Posts Tagged ‘Ethics tips’

Tuesday Ethics Tip: Unethical Candy Corn Edition

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 by Vbhotla

National Confectioners Association is one organization that might want to hand out some of that candy corn they’ve surely got hanging around their office (which we imagine looking somewhat like this). If they’re hoping to use the “home state exemption” to hand out candy to members of Congress, here are some guidelines.

Photo by Liz West on Wikimedia

The “home state exemption for gifts to members of Congress:

Lobbyists (or entities that are employ or retain lobbyists) are allowed to give gifts to members of Congress or Congressional staffers, if they meet several requirements:

  • Items must be available to constituents or visitors to his office
  • Items must be of minimal value
  • The item must have been produced or grown in the Member’s home district or state

These are not items for the member to keep for himself, but to be given out to constituents or visitors.

A good example would be peanuts: a member from Georgia would be allowed to have peanuts from his home state in packages to hand out in his office. So if NCA wishes to give out candy under the exemption, they must search out members of Congress whose districts coincide with the origin of that candy.

The National Confectioners Association is represented by The Podesta Group, as well as Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC. NCA also has in-house lobbyists. Issues that they are registered to lobby on include: Agriculture, Budget, Food Industry, Labor issues, and Trade issues.

Fun fact:

Candy Corn was invented by George Renninger and originally produced by the Wunderlee Candy Company of Philadelphia in the  1880’s.

The Ethics Tip is condensed from information found in the Lobbying Compliance Handbook.

Tuesday Ethics Tip: Compliance System Edition

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Today’s post is an excerpt from the Lobbying Compliance Handbook:

Prior to the enactment of HLOGA, most registrants had not reviewed their tracking and filing systems for many years. HLOGA in 2007 provided a reminder that it is a good idea to periodically review the internal compliance and tracking systems toassure they are current.

Periodically ask these questions to help keep your LDA disclosure compliance up to date:

  • What are we doing to prepare and file LDA reports?
  • How do we determine the information that is included on our reports?
  • Who has been compiling the information that is used for preparing the reports?
  • What are the standards and definitions being used to account for income ortime/costs and expenditures?
  • Who reviews the reports prior to filing?
  • Who signs the reports?
  • What training is needed for ensuring accuracy of the information in the reports?
  • What is the documentation for substantiating the contents of each item of information contained in the reports?
  • What is the document retention system and policy?
  • Who in management should play a role in the review and approval of the systems and the reports?
  • What expertise is needed to ensure the existence of a good faith compliance effort?
  • What training is needed for the lobbyists and/or others engaged in lobbying activities or communications?
  • What are the backup systems to ensure that more than one individual is responsible for the information that is reflected in the reports?
  • What are the legal protections in place for the organization and the individuals preparing and signing the reports?
  • What process is in place in the event of the organization’s receipt of a letter of inquiry from the House Clerk, the Secretary of the Senate (or the GAO in the event of an audit letter)?