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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

 December 2011


Professional Development – Part Deux

The most popular conferences for government relations professionals are around the corner and both are brought to you by the Public Affairs Council. The Grassroots Conference is in Miami Beach from January 30th to February 2nd and the National PAC Conference is in Orlando from February 27th to March 1st.

First, get past the fact both conferences are in Florida. The Council keeps us busy enough that we rarely get more than a few hours to mill around.

Second, what you need to know is the Council makes sure it has the top-of-the-line speakers for the programs and the sessions are mixed in with people in the field who are doing great things in both grassroots advocacy and PAC recruitment.

Finally, and most important, you will find State and Federal Communications involved with the conferences. We have been involved with the advisory board for each conference, sending a number of staff, and we are included in the Market Resource Program.

You can obtain more information about these conferences at www.pac.org.

Until next month, continue to plan for your professional development. There is nothing like developing the important skills for your organization.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO


California’s Senate Bill 398 Affects Placement Agents

by Sarah Kovit, Esq.
Research
Associate

 

On October 9, 2011, following the end of the legislative session, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 398 into law. The bill is part of the state’s ongoing effort to regulate investment managers who conduct business with California’s public employee pension funds. The bill, which alters definitions as well as registration and reporting requirements, went into effect upon signature.  

Specifically, the new law modifies the definition of external managers and placement agents. The modified definitions clarify that an investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), such as a mutual fund, does not fall within the definition of investment funds for the purpose of the statute. Further, an external manager includes any adviser to a securities portfolio.

An additional result of the new law is the exemption of placement agents from any requirements imposed by a local government agency, including lobbyist registration and reporting, if the placement agent is an employee, officer, or director of an external manager, and if the external manager is registered as an investment adviser or a broker-dealer with the SEC or any state securities regulator. Further, placement agents are exempt from local requirements if the external manager is participating in a competitive bidding process, such as a request for proposal, or has been selected through a competitive bidding process and is providing services pursuant to a contract executed as a result of that bidding process, or when the external manager, if selected through competitive bidding, has agreed to a fiduciary standard of care for the contract. Placement agents who believe themselves to be exempt should be sure to check with local officials for potential conflicts regarding the applicability of local regulations to placement agents.


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 206 48 31 83 43
Political Contributions 386 51 49 133 78
Procurement Lobbying 184 42 21 73 21

 


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

OHIO: Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 318 into law the evening of Friday, October 21, 2011. House Bill 318 creates two separate primary elections in the state during 2012. The first primary election, for county partisan offices, the state legislature, and the available U.S. Senate seat, will be held on March 6, 2012, while the second primary date, for the President and U.S. House of Representatives, will be June 12, 2012. The bill is intended to give state lawmakers more time to settle differences concerning Ohio's recently passed map for legislative redistricting, as a Democrat-backed coalition seeks to place the redistricting measure before Ohio's voters for a possible repeal in 2012 if a compromise cannot be reached.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: A court has ruled the province cannot restrict election spending in the 60 days leading up to an official election call. In British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia (Attorney General), the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling finding portions of Election Act sections 235.1 and 228 are unconstitutional and are of no force and effect insofar as they relate to the pre-campaign period as defined in the act. Therefore, the court affirmed the British Columbia Attorney General cannot restrict election spending in the pre-campaign period 60 days before the election period begins. Election advertising preceding a 28-day campaign period is considered a "pre-campaign" period.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: The San Jose City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, October 18 to change the city’s campaign finance laws. Changes approved include the elimination of the city’s blackout periods which prohibit campaign contributions within 17 days of a regular election and within seven days of a special election. Per the new law, the voluntary candidate campaign expenditure limits will increase from $1.00 per resident per election to $1.25. The rate for mayoral elections will remain the same at $0.75 per resident per election. Further changes implemented by the new law eliminate an increase in the voluntary expenditure cap triggered by the fundraising efforts of other candidates and independent committees, who do not choose to accept the limit.

CALIFORNIA: At its October 13, 2011 hearing, the Fair Political Practices Commission voted 3-0 to adopt Regulation 18421.31 regarding text message contributions. Per the new regulation candidates and committees are permitted to raise funds through low-dollar text message contributions. For the purposes of the regulation, contributions are deemed to be received on the date a mobile fundraising vendor, acting as an agent of the candidate or committee, obtains possession and control of the funds. Once received by the mobile fundraising vendor, contributions must be promptly reported to the candidate or committee’s treasurer or a designated agent thereof no later than the closing date of any campaign statement the candidate or committee is required to file. For text message contributions of less than $25, candidates and committees will be required to maintain the dates and daily totals of contributions. For contributions exceeding $25 but less than $100, the regulation requires that candidates and committees record the full name and street address of the contributor, the cumulative amount received from each contribution, and any information regarding an intermediary where applicable. When a contribution exceeding $100 is received, the regulation requires that the candidate or committee maintain a record of the contributor’s name and address, occupation, employer, the cumulative amount received from the contributor, and any information regarding an intermediary where applicable. Under the proposed regulation, a contribution made by text message will be attributed to the person who is subscribed to the cell phone number from which the contribution is received.

FEDERAL: The Federal Election Commission will no longer prohibit non-connected political committees from accepting corporate and labor organization contributions, provided the political committee maintains and deposits those contributions into separate bank accounts. The commission will also not limit the amounts permissible sources can contribute to such accounts. In an statement released by the commission, it stated, consistent with its agreement to a stipulated order and consent judgment in Carey v. FEC, it would no longer enforce 2 U.S.C. §441a(a)(1)(C) and (a)(3), as well as any implementing regulations, against any non-connected political committee with regard to contributions from individuals, political committees, corporations, and labor organizations under certain conditions. A single committee may now contribute directly to candidates and political committees, and make independent expenditures, separating the funds only by using two separate bank accounts. The committee 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. The commission intends to develop new regulations and amend its reporting forms. Until that time, the commission says committees should follow the procedures outlined in its current statement.


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 want to make political contributions to a candidate for state assembly.  The limits are per

election.  How do I make certain the contribution is attributed to the correct election [primary or general]?  Does it matter when I give the contribution in relation to the election?

 

A.

In this situation it is important to have a “meeting of the minds” between the contributor and

the candidate.  The contributor’s intent should be made clear by either indicating the name of the election on the memo line of the check [e.g., 2012 Primary Election], or including a cover letter with the check, or both.  The cover letter can contain language specifically earmarking the contribution for the intended election.  Using these precautions should prevent the candidate from allocating the contribution to an election different from the one intended by the contributor, thereby resulting in a violation of the per election contribution limits.   It is not unusual for a candidate to file his pre- or post- election reports disclosing aggregate contributions from a donor in violation of the per-election limit.  The candidate may have allocated two or more checks to one election, but the contributor intended one check for the primary and one for the general.

Furthermore, a contributor must be aware of the timing of the contribution.  For instance, in New Jersey, you only have 17 days after an election to make a contribution for that particular election; otherwise the contribution is automatically applied toward the next election, regardless of the contributor’s intent.


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

The great Cincinnati Reds Catcher, Johnny Bench, at the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC) 2011 Foundation Leaders' Policy Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, pictured with SGAC President Elizabeth Z Bartz and David Christman.

Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus with
former Cincinnati Reds Catcher Johnny Bench
at the SGAC Leaders Policy Conference.

American League of Lobbyists who received Lobbying Certificates at the annual meeting on November 16, 2011.
Elizabeth Bartz enjoyed an SGAC event with Dana Perino,
Fox News and former White House Press Secretary for
President George W. Bush.
Federal Compliance Associate Rebecca South with
American League of Lobbyist President Howard Marlowe.
Rebecca received her Lobbying Certificate at the
ALL Annual Meeting in DC on November 16th.
An exciting moment for State and Federal Communications intern, Zack Koozer, as he prepares to vote for the first time.
Thanks for doing your duty as an American citizen.
After the Regina Brett Show LIVE! at WKSU on Wednesday, November 16, Elizabeth Bartz sat down with Regina to get her book autographed for her mom and dad.
During the post show announcements, Elizabeth acknowledged WKSU as her first job.  She mentioned that she was
honored to sponsor this event, as she had been a Regina Brett fan for many years.

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.

December 4-7, 2011 Council on Governmental Ethics Laws
Nashville, Tennessee
January 8-13, 2012 Public Affairs Council Institute
Laguna, California
January 30 - February 2, 2012 National Grassroots Conference
Miami, Florida
February 27 - March 1, 2012 National PAC 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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