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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

October 2012


Keep Us Strong - V O T E


I first voted in the 1976 Presidential Election—Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford—and have voted in every Presidential election since. In fact, I only missed voting in one election in 1979 when I was in college and did not mail my absentee ballot.

I have not questioned whether I should vote…I just always made sure I did and I made sure I understood the issues and candidates.

So, what am I getting to this month? I want you to vote. Maybe I did not say it correctly. I WANT YOU TO VOTE.

I am not going to go Howard Beale (Movie: Network, 1976). But, I do want you—this country needs you—to study the issues and candidates in your states and cities and review the candidates running for U.S. President between now and November 5th. Get a good night’s sleep and then wake up on November 6th and VOTE, as if your life depended on it.

If you have questions about who is running in the states, check out the State Elections Guide on our website, www.stateandfed.com. We partnered with Stateside Associates to prepare a state-by-state guide on candidates, polling, and contribution guidelines.

Until next month, study the issues. Study the candidates. Study…and be ready to VOTE.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 

Campaign Finance Laws Challenged

by Jennifer Zona, Esq.
Research
Associate

With the November elections on the horizon, a number of lawsuits have been filed by potential campaign contributors seeking to determine the constitutionality of their states' campaign finance laws. The following states have seen campaign finance laws invalidated in August.

In Nebraska, the state supreme court held the Campaign Finance Limitation Act (CFLA) unconstitutional. The CFLA allowed candidates participating in the public financing program to receive additional public funds if their privately-funded opponents exceeded certain spending limits. The court also struck down the CFLA’s aggregate contribution limits and rules governing acceptance of contributions from independent groups after the court determined the public financing portion of the CFLA was not severable from the rest of the law.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohio's ban on political contributions to candidates for state attorney general or county prosecutor from doctors who treat Medicaid patients unconstitutional. The provision was designed to prevent fraud by banning contributions to those officials who prosecute Medicaid fraud, but the court held the prohibition a violation of doctors' free speech rights.

In Florida, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of Florida’s $100 per election contribution limit for persons 17 and under, holding the law an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights. Florida allows persons aged 18 and over to contribute $500 per election.

A federal judge in West Virginia granted a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of West Virginia's $1,000-per-election limit on contributions to independent expenditure PACs, on the grounds that the limit chills First Amendment free speech rights. The injunction will remain in place pending a final resolution of the case.

Finally, in Colorado, a federal judge invalidated several campaign finance rule changes made by the secretary of state. The rules struck down include one providing that organizations are only subject to reporting requirements if more than 30 percent of their spending was for or against a ballot issue, and one limiting penalties for certain campaign finance violations. The secretary of state's rule defining electioneering communications was upheld. Two additional rules await a decision.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

DELAWARE: Governor Jack Markell signed three bills into law in an attempt to shine more light onto the state’s lobbyist and campaign finance reports. Senate Bill 185 requires lobbyists to report any direct communication with a public official concerning a bill, resolution, or regulation pending before the general assembly or a state agency. The report will be due within five days of the first direct communication by the lobbyist. The bill also makes electronic registration and reporting mandatory for lobbyists. This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2013. House Bill 300 requires a political committee to register within 24 hours after receiving any contribution or making any expenditure causing the aggregate contributions or expenditures to exceed $500 during an election period. It also increases disclosure and reporting requirements for campaign and third-party advertisements. These new requirements become effective June 30, 2013. Finally, House Bill 310 increases the penalties and the number of people who can be penalized for late, incomplete, or missing campaign finance reports. These new penalties went into effect immediately.

MARYLAND: In addition to any other required reports, a regulated lobbyist that sought to influence executive or legislative action related to gaming issues in the general assembly’s second special session of 2012 must submit a report on or before September 17, 2012, to the state ethics commission. The report must detail the amounts expended for the purpose of influencing executive or legislative action, all amounts disbursed to any third-party groups or entities for purposes of influencing executive or legislative action, and any contributions, loans, transfers, in-kind contributions, or other transfers of value to a campaign finance entity from the regulated lobbyist or lobbyist employer of an applicant for a video lottery operation license, a holder of a video lottery operation license, or a person who owned an interest in the operation of a video lottery facility during the prior six months, including the dates and amounts of the contributions, loans, transfers, in-kind contributions, or other transfers of value. The act also prohibits an applicant for a video lottery operation license, a holder of a video lottery operation license, or a person who owned an interest in the operation of a video lottery terminal or other gaming activity facility from giving campaign contributions to a candidate or a campaign finance entity in support of a candidate for public office in the state.

BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND: Several changes result from the passage of Bill 44-12. Beginning October 1, 2012, the definition of public official expands to include the executive director and members of the revenue authority. Tickets or free admission extended to an elected official are permitted as a courtesy or ceremony to the office to attend a charitable, cultural, or political event. However, tickets to sporting events are no longer permitted. Finally, lobbyists must report the name of each public official, or the public official’s spouse or dependent child, who has benefited from gifts from the lobbyist having a cumulative value of $100 or more during the period covered by the report, whether or not given in connection with lobbying activities. When the $100 cumulative value is met or exceeded, all succeeding gifts are also included in the report itemized by date, beneficiary, amount or value, and nature of the gift.

NEW YORK: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to ease the financial burdens facing some local governments within the state. Senate Bill 5525, passed by the state legislature in late June, allows all New York cities and counties to piggyback contracts from other cities and counties. If a public contract already exists, a city or county may choose to use the contract already in existence, instead of having to solicit the work itself. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, the original contract must follow all state and local laws involving the procurement of government contracts, including competitive bidding requirements. The law took effect immediately.

IOWA: The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issued an advisory opinion clarifying the disclosure rules a trust must follow when making a political contribution. If a trust raises or spends more than $750 for campaign activities, it will have to register with the ethics board as a political committee. As a political committee, the trust will have to file periodic reports with the board and will also have to identify the name of the trust, the trustee, and the trustor. The committee receiving the contribution will also to have to disclose the trust, trustee, and trustor on its disclosure report. The opinion also restricts prohibited contributors, such as corporations, insurance companies, or banks, from giving money or anything of value to a trust that makes campaign contributions. The advisory opinion was in response to a 2002 advisory opinion that has allowed trusts to anonymously give money to political committees for the past 10 years.

 


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 2013
Lobbying Laws 243 43 18 138 0
Political Contributions 441 46 40 207 0
Procurement Lobbying 273 42 34 145 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Do you need to quickly determine your reporting obligations?

Wondering how you can stay current with events in the world of lobbying, campaign finance, and procurement lobbying? Watch the updates on stateandfed.com! On the right-hand side of the stateandfed.com website, you will see headlines offering up-to-the-minute news that affects you as well as some of the latest changes we have made to our website. Click on any of the headlines to view the complete update. If you are not already logged in, you will need to do so to view the updates. The updates stay on our website for five days before being replaced by fresh information, so check them often.


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 am interested in making contributions to state candidates in the upcoming elections.  Does the fact that I’m a registered lobbyist affect my ability to contribute?

A.

In certain states, being a registered lobbyist does impact your ability to give to a political candidate, ranging from a total ban on political activity, to simply having to report the contributions on your periodic reports.

In Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, lobbyists may not make contributions to lawmakers while the state legislature is in session.  Fortunately, in the context of the upcoming elections, most states have adjourned sine die.   In California, a lobbyist may not make a contribution to a candidate for any office for which the person is registered to lobby.  Because most lobbyists are registered to communicate with the legislature, this ends up being nearly a total ban on contributions to legislators.  Similarly, in Kentucky, a lobbyist registered with the legislative branch may not make a contribution to a lawmaker.  In Alaska, a lobbyist is only allowed to contribute to candidates for office within his or her voting district.

There are several states in which lobbyists are allowed to make contributions, but must disclose the donations on their lobbyist reports.  Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington are examples. 

Some states have unique provisions for politically-active lobbyists.  In Pennsylvania, for instance, a lobbyist who makes political contributions must register and report in the same manner as PACs.  Minnesota lobbyists must include their registration numbers in the memo section of campaign contribution checks.

If you or a member of your team would like to make a campaign contribution in a state in which you are registered, please contact a member of the State and Federal Communications Compliance Department for fact-specific guidance.

October's Expert - Stephen Quinn, Esq.


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 inaugural class of SGAC’s State Government Affairs Professional Certificate Program.

State and Federal Communication's President and CEO Elizabeth Bartz and Client Specialist Myra Cottrill, Esq. were
a part of the honored participants at the SGAC Annual Business Meeting and Lunch on August 8.

 

 

State and Federal Communications, Inc. assisted in beating the Guiness World Record by sending five teams of the 128 teams who competed in the Summit County United Way Cornhole Tournament at Lock 3 in Akron, Ohio. 
Our athletes included:  Becky Campbell, Myra Cottrill, Shamus Williams, Michael Beckett, Elizabeth Bartz - sponsor,
Steve Quinn, John Cozine, Jen Zona, Jon Spontarelli, Sarah Gray, and Amber Fish Linke.


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.

                 Events

 October 11, 2012

WASRG Summit
Washington, D.C.
 November 17-20 SGAC Leaders' Policy Conference
Santa Monica, California
 November 28-30 ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit
Washington, D.C.

 


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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.

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