E-News from State and Federal
Happy New Year!
the most wonderful time of the year!
Time to jot down those pesky New Year Resolutions! We are ready
with the State and Federal Communications, Inc. Resolutions for
2012 and I think you are going to like them…Think 30, 50, 100.
Sort of like Herman Cain’s 9 9 9, but not really.
is to include 30% additional information onto our website. I am
challenging the research department to make sure we are
including all of the necessary information you need for your
2012 government affairs work.
is to make it 50% easier for client use. That means we need to
make sure we have additional subcategories so you can easily
find the information you need.
is to make it 100% accurate. We know we are your #1 resource
for lobbying, political contributions, procurement lobbying, and
Canadian compliance and we have to be accurate so the
information you forward to your colleagues and supervisors is
For these resolutions…you can count on us to keep them!
Happy New Year.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
15 and the Maryland Mandate
Last year, Maryland’s legislature passed a public ethics law, Title 15,
after finding an erosion of public confidence in government decisions
due to improper influence. Title 15 requires government officials and
employees to disclose their financial affairs and sets minimum ethical
standards for the conduct of state and local business. The law also
all counties, municipalities, and school boards adopt
ethics standards at least equal to the state's ethics law with
regard to conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, and lobbying.
Each local ethics commission is required to certify its compliance
with the Maryland Ethics Commission on or before October 1st
of each year, beginning in 2011.
Some local officials are still
working toward agreement and passage of the required bills. Although
officials may follow the state’s guidelines, many are choosing their own
paths. For instance, the registration thresholds for lobbyists in Title
15 include an expenditure clause and a gift clause: $500 in expenditures
towards influencing legislative or executive action; or $100 in gifts
for the purpose of influencing executive action. The recently passed
Charles County bill has a $100 gift threshold, while Alleghany County’s
gift threshold is $200. Neither bill includes an expenditure clause.
However, in Howard County, there is a $100 expenditure threshold for any
lobbying activity, but no gift threshold.
Conflict of interest rules
have also been the subject of debate. Title 15 forbids former public
officials (other than legislators) and employees from
assisting or representing a party in a contract or other
specific matter for compensation if the former official or employee
participated significantly in the matter as an official or employee.
Frederick County attempted to limit this prohibition to one year for
former commissioners with an exemption for former employees. This
modification was rejected by the state. The Frederick County delegation
now plans to propose changes to Title 15 before the general assembly to
allow the one year limitations.
Counties such as
Baltimore and Montgomery continue to debate and, as of December 1, 2011,
had yet to approve a final version of the required ethics bill.
2012 Guidebooks are on their way to
State and Federal Communications, Inc. research staff has updated this
Executive Source Guidebook and we are pleased to provide it to
you, our valued clients.
This quick desk reference combines information from our
online resources and lists the information by state:
- The Executive Source Guide on Lobbying Laws™;
- The Executive Source Guide on Political Contributions™; and
- The Executive Source Guide on Procurement Lobbying™.
This guidebook is filled with valuable information.
However, we also caution it has two limitations:
online resources, which you receive either through your subscription
or as part of your lobbying compliance service, are comprehensive.
This guidebook summarizes information in the online
resources, and is meant only as a quick-reference guide.
this guidebook is accurate and timely when we print it, please
understand our online resources are updated continually. We
provide this guidebook to you as a convenience, but your ultimate
source of information should always be the online resource(s) to
which you subscribe.
We consider this guidebook another value-added benefit of
your partnership with State and Federal Communications. You also
receive, via e-mail, monthly updates of important compliance legislation
on the federal and state levels; News You Can Use™, our weekly
summary of current news and events regarding compliance; and the
Compliance Now newsletter with even more information.
Please call us at (330)761-9960 or email,
if you need to have your subscription username or password forwarded.
We are privileged to have you as clients, and are pleased
to be your trusted adviser for government affairs compliance.
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.
MARYLAND: The State Board of
Elections has launched a new campaign finance website that provides
easier searches and greater transparency for campaign finance
reports. The new website, located at
upgrades and further automates reporting and disclosure of campaign
contributions. The new site replaces one run on outmoded software.
Previously, campaign finance reports had to be manually uploaded to
the website, often delaying public disclosure until the next day.
With the new site, reports are automatically uploaded and can be
accessed immediately. The public now has more ways to search
campaign finance documents and more comprehensive information about
committees, including any violations. The Maryland State Board of
Elections will start offering training on how to use the new
software, targeting current and future candidates and fundraising
committees. The training will be offered on several dates around the
FEDERAL: The Federal Elections
Commission has issued an advisory opinion approving the plans of a
for-profit company’s mobile-based financial processing platform to
collect and distribute funds to candidates, committees, and PACs.
GivingSphere, which allows individuals to make donations to
charitable groups through the internet and mobile devices, requested
an opinion about implementing contributions to political entities.
Customer funds for contributions are accumulated by rebates earned
by purchasing goods from merchants who participate in the
GivingSphere affiliate program. Advisory Opinion 2011-19 allows
GivingSphere to transmit its customers' funds in the form of
political contributions. Additionally, the company may sell
advertising space to political committees on its website, provide a
searchable database of political committees to its customers, and
permit political committees to post a "badge" of the GivingSphere on
their website. Because GivingSphere is merely processing
contributions, it will not be subject to any
The City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics has released an advisory
alert stating lobbyist and principal registration will not be
required prior to January 3, 2012. The first reporting period will
be the first quarter of 2012, and the first expense report will be
due April 30, 2012. Regulation No. 9, regarding lobbying, will
become effective January 3, 2012. The board intends to recommend
amendments to Regulation No. 9 to bring it into conformity with
amendments made to Philadelphia City Code Chapter 20-1200 by Bill
No. 110556. In the event an online filing system is not available by
January 3, 2012, an interim registration method will be provided by
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board released
a memo concerning electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
Electronic filing of campaign finance reports will be mandatory for
most committees beginning with reports covering calendar year 2012.
The electronic filing requirement does not apply to 2011 year-end
reports. The waiver of electronic filing request process will be
discussed at a future meeting.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel has announced new rules governing economic disclosure
statements filed by city contractors. Filers will be required to
list the names of all persons employed by the filer who were city
employees or city elected or appointed officials within the 12
months prior to the filing of the economic disclosure statement.
Additionally, filers will be required to list all gifts given to
city employees and officials within the 12 months prior to filing.
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’m a registered
lobbyist in many different states. I’ve noticed some states
requirements. Am I
really required to wear a badge?
registration season is upon us. As legislative sessions
commence in various states,
it is important
to take stock of your various lobbyist registration
requirements. As you probably know, it is important to timely
file your registration renewal. However, there are other
auxiliary requirements you must mind before you step onto
capital grounds, such as your jurisdiction’s training and badge
answer to your question is a resounding yes—in some
jurisdictions, wearing your badge is required to engage
in lobbying activity. In some states, you are unable to
complete your registration, or file lobbyist disclosure reports
unless you pick up your name badge. Some states may require a
personal visit to have your picture taken. For example, in
Georgia, upon initial registration, you must visit the Georgia
Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to have
your photo taken for your badge. For quick reference, here is a
list of states where badges and/or nametags are required:
some jurisdictions, although wearing a badge is encouraged, it
is not absolutely required. These states include Colorado,
Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
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
Our holiday Giving Tree was full, with the
gifts going to the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit County
generously donated by State and Federal Communications
employees and friends.
The representatives of the shelter were grateful.
State and Federal Communications, Inc.
presented a program at EEI's External Affairs Meeting in
Washington, DC. Elizabeth Z. Bartz co-presented with the
Breanna Olson from Public Affairs Council to discuss the
best way to maximize campaign contributions. Thanks to Sarah
Lashford for the invitation.
See Us in Person
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
January 8-13, 2012
Public Affairs Council Institute
January 19, 2012
NCSL Executive Committee Meeting
Kaiwah Island, South Carolinia
January 30 - February 2, 2012
National Grassroots Conference
February 25 - February 27, 2012
NGA Winter Meeting
February 27 - March 1, 2012
National PAC Conference
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and Federal Communications is
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Contact us to learn how
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Comply" for your compliance activities.