June 6, 2012 •
Registration and Reporting Requirements Affected
Puerto Rico has continued its efforts to modernize and improve its campaign finance provisions by passing Project of the Senate 2674-2012. This project amends the Law for the Control of Financing of Political Campaign in Puerto Rico. This project has been referred to the Special Commission on Government Reform, and while not currently law, the Elections Commission has been working to update the campaign finance reporting requirements to reflect the project.
The project has several important elements. First, it elaborates on the definition of a coordinated expenditure by carving out a definition for specific expenditures made for the benefit of a party or candidate. Second, it modifies the campaign finance reporting dates for the 2012 general election. Lastly, the project addresses concerns with respect to state and federal PAC registration and reporting for entities wishing to participate in the electoral process without registering a PAC in Puerto Rico.
We will continue to track this project and provide updates as they become available.
February 24, 2012 •
Delays Vote on Contribution Limits
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission has voted to shorten the length of time during which candidates for office may conduct fundraising.
If the commission’s ruling is approved by city council, candidates for city council will have 12 months instead of the current 18 months for fundraising, and citywide candidates will have 18 months instead of the current two year period for fundraising.
The commission additionally decided to delay the vote on whether or not the campaign contribution limit should be increased from $500 to $1,100 per donor.
Photo of the Los Angeles City Hall by Brion VIBBER on Wikipedia.
February 14, 2012 •
Injunction Allowing Unlimited Contributions Sought
Personal PAC, an abortion rights group, has filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the limit on the amount of money given by donors to PACs.
Presently, the limit is set at $10,000 per election cycle.
Personal PAC is seeking an immediate and permanent injunction which would allow donors to make unlimited contributions to PACs.
February 9, 2012 •
February 3, 2012 •
Puerto Rico has passed the Law for the Control of Financing of Political Campaigns in Puerto Rico. This law is a complete overhaul of all previous campaign finance regulations and includes changes to the PAC reporting requirements, campaign contribution limits, and pay-to-play restrictions.
The law created new PAC reporting requirements. PACs must file quarterly reports on the 15th day of the month following the end of a calendar quarter. From July 1st of an election year until December 31st of that year, PACs must file monthly reports by the 15th day of the month following the reporting period. From October 1st of an election year until November 30th, reports must be submitted on the 15th and 30th day of each month. A final report covering transactions after the January 1st following the election must be filed 90 days after the election.
Because 2012 is an election year in Puerto Rico, the law makes provisions regarding contribution limits. A contribution of up to $2,500 may be given by a PAC to a candidate between January 1, 2012 and March 18, 2012. An additional contribution of up to $2,500 may be given to each candidate between March 19, 2012 and November 6, 2012. PACs may not give more than $12,500 in the aggregate per election in 2012.
Puerto Rico has also joined the growing list of jurisdictions with pay-to-play laws. Puerto Rico prohibits contributions while a corporation is in the process of obtaining a permit, franchise, or government contract. Once the process of obtaining the permit, franchise, or government contract is completed, a corporation may make a contribution from their PAC. At the municipal level, contributions to local candidates are prohibited if the corporation is seeking a permit, franchise, or contract with the local jurisdiction.
January 23, 2012 •
Upholds Some Laws While Striking Down Others
The United States District Court for the Southern District of California has issued an opinion in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego. The court upheld the ban on corporate contributions made directly to candidates. Further, the court upheld San Diego’s $500 individual contribution limit to city candidates. Additionally, the court upheld the ban on contributions made to a city candidate more than 12 months before the election.
The court struck down the ban on political party contributions to candidates and the $1,000 limit on direct contributions to candidates by political parties, which was enacted after the district court granted a preliminary injunction. Lastly, the court struck down restrictions on how much individuals and corporations can give to PACs making independent expenditures.
January 23, 2012 •
Lobbyists and Legislators to Dine Together Without Counting Toward Annual Limit
The Oklahoma State Ethics Commission has approved a rule which creates an exception to the $100 annual gift limit. The rule allows lobbyists to provide a lunch or dinner for a group of legislators once a year, during the legislative session, at the state capitol, without counting the meal against the annual limit. Lobbyists would be required to report the amount spent.
The rule will go into effect on January 1, 2013 unless the legislature disapproves by the end of the 2012 session.
January 23, 2012 •
PAC and Super PAC Disclosure to be Increased
The Oklahoma State Ethics Commission has approved a series of changes to the campaign finance rules. The changes are intended to provide more disclosure from PACs and super PACs.
The new rules impose additional registration and reporting requirements on PACs that make any independent expenditure or electioneering communications in state level races. The changes require disclosure of the amount, date, a brief description or statement of each expenditure, the name of the candidate and office supported or opposed, and whether the expenditure is made to support or oppose the candidate.
The approved rule changes will now go before the state legislature which has until the end of the session to disapprove. If the legislature does not disapprove, the rule changes will go into effect January 1, 2013.
January 23, 2012 •
January 17, 2012 •
Bill Merges Legislative and Executive Ethics Commissions into the Public Disclosure Commission
The Washington House of Representatives has introduced house bill 2402, which will transfer ethics enforcement responsibility.
This bill merges the legislative branch ethics commission and the executive branch ethics commission into the public disclosure commission.
Photo of the interior of the Washington State Capitol Building by Cacophony on Wikipedia.
January 11, 2012 •
January 10, 2012 •
Makes Electronic Lobbyist Filing Mandatory
The Washington House of Representatives, Committee on State Government and Tribal Affairs, has scheduled a public hearing for January 11, 2012 and a possible executive session for January 12, 2012 to discuss House Bill 1474 which would make electronic filing of lobbying reports mandatory.
It would also create new fees associated with electronic filings by lobbyists, lobbyist employers, and PACs.
If passed by both chambers and signed by the governor, changes will be effective July 1, 2012.
Photo of the Washington House of Representatives Chamber by Cacophony on Wikipedia.
January 6, 2012 •
January 5, 2012 •
Revolving Door and Increased Disclosure Addressed
HENDERSON, NEVADA: The Henderson City Council has passed lobbyist and revolving door regulations. Lobbyists must now file a disclosure form after each communication with a city official or employee.
Additionally, elected officials and employees must wait one year after leaving office or employment before they can lobby on behalf of a private person or business.
The new provisions go into effect on Friday January 6, 2012.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.