Lobbying Guidelines

Policy Governing Lobbying Activities 

Lobbying is a process of communicating with lawmakers and other public officials to advocate and help shape public policy on laws, regulations, and other governmental matters at any level of government. As long as these communications are conducted and reported in compliance with all applicable laws, lobbying is an appropriate way for the University to inform policy makers about the educational, research, and other interests of Columbia University. Columbia University strictly complies with all lobbying laws and regulations.

In order to ensure compliance with federal, state and city lobbying rules and requirements, all University employees, especially those employees engaged in or considering engaging in lobbying activities should be familiar with this policy. Please contact the GCA office if you plan or would like to engage elected officials or other senior policy makers on policy matters. Failure to properly report lobbying activities can result in sanctions against the University and the individual failing to report.  

For more information see the Policy Governing Lobbying Activities.

Policy on Partisan Political Activity 

Columbia University, as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Political intervention includes not only making financial contributions but also the publication or distribution of written or oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to a particular candidate. There are no exceptions to this prohibition. Even an insubstantial violation may lead to monetary fines and exposes the University to the possibility of revocation of its tax-exempt status.

Nonetheless, the University is dedicated to the free expression of ideas. It encourages students, faculty, and other employees, in their individual capacities, to participate fully in the political process during campaigns by candidates for public office as long as they do not-either overtly or implicitly-involve the University.

In 1970, the University issued a Statement of Columbia University Policies and Practices on Campus Political Activities. That policy remains in effect today and prohibits all individuals and groups within the University community from using University resources or the University's name in connection with partisan political campaign activities.

For more information see the Policy on Partisan Political Activity.

For inquiries, please contact:

  • Loftin Flowers, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, Columbia University 212-854-3738, llf2105@columbia.edu
  • Howard A. Jacobson, Deputy General Counsel, Columbia University 212-854-5583, haj@gc.columbia.edu
  • Ross A. Frommer, Vice President and Associate Dean, Columbia University Medical Center, 212-305-4967, raf2002@columbia.edu