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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

December 2012


My Team—Educating Others

Have you met these men from the staff yet? You will if you are attending the Council on Government Ethics Laws (COGEL) in Columbus, Ohio this week. Each of them is presenting at the conference and taking the work they do every day and sharing it with others.

Jim Sedor is our in-house rock star. He is Editor of News You Can Use our weekly news service we provide to all of our clients. We know now difficult it is to read 100 newspapers a week so we…I mean, Jim…helps you out by reviewing them for you. At COGEL, Jim will speak at one of the breakfast table topics on Monday, December 4th on How Do You Use the News.

John Cozine is the Research Manager and oversees a group of attorneys reviewing states, municipalities, and Canadian provinces and territories to make sure our website has all of the information our clients need for lobbying, political contributions, procurement lobbying, pay-to-play, gift laws, legislative sessions, and on and on and on. Next week at COGEL he is leading a breakfast table topic on Monday about the Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College.

Joe May, Social Media Coordinator, has an encore performance of an earlier presentation—DIY Outreach and Education: e-Learning and Beyond.

Joe has taken State and Federal Communications and put us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Lobby Comply blog, and even You Tube (State and Federal Communications TV). He has conducted presentations to federal government agency staff and at the Heartland Group (a regional part of COGEL) on how everything can work together to reach people using social media…and that includes a lot of people.

I love sharing my staff with others. They are in the trenches and making sure we are always providing our clients with up-to-the-minute news.

Until next month, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a Happy New Year. We look forward to 2013 and know you will be extremely busy with every state’s legislature in session.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 

Courts Wrestle with Montana Campaign Finance Laws Leading Up to Election

by George Ticoras, Esq.
Research
Associate

One month before the November elections, Montana’s statutory limits on political contributions were thrown into question with court decisions being issued almost weekly and half a million dollars of campaign contributions at stake.

On October 3, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, issuing a decision in Lair v. Murry, found the contribution limits in Montana Code Annotated §13-37-216 “prevent candidates from ‘amassing the resources necessary for effective campaign advocacy’” and enjoined the state from enforcing the provisions of the code relating to limiting political contributions.

Attorney General Steve Bullock, who was a candidate for governor, stated he would aggressively pursue all legal remedies available to overturn the decision. Additionally, the commissioner of political practices strongly urged candidates, political committees, and contributors to abide by the contribution limits.

On October 9th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the state's campaign contribution limits, overruling the district court, and ordered the court to outline the reasoning for its decision. The next day the district court issued a 38 page opinion and order detailing its reasoning. However, on October 16th, the Ninth Circuit issued a 41 page opinion explaining its continued stay of the lower court’s decision. On October 23rd, the United States Supreme Court denied an application to vacate the Ninth Circuit’s stay, allowing Montana to enforce its political contribution limits.

Meanwhile, in the period of time between the October 3rd order and the October 9th stay, republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill accepted a $500,000 political contribution. The opposing candidate, Attorney General Steve Bullock, sued to prevent use of the $500,000 by Hill. On October 24, the district court issued a temporary order staying Hill’s campaign from using the money. Finally, on October 31st, less than a week before election day, Judge Seeley issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting use of the disputed funds, finding the impact of the contribution on a tight race “significant.”

Hill’s campaign complied with the order and Bullock won the election for governor. The case remains with the Ninth Circuit, which will rule on the merits of the district court’s decision.

 


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

NORTH DAKOTA: A federal court’s preliminary injunction found the state’s 100-year ban on election-day campaigning to be an unreasonable restraint on free speech. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Competitive Politics, a pro-free speech group. The center represents Gary Emineth, who wished to post yard signs on his property, distribute fliers, and discuss the upcoming election with his neighbors. The North Dakota statute bans any person, on election day, from trying to induce or persuade others to support or oppose any candidate or ballot measure. The court’s ruling also orders state officials to refrain from prosecuting any person for a violation of N.D.C.C. §16.1-10-06 while the case is pending.

ARIZONA: Certain statutes requiring registration and reporting by political committees are unconstitutional, according to a ruling made by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen on October 10, 2012. Presently, however, reporting is still required, according to the secretary of state. The secretary’s office e-mailed registered political committees the following: “By way of gentle reminder, the recent trial court decision in Committee for Justice and Fairness v. the Secretary of State does NOT affect the requirements to file campaign finance reports.” In deciding whether a television advertisement made by the Committee for Justice & Fairness (CJF) was "express advocacy" or issue-oriented speech, therefore requiring registration and reporting by CJF as a political committee, the county court found A.R.S. §§16–901, –901.01, –902.01, –913, and related statutes unconstitutional. The secretary of state is expected to appeal the ruling

PUERTO RICO: The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on October 19, 2012 ordered the district court to enjoin Puerto Rico from enforcing provisions of Law 222, a campaign finance law passed in 2011. The provisions in question required corporations and unions to establish separate committees in order to make independent expenditures. Such committees were required to hold membership meetings and vote to approve expenditures related to elections. The court found those provisions were likely to be held unconstitutional regulations of political speech.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: The Seattle City Council approved a bill on October 16, 2012 changing the way campaign finance will work in future elections. The new law changes the definition of election cycle, which now starts January 1st in the year prior to the general election for that office and ends April 30th following the election. Candidates will only be allowed to raise money and accept contributions during the election cycle period. The new law also limits the amount of money incumbents can carry over to the next election. The council believes this will give challengers more of an opportunity to unseat an incumbent. Currently, there is no limit to how much money candidates can stockpile, leading most incumbents to create massive war chests to fend off challengers. The new law does not allow any candidate to carry money over past the end of the election cycle. Current city council members have 30 days to transfer their current funds to a new campaign without being subject to the rules. Political committees are also subject to the carry-over provisions. Finally, the new law also raises the contribution limits from $600 to $700 to candidates for mayor, city council, or city attorney.

CALIFORNIA: Assembly Bill 481, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, is the latest amendment to the Political Reform Act of 1974. The changes are an effort to increase accountability and transparency by requiring faster disclosure of major contributions and independent expenditures occurring shortly before an election. Definitions for late contributions and late independent expenditures have been expanded to include any aggregated contributions or expenditures of $1,000 or more made within 90 days before the date of the election. Disclosure of these late transactions is required within 24 hours of delivery. The law also requires advertisements to contain a disclosure of the two top contributors of the committee making the independent expenditure. The measure became effective on January 1, 2013.


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 252 43 18 138 0
Political Contributions 450 46 42 208 0
Procurement Lobbying 279 42 34 145 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Quick Reference Information

State and Federal Communications, Inc. continues to upgrade our website to make content easier to use. One newly implemented change includes adding quick reference information to the "landing" pages on our website. The landing pages are what you see after you select a jurisdiction, but before you choose a topic from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.

All landing pages now include links to legislative updates and past issues of the Summary of Changes. In the Lobbying Laws publication, in the states we refer to as the "Tricky 11" – the states where reporting dates can hinge on the session dates of the state legislature – we include information on how to determine whether a report is due as well as the date of the next lobbying report due. The landing pages in the Political Contributions publication now include a list of upcoming elections in the jurisdiction. The Procurement Lobbying landing pages include pay-to-play information for that jurisdiction. We hope you find these improvements helpful.


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 a registered lobbyist who will be having a colleague accompany me to meetings with legislators.   Should I be concerned with registration and/or reporting for my colleague?

A.

Many individuals believe the presence of a registered lobbyist relieves a person of any disclosure requirements.  Most jurisdictions have no exemption for this scenario.  Lobbyist registration and reporting is required upon meeting the registration threshold. 

Some jurisdictions do have limited exemptions from lobbyist registration requirements.  In California, these particular actions would not be counted towards the lobbyist registration threshold.  You do not engage in direct communication when you meet with a covered official in the company of a registered lobbyist retained by you or your employer.  In Idaho, corporate employees need not register if the corporation is registered as a lobbyist and designates one or more of its employees as the corporation’s official lobbyist and the designated lobbyist is also registered.

Even if registration is not required, you must consider the applicable reporting requirements.  A number of jurisdictions require your employer to report all lobbying expenses, which include those for employees who lobby but do not meet the registration requirements.  Wisconsin specifically requires the disclosure of pro-rata compensation and expenses for these non-lobbyist employees.  In Idaho, even if you are not required to register as discussed above, expenditures made by unregistered corporate employees in a lobbying effort must appear on the applicable reports. 

Whenever you lobby state officials, consider all disclosure and compliance requirements, especially those related to the reporting for a non-lobbyist employee.

November's Expert - James Warner, 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

 
John Michael O'Brian and Elizabeth Z. Bartz at the
Washington Nationals game.
While attending the SGAC meeting, Elizabeth Bartz,
Steve Arthur, Beth Loudy, Ron Barnes, and Melissa
Garrett toured the New Mexico Statehouse.
Attending the SGAC LPC, Elizabeth Bartz met Mark Stein, author of "How the States got their Shapes". Opening speaker, Ben Stein, autographed his book for Elizabeth Bartz while attending the SGAC LPC in Santa Monica.

 

 

What a surprise to see the United Way of Summit County thank State and Federal Communications, Inc.
in such a big way.  We have chosen to support the United Way for years.  Once again,
we have 100% participation in 2012.


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
 


December 2-5, 2012

COGEL Annual Conference 2012
Columbus, Ohio


December 3, 2012

WGR PPG Conference
Capital Hilton


December 5-8, 2012

NCSL Fall Forum
Washington, D.C.


December 11, 2012

SGAC Board Meeting
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.

http://www.stateandfed.com/

 

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