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More Information Regarding US Stewardship Transition-Related Expenses, including Lobbying

19 November 2015

Recently, questions were raised regarding lobbying expenditures, and other activities by ICANN, related to the ongoing IANA Stewardship Transition discussions. These questions were raised in a number of forums including: message threads in the Cross Community Working Group on Accountability (CCWG), GNSO Working session in Dublin, Public Forum discussions in Dublin and Buenos Aires and during the most recent ICANN Quarterly Stakeholder Call (QSC).

ICANN has already responded to those questions by pointing to publicly available lobbying disclosure documents, which are required by the U.S. government's lobbying disclosure laws. These laws are aimed at disclosing lobbying contacts and activities related to influencing U.S. government officials in Congress and the Executive branch.

ICANN has maintained strict compliance with defined US lobbying disclosure requirements. Although published on other public sites, we have also recently added to our website ICANN's lobbying disclosure forms from the last several years.

In many of the questions raised about "lobbying," there are also references to other ICANN transition expenditures. Specifically, the community is interested in better understanding a broader set of activities, education and outreach related to ICANN's role. ICANN has posted a new set of information on the website, available here, where you will find a detailed breakdown of expenditures relating to the IANA Stewardship Transition, including vendor names, budget amounts and more. A breakdown table is also provided below.

As you can see (Figure 1 and Figure 2), a total of $765,829 has been spent with three firms: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, Kountoupes Denham and Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen Bingel & Thomas, Inc., which have been engaged on a monthly retainer to help us with all ICANN-related issues. These are the only non-staff related lobbying costs ICANN has incurred. All other contractors with which we work are not permitted, either by law or by contract, to lobby members of the U.S. government on behalf of ICANN. ICANN also has one registered in-house lobbyist, ICANN executive Jamie Hedlund,Vice President, Strategic Programs, Global Domains Division. 

Figure 1: USG Transition Expenses – Percentage of Professional Services by Category
(1 July 2014 – 30 September 2015)1 2

Pie Chart of USG Transition Expenses - Percentage of Professional Services by Category

You will also note that $1,070,438, or about 11%, of transition-related expenses went to education and engagement. The distinction between this category and lobbying is important.

As part of our broader remit, ICANN has tried to raise general awareness of the IANA Stewardship Transition process and promote interest and participation in the multistakeholder model. These efforts are educational and are aimed at increasing global participation. Various partners who support these educational efforts work with ICANN to engage interested parties in the United States and around the globe.

Figure 2: USG Stewardship Transition Professional Services Expenses Breakdown
(1 July 2014 – 30 September 2015)1


Service/Vendor Name

Total Cost


  • Albright Stonebridge Group LLC
  • Edelman
  • Interface Media
  • Rice Hadley Gates LLC
  • Summit Strategies International LLC
  • WBC Global


External Legal Advice to CWG/CCWG

  • Adler & Colvin
  • Sidley Austin LLP


Language Services

Translations, interpretation, scribing, meeting support.


Legal Advice to ICANN

  • Jones Day


Root Zone Management evaluation

Implementation pre-planning.



Graphics/media (including XPlane) and WG Secretariat Support.


US Government Affairs (Lobbying)2

  • Akin Grump Straus Hauer and Feld, LLP
  • Kountoupes Denham
  • Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen Bingel & Thomas, Inc.


Other (<$20k)

Includes additional payment for graphics/media work, travel support (including visas) and other miscellaneous services.





The firms we have used in our educational efforts are: Albright Stonebridge Group LLC, Edelman, Interface Media, Rice Hadley Gates LLC, Summit Strategies International LLC and WBC Global.

The additional information above, and that we have now posted on our website, is aimed at providing further transparency around ICANN's transition-related expenditures, including the amounts and the purposes behind them.

1 The costs indicated here were incurred starting 1 July 2014, up to the most recent quarter end available. Though the transition period effectively started on 14 March 2014, costs were not tracked to a project between March and June 2014, and included only the time of staff support as the transition  work was being organized, with insignificant professional services expenses.

2 Includes all external lobbying expenditures, not only those related to the IANA Stewardship Transition. Does not include staff allocated costs. This does not include the allocated costs for ICANN's registered in-house lobbyist.