E-News from State and Federal
NCSL - Trip of the
a few days, we are leaving for Chicago to attend our 13th
National Conference of State Legislatures. This is no small feat
for State and Federal Communications anymore—we are taking seven
(7) staff people and our exhibit booth, which I refer to as my
Our schedule for the week is color coded for
exhibit times, NCSL meetings we attend, State Government Affairs
Council (SGAC) events, Washington Area State Relations Group (WASRG)
events, Women’s Legislative network events, and other social
events held throughout the week.
In addition, State and Federal Communications is
a sponsor to both Ohio Night and Virginia Night—but we are
definitely more involved with Ohio Night. Our friends from
Whirlpool are providing the Penthouse level from the World of
Whirlpool for our function. We are definitely excited that so
many folks from the state legislature are attending this year’s
NCSL Legislative Summit.
The best thing about NCSL is you will find us if
you have any questions or concerns about taking legislators out
to dinner or a baseball game (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday -
White Sox vs. the Royals Thursday through Sunday
- Cubs vs. the Reds ). You can find us in Booth 923 in the Exhibit
Hall on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Stop on by to say
The sad part of this year’s program
is Bill Pound’s wife, Margie, passed away on July 25th after a
long illness. Our hearts and prayers are with Bill and his
children at this time. May Margie’s Memory Be Eternal.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
County, Michigan Passes Ethics Ordinance
On April 5, 2012, Wayne
County, Michigan passed its first ever ethics ordinance. The ordinance
creates an ethics board and lays out rules for lobbyists, gift giving,
and conflicts of interest for county employees, and includes a revolving
door provision. This ordinance supersedes the executive ethics policy
announced in February of this year.
The ordinance requires
any individual who is retained or employed to induce or influence
county decisions must register with the county ethics board as a
lobbyist. It also requires before a public official communicates
with a person he or she believes to be a lobbyist, the official should
verify the registration of that person.
The ethics ordinance also
details gifts county officials and employees are allowed to accept.
The gift law differs depending on whether the giver of the gift is a
registered lobbyist. A registered lobbyist is only allowed to make food
or beverage expenditures of less than $100 annually. A
non-lobbyist, however, is only allowed to give a gift to a public
official if it falls within one of 11 separate categories of gifts
exempted from the gift prohibition for non-lobbyists.
An elected official is
also limited in post-office employment by the new ordinance. For one
year after leaving office, an elected official may not be awarded a
county contract. This restriction also extends to any businesses in
which the elected official has a substantial financial interest.
Currently, the Wayne County Commission, along with the
county executive, is in the process of forming the ethics board. Once
the ethics board is formed, it will be empowered to create the rules by
which the ethics ordinance is applied. While the board is being formed,
the commission is asking lobbyists wait to officially register as lobbyists until the board is able to create the mechanism
allowing registration to occur.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
by John Cozine, Esq.
ALASKA: The Alaska Public Offices
Commission has issued an opinion allowing a new independent group,
Alaska Deserves Better (ADB), to raise and spend unlimited amounts of
money in this year's elections. Although the commission’s director said
the advisory opinion is specific to ADB and the way it plans to operate,
the decision seems to be relevant for other independent committees.
Under current state law, groups such as ADB may receive, each year,
contributions of no more than $500 from an individual and $1,000 from a
different group. Additionally, groups may not receive contributions from
an individual who is not a resident of the state, or from a foreign
national. With the exception of the foreign national restriction, the
opinion acknowledges laws prohibiting independent expenditures by
corporations and labor unions are likely unconstitutional in light of
the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010. As a
result, ADB, an independent expenditure group, can obtain contributions
in unlimited amounts, with no restriction on the amounts or sources.
FEDERAL: The Securities and Exchange
Commission has extended the date advisers and third-party solicitors
must comply with new pay-to-play rules to April 2013. The commission is
extending the compliance date for the ban on third-party solicitation
under rule 206(4)-5 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 in order to
ensure an orderly transition for third-party solicitors and advisers and
to provide additional time to adjust compliance policies and procedures
after the transition. Rule 206(4)-5, the "Pay-to-Play Rule," prohibits
an investment adviser from providing advisory services for compensation
to a government client for two years after the adviser or certain of its
executives or covered associates make a contribution to elected
officials or candidates. The rule also prohibits an adviser and its
covered associates from providing or agreeing to provide, directly or
indirectly, payment to any third-party for a solicitation of advisory
business from any government entity on behalf of such adviser, unless
such third-party was an SEC-registered investment adviser or a
registered broker or dealer subject to pay-to-play restrictions adopted
by a registered national securities association.
MONTANA: The U.S. Supreme Court has
invalidated a portion of Montana law that prohibits corporations from
making independent expenditures in connection with a candidate or a
political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political
party. In Western Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the Court
quoted from its prior Citizens United v FEC ruling that “political
speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its
source is a corporation.” Four of the nine Justices dissented.
ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: The school
board of Orange County is now requiring lobbyists to register.
Registrations are filed with the school board and are separate from the
county's registration requirements. Lobbyists must register prior to
July 1st of each year, or prior to lobbying if representation
of a principal commences after July 1st. Lobbyists must file
an annual report of all lobbying expenditures made during the preceding
calendar year on or before April 1st of every year, whether
or not any expenditures were made during the reporting period.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: All lobbying
statements must be filed electronically commencing with the second
quarter disclosure reports, which are due by July 31, 2012. However, an
additional paper report is still required. After electronic filing is
complete, the filer will be prompted to print, sign, and send the paper
form to the commission. All lobbying firms, organization lobbyists, and
expenditure lobbyists that have not electronically registered should
sign up for access to the city clerk's electronic filing system well in
advance of the filing deadline.
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
E B S I T E
T I P
your filing cabinets overflowing? Would you really like to purge the
information you have in those files, but are afraid you might get rid of
be found on State and Federal’s website. The Lobbying Laws and Political
Contributions publications both contain information on document
retention policies. In the Lobbying Laws publication, document retention
information can be found under the Important Features of the Law
heading. In the Political Contributions publication, the document
retention policies are found under the Registration and Reports Required
heading. So clear out those files and rest easy!
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.
My company has existing, ongoing
contracts with various state agencies. Sometimes, I have
discussions with employees of these agencies (technicians,
managers, and directors) regarding their use of my company’s
products. Do I have to register and report as a lobbyist?
As a general rule for state-level lobbying, as long as
discussions are limited to the evaluation and servicing of
existing contracts, this type of activity will not
typically be considered lobbying, the definition of which often includes influencing executive
However, in some states, executive branch action
encompasses the state’s procurement process, including decisions
to modify, extend, expand, or renew existing contracts. Once
discussions of this type occur, lobbyist registration and
reporting may be triggered, depending on the state’s
specific time and expenditure thresholds. Every state has
different thresholds, and requires its own specific analysis.
Here are some important things to track when evaluating whether
you need to be registered in a specific jurisdiction:
Who are you talking to?
In jurisdictions requiring registration for procurement
lobbying, registration may hinge on whether the agency employee
is considered a covered official. In some states,
covered official is broadly defined to include all
employees, while other jurisdictions require registration and
reporting for attempting to influence directors or other major
How many contacts have you
had with the agency? How much time have you spent?
Some jurisdictions require registration before the very first
contact, while other jurisdictions require registration and
reporting once you spend a certain amount of time engaging in
procurement lobbying. You may need to determine your
pro-rata share of compensation for time you have spent preparing
for and engaging in the communication.
Is there a pending RFP or a contract
renewal on the horizon? In some jurisdictions, the timing of your conversation with an
agency official is important. Is there a pending decision
before the state agency which would affect your company’s bottom
line? If so, registration as a lobbyist may be required before
engaging in communication which could be perceived as
influencing the decision making process.
Did you expend any money
on behalf of agency employees or officials? In some jurisdictions,
registration may be triggered by expenditures on behalf of
employees or officials.
August's Expert - Myra
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
Western Southern President, John
Barrett, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, and John Chames enjoying a
lovely beach reception in Naples, Florida.
Armond Budish, Ohio Minority Leader
State Representative, with Elizabeth Z. Bartz at the CSG MLC in
Cleveland. Rep. Budish received the Stuben Star from SGAC.
former member of the
Ohio Senate with Elizabeth Z. Bartz at the CSG MLC
Vice Chairperson of the Democratic
National Committee Donna Brazile and Elizabeth Z. Bartz at the
State and Federal Communications, Inc. has a
strong Intern Program. They were included when the Greater
Akron Chamber met with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in
July. Photographed here are:
Dan Colantone [President, CEO of the Greater
Akron Chamber], Alexa
Livadas [Miami University], Mike DeWine, Zack Koozer [Kent State
University], David Jones [Stark State College], Emily Kessler
[Northwestern University], Maria Varonis [University of Akron],
and Joanna Kamvouris [Kent State University].
See Us in Person
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures)
Watergate II: Cancer on the Presidency
Practising Law Institute
PAC State and
Local Government Seminar
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