E-News from State and Federal
It is time to consider your professional
development opportunities. And, during this time of the year
there are a lot of options.
My #1 conference of choice is State Government
Affairs Council Leaders Policy Conference. I first attended
this in 2001 at the
in Scottsdale and I was hooked. I first met CSG’s Executive
Director, David Adkins there and Stan Tretiak, then with Coors,
was the conference chairperson and had the CEO of Coors address
You could say I loved it so much, I not only
joined the association; I ran for the board, and am now the
This year, David Christman, from the National
Beer Wholesalers Association, is the conference chairperson. The
program is outstanding. Speakers include:
Craig Karges—Nationally recognized speaker
Margaret Anderson Kelliher—President and CEO
of Minnesota High Tech Association;
Kevin McCarty—Florida Insurance Commissioner;
William Symonds—Director, Pathways to
Harvard Graduate School;
Michael Sargeant—Executive Director of the
Matt Walter—Political Director of RSLC;
Dana Perino—Political Commentator, and Former
White House Press Secretary; and
Cincinnati’s own Johnny Bench—Baseball
In addition to this great cast of speakers are
the exceptional legislators in the audience. SGAC invites the
top six (6) legislators from every state. This gives everyone
the opportunity to speak with state leaders and develop the
important working relationships you will need in 2012. I don’t
know where to start, but some of them include:
Kansas Senate President Stephen Morris;
Maryland Senate President Mike Miller;
Georgia Senator Don Balfour;
Ohio Representative Ted Celeste;
Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus; and
Massachusetts Senator Richard Moore.
There is still space available for you at SGAC’s
LPC. You can obtain all the needed information at
Until next month, take the time to hone your
skills, sharpen the saw, and awaken the giant within—okay, too
much Covey and Robbins! The point is to stay on top of your game
and be the best for your organization.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Jersey’s Pay-to-Play Laws Under Fire
Jersey’s complicated and problematic pay-to-play laws and local
ordinances have recently come under attack by lawmakers and government
Chris Christie, State Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer, Assemblywoman Amy
Handlin, and Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) Executive Director
Jeff Brindle are all calling for a simpler pay-to-play system, tighter
contracting rules, and more complete disclosure of contractor
Comptroller Boxer issued a report finding the state’s pay-to-play laws
contain “a series of fatal flaws [that] have essentially rendered New
Jersey’s Pay-to-Play law meaningless.” The comptroller’s report suggests
several changes, such as eliminating the fair-and-open exception which
has different regulatory systems at the state and local levels,
strengthening fair-and-open guidelines to require more competitive
contracting, and reforming New Jersey’s contract laws to allow a more
competitive vendor-selection process.
on earlier recommendations from ELEC, Director Brindle also made calls
for changes, including for one state pay-to-play law to apply "across
the board" for all jurisdictions. Additionally, ELEC proposes that any
public contractor receiving a contract over $17,500 file an annual
report with the agency, listing the contractor’s contributions and
public contracts. The current disclosure threshold is $50,000. Director
Brindle also stated the contribution limits for contractors should be
raised to help address fundraising concerns and not discourage
participation in the political process.
Christie stated, “New Jersey’s ethics laws remain a patchwork of
ineffective half measures and loopholes that fail to apply a uniform
standard of rules of conduct for all levels of government in our state.”
The governor has pushed pay-to-play reform in New Jersey by linking
financial Transitional Aid to municipalities with the requirement the
municipalities adopt local pay-to-play ordinances.
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin meanwhile has renewed her calls to pass
Assembly Bills 520, 521, and 527, saying, "Establishing a uniform set of
criteria that applies to all levels of government when a contract is
awarded will end the charade of the 'fair and open contract' exceptions
for businesses that take advantage of existing loopholes.”
Legislation We Are
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.
Number of Jurisdictions
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
by John Cozine, Esq.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: The
Philadelphia Board of Ethics has approved proposed regulations that
define lobbying activity and describe how lobbyists must register and
report expenditures. A previous board decision to provide a 30-day grace
period would not require lobbyist registration until November.
Additionally, registration can begin only when the board has an online
registration system in place. Shane Creamer, executive director of the
board, stated he hoped the online registration system would be ready in
WISCONSIN: Federal District Court
Judge Rudolph Randa has ruled Wisconsin statutes §11.23 and §11.30 are
unconstitutional as applied against Charles Hatchett, an individual who
sent postcards and posted flyers urging his fellow residents to vote
against a referendum. The laws require anyone who spends $25 to
influence a referendum to register, disclose names of donors, and
include disclaimers saying who paid for materials. The court permanently
enjoined the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board from enforcing
the statutes and requiring Hatchett to register and include a disclaimer
on postcards and flyers. The State of Wisconsin is currently considering
appealing the ruling.
FEDERAL: The Office of Government
Ethics (OGE) has issued proposed lobbyist gift ban rules, which would
apply to all executive branch employees. Most of the proposed rules deal
with limiting, for lobbyists, the exceptions of the ban on gifts. For
example, executive branch employees would not be permitted to accept
invitations extended by lobbyists for free attendance at widely attended
gatherings that would normally fall under the gift ban exception.
Non-profit professional associations, scientific organizations, and
learned societies, which are also sometimes registered lobbyists, would
still be afforded the exception. The OGE based much of its reasoning on
the notion “the cultivation of familiarity and access that a lobbyist
[gains]” may be used in the future by lobbyists to obtain a more
sympathetic hearing for clients. Another change would preclude lobbyists
from the gift ban exception of social invitations, such as invitations
to cocktail parties and movie screenings, if the invitations were
extended because of the employee’s official position, even if the
lobbyist is not a prohibited source. The OGE argues in its proposal that
“the lobbyist could use social events as a way to build general good
will with a class of employees in case access is needed for a future
issue or client.” The proposed rules arise because an earlier
Presidential Executive Order regarding gifts to non-career political
appointees, which had called for the OGE to apply the lobbyist gift ban
set forth in the order to all executive branch employees.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Concord
City Council approved two ethics measures. One measure limits gifts to
the mayor and councilors to $50 or less. Another measure creates an
ethics board to enforce the newly created gift limits. The measures were
somewhat controversial because many thought the gift restrictions were
not strict enough.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: On
September 8, 2011, the New York City Campaign Finance Board issued
proposed new rules requiring the reporting of certain independent
expenditures. The proposed reporting rules would cover expenditures that
are for the design, production, or distribution of public
communications, that are either express advocacy made at any time in an
election cycle or an electioneering communication made within 90 days of
an election, and that, when combined with all other expenditures made by
the independent spender in support of or in opposition to that candidate
or proposal, exceed $1,000. Generally, in non-election years reports
would be due semi-annually and in election years eight reports would be
required, with expenditures required to be reported within 24 hours
during the two weeks before the election.
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:
(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.
I am a registered lobbyist who would like to host a state
legislator at a college football
game. Are there specific restrictions to this type of
The most common gift restrictions are those relating to food and
beverage. Providing tickets
or admission to a football game is a different type of gift,
referred to as entertainment or hospitality.
Some jurisdictions do not restrict providing entertainment at
all. Pennsylvania does not restrict a lobbyist providing
hospitality to an official. However, Pennsylvania does require
the lobbyist’s principal to report the gift of hospitality, even
itemizing it if the aggregate of all gifts to the official are
more than $650 in a calendar year.
Other jurisdictions allow a lobbyist to provide entertainment up
to a certain amount. In Texas, a lobbyist may provide
expenditures for entertainment of $500 or less in a calendar
year. Ohio permits a lesser amount. Lobbyists may provide Ohio
officials gifts worth an aggregate annual value of $75 or less.
Like Pennsylvania, both Texas and Ohio require the gift to be
Louisiana specifically prohibits providing tickets to sporting
events except for a very narrow exception. Other jurisdictions
do not specifically mention entertainment or hospitality, but
generally restrict these gifts to officials. Though a big
football state, Wisconsin generally prohibits all gifts to
The question reinforces the idea that a lobbyist must understand
all of a jurisdiction’s gift restrictions, not just those
that pertain to food and beverage. When considering any dollar
value limitation on entertainment or hospitality, be sure to
consider the proper method to value the gift in that
jurisdiction. For example, the cost of a football ticket for
ethics purposes could be its face value or its fair market
Wealth of Information at
Want to interact
with your fellow government affairs and procurement colleagues? Then
jump into the State and Federal Communications, Inc. blog at
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.
the conversation, and make use of this valuable information resource.
State and Federal
Elizabeth Bartz with fellow Kent State alum,
Smith. Stephanie was at Kent State University to
Taylor Award from the School of Journalism and
Nola Werren with former State and Federal
Rob Mullen, now general counsel at Aultman Hospital.
Senator Alan Simpson [WY] stealing a kiss
Sunovion's Katrina Iserman.
Elizabeth Bartz at Harley Davidson Museum on
an Inter-City visit in Milwaukee with Akron executives.
She can mark "sitting on a Harley" off her bucket list.
Ever wonder what Baseball Commissioner, Bud
had as a front office carpet?
MLB Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig with his
new friend, Elizabeth Bartz!
This year, our United Way Campaign had State
and Federal Communications, Inc. employees split in two
teams - the STARs and
the STRIPEs. Here Elizabeth Z.
Bartz sits with the winning stripes team while they choose
gift card prizes from the grab bag.
[Seated: Sarah Kovit, Dave McPeek [team leader], and
Elizabeth. Standing- l to r - Jim Sedor, Susan Stofka,
James Warner, Megan Huber, Becky Campbell, Val
Blake, Sarah Gray, and George Ticoras.]
See Us in Person
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
November 8, 2011
November 9, 2011
November 16, 2011
American League of Lobbyists Annual Meeting
November 19-22, 2011
2011 SGAC Foundation Leaders' Policy Conference
NCSL 2011 Fall
December 4-7, 2011
Governmental Ethics Laws
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