Federal Relations and Government and Community Affairs are the only Boston University departments that are authorized to:

  • Engage in or direct others to engage in lobbying activities on behalf of the University;
  • Enter into contracts, agreements, or partnerships that involve lobbying. Campus units should not retain outside firms for any lobbying activity.
  1. Information Requirements

In order to comply with state and federal requirements regarding the tracking and reporting of lobbying activity and registration of lobbyists, Federal Relations and Government & Community Affairs must be made aware of:

  • All meetings, communications, and planned events with members of Congress, White House officials, leaders in the Commonwealth, and City departments and lawmakers;
  • Any plans to honor government officials.

Keeping these offices informed helps ensure that no University employee inadvertently meets lobbying thresholds that would require individual registration as a lobbyist.  It also helps ensure that independent outreach efforts do not undermine or complicate ongoing initiatives with public officials and that experts have been consulted to strategize and fine-tune approaches for maximum mutual benefit.

If you have any questions about the most effective way to start a conversation with a legislator or agency official in Washington, D.C. or Massachusetts, please contact Federal Relations at 202-393-7272 or Government & Community Affairs at 617-353-2292.

  1. Prohibition on Gifts to Public Officials

Federal and state laws prohibit gifts and honoraria to public officials, including meals and tickets to sporting events.  If you have any concerns about whether an interaction with a public official may violate this prohibition, please consult with the University’s Federal Relations or Government & Community Affairs offices.

  1. Lobbying in a Personal Capacity

Members of the Boston University community who wish to lobby on issues of personal interest, and not on behalf of the University, are encouraged to do so.  However, faculty and staff engaging in lobbying activities in a personal capacity must be clear that they are not acting on behalf of the University, and they must not use University time or resources for these personal lobbying efforts.  Please see the University’s Guidance on Advocacy  for more information.

  1. Reporting Obligations

Federal Lobbying

As an entity that employs registered federal lobbyists, Boston University is required to report quarterly on efforts to influence federal issues and legislation. This includes lobbying activity engaged in with federal elected or appointed officials or their staff through emails, letters, phone calls, or meetings.  To meet these reporting obligations, a form is sent to all schools, departments, units, and employees who may have engaged in lobbying activity on behalf of the institution by Federal Relations four times per year.

State Lobbying

Massachusetts law requires the University to report to the Secretary of State on all professional dues that the University pays to trade associations or other organizations that may engage in state lobbying activity. The institution is obligated to disclose all such activities twice a year, for the period from July 1 to December 31, and for January 1 to June 30.  Government & Community Affairs sends a solicitation to all offices twice a year to request the information required for this reporting.

Additional Resources