Examples of Interactions
A research faculty member of a university travels to Washington to meet with congressional staff to discuss the need for continued programmic funding support for his or her research field. This constitutes a lobbying contact and all of the faculty member's allocatable expenses (e.g. plane ticket, salary and benefit costs, etc.) will be reportable.
A group of university officials involved in nanotechnology research decides to honor two Members of Congress with "Nanotechnology Legislative Leaders of 2008" plaques. The university officials are aware that the senator has checked with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics regarding his or her ability to accept the award and attend the coffee, and the representative has checked with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The university officials pay a caterer $500 and a hotel $200 to partially fund the event. The university officials would report that they paid $500 to the caterer and $200 to the hotel on next quarterly disclosure report for the purpose of an event to honor or recognize the Members of Congress with the plaques.
A university buys a table at a dinner event sponsored by a 501(c) organization to honor a Member of Congress, but the university is not considered a sponsor of the event under House and Senate gift rules. The university president pays the $150 individual ticket cost to attend the dinner, but is not considered a sponsor of the event under House and Senate gift rules. The purchase of a table or ticket to another entity's event, in and of itself, is not sufficient to be considered paying the "cost of an event." Supplemental facts might require reporting the cost of the event. For example, if (1) the university or its president undertake activities such that either become a sponsor of the event for House and/or Senate gift rule purposes; or (2) the university or its president purchase enough tickets/tables so that it would appear that they are paying the costs of the event and/or would not appear to be just ticket or table-buyers, then the university and its president would need to report the costs incurred by either (as the case may be) for the event, noting the member of Congress who was the honoree.