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On June 29, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division issued a memorandum opinion and order upholding a challenged Iowa law requiring corporations and labor unions to disclose, within 48 hours, their spending for or against political candidates when that spending exceeds $750. The law also requires approval from a majority of the board members of corporations and labor unions before an independent expenditure can be made.
Iowa Right to Life is a 501(c)(4), which filed suit against government officials in the state of Iowa in 2010 alleging the state’s campaign finance laws infringed on the nonprofit’s First Amendment rights. At issue in the case are revisions to Iowa’s election laws as well as new administrative rules enacted in the wake of Citizens United. Iowa Right to Life wants to be permitted to make independent expenditures and campaign contributions, thus operating simultaneously as an independent expenditure committee and a PAC.
In addition to addressing the reporting issue based on the Citizens United decision, the court also certified two questions for the Iowa Supreme Court in an effort to resolve the remaining issues. Those questions are: (1) If a corporation that has not previously registered as a political committee makes independent expenditures aggregating over $750 in a calendar year, does that corporation become, by virtue of such expenditures, an independent expenditure committee, or a PAC, or both?; and (2) If a corporation that has not previously registered as a political committee and that was originally organized for purposes other than engaging in election activities makes independent expenditures aggregating over $750 in a calendar year, does that corporation become, by virtue of such expenditures, a permanent organization under Iowa law? The Iowa Supreme Court has docketed the questions and should issue a decision in the near future.
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.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Ginny Looney, the Ethics Officer for the Atlanta Ethics Office, has
announced she will be leaving the position in order to work as a clerk
for the Georgia Supreme Court. Looney, who was the first appointee to
the position in 2003, made the announcement at the most recent Atlanta
City Council meeting. Among her accomplishments during her time holding
the position, Looney developed the city's electronic disclosure system,
helped to craft city ethics laws, and established the city's 24/7 ethics
hotline. Looney's final day is set to be September 30, 2011.
Judge Thomas Johnston of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of West Virginia has struck down key provisions of the campaign
finance law pertaining to electioneering communications. In a suit filed
by West Virginians for Life and the Center for Individual Freedom, the
court held that while the state of West Virginia could regulate
advertisements that “can have no other reasonable meaning than to urge
the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates,”
the state could not require financial disclosures from third party
groups creating advertisements that are merely “susceptible” to the
interpretation that they are an appeal for or against a specific
candidate. Furthermore, the court struck down the extension of
electioneering communication regulations to print media while upholding
the applicability of such regulations to broadcast media.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN:
The Green Bay City Council approved General Ordinance No. 10-11, which
requires lobbyists to register if they attempt to influence legislative
or administrative action by a city official. The ordinance requires
lobbyists to register before engaging in lobbying by completing a
registration form and paying a $20 registration fee. Lobbyists must
disclose their contact information, the name of their client, and any
compensation paid by the client. The ordinance became effective
immediately and the city clerk’s office will be making a lobbyist
registration form available in the next month.
The Philadelphia Board of Ethics has
announced it will delay enforcement of the city’s lobbying law until 30
days after the effective date of proposed board regulations. According
to a board resolution, the earliest that enforcement of the lobbying law
may begin is September 26, 2011. Philadelphia City Code §20-1200, which
contains Philadelphia's lobbying law, became effective July 1, 2011. The
board had previously announced that lobbyist registration would not begin
until July 18, 2011, because of delays in implementing the electronic
Governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 509 into law,
changing the date of the state’s presidential primary. The primary moves
to March on the first Saturday which follows the first Tuesday.
Previously, the presidential primaries were held in February. The change
in law became effective immediately.
Ohio Night at NCSL
As long as we have been attending NCSL, we have made sure that we attended Ohio Night. Three years ago we took over planning the event in Philadelphia, PA. and continued in that capacity when we were in Louisville, KY last year.
This year, in San Antonio, TX, we enjoyed organizing a distinguished number of sponsors and participants. Our Ohio Legislators showed up and offered great conversation. The food at Biga on the Banks was spectacular. We would like to thank those who sponsored this legacy event and the Ohio Legislators who gave their time.
See you in Chicago!
State and Federal Communications Expands Coverage
In a continuing effort to better serve the needs of its clients, State and Federal Communications, Inc. is expanding coverage of laws and regulations for political contributions, lobbying, and procurement lobbying to more municipalities, regional governments, and governmental organizations.
We have added new jurisdictions for which our online clients will find comprehensive, timely, and accurate information that includes: complete calendar of reporting deadlines; critical statutory citations; extensive directories of contact information; summaries of each state law; detailed reference charts on goods and services contributions; highlights of every statute; copies of all required forms; and much more.
The new jurisdictions are:
ASK THE EXPERTS
State and Federal
Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions
What contributions am I required to
disclose on the semi-annual LD-203
A. Though much focus is placed on the PAC and political contributions that must be disclosed on the LD-203, there are four (4) additional categories of reportable expenditures. Below is an overview of all the expenditures required to be tracked and reported by employer registrants and individual lobbyists:
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY and/or INAUGURAL COMMITTEE
Wealth of Information at www.lobbycomply.com
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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.
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Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.
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