Employee Pocket Guide
Office of External Affairs

Guidance on Lobbying, Advertising, Donations, & Photography Rights

Lobbying: The Service encourages all employees to initiate contacts with members of Congress and their staffs to provide information about the Service’s programs or to answer questions. This is particularly important following elections, when many congressional offices experience staff turnover even if the member is reelected. There are two principles governing these contacts – always alert your regional Congressional Affairs Specialist and never lobby. Go to the Service Intranet for more information at the Service’s intranet site.

Paid Advertising: Paying for print, broadcast, or online advertising is not allowed with the exception of notices to encourage participation in the development of Environmental Impact Statements, Comprehensive Conservation Plans, and other formal public processes. You need prior written approval from the Service’s Office of Public Affairs and from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Communications before paying for advertising space. Go to the Service Intranet for more information at the Service’s intranet site.

Donation Activity Guidelines: Congress has authorized the Service to accept donations that further the mission of the agency or for more limited purposes but has not provided the Service with authority to solicit such donations. Employees are restricted to only educating the public about the existence of our authority to accept gifts and the specific gift needs of the Service. Avoid actions that would be construed as a serious request for money or in-kind goods and services.

Congress has chartered the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to accept and solicit donations, and Service employees may facilitate the Foundation’s efforts to solicit donations. Go to <www.NFWF.org> for more information.

For Departmental guidance, go <www.doi.gov/ethics>.

Photography Rights:

Government Photos: Photographs taken by employees in the conduct of official agency business are considered official government records, even if taken using the employee’s personal camera and/or film. Camera originals should be sent with accompanying metadata to the regional External Affairs office for cataloging and storage.

Personal Photos: Photographs taken by the employee with his/her own equipment, on personal time, and not in the conduct of official agency business, that are segregated from government records and are not used to affect a government decision, are considered personal property. Employees who provide personal photos to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (for example, photos of wildlife taken using a personal camera, on personal time, and not in the conduct of agency business) should clearly specify the terms and conditions of the use of such photos.

To request a Service photograph, send an e-mail to <images@fws.gov>. For more information about photo usage issues, donations, and release form requirements, go to the Service Intranet.

Last updated: July 23, 2013
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