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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

September 2012


Convention Coverage Underwriter

You have heard me banter before about my L O V E for NPR. My first job out of college was at our local affiliate WKSU and I have stayed in contact with the great people there and now serve on the local Community Advisory Council.

There are always underwriting opportunities—Garrison Keillor is in town, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, local programs such as the Regina Brett Show (which is fabulous)—and we always wait for a perfect opportunity…And, we have!

State and Federal Communications, Inc. signed on early to underwrite coverage at WKSU for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. After hearing the spots we also thought it would be great to help WAMU 88.5  in Washington, DC—a station heard by many of our clients and business colleagues. It was easy to make that happen and we are enjoying hearing the programming on-line.

So whether you listen on WKSU 89.7 in NE Ohio or WAMU 88.5 in Washington, DC or on their respective on-line websites, www.wksu.org or www.wamu.org, you will hear one of these lines—

SUPPORT FOR WKSU COMES FROM STATE & FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS, HELPING COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS COMPLY WITH THEIR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS, STATE LOBBYING, AND PROCUREMENT ACTIVITIES. MORE INFORMATION AT STATE AND FED DOT COM.


SUPPORT FOR
WAMU 88.5 COMES FROM STATE & FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS, SUPPORTING W A M U' S NEWS COVERAGE OF THE D C, MARYLAND, AND VIRGINIA DELEGATIONS AT THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTIONS AND THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS.

Until next month, stay tuned.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO


Play Ball! - 2012 Summer Outing with the Tribe!


The State and Federal Communications, Inc. 2012 Summer Outing was at Progressive Field August 26th watching the Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees baseball game.  We enjoyed the Legends Suite filled with food and seating - indoors and out - for all of our staff and their family. 

It was exciting and surprising to see so many children.  We had 5 under 1.5 years old!

The game was exciting on a beautifully sunny day, but our Tribe lost by three runs.

The staff and their family truly enjoyed this outing and is already planning for the next!


Illinois Campaign Finance Bill -- Senate Bill 3722

by Shamus Williams, Esq.
Research
Associate

 

Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois legislature have rewritten the campaign finance laws the state just recently overhauled in the wake of the Rod Blagojevich scandal. Senate Bill 3722, which passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Quinn on July 6, 2012, will remove contribution limits in races once independent spending has reached a certain threshold. Under this new law, if a natural person or an independent expenditure committee makes independent expenditures in support of, or in opposition to, the campaign of a candidate or an incumbent in an amount of more than $250,000 for statewide office, or $100,000 for all other elective offices, the contribution limits are waived for all candidates for that specific office.

For example, if an independent expenditure committee spends more than $250,000 for commercials touting the achievements of candidate A, who is running for governor, then the threshold will have been met.  At that point, the state board of elections will verify the spending and within two days will issue a notice that the contributions limits have been lifted for that race.  Therefore, in this instance, all gubernatorial candidates would be allowed to accept unlimited contribution amounts.

For purposes of the new law, the offices considered statewide offices, and held to the $250,000 threshold, are governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, and treasurer.  All other elective offices will be held to the $100,000 threshold.

The law was effective immediately. The first races affected by the new law are the state house and senate seats up for election in November.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

FEDERAL: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced persons reporting electioneering communications must report the name and address of each donor giving $1,000 or more, aggregated from the first day of the preceding calendar year. The application of this rule applies retroactively to March 30, 2012, coinciding with a court decision in Van Hollen v. FEC that ruled the current regulation, 11 C.F.R. §104.20(c)(9), invalid. Previously, donors were only required to be disclosed if their donations were “made for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications.” The FEC will now consider all donors as contributors “regardless of their subjective purpose in contributing.” As the commission has not adopted any new regulations or explanation of its rules, and Van Hollen v. FEC is still pending, the FEC outlined this requirement in a public statement.

VERMONT: Attorney General William Sorrell issued a statement that his office will not enforce the $2,000 contribution limit on PACs only making independent expenditures. The statement comes after a request for clarification from Secretary of State Jim Condos regarding the federal court decision in Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) v. Sorrell. While the opinion in VRLC v. Sorrell upheld the contribution limit as applied to VRLC's independent expenditure committee, the ruling was based on the lack of safeguards to ensure that unlimited contributions to VRLC's independent expenditure committee did not flow into VRLC's candidate contribution funds. Attorney General Sorrell stressed if the investigation reveals a PAC's activities are not conducted entirely independently of candidates, as in VRLC v. Sorrell, it will continue to be subject to the contribution limits.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ethics ordinance. The ordinance, the first overhaul of the city’s ethics code in 25 years, institutes the recommendations made by an ethics board Emanuel appointed to study the city’s ethical issues. The newly passed ordinance will increase the gift prohibition for city officials and employees. Officials and employees will now only be able to accept gifts that are less than $50 in value. It also limits the ability of lobbyists and contractors to make political contributions and includes a reverse revolving door provision limiting a city official or employee’s participation in matters involving former employers. The ordinance will go into effect on November 1, 2012.

CALIFORNIA: The Fair Political Practices Commission has approved a change to simplify lobbyist reporting requirements for "drop-in" events. The amendment to regulation 18640 allows appetizers and beverages to be excluded from the gift valuation for an official who does not stay for any meal or entertainment. The value of the gift is now any specific item, other than food, presented to the official and guest accompanying the official, if the official notifies the lobbyist in writing that the official did not stay for any meal or entertainment. The amendment provides consistency with regulation 18946.2(e), which was previously amended to exclude the value of appetizers and drinks from the value of a gift received by an official who briefly appears or drops by an invitation-only event. Prior to the amendment, the value of the gift received was limited to the actual value of the food and beverages consumed by the official and guest, along with the value of any specific item received at the event.

HAWAII: Governor Neil Abercrombie signed House Bill 2175 into law, exempting certain people from the state’s revolving door provisions. In an effort to increase participation amongst the state’s experts and those with special knowledge, the law exempts members of a state task force from the revolving door provisions. A task force is a group created to study a specific problem for a specified period of time. The law took effect immediately.

 


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 241 43 16 133 0
Political Contributions 436 46 37 204 0
Procurement Lobbying 269 42 32 145 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Do you need to quickly determine your reporting obligations?

It’s easy with State and Federal’s website. If you are a subscriber to the Lobbying Laws or Political Contributions publications, simply select the "Key Dates" link on the left side of the screen while in the jurisdiction of your choice. This will bring up a table containing all of the reports due in that jurisdiction in the current year, as well as the period of time covered by those reports. If there are set registration renewal or expiration dates, those will also be included. Additionally, the Political Contributions publication includes election dates. Alternatively, immediately after you log in to the website you can find the key dates under the Lobbying Laws and Political Contributions Resource Pages. Once you have entered either of those resource pages, click on the "Key Dates" link at the top of the page. You will then be able to select a state on a map to see all of the key dates for that state and the municipalities in that state. Or you can select a month from a pull-down menu to see all of the registrations and reports due during that month across all of our covered jurisdictions.

 


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.

Are there any additional compliance requirements of which to be aware because this is a Presidential election year?

A.

In a word, no.  However, given the substantial increase in federal, state, and local contributions, it is important to keep in mind some compliance basics during an election year:

  • Be aware of what restrictions exist in a specific jurisdiction regarding pre-election contributions and/or communications.  Several states have laws restricting contributions within a certain time period of an election.  Federally, there are time-period restrictions associated with election communications;

  • Track reportable contributions that may only come into play during an election year.  For instance, at the federal level, contributions made to an inaugural committee are reportable on the LD-203;

  • The same gift laws apply leading up to an election as the rest of the year.  Understand the definition of a gift as it relates to a “covered official” from any given jurisdiction and don’t violate it because you happen to be attending an election-related activity, including conventions;

  • Most jurisdictions have personal, corporate and/or PAC contribution limits.  Be diligent in monitoring contributions so as not to surpass those limits;

  • Don’t rely on a “covered official” from any jurisdiction to know his/her jurisdiction’s limits or restrictions.  Be proactive in determining restrictions ahead of time; and

  • Consider implementing “Election Year” guidelines within your organization to keep everyone on the same page.

In an election year, the increase in activity coupled with jurisdictional differences can make compliance a little trickier.  By following these fundamental guidelines, you are more likely to ensure that at the end of the day you can say, “I Comply.”   As always, should you have any questions regarding your compliance efforts, don’t hesitate to refer to State and Federal Communication’s on-line source books or contact us directly.

September's Expert - Rebecca South


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

2012 SGAC Appreciation Dinner
Evelyn Lane, Joan Finan, Senator Richard Finan, Elizabeth Bartz, and Jeff Lane.

 

The State and Federal Communications, Inc. team
attending the 2012 NCSL in Chicago, Illinois.
[l to r:  Nola Werren, Esq., Amber Linke, Esq., Rebecca South, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, Ren Koozer, and Myra Cottrill, Esq.]

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

September 6-7, 2012

Practising Law Institute
Washington, D.C.
September 12, 2012 United Way of Summit County Cornhole Tournament, Lock 3,
Akron, OH

September 19-21, 2012

PAC State and Local Government Seminar
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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