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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

April 2012


Federal Filings Are Due This Month

There still might be a few of you out there who remember before BCRA and HLOGA, when we only needed to submit a quarter of a page card as our federal lobbying report. Those were the days, my friend!

These days you need to clear your schedule so you can:

  1. Compile and track activity in accordance with your organization’s needs;

  2. Conduct extensive outreach and follow up to capture applicable expenses/costs;

  3. Obtain salaries of all employees engaged in lobbying activities—whether registered or not;

  4. Respond to questions about reporting requirements;

  5. Provide definitions for determining applicability;

  6. Institute tracking mechanisms for Issues and Agency contacts;

  7. Coordinate with outside consultants to ensure accurate reporting;

  8. Coordinate LD-203 filing process;

  9. Prepare documentation in case of an audit; and

  10. File the report.

What??? You are not doing this? You are guesstimating! Tell me that is not the case.

If you are in DC you have probably seen me with Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate. She has created an amazing program to help the top Fortune 500 companies insure timely and accurate compliance for the LD-2 and LD-203 reports. If we can help alleviate your quarterly headaches, please feel free to contact her at rsouth@stateandfed.com.

Until next month, remember the LD-2 isn’t the only report due in April. According to our Key Dates chart, there are 112 lobbying/employer reports due in this country’s states, counties, and cities.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
 


A Bill by Any Other Name

by Michael Beckett, Esq.
Research
Associate

 
Legislators are again addressing ethics and campaign finance laws following a Missouri Supreme Court decision that voided provisions of Senate Bill 844. The 2010 ethics law increased disclosure requirements for lobbyists, banned campaign committee-to-campaign committee transfers, and gave greater investigative powers to the Missouri Ethics Commission. The court affirmed a circuit court decision holding all provisions of Senate Bill 844, except those relating to procurement, to be in violation of article III, section 21 of the Missouri Constitution, which prohibits changes in the original purpose of a bill. Senate Bill 844 violated this provision by being introduced as an act relating to contracts for purchasing but being passed as an act relating to ethical administration.

Reaction to the decision has been swift and urgent. On January 14, 2012, the same day the opinion was released, the Missouri Ethics Commission stated in a press release that the court’s decision “deals a blow to the Commission’s ability to enforce and administer the law.” Several lawmakers and Governor Jay Nixon quickly called for bills to reinstate the voided provisions. Representative Jason Kander sponsored a bill (House Bill 1756) filed the day after the decision that would reinstate the voided provisions. Prior to the decision, Kander also sponsored a bill (House Bill 1080) that would go beyond Senate Bill 844 to prohibit gifts from lobbyists and limit campaign contributions. Senate Bills 546 and 825 propose contribution limits. Senate Bill 826, filed by Senator Crowell, would reenact the voided provisions of Senate Bill 844. Currently, Missouri does not have any campaign contribution limits and is the only state to allow lawmakers to receive both unlimited campaign contributions and unlimited gifts from registered lobbyists.

Not all of Missouri’s lawmakers are ready for change. House Majority Leader Tim Jones believes an ethics bill would have a better chance after this year’s elections. Jones notes that both Kander and the governor are proposing limits that will go into effect after their own campaigns benefit from the status quo.  To date, no new ethics bill has been passed in Missouri, by any name.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

TEXAS: A federal court pushed back the state’s primary date from April 3rd to May 29th. Additionally, the general primary runoff election changed to July 31st from June 5th. A three judge panel from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, having entered redistricting plans for the 2012 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Texas House of Representatives, and the Texas State Senate, found it necessary to make certain adjustments to the election schedule. The court’s order stipulates various other changes of filing dates and deadlines for candidates and for voting activities concerning elections of federal, state, county, and local offices held in the state. The court order also mandates that for the 2012 elections to the Texas House and Senate, a person must be a continuous resident of the district the person seeks to represent from April 9, 2012, until the date of the general election.

MONTANA: The U.S. Supreme Court stayed a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s law prohibiting independent political expenditures, related to a candidate, by a corporation. In December of last year, the Montana Supreme Court found Citizens United v. FEC did not compel invalidating the state’s 1912 Corrupt Practices Act, concluding the state, because of its history and the history of the act, has a compelling interest to impose statutory restrictions. The Montana Supreme Court emphasized the Citizens United decision allows restrictions to be upheld if the government demonstrates a sufficiently strong interest. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling stays the state court’s ruling until either a formal appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is denied, or, if an appeal is accepted, the U.S. Supreme Court mandates the termination of the stay.

FEDERAL: The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) released its annual adjustment of the threshold limit for lobbyist bundling disclosure. The federal lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has been increased from $16,200 for 2011 to $16,700 for 2012. The FEC is required to adjust the threshold amount annually to account for inflation, rounding to the nearest multiple of $100.

WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN: County Executive Robert Ficano issued a new executive ethics policy that contains lobbyist registration provisions, gift restrictions, and conflict of interest disclosure requirements for executive appointees. The policy requires a lobbyist who lobbies any executive appointee to register with the state of Michigan and bars lobbyists not verified as registered from meeting with executive appointees. Additionally, the policy prohibits lobbyists from providing executive appointees with food or beverage valued at more than $100 annually and prohibits all other monetary or non-monetary gifts or gratuities.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Secretary of State Jason Gant has unveiled an online lobbyist registration and reporting system. The EZ Lobby system can be accessed at https://sdsos.gov/Lobbyist/default.aspx. The site allows lobbyists and their employers to register, pay fees, update information, and report expenses electronically. Paper forms are still available for lobbyists who choose to register by mail.


Did You Know?

Who were the one term U.S. Presidents?

1796 John Adams
1824 John Quincy Adams
1836 Martin Van Buren
1840 William Henry Harrison
1844 James Polk
1848 Zachary Taylor
1852 Franklin Pierce
1856 James Buchanan
1876 Rutherford Hayes
1880 James Garfield
1888 Benjamin Harrison
1904 Theodore Roosevelt
1908* William Taft
1920 Warren Harding
1924 Calvin Coolidge
1928 Herbert Hoover
1948 Harry Truman
1960 John Kennedy
1964 Lyndon Johnson
1976* Jimmy Carter
1988* George H.W. Bush

 Note:  Gerald Ford was never elected President.

* Ran for re-election unsuccessfully

Research by Nicolette B. Koozer, State and Federal


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 201 40 0 6 0
Political Contributions 365 43 5 15 0
Procurement Lobbying 219 40 1 5 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. 

I am a registered lobbyist who would like to attend a charitable golf tournament.  Are there specific restrictions or requirements for this type of event?

A.

Mere attendance at a charitable golf tournament or similar event is not typically restricted. 

However, this activity may be prohibited or subject to disclosure requirements depending on the circumstances. 

Being a registered lobbyist does not hinder your ability to donate independently to a 501(c)(3) organization.  However, in some instances, your attendance may be requested because the event is associated with a public official.  If an official asks you to attend or sponsor the charitable event, this may be considered making a contribution “at the behest of” the official, depending on the laws in your jurisdiction.

If a charitable contribution is made “at the behest of” a public official, there are two considerations: permissibility and disclosure.  First, is the charitable contribution permissible?  A jurisdiction may consider the charitable contribution to be a gift to the public official who requested it.  For example, Massachusetts considers a charitable contribution in this scenario to be a prohibited gift.  Even if the charitable contribution is a permissible gift, there may be a limit as to how much a lobbyist may donate.

Second, if a lobbyist may make the charitable contribution, is it disclosed on a lobbying report?  In Illinois, these charitable contributions are not reportable on a lobbying report.  In California, the official who made the request of the lobbyist must disclose the charitable contribution.  However, this type of expenditure is reportable on a lobbying report in Connecticut.

If you are a registered lobbyist, check with the applicable state regulatory agency before making a charitable contribution “at the behest of” an official. 


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's Ren Koozer, Executive Director, I.T. and Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President
enjoy a photo opportunity during the Winter PAC Grassroots Conference at the Eden Roc in Miami, FL.

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

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 17-18, 2012

Public Affairs Council Spring Executive Board Meeting
Washington, D.C.

April 19,  2012

Kent State University, Washington Program in National Issues
Washington, D.C.

April 19-20,  2012

Campaigns & Elections Tech Conference
Washington, D.C.

April 27-29, 2012  Greek American Foundation - National Innovation Conference
 New York, New York

 


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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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