April 5, 2011 •
Measure Would Limit Contributions to $5,000
The Secretary of State has approved a summary for a proposed ballot measure to limit campaign contributions to candidates in Missouri.
The proposal would prohibit candidates from accepting more than $5,000 per donor for each election.
The Secretary of State’s action clears the way for supporters to begin collecting the more than 91,000 signatures needed to put the question to voters in 2012.
Photo of Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan courtesy of the Secretary of State website.
April 1, 2011 •
Bill’s Provision Relating to Campaign Finance Found Void, Procurement Provision Stand
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled that Senate Bill 844, which became effective August 28, 2010, is unconstitutional because it covers multiple subjects. The Missouri constitution requires that bills contain only one subject.
The bill sharply restricted transfers between campaign committees, boosted the enforcement powers of the Missouri Ethics Commission, and created measures aimed at reducing situations in which candidates channeled money through several committees to obscure their source. The court found that the procurement measures in the bill were the “original controlling purpose,” and thus should be upheld while all other measures relating to campaign finance are void.
March 29, 2011 •
Politically active corporations gain another tool.
Senate Bill 39 has been signed by Governor Daugaard and will take effect July 1, 2011.
This law will allow corporations to make contributions to political action committees, contributions previously banned by state campaign finance law.
Under this bill, however, corporate contributions to candidates, candidate committees, or political parties are still prohibited.
Photo of Governor Daugaard courtesy of the South Dakota Governor website.
March 29, 2011 •
Legislative Bill 606 has advanced past the first of three votes necessary for the measure to become law.
LB 606 would require any person who makes an electioneering communication in the amount of more than $250 to file a report of the electioneering communication with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, similar to the requirements for those making independent expenditures.
Further, the measure would require a corporation, labor organization, or business association making an electioneering communication with a value of more than $250 to file a report with the Commission including the nature, date, and value of the electioneering communication, as well as the name of the candidate identified in the electioneering communication.
Finally, the term ‘electioneering communication’ would be defined to mean any communication referring to a clearly identified candidate, is publicly distributed in the 30 days before an election, and is directed to the electorate of the office sought by the clearly identified candidate, while also noting ‘electioneering communication’ would not include a contribution or expenditure, a communication by media, a candidate debate, or a communication by a membership organization to the organization’s members.
Photo of the Nebraska State Capitol by Decumanus on Wikipedia.
March 25, 2011 •
Law Effective October 1, 2011
House Bill 89 has been signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer. The bill removes the requirement that political committees, organized to support a state district candidate or issue, file reports of contributions of $100 or more with the county election administrator.
These contribution reports will only be filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices.
The new law becomes effective October 1, 2011.
March 23, 2011 •
Ban On Contributions During Contracts
The City of Paterson has implemented a new pay-to-play ordinance which enhances the rules concerning contribution limits for entities doing business with the city. Ordinance 11-006 includes an absolute ban on contributions between the time of first communication regarding a specific agreement and the termination of negotiations, the rejection of a proposal, or the completion of a contract. The ordinance also outlines specific contribution limits, in the 12 months prior to a contract, to mayoral and governing body candidates and their committees, joint candidate committees, Passiac County political committees, and PACs.
In order to receive financial aid from the state, the City of Paterson’s passage of the legislation was required by an earlier agreement with the New Jersey Transitional Aid to Localities program, the state’s financial aid program for local municipalities and counties.
Map of Paterson in southern Passaic County, New Jersey by JimIrwin on Wikipedia.
March 23, 2011 •
Political contributions and advertisements may be targeted
A bill has been introduced in the Iowa Legislature to impose a five percent “fee” on contributions in excess of $250 per year received by a PAC, candidate, or candidate’s committee from a single source.
Additionally, House File 140 would apply the same fee to political advertisements made by candidates or their committees and independent expenditures made by corporations.
The funds raised would be used to help offset the cost of operating the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.
Photo of the Iowa State Capitol by Iqkotze on Wikipedia.
March 23, 2011 •
Coordinated Expenditure Limits Remain
The Supreme Court has denied a petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the limits a political party can spend in coordination with a candidate, leaving in place the $5,000 limits on party contributions to candidates. In Cao v. FEC, the Republican National Committee had argued making their expenditures in coordination with Louisiana Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao, as opposed to making completely independent expenditures for him, constituted both Representative Cao’s and the RNC’s free speech.
The District Court Eastern District of Louisiana, following a prior judgment from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on other grounds, found 2 U.S.C. §441a(a)(2)(A), limiting the amount of the contributions, constitutional. The RNC’s appeal had been filed by James Bopp, Jr.
This post is follows two previous Lobby Comply articles by George Ticoras:
“$5,000 Contribution Limit Upheld” from November 22, 2010
“RNC Argues for Coordinated Campaign Spending” from December 13, 2010
Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court Building inscription by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.
March 21, 2011 •
A Resource from the National Institute on Money in State Politics
Last Friday when I was writing my Highlighted Site of the Week post about the Sunshine Week website, I added some links to places for further study. In my haste I showed the last link for the “Best Practices for State Campaign Finance Disclosure, 2010” as being a project of SunshineWeek.0rg. Well, this isn’t the case, and I knew better. It belongs to the site FollowTheMoney.org, a project of the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
I send a big thank you to the National Institute on Money in State Politics for emailing me, showing appreciation for our blog, and very kindly setting the record straight.
If you dig into FollowTheMoney.org, you will see what an important resource it is for government transparency. In addition to the Best Practices data, you will find the Legislative Committee Analysis Tool, Point of Interest interactive maps, and many other features and mashups. You can filter your search results to your own congressional district and even use an API to stream their data onto your own website. Their motto: Jump Into the Data!
The National Institute on Money in State Politics offers the public information on a scale we absolutely could not get for ourselves. Their site describes the feat better than I can:
“Every two years, Institute data acquisition specialists collect, input and upload more than 90,000 contribution reports filed by 15,500 statewide, legislative and judicial candidates, 250 political party committees and 500 ballot measure committees in the 50 states. Researchers standardize donor names and code over $2 billion in contributions to 400 business categories and other interests. Programmers create open access to the records and attract thousands of users to the information. Staff also introduce users to the tools and resources and work with dozens of reporters to answer questions and provide custom data sets for their investigation.”
Thanks again to everyone at the National Institute on Money in State Politics. I hope our readers take the opportunity to view their powerful website.
March 17, 2011 •
FEC Allows Internet Method
The FEC has released an Interpretive Rule Regarding Electronic Contributor Redesignations. A contribution made for one election may be applied to another election if the redesignation is in writing and signed by the contributor, according to commission regulations.
The commission has found a certain method of electronic redesignation meets this requirement. The method, described in the commission’s interpretive rule, requires the contributor visiting a website to fill out an electronic form authorizing the redesignation and to verify their identity by entering their personal information, including his or her first and last name, address, phone number, e-mail address, occupation, and name of his or her employer. The commission found this process sufficiently equivalent to a written signature.
March 16, 2011 •
Opponents of a new law prohibiting payroll deductions from public employees for “political activity” have filed for a temporary injunction in federal court.
The complaint filed by the American Education Association seeks to have the law overturned on grounds of violating free speech and equal protection.
Even though the law prohibits the use of payroll deductions from all public employees for such activities, the teachers’ group says the law, passed and supported by Republicans, is discriminatory and specifically aimed at them because the A.E.A. has traditionally been a strong supporter of Democratic candidates.
The statute in question has been a source of controversy since it was passed in December during a special legislative session which saw an overhaul of several aspects of the Alabama ethics laws.
March 16, 2011 •
Political consultant sees big changes.
On March 14, Politico published an interview of political consultant Joe Trippi. He speaks about what should be clear to everyone after the 2008 presidential election – social media has changed the rules of engagement in political campaigning.
What will startle many people is his set of predictions: By 2012 or 2016, Trippi sees an end to the two-party domination of presidential elections (thanks to social media) and a level of fund raising that will eclipse what we saw with the Obama campaign. He also sees such funding going to a third-party candidate who is smart enough to use social media in an innovative way. The result could be a great political upset for Democrats and Republicans.
Whatever unfolds in the coming year, the missing piece from the discussion is consideration of the ramifications for campaign finance regulation. In the scenario Trippi depicts, how will the new issues of advertising on social networks be handled? How will the source of funding be disclosed for a Facebook or Twitter message that is primarily a political advertisement and could social media efforts fall under the category of in-kind contributions?
The developments could complicate state elections, too. We have Maryland’s State Board of Elections and California’s Fair Political Practices Commission as examples of the first efforts at the regulation of political campaigning on the internet. I wonder how many oversight agencies will get out ahead of the issue by the next election?
For the Politico interview, read “Joe Trippi: Social media will kill two-party system” by Mike Zapler.
March 14, 2011 •
Compliance to Other Rules Starts September 13
Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 206(4)-5, regarding political contributions to government entities from investment advisors, takes effect today. Rule 206(4)-5(a)(1) makes it unlawful for advisors of hedge funds, private equity funds, and certain other investments, to provide investment advisory services for compensation to a government entity within two years after a contribution to an official of the government entity is made by the investment adviser, a covered associate, or its PAC.
On September 13, addition rules take effect, including prohibiting third parties from soliciting government business, and regulating what investment pool advisers may do.
March 11, 2011 •
Delayed Contributions Ban Proposal Now Moves Forward
The Hartford city council is debating a proposal to ban campaign contributions from contractors who have business deals with the city. Proposed more than two years ago, the measure is now moving forward after receiving word from the city’s corporation counsel assuring the legality of such a measure.
There are still details to be determined concerning the measure, including who will be expected to enforce the measure. A vote is expected by the end of March.
Aerial photo of downtown Hartford by Sage Ross on Wikipedia.
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