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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

 October 2011


  E - x - p - a - n - d - i - n - g  our Online guides


Dear Clients:

We are always looking to add value to our services. You may have noticed in the past three months we have added 36 new jurisdictions to our online website.

Now that we are starting the last quarter of the year, we are going to increase the amount of information in each section.

Executive Sourcebook on Lobbying Laws:

  1. We are separating the penalties so you will see what they are for registration, reporting, and gift violations.

  2. Does the jurisdiction have a document retention policy?

  3. Is gift splitting allowed?

  4. We are also separating the gift restrictions for lobbyists and non-lobbyists.

Executive’s Sourcebook on Political Contributions:

  1. What is the jurisdiction’s document retention policy?

  2. What restrictions are there on fundraising, as applied both to corporations attending a political event and as applied to corporations holding its own fundraiser?

Executive’s Sourcebook on Procurement Lobbying:

  1. Restrictions on pre-RFP communications between a bidder and the procurement department?  

  2. Are there any post-RFP “cone of silence” restrictions?

  3. Difference between "bidder" and "contractor."

It continues to be our goal to be your #1 online resource for lobbying, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.  

Until next month, let your fingers do the walking at www.stateandfed.com and see the amount of information available to you and your organization.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO


New Developments in PAC Solicitations

by George Ticoras, Esq.
Research
Associate

 Two seemingly small and recent developments involving federal campaign finance contributions could significantly affect the landscape of fundraising in the upcoming elections.

The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) entered into a Stipulated Order and Consent Judgment with the National Defense PAC (NDPAC), agreeing to not enforce laws preventing NDPAC from simultaneously soliciting and collecting contributions, for both candidates and for independent expenditures, all as one PAC.

As a single committee, the NDPAC may now contribute directly to candidates and political committees, and make independent expenditures, separating the funds only by using two separate bank accounts. It must maintain the statutory limits on the solicitation of funds used for direct contributions while it may simultaneously seek unlimited funds for use in their independent expenditures. While the Stipulated Order and Consent Judgment only applies to NDPAC, it does not address other PACs utilizing the same procedures. The FEC has yet to issue any statement about whether it intends to enforce the laws against other PACs seeking to solicit contributions in the same manner.

Another change from the FEC in the permissible methods of soliciting political contributions involves allowing federal candidates to solicit contributions for independent expenditure-only political committees (IEOPC) up to $5,000. In an advisory opinion, which was approved unanimously by the commissioners, the FEC held solicitations by federal candidates are restricted to the applicable “limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements” of 2 U.S.C. §441i(e)(1)(a).

While an IEOPC may accept unlimited contributions, the commission held the law still restricts the contribution amount a federal candidate may solicit. Therefore, although federal officeholders and candidates, and officers of national party committees, cannot solicit unlimited contributions for an IEOPC, they may still make solicitations within the monetary structures of the amended Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

The opinion also concluded federal officeholders and candidates, and national party officers, may attend, speak at, and be featured guests at fundraisers held by an IEOPC, even when unlimited contributions are simultaneously being solicited from corporations, individuals, and labor organizations. The federal candidate would have to restrict their personal solicitation at the event to the amounts limited by the law.


Legislation We Are Tracking

At any given time, more than 1,000 legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in the State and Federal Communications’ digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying, and can be found in the client portion of the State and Federal Communications' website.

Summaries of major bills are also included in monthly e-mail updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are tracking in regards to lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2012
Lobbying Laws 202 47 30 83 37
Political Contributions 377 50 47 133 68
Procurement Lobbying 180 40 19 73 19

 


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

NEBRASKA: The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to stop enforcement of a 1992 law aimed at leveling the playing field in state political races. This decision stems from the recent United States Supreme Court decision concerning the state of Arizona where a similar law was deemed unconstitutional. Under Nebraska's law, candidates could qualify for "fair fight" money from the state if they adhered to voluntary spending limits and their opponent had exceeded such limits. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who had recently opined the law would be found unconstitutional if challenged in court, will have 10 days to file suit once the Commission officially notifies his office of the refusal to enforce the law, as is required in Nebraska any time a state agency refuses to enforce a law.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The district council has passed the Campaign Finance Reporting Emergency Amendment Act of 2011, which requires increased campaign finance reporting in the year preceding an election, commensurate with the change of the September primary election and the February presidential preference election to the 1st Tuesday in April in an election year. A political committee supporting a candidate or candidates participating in the April 3, 2012, primary election must file reports of receipts and expenditures in the seven months preceding the date on which the election is held. Political committees supporting a candidate or candidates participating in the April 3, 2012, primary election must now file reports of receipts and expenditures on October 10, 2011; December 10, 2011; January 31, 2012; March 10, 2012; and March 26, 2012.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Implementation of Measure H, a campaign finance reform approved by voters earlier this year, has been delayed by the Los Angeles City Council. Measure H bans campaign contributions from contractors to elected officials responsible for reviewing proposals for city work valued at $100,000 or more.

NEW YORK: Governor Cuomo has signed the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 into law. The new law creates the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to replace the Commission on Public Integrity. As the Commission on Public Integrity is phased out, a skeleton staff will continue to receive required filings from lobbyists. The office’s records will be handled by the New York Inspector General until the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is staffed and operable. Additionally, the law increases the level of disclosure required of elected officials and lobbyists, including requiring more detailed information about outside income and business relationships between politicians and those having business before the state.

MAINE: The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of Maine's reporting requirements for political action committees, rejecting a challenge brought by the National Organization for Marriage. The National Organization for Marriage challenged the constitutionality of Maine's election law, claiming Maine’s reporting requirements for political action committees were vague and over-broad. The 1st Circuit Court decision upheld the constitutionality of Maine's laws requiring the disclosure of contributions and expenditures in candidate elections by PACs and by independent groups. The decision also overturned a portion of the district court’s ruling which found the words "influence" and "influencing" were unconstitutionally vague as applied in the Maine statute.


ASK THE EXPERTS

State and Federal Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc. You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: marketing@stateandfed.com. (Of course, we have always been available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

Q. 

I’m registered as a legislative lobbyist in Indiana.  How should I keep track of reportable

expenditures for my upcoming report due in November?

 

A.

The Indiana Lobby Registration Commission (ILRC) is currently in the process of reviewing the

reporting guidelines for lobbyist expenditures and gifts.  As fall kicks off and the November reporting deadline will soon be upon us, it is important to review key reporting changes.

Specifically, the ILRC does not consider a meal expenditure on behalf of a legislator to be a gift, but instead, an entertainment expenditure, as long as the lobbyist is present when the meal is consumed.  Per the ILRC’s reporting guidelines, please make sure you save an itemized receipt outlining the exact cost of the meals associated with reportable legislators.  Here are some important things to remember regarding entertainment expenditures, including meals:

  • When determining how much to attribute to a particular legislator, only direct costs must be associated with the legislator.   Unlike most states, determining a pro-rata cost of an official’s meal by dividing the bill by the number of people present is not permissible.  Instead, you must save an itemized receipt, and attribute only the amount of the specific items ordered for that particular legislator.  Tax and tip must be appropriately allocated as well.

  • If you are not present when making an expenditure, this qualifies as a gift, and is subject to special reporting guidelines.  Starting with this reporting period (form was not developed until late April), a gift report must be submitted if a gift is given to a legislator equaling $50.00 per day, or $250.00 in the aggregate.   This report is due 15 business days after the gift is given.  A copy must be sent to the legislator who is named in the report. Moreover, informed prior consent must be obtained from the legislator before the gift is given.


Wealth of Information at www.lobbycomply.com

Want to interact with your fellow government affairs and procurement colleagues? Then jump into the State and Federal Communications, Inc. blog at www.lobbycomply.com.

Once there, you can join the exchange of ideas and view solutions to common challenges and problems. Also, State and Federal Communications continually adds content to the blog, including ‘hot topics,’ which are summaries of important news items you need to know.

Join the conversation, and make use of this valuable information resource.

 


State and Federal Scrapbook

Steve Quinn, Elizabeth Bartz, George Ticoras, and Myra Cottrill
attended the PLI Corporate Political Activities 2011 Conference
in Washington, D.C.
 
Elizabeth with friend of State and Federal, Ed Biddle
of JP Morgan Chase.

PAC State and Local Governments 2011 Seminar attendees with some participants from State and Federal Communications, Inc.
included:  Brenda Plantikow of Public Affairs Council, Zachary Hoying, Sarah Kovit, Breanna Olson of Public Affairs Council,
Ken Kelewae, and Jon Spontarelli.

See Us in Person

Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

September 29-October 2, 2011 NCSL Executive Committee Meeting
Quebec, Canada
October 4, 2011 Leadership Conference
Cleveland, Ohio
October 19-23, 2011 Council of State Governments Annual Meeting
Bellevue, Washington
November 8, 2011 Election Day
United States
November 9, 2011 WASRG Summit
Washington, D.C.
November 16, 2011 American League of Lobbyist Annual Meeting
Washington, D.C.
November 19-22, 2011 2011 SGAC Foundation Leaders' Policy Conference
Miami, Florida

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The Mission of State and Federal Communications is
to make sure that your organization can say, "I Comply."

We are the leading authority and exclusive information source
on legislation and regulations surrounding campaign finance
and political contributions; state, federal, and municipal lobbying; and procurement lobbying.

Contact us to learn how conveniently our services will allow you to say "I Comply" for your compliance activities.

http://www.stateandfed.com/

 

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