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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

March 2012


 President's Article

As I am sitting here in my office, movers are taking computers, desks, phones, credenzas, and printers upstairs at 80 South Summit. It’s an expansion and not a move for State and Federal Communications.

A year ago I thought this would be moving week out of the building, but we were able to take over available space after a Cleveland law firm downsized its Akron office.  That’s good for a lot of reasons including letterhead and business cards stay the same.

State and Federal Communications will soon celebrate its 19th anniversary in Akron, Ohio. We started on Akron-Peninsula Road in a 900 square foot office. In 1996, we moved to Merriman Road where I thought the 3,500 square foot office would be home for a long, long time. We grew out of it and in 2002 we moved to Downtown Akron in the Courtyard Square building and now have 15,000 square feet of space. According to building developers, that amount of space can hold 50 staff people. We are almost there with 30 people on staff.

This expansion is allowing State and Federal Communications to increase our staff to help all of our clients. The changes in lobbying, political contributions, ethics, and procurement lobbying are changing all of the time in the states, cities, counties, and federal governments. Keeping up with it requires people devoted to research and understanding how they affect you—our clients.

You might not see changes, but I want you to know we are always making sure we are providing you with the resources you need for your government affairs work.

Until next month, stay off the eBay Political Collectibles site…I have wall space to cover!

 Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
 


The Battle for Political Disclosures from Federal Vendors

by George Ticoras, Esq.
Research
Associate

 
In the spring of 2011, a draft presidential executive order was leaked to the public. The order would require every entity submitting offers for federal contracts to disclose certain political contributions and expenditures made within the two years prior to submission of their offer. The disclosure requirement included contributions made to federal candidates, parties, and committees by the bidding entity, its officers, and any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control. Contributions made to parties for independent expenditures and electioneering communications would also be reported. These disclosures would be required whenever the aggregate amount of the contributions and expenditures by the bidding entity exceed $5,000.

Reaction to the order was swift. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing on behalf of a coalition of more than 80 business groups and trade associations, strongly protested the proposed executive order. Meanwhile, a letter in support of the order, signed by more than 30 public interest groups, urged full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures by federal government contractors. U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo sent a letter to President Obama, signed by more than 60 members of the House, in support of the proposed executive order.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Small Business Committee held a joint hearing to examine the order, evaluate its impact and consequences on the federal acquisition system, and determine whether it introduced politics into the procurement process. Bills opposing the proposed order were introduced in both the House and the Senate. Finally, a compromise amendment, precluding an executive agency from requiring a vendor bidding on a contract to disclose political contributions, was added to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012. The act passed and was signed by President Obama at the end of 2011.

Passage of the bill did not end calls for disclosures of political contributions from federal contractors, however. Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures were submitted by Public Citizen and MoveOn.org to the White House, urging the President to require federal contractors to disclose their political contributions after the bidding process is completed and a federal contract is awarded.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NEW JERSEY: The County Board of Freeholders has rescinded its three year old pay-to-play regulations. County Resolution 2012-0071 repeals resolution 08-397, which created pay-to-play and vendor disclosure rules that overlapped with the state’s law. The board determined the county's pay-to-play resolution caused confusion among those seeking or performing business within the county. Without its own ordinance, the county will now only follow the state’s pay-to-play laws.

COLORADO: Governor John Hickenlooper signed the first bill to come out of the 2012 legislative session on January 30, 2012. The bill, Senate Bill 12-014, moves the date for candidates, committees, and political parties to begin filing biweekly campaign finance disclosure reports from the first Monday in July prior to the primary election to the first Monday in May prior to the primary election. This settles an ongoing dispute between lawmakers and Secretary of State Scott Gessler over filing biweekly reports prior to the state’s June 26, 2012 primary. The first biweekly report will now be due May 7, 2012.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: The United States District Court for the Southern District of California has issued an opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego. The court upheld the ban on corporate contributions made directly to candidates. Further, the court upheld San Diego’s $500 individual contribution limit to city candidates. Additionally, the court upheld the ban on contributions made to a city candidate more than 12 months before the election. The court struck down the ban on political party contributions to candidates and the $1,000 limit on direct contributions to candidates by political parties, which was enacted after the district court granted a preliminary injunction. Lastly, the court struck down restrictions on how much individuals and corporations can give to PACs making independent expenditures.

OHIO: The Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Committee has released Advisory Opinion 2012-001, which prohibits members and employees of the Ohio General Assembly from using their office or employment status in order to promote a registered lobbyist. In its first advisory opinion to be released since 2009, the committee pointed to Ohio Revised Code section 102.03(D), which prohibits a public official or employee from using his or her status acquired by such position in order to secure anything of value. The committee opined that the use of the member or employee in his or her official capacity as senator, representative, or legislative staffer in an advertisement or other promotional item would result in a value to the lobbyist, thus resulting in the prohibition. Additionally, the committee cautioned against allowing such a promotion in merely a personal capacity in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety despite no specific prohibition existing. The opinion, which was requested by an Ohio registered lobbyist, was deemed necessary after requests for quotes on websites or letters of recommendation to be sent to potential clients had been made of members and employees of the Ohio General Assembly by registered lobbyists.

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Lobbyists wishing to lobby in any of Palm Beach County, Florida's 38 cities will be subject to a countywide lobbyist registry, as approved by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Lobbyists will be required to pay $25 to register the names of their clients, while also being required to submit annual expense reports. There will also be limits on gifts from lobbyists. A city may opt out of the countywide registry, but then must create its own registry.


Did You Know?

The following U.S. Presidents never ran for elective office prior to running for President:

George Washington elected in 1789

Zachary Taylor elected in 1849

Ulysses S. Grant elected in 1869

Chester Alan Arthur elected in 1881

William Howard Taft elected in 1909

Herbert Hoover elected in 1929

Dwight D. Eisenhower elected in 1953

Research by Cristina Dickos, State and Federal Communications, Inc.


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 154 38 0 0 0
Political Contributions 302 40 3 0 0
Procurement Lobbying 162 37 1 0 0

 


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. 

As an organization employing in-house lobbyists, what expenditures am I required to capture for inclusion in the aggregate dollar amount reported on my quarterly Federal LD-2 report?

A.

There are a variety of expenditures that Federal registrants are required to track and report in an

effort to provide a good faith estimate of their activity.  These expenditures include:

  • Compensation, expenses and overhead associated with “registered” lobbyist employee activity.  For Federal purposes, a “registered” lobbyist is an individual who meets the statutory definition of a lobbyist and is listed by name on the LD-2 report;

  • Compensation, expenses and overhead associated with any non-lobbyist employee who engaged in lobbying activity during the quarter (even though they do not meet the statutory definition of lobbyist).  Their names are not listed on the report, but the value of their activity is included; 

  • Dues paid to an association or membership organization during the quarter that are attributable to lobbying.  This amount is typically a percentage of the overall payments made to the membership organization and is ascertained by speaking with the outside entity directly.  Importantly, dues payments for lobbying activities should be included in the estimate for the quarter in which they are paid and cannot be apportioned over a longer period of time;

  • Retainers/fees incurred during the quarter to outside consultants/firms for lobbying activities.  These fees are required to be included during the quarter in which they are incurred regardless of whether billing or payment has been made.

If we can be of assistance in helping to identify reportable expenditures, please let us know.


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

State and Federal Communications, Inc. staff attended and participated in the 2012 PAC Grassroots Conference in Miami, FL.  Those attending included: [L to R] Sarah Gray, Amber Fish Linke, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, Joe May, and Ren Koozer [behind the camera]. We gladly sponsored the Closing Keynote on February 2
at the 2012 PAC Grassroots Conference at the
Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach
.

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.

March 7, 2012 Ohio's Birthday Party
Washington, D.C.
March 15, 2012 Greater Akron Chamber Annual Meeting
Akron, Ohio
March 21-23, 2012 SGAC Annual Meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
April 15-17, 2012 NASPO 2012 - How to Market to State Governments Meeting
Orlando, Florida
April 16-17, 2012 National Summit on Strategic Communications
Washington, D.C.
April 27-29, 2012 Greek American Foundation - National Innovation Conference
New York, New York

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State and Federal Communications, Inc. | Courtyard Square | 80 South Summit St., Suite 100 | Akron, OH 44308 | 330-761-9960 | 330-761-9965-fax | 1-888-4-LAW-NOW| http://www.stateandfed.com/


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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