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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

April 2013


New Addition to the 10-Year Club

On April 1st, we added Comptroller Jeff Roberts to the 10-Year Club. He is now our sixth member to this exclusive club. This is a huge recognition at State and Federal Communications.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 30 percent of employees had 10 year or more of tenure with their current employer. And, the median number of years with an employer is only 4.4 years.

Yesterday, we celebrated Jeff’s milestone and he mentioned so many things that have happened in 10 years.

  • Staff increased from 13 to 36;

  • Space increased from 8,200 sq feet to 16,000 sq feet;

  • We published the updates to our Political Contributions and Lobbying Laws publications twice a year and now we update our website every day;

  • We added the Procurement Lobbying and Canadian Lobbying to our suite of on-line services;

  • Increased our consulting clients from 19 to 126; and

  • The number of children from staff went from eight (8) to 32.

Jeff’s input into the operation of the company is not seen to the outside crowd, but he has been an amazing trusted employee making sure we are always ahead on bills and the IRS. And, as he mentioned at our program yesterday, has never worried as to whether he would be paid or whether benefits would be provided.

We live in a different society now. Tenure used to only be associated with academic careers. In the private sector, tenure is the faithful commitment to an employer who has proven there is worth to staying.

Thanks to Jeff Roberts for 10 years of faithful service.

The 10 Year Club
Featuring Jim Sedor, Nicolette Koozer, Jeff Roberts, Nola Werren, Ren Koozer, and Elizabeth Z. Bartz.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 


Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to
Aggregate Contribution Limits

by George Ticoras, Esq.
Research
Associate
 

The United States Supreme Court has decided to hear a case challenging the aggregate federal limits for a person making contributions to candidates, party committees, and PACs. The case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), is expected to be argued and decided during the Court’s next term, which begins in October, 2013.

The plaintiff, Shaun McCutcheon, is an Alabama businessman who regularly makes political contributions to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Mr. McCutcheon wishes to contribute $26,200 more to candidates and committees than the aggregate ceiling would allow. However, he is not challenging the limits on contributions to individual candidates and entities. Mr. McCutcheon wants to give to more candidates and political entities. The RNC is also a plaintiff in the suit.

Federal law imposes two types of limits on individual political contributions, base limits and biennial limits.

Base limits restrict the amount an individual may contribute to:

  • A candidate committee;

  • A national party committee;

  • A state, local, and district party committee; and

  • A political action committee.

Biennial limits restrict the aggregate amount an individual may contribute biennially, using the 2011-2012 election cycle limits argued against in the lawsuit, as follows:

  • $46,200 to candidate committees; and

  • $70,800 to all other committees, of which no more than $46,200 may go to non-national party committees (e.g., state parties and PACs).

The plaintiffs are only challenging the overall limits (the biannual limits) and not the base limits.

The attorneys for McCutcheon and the RNC argue the two-year ceilings federal law sets on what an individual can contribute during a campaign are unconstitutional. Specifically, they assert the limits on contributions violate a contributor’s right to free speech; the limits for biennial contributions are too low; and the distinction between contributions and expenditures articulated in the 1976 US Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo are no longer applicable because of the changes in campaign finance laws over the last 30 years. Buckley v. Valeo allowed for government regulation of contributions to prevent political corruption and prohibited government regulation of expenditures because of First Amendment protections.

Unlike Citizens United v FEC, which concerned political expenditures, McCutcheon v FEC addresses contribution limits. Additionally, this case does not involve the political contributions or expenditures of corporations.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

OHIO: The state has increased its campaign contribution limits. Individuals, political action committees (PACs), and political contributing entities (PCEs) may now contribute $12,155.52 to any one statewide, senate, or house campaign committee during a primary or general election period, or to a PAC or PCE during a calendar year. An individual may contribute this same amount to the state candidate fund of a county political party in the individual's county of residence. The previous limit was $11,543.70. Additionally, the limit individuals, PACs, and PCEs may contribute per calendar year to any one state candidate fund of a state political party increased to $36,466.56 from $34,631.11. The limit to any one legislative campaign fund increased to $18,233.28 from $17,315.55. These limits are effective until February 24, 2015.

FEDERAL: The United States Supreme Court decided to grant review to a case challenging the aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions. The case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, seeks to allow Shaun McCutcheon to make political contributions to several federal candidates exceeding the two-year aggregate limit currently set at $48,600, as provided in 2 U.S.C §441a(a)(3)(A).

CHICAGO: The City Council approved phase two of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ethics reform. The set of reforms focused mainly on public officials. Mayor Emanuel’s proposal included a two-year ban on lobbying after leaving city council office and allowed citizens to make anonymous complaints against aldermen. The council was against both of these provisions and eventually passed a watered-down version of the proposal. The ban on lobbying will only last for one year and does not take effect until January 1, 2014. The idea of anonymous complaints was completely removed because the aldermen were afraid the tactic would be used by political enemies to gain an advantage.

EL PASO, TEXAS: This May El Paso voters will decide whether to move city elections to November or let them remain in the spring. The City Council voted February 14, 2013, to allow the voters to amend the city’s charter and choose the timing of future municipal elections. The council did not make any recommendation as to its preference. If approved, the first November election would be held in 2018.

WASHINGTON: Washington’s grassroots lobbying disclosure law remains in place after a federal appellate court dismissed a lawsuit. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claims by Many Cultures, One Voice and Conservative Enthusiasts challenging the state’s disclosure laws for grassroots lobbying. The law requires groups to disclose contributions and spending once they have spent $500 in one month or $1,000 over a three-month period for grassroots lobbying. The court ruled the two groups did not have standing to sue because they never actually met the threshold for having to disclose activities. Initially, the two groups argued the disclosure requirements thwarted free speech, but the trial court ruled against the groups, finding the law did not violate the First Amendment.


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 2014
Lobbying Laws 172 46 1 6 0
Political Contributions 390 47 0 3 0
Procurement Lobbying 253 42 1 8 0

 


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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 interested in making a political contribution in Puerto Rico. What are the current political contribution limits? Am I required to disclose my contribution?

A.

In Puerto Rico, individuals and PACs may make contributions.  Direct corporate contributions are prohibited. Puerto Rico has recently raised the annual political contribution limits. In response to the Federal Election Commission raising the federal contributions limits in 2 U.S.C. §441a(a)(1)(A),  the Oficina del Contralor Electoral (OCE) issued Circulated Letter OCE-CC-2013-02.   The circulated letter raises the individual and PAC contribution limits to $2,600 per candidate per year, with an aggregate contribution limit of $13,000.  In an election year, the limits are modified to $2,600 per candidate per election, and $13,000 in the aggregate per election. These contribution limits do not apply to independent expenditures.

There are no reporting requirements for individuals making contributions in Puerto Rico.  PACs, however, have a quarterly disclosure requirement for any quarter in which contributions were received or expenditures were made.  PACs established and registered in a jurisdiction other than Puerto Rico have separate reporting requirements under the campaign finance regulations issued by the OCE.

For specific guidance on making contributions in Puerto Rico, please contact Sarah Kovit.

March's Expert - Sarah Kovit, Esq., Compliance Associate



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 - 2013

 

The PAC National Dream Team made a special appearance in Miami.  Once again the team included, Elizabeth Z. Bartz - State and Federal Communications, Inc., Ken Gross - Skadden Arps & Michael Toner - Wiley Rein.

Attending the 2013 PAC National Conference in Miami Beach included our own Jen Zona, Esq., Jon Spontarelli,
Ren Koozer, and Melissa M. Coultas.

Thanks for the memories.
The 2011-2012 SGAC Board. 
Row 1:  Joe Crosby, Jenn Mendez, TJ Bolger, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, Mike Thompson, Karen Harrington, amd Chris Badgley.
Row 2: Amy Hamerton, Gerard Dehrmann, George Cook, Melissa Garrett, Jon Burton, and Donna Gehlhaart.
Row 3: David Hickerson, Dan Colegrove, Andy Hackman, and Ab Basu.



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 14-16, 2013 NASPO Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana
April 22-25, 2013 BIO International Convention, Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
April 25, 2013 WPNI 40th Anniversary
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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