Government Affairs Policies

Protocol for Visits by Political Candidates or Surrogates

The Ohio State University is a prime location for visits by political candidates and surrogates affiliated with their campaigns. The university has been the site of numerous visits by candidates for a variety of federal, state and local public offices. These events generate coverage by the local and national news media as well as interest and attendance by the public. As an academic institution, the university values the opportunity for students to view the political process first-hand. The following protocols are in place to ensure that the university remains in compliance with federal regulations for non-profit institutions.

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Guidelines Regarding Political Activity by Employees of the University

University staff and faculty members are encouraged to fully and freely exercise their constitutional right to vote, as well as express their personal opinions regarding political candidates, issues, local, state and national programs, initiatives and referendums. However, as employees of a public institution there are restrictions on exercising these rights in a manner that suggests university endorsement of a cause or candidate. General guidelines on these restrictions are provided below. For the purposes of these guidelines, political activity means activities related to elections, campaigns for or against candidates, issues, amendments and levies. It should be noted that these guidelines relate solely to individual employee conduct and do not address the scope of University actions.

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Gift and Travel Rules for Federal Officials

The United States Senate and House of Representatives have specific rules on gifts--giving guidance regarding acceptable gifts and travel for Members of Congress and their staff. If you or your unit host an event at which a federal official or staff participates, please contact the Office of Government Affairs to ensure compliance.

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State Lobbying Disclosure Information

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee lobby handbook details both the University and our lobbyists’ reporting requirements for expenditures made on behalf of state officials and legislation in which the University and our lobbyists are engaged.

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Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act

The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 requires that the University report, on a quarterly basis, a good faith estimate of all expenditures on federal “lobbying activities” conducted on behalf of the University.

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