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SU reports $70,000 in lobbying activity for second quarter 2013

Syracuse University reported $70,000 in total lobbying activity for the second quarter of 2013 — down $20,000 from the first, but up since this point last year, according to its most recent filings with Congress.

Lobbying activity for the quarter touched on issues such as the student loan rate increase and programs about improving high school and college graduation rates. The second quarter started on April 1 and ended June 30; the filing deadline for lobbying disclosure was Monday.

“For us to have solid relations with our government leaders, it’s important across the board to have our faculty, students and staff actively engage on these issues,” said Eric Persons, associate vice president of government and community relations.

These numbers can be misleading, he said.

If a faculty member contacts legislators about his or her research, Persons said, the time spent on lobbying, travel costs and portions of the member’s salary are factored into the quarterly report.

Persons said the amount spent on lobbying depends on the issues being talked about in Congress.

During the first quarter of 2013, SU reported $90,000 in total lobbying activity. This was because of issues such as sequestration and decreasing support for education, student financial aid and charitable giving in Congress.

At this time last year SU had reported $140,000 in lobbying, compared to $160,000 through two quarters this year.

SU’s budget for fiscal year 2014 is more than $1 billion.

The university’s filings with Congress also show the university:

  • Talked to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office about the Institute for Veterans and Military Families
  • Met with the U.S. Postal Service; U.S. Attorney’s office; U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-DeWitt) about SU’s Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute.
  • Contacted the House, U.S. Senate, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security about grants and money opportunities for research and training for forensic science, as it relates to national security.
  • Asked Schumer and Gillibrand to sponsor the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act of 2013.

This bill would change the tax code to allow not-for-profit student houses, such as those owned by fraternities and sororities, to use charitable donations for renovations and maintenance. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced the bill in March, and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) introduced a version of it in the House in April. Both have been referred to committees.

Quarter three runs from July 1 to Sept. 30, with a filing deadline of Oct. 20.

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