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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

October 2014  

You're Gonna Make It After All

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

I am definitely going to date myself with this column, but it must be written. I totally forgot all about Mary Tyler Moore until someone posted the Minneapolis statue on Facebook during the National Conference of State Legislatures. It had me thinking and remembering the influence Mary Richards had on me becoming a professional business woman.

Think of it…what did we have before Mary Richards? Not many. Mary had her own apartment, job, budget, and friends. And, she had the great "a" and "z" bookends, which I attempted to create in ceramics class. [Yes, I still have them.]

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
@elizabethbartz

Delaware Governor Signs Campaign Finance and Lobbying Bills

by Elizabeth Cummins, Esq., Research Associate

On July 22, 2014, Gov. Jack Markell signed several bills amending Delaware's campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Senate Bill 187 allows political committees to donate prohibited contributions to certain charitable organizations. House Bill 300 protects whistleblowers from employer retaliation for reporting campaign finance violations or for participating in the investigation, hearing, trial, or inquiry of such violations. Both Senate Bill 187 and House Bill 300 became effective upon the governor's signature.

House Bill 301 requires contributions given from a joint account, whether by check, debit card, or credit card, to be attributed to the signator of the contribution. If such attribution causes a contributor to exceed contribution limits, the excessive portion of the contribution must either be returned or reattributed. Senate Bill 186 requires entities making contributions of more than $100 to disclose the name and address of one responsible party. A responsible party, as defined by the bill, is an individual who exercises control over the entity. House Bill 301 and Senate Bill 186 are effective January 1, 2015.

Also effective January 1, 2015, is House Bill 306, which imposes late filing fees on lobbyists who file late reports. A fee of $25 will be assessed for the first day and $10 for each subsequent day a lobbyist report is delinquent. The maximum late fee allowable is $100. The Public Integrity Commission may waive such late filing fees if it determines circumstances make imposition of the fee inappropriate.

On September 4, 2014, several weeks after signing the above legislation, Gov. Markell signed House Bill 13, a bill carried over from the 2013 regular legislative session. House Bill 13 prohibits any person who has served as a member of the Delaware General Assembly from acting as a lobbyist for one year after the person's term of office is completed. This bill takes effect January 1, 2017.

Of the newly minted legislation, Gov. Markell said, "We must always look to improve our laws to strengthen the public's confidence in the political process."

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations
 

by John Cozine, Esq., Research Manager 

FEDERAL: The Office of Management and Budget issued revised guidance on August 13, 2014, regarding the prohibition against appointing or reappointing federal lobbyists to serve on advisory committees, boards, and commissions. The revised guidance clarifies the ban only applies to federal lobbyists serving in their individual capacity. In this situation, individual capacity refers to individuals appointed to committees to exercise their own individual best judgment on behalf of the government. Federal lobbyists appointed in a representative capacity, meaning they are appointed for the express purpose of providing a committee with the views of a nongovernmental entity, a recognizable group of persons or nongovernmental entities, or a state or local government, are not subject to the ban.

MAINE: The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously on August 27, 2014, to no longer enforce certain provisions of Maine's campaign finance law. This vote is a result of a federal court ruling enjoining the per-election contribution limit as applied to independent candidates in the state's upcoming gubernatorial general election. The federal judge who issued the ruling mandated a commission vote on the issue no later than August 29, 2014. The commission decided donors to other state gubernatorial candidates, including the current governor, Paul LePage, could give a total of $3,000 to each candidate for the full election cycle. The decision by the commission only applies to the 2014 gubernatorial election. Permanent changes to state campaign finance law must come from the Legislature.

PENNSYLVANIA: A federal judge struck down a state campaign finance law restricting the amount corporations and labor unions could donate to expenditure-only political committees. U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell found Pennsylvania Election Code section 3253(a) violates the First Amendment by limiting the amount a corporation or labor group can donate to political committees only making independent expenditures. In his decision, Judge Caldwell cites to the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission declaring limitations on independent expenditures made by corporations and labor unions restrict free speech. The case, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, is General Majority PAC v. Aichele et al.

QUEBEC: Lucie Fiset, the chief electoral officer of Quebec, plans to set up a searchable online registry for accused violators of the province's election laws. The database is slated to be operational by March 2015. This initiative is part of Fiset's broader strategic plan to promote transparency and tighten surveillance of political contributions and election spending. Recently, the province has been examining links between public construction contracts, organized crime, and provincial and municipal political contributions after investigators testified about a political financing scheme involving straw men contributing to political parties using money from a third party, thus skirting contribution limits, residency requirements, and the ban on contributions from entities. With the new database, the public and the media will be able to search or cross-reference charges against individuals, companies, organizations, and parties accused of violating election laws.

WYOMING: A federal district court judge approved two settlements between Wyoming and a group suing on behalf of a Constitution Party candidate for secretary of state. U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson approved a settlement agreement ending a lawsuit challenging the fundraising restriction faced by third-party candidates. Jennifer Young, the Constitution Party’s candidate for secretary of state, and her supporter Donald Wills challenged a state campaign finance law prohibiting candidates from accepting contributions for the general election before the primary election. Because third-party candidates do not participate in the primary elections, they were prohibited from fundraising until August of an election year. The court order found the fundraising restriction unconstitutional and unenforceable against minor party candidates, independent candidates, and potential contributors. In the second lawsuit, the judge approved a settlement in which the state agreed to cease enforcement of the cap on aggregate contributions. The cap had been set at $25,000 over a two-year period.

Jurisdictions Added to our Website

The number of municipalities and regional governments our research associates track continues to grow. We now cover more than 230 municipalities and local governments. This is part of a continuous effort to better serve the needs of our clients.

In that effort, we have recently added abridged jurisdictions to our website. These entries, condensed due to the limited number of relevant local laws, provide the core information our clients need for their government relations work.

The new jurisdictions are:

Billings, Montana

Monterey County, California

Polk County, Iowa

Warwick, Rhode Island


 

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 State and Federal Communications' digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the client portion of our website.

Summaries of major bills are also included in monthly email updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are tracking in regard to lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.

 

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2015
Lobbying Laws 302 44 35 156 0
Political Contributions 587 46 64 266 0
Procurement Lobbying 425 49 48 196 0


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Our Lobbying Laws and Procurement Lobbying publications both have extensive sections addressing the restrictions surrounding gifts to public officials and employees. However, the Procurement Lobbying publication goes one step further and addresses gift issues specific to future and current government contractors. Frequently, there are additional rules aimed directly at those doing or seeking to do business with the jurisdiction. These additional rules target certain categories of contractors or are implemented by specific departments or agencies to further restrict the existing gift laws. Probably the most common department-specific rule is one banning gifts to government purchasing agents. Subscribers to the Procurement Lobbying publication can find this topic in the Gift Laws section under the "Restrictions Specific to Bidders and Contractors" subheading.

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. Send your questions to experts@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 email us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies are not legal advice, just our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

I am a registered lobbyist, and I receive a contingency fee as part of my compensation.  Should I be worried?

In a majority of jurisdictions, there are express provisions prohibiting registered lobbyists from receiving a contingency-based fee.  Every jurisdiction treats this issue differently, and there is a wide range of statutory oversight.  This issue becomes especially problematic for in-house employees who wear dual hats—you may be required to register as a lobbyist because of your interactions with government officials on behalf of your company, but you may additionally be involved in sales work.   

In some jurisdictions, including Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, there are no prohibitions whatsoever.  Other jurisdictions, such as Nevada, only narrowly prohibit contingency fees for influencing the outcome of legislative action.  However, there are even more restrictive bans in other jurisdictions, including Florida and Arkansas, that not only prohibit registered lobbyists from receiving a contingency-based fee, but prohibit this for anyone involved in government procurement, absent meeting a limited exception for salespersons or sales agents.

New York is one example of a jurisdiction banning lobbyists from receiving contingency fees, although the state does have a well -defined registration exception for individuals who qualify as commissioned salespersons. To qualify, the primary purpose of employment must be sales, other lobbying activity must be limited, and the individual must meet specific requirements regarding the percentage of the commission. Another example is  North Carolina, where the contingency fee ban is not applicable to an individual doing business with the state whose regular remuneration includes commissions based on these types of sales. 

Bottom line, if you are required to register as a lobbyist, you must be aware of the laws applicable in your jurisdiction if you receive a contingency-based fee for your work.  

October's Expert - Myra Cottrill, Esq., Client Specialist

 

 

Follow our new series on the
LOBBY COMPLY blog

 

 

State and Federal Communications, Inc. introduces the U.S. State House series. 
Join this historical journey in discovering our country as we tour the
nation’s state capital buildings.
Each week, a new state house will be posted on our blog with links to virtual tours, information on the stunning architecture, and a peek at unique art and monuments throughout the building. 

 


 

 
While attending the National Conference of State Legislators [NCSL] Legislative Summit in Minneapolis, MN, the State Government Affairs Council [SGAC] honored Elizabeth Z. Bartz for earning Phase I of the Advanced Certificate Award and James Warner, Esq., for completing his Professional Certificate Award!   Congratulations.
 
  While enjoying an evening with friends at the
NCSL Legislative Summit, we found ourselves surrounded
by showgirls.
[pictured front row - Beth Loudy, SGAC; Elizabeth Z. Bartz, State and Federal Communications, Inc.; and Katrina Iserman, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.  Back row - showgirl, Ron Burns, Dan Felton, Phillips; Jean Cantrell, Phillips; Joe Gregorich, Apollo; and showgirl.]
State and Federal Communications, Inc. went to a Twins vs. Indians baseball game on August 19
while attending the NCSL Legislative Summit.
 
Elizabeth Bartz [front row, third from the right] serves on the Kent State University [KSU] National Alumni Board.

Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications, Inc.
will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

 

Events

October 8-10 PAC Fall Board Meeting, Santa Barbara, California
October 13 WGR Toastmasters, Washington, D.C.
November 12-15 Women in Government Fifth Annual Healthcare Summit, Washington, D.C.
November 20-21 2014 Conference for Professional Women in Advocacy, Washington, D.C.

 


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We are the leading authority and exclusive information source
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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.

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