Coburn goes after lobbying by contractors, requests lobbying disclosures from Pentagon


Citing 31 U.S.C. 1352, the federal statute that bars contractors and grantees to use federal funds to lobby the government, and requires them to disclose any lobbying they’ve done in connection with winning a contract or grant (that’s the elusive SF-LLL we’ve been tracking), Sen. Tom Coburn has written to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates requesting, among other things, SF-LLLs (good luck, Senator!). The full letter is attached; here’s an excerpt…

As you know, federal law (31 U.S.C. 1352) requires recipients of federal funding to complete a form, know as SF-LLL, to disclose lobbying activities. The filing of a SF-LLL form is required of all recipients of federal contracts, grants, loans, and cooperative agreements. The law requires a certification” that no federal funds were used to lobby the federal government.

This was passed, in part, to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not spent to hire lobbyists or lobby for additional taxpayer assistance.

When my office requested the SF-LLL form filed by a company receiving federal grants and earmarks from the Department of Defense, no such form could be produced for inspection by the Department.

On July 12, 2007, investigators from my office requested the SF-LLL form for 21st Century Systems, Inc. (21CSI), a Nebraska-based company, that has received more than $36 million in federal contracts since fiscal year 2000. After nearly a week of back and forth, my office was told by a liaison of the Department on July 18, [W]hile we are aware of this form it is not something we are provided a copy of, so ESC (Hanscom AFB) does not have a copy on file. My recommendation which may come from a lack of understanding of the real use of this document would be to go to the contractor and request a copy.”

Now I don’t feel so bad for getting almost the same answer when I FOIAed Hanscom Air Force Base for an SF-LL (“We do not maintain these forms; therefore, we have no records to give you.”).

Transportation keeps them under lock and key, the Coast Guard says it doesn’t request them, and most agencies we’ve contacted–including the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for publishing the form–act like they’ve never heard of them.