On September 10, 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced new lobbying guidance to address the perceived influence of lobbyists and special interests in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) process. These new guidelines have been in development since January, when Secretary Geithner announced that new rules were needed to "limit the influence of lobbyists and special interests in the EESA process and ensure that investment decisions are guided by objective assessments in the best interest of the health and stability of the financial system." Treasury explained that the guidance is intended to be consistent with the nearly identical revised guidance regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that the Office of Management and Budget issued on July 24th, 2009.
The guidance provides that during the period of time starting with the submission of a formal application by an individual or entity for financial assistance under the EESA and ending with the preliminary approval of EESA funds, oral communications addressing the substance of the application are prohibited. The memorandum and Frequently Asked Questions is addressed to Treasury employees and outlines the steps that Treasury employees are required to take whenever they receive or participate in oral or written communications with any outside persons, including but not limited to federally registered lobbyists, regarding EESA funding decisions. Under the guidance, after the submission of formal applications, oral communications between Treasury officials and outside parties are prohibited unless they are purely logistical, non-private conversations that occur at a widely attended gathering, to or from a Federal executive agency official and a Treasury employee or initiated by the Treasury official.
For every non-prohibited oral communication with a federally registered lobbyist, except those that are purely logistical or that occur at a widely attended gathering, officials are required to document the names of the lobbyist and its client and the date of the communication and to prepare a brief description of the communication for posting on Treasury’s website within three business days. Similarly, written communications from a federally registered lobbyist on behalf of a client or employer concerning EESA policy or pending applications will be posted within three business days.