Section 3.10 Limited Activities
1913 Title 18 of the U.S. Code prohibits lobbying with appropriated funds and indicates the penalties for violation of that statute.
The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) Government-wide Guidance on Lobbying was published in the federal register on December 20, 1989. This guidance was called for by Section 319 of Public Law 101-102 (the Interior Appropriations Act). Section 319 generally prohibits recipients of federal contracts, grants, and loans from using appropriated funds for lobbying the executive or legislative branches of the federal government in connection with a specific contract, grant, or loan. Section 319 also requires that each person who requests or receives a federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement, loan or a federal commitment to insure a guarantee or a loan, must disclose lobbying.
In addition to the statement on political activity in the Handbook for Non-Represented Faculty and Salaried Staff (PDF), the following policy applies to University of Maine Cooperative Extension employees.
As employees of the University, UMaine Extension staff are not subject to the political-activity restrictions of the Hatch Act but are covered by regulations established by the University. Extension employees remain subject to the criminal constraints of the Hatch Act as codified in 18 U.S.C. – 594 (intimidation of voters); 595 (interference with nominations or elections); 598 (coercion by means of relief appropriations); 600 (promise of employment or other benefit for political activity); 601 (deprivation of employment or other benefit for political activity); 604 (solicitation from persons on relief); 605 (disclosure of names of people on relief).
Extension employees may not present testimony in adversary hearings of any type unless forced to do so by a legally served subpoena. This policy is designed to preserve the role of Extension staff as educators who inform clients about alternatives but do not speak for clients or take positions which affect them.
UMaine Extension faculty and professionals may be asked to testify at public hearings in their roles as university employees. Some employees have requested the opportunity to testify when there are issues that will impact the clients or discipline that an employee works with. It is imperative that Extension faculty and professionals follow the appropriate procedures in these situations in order to maintain organizational credibility with our public and our elected officials.
The following guidelines specify how Extension employees should interact with public hearings.
1. Should an employee be asked to testify by a legislative committee as an information resource, or wish to offer testimony at a public hearing in his or her role as a university employee, he or she should contact the appropriate supervisor before taking any action.
2. If after a discussion with the supervisor, it is deemed appropriate for the employee to testify, then he or she will prepare written testimony. A copy of this testimony should be delivered to the supervisor prior to the hearing. Copies should be prepared for distribution to each member of the legislative committee (usually 15-20 copies). The same procedure should be followed when employees are requested, or wish to submit, written comments to a legislative committee or board rather than offering testimony in person.
3. At a hearing, those wishing to testify are usually asked to sign up in a testimony category. These categories are “For,” “Against,” and “Neither for nor Against.” UMaine Extension employees should testify during the hearing as “Neither for nor Against” the issue that initiated the hearing. Extension employees are not allowed to take a position on a piece of legislation. We can help others to by providing information in order to make a more informed decision but not to support or defeat any proposed law, regulation or rule.
4. When called to testify, the employee should distribute copies of his or her written testimony to the legislative committee members. The testimony should be read so there is a clear recollection of what was actually presented. After reading the written testimony, employees are permitted to respond to questions.
5. The employee should report on the actions occurring during the hearing to his or her supervisor as soon as the hearing is complete.
6. If an employee has any concern or questions about testifying at a public hearing, either as an employee or as a private citizen, he or she is encouraged to consult the appropriate supervisor.
Cooperative Extension employees may not accept any gifts of monetary value (see also University of Maine System Policy Manual – Conflict of Interest). For major gifts or gifts in support of programs, see also the UMaine policy on Fund Raising and Gift Processing.
Selling Raffle Tickets
Extension employees should not sell or distribute raffle tickets for any outside organization.
Handling Funds and Orders
Extension employees should not engage in handling funds or preparing orders for commodities provided by any public or private group unrelated to Extension educational programs.