Contacting Members of Congress – Dos And Do Nots

Tom Kerester

Members of Congress have many sources from which they can obtain critical information on the impact a proposed tax will have on taxpayers generally. But they value most the information they obtain from tax practitioners who deal with tax matters hourly and daily. So, take advantage of the opportunity to furnish the Members of Congress the vital and critical information they need and cannot obtain that information elsewhere. Please review the list of The Dos and The Do Nots.

The Dos

  • Do treat Members of Congress with the utmost respect at all times.
  • Do respect the pressures under which they operate/function in their lives.
  • Do allow them time for scheduling meetings and responses.
  • Do quickly and clearly identify your role in the office meeting: a District voter, a District business owner, an association exec, or a hired lobbyist.
  • Do disclose your Lobbying registration certification with names and affiliation.
  • Do ascertain duration of your meeting with the Member.
  • Do provide them with scheduled/planned meetings with other Members.
  • Do provide them with accurate, reliable and timely written information.
  • Do provide them with the impact of specific legislation on you and their District.
  • Do provide them with views of local and national business groups on legislation.
  • Do provide them with responses to anticipated negative responses and views.
  • Do assure them you will assist them with support of other Members.
  • Do provide them with updates on positive and negative views on that legislation.
  • Do assure them you will discuss your views with appropriate Committee staff.
  • Do assure them you will be on standby during congressional debates for a reasoned response to negative congressional comments.
  • Do assure them that you will not repeat their views to other taxpayers without his specific approval and permission.
  • Do send them a formal “thank you” for their time, effort and consideration.
  • Do confirm appointment time and place: The Capitol or their District office.
  • Do be on time, or earlier, for an appointment.

The Do Nots

  • Do not make any demands on their time.
  • Do not argue with them on any of their views or issues.
  • Do not remind them that your uncle or aunt or family campaigned for them.
  • Do not remind them that a member of your family contributed to their campaign.
  • Do not seek an internship or position on their staff when elected (not “if” elected).
  • Do not repeat their conversations/views to others, without their specific prior approval.
  • Do not forget to send them a “thank you” as soon after the meeting as possible.
  • Do not offer them any type of contribution (cash or check or credit card) or other gift while in their office.
  • Do not make any remarks that would be embarrassing that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Washington Post or home newspaper.
  • Do not linger in their office for longer than scheduled; their time is very limited.
  • Do not expect to be taken to lunch or dinner or on special tours.
  • Do not share any phone numbers or email addresses given in confidence.
  • Do not schedule any interviews or meetings or pictures for or with them, without their prior approval.
  • Do not schedule any private meetings, lunch, or dinner with staff without prior approval of Member.

Thomas Kerester

Tom Kerester knows how to connect the dots! Tom is working with TaxConnections to make a difference by getting people involved behind the scenes of the Ways and Means. We will take you on an educational journey through a series of blogs and show you how to get involved in making a difference in the new tax legislative policy under the President Trump Administration.

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