September 19, 2012 •
Our campaign to encourage voting in 2012!
According to the latest U.S. Census Report, an average of only about 40 percent of the U.S. population votes during a non-presidential election year – while just over 60 percent vote during a presidential election.
Those statistics are too low for President and CEO Elizabeth Bartz of State and Federal Communications Inc., based out of Akron, Ohio.
So in recognition of Election Day 2012 and the need to get more voters to the polls, Bartz and her company are sponsoring a campaign to encourage voting. The campaign aims to not only encourage people to vote, but also to encourage voters to think about the impact their voice and efforts have on their community and their country.
September 19, 2012 •
Don’t miss these important Lobbying, campaign finance, and election news articles:
“Street Talk: From K Street to School Corridors” by Kate Ackley in Roll Call.
“K Street abuzz over who will get the $1.8 million Roundtable job” by Kevin Bogardus in The Hill.
“Report: gambling interests spend heavy in Albany” by The Associated Press in the Wall Street Journal.
“Facebook, Google, Amazon join forces in D.C. lobby” by Cecilia Kang in the Washington Post.
“Twitter hires GOP congressional staffer” by Brendan Sasso in The Hill.
“Romney campaign took out $20-million loan, still owes $11 million” by Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times.
“FPPC Delays Vote on Paid Political Blogger Regulations” by Ben Adler in Capital Public Radio.
“2012 Swing States Map” in Politico 2012 Live.
“The Electoral Map: Building a Path to Victory” in the New York Times.
“Too Much Information: Enemy # 1 for New Member Orientation” by Bruce Feustel in NCSL’s The Thicket.
“Gov Website Evolution: Changes in 2013” by Sarah Rich Government Technology.
“The time of the ‘social media’ candidate is nigh” by Jen Doll on TechPresident.
September 13, 2012 •
With 54 Days Left Until Election Day, the Money Race Tightens
For the first time in three months, the Obama campaign and the DNC outraised Gov. Romney and the RNC. The President’s campaign reported a monthly total of $114 million raised in August, narrowly beating the Romney campaign’s $111.6 million in total fundraising. The last time President Obama won the fundraising race was in April of this year when his campaign raised $43.6 million to Gov. Romney’s $40.1 million. August is also the first time this election cycle that the President has raised over $100 million; Gov. Romney previously raised over $100 million in June, July and August. The Romney campaign also reported a cash on hand total of $168.5 million while the Obama campaign has not yet released that figure.
The Obama campaign has petitioned supporters for the past few months to help close the fundraising gap with numerous emails and phone calls. Obama campaign spokesman Jim Messina said the campaign received contributions, “from more than 1.1 million Americans, donating an average of $58 per person – more than 317,000 who had never donated to the campaign before.” Gov. Romney’s campaign did not release a total number of donor’s but said that 94% of donations were for $250 or less.
The new fundraising totals come at a good time for President Obama as the President has started to open a bit of a lead in daily tracking polls following the completion of the national conventions. The Rasmussen Tracking Poll gives Obama a slight advantage at 46% to 45% over Romney and a Reuters/Ipsos poll gives Obama a 48% to 45% edge. Additionally, a Gallup daily tracking poll shows Obama with a 50% to 43% advantage.
Other notes from the trail…
- Roll Call has released its annual study of the 50 richest members of congress. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tops the list for the second straight year with a net worth over $300 million. Senator John Kerry once again topped the list of richest senators and is the second richest overall member of Congress with a net worth of $198.65 million. Both McCaul and Kerry benefit from the sizable assets of their spouses. McCaul’s wife is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder and CEO Lowry Mays, and Kerry’s wife is the widow of the late Senator John Heinz of Heinz Ketchup fame.
- Freshman Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline (D-1st) won a challenging primary Tuesday amid concerns about his tenure as the mayor of Providence. At issue were Cicilline’s statements and reports as mayor regarding the financial state of the city including his decision to tap into the city’s rainy day fund. Cicilline released a series of apologies in April regarding a lack of transparency in city finances and his efforts to balance the budget. Cicilline will now face Brendan Doherty, a retired police colonel for the heavily democratic district.
- On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine profiles Joseph Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts) who is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Barney Frank. Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy and son of six-term congressman Joseph Kennedy II. If Kennedy wins the seat in the heavily democratic district, it will mark a return to Washington for the Kennedy family for the first time since Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) retired from his Congressional seat in 2011. Prior to Patrick’s retirement, a member of the Kennedy family had served in national elected office every year since 1947.
September 11, 2012 •
Estimated to reach $5.2 billion
“Swing-State Stations Are Election Winners” by Amy Schatz and Suzanne Vranica in the Wall Street Journal.
“Political Spending on Television Media Projected to Reach $5.2 billion” by Cirina Catania in Technorati.
“Political Ad Season Has Really Begun” by Elspeth Reeve in The Atlantic.
“Political Perceptions: Ad Burnout Ahead?” by Gerald F. Seib in the Wall Street Journal.
“Ind. political ads suspended on 9/11” by The Associated Press in WISH TV.
“Ads: A state-by-state breakdown of who’s spending where” by Domenico Montanaro on NBC News.
September 10, 2012 •
Election called following resignation of Senator Doug LaMalfa
Governor Brown has ordered a special election resulting from the resignation of Senator Doug LaMalfa.
The special election for the 4th Senate District will be held on January 8, 2013. The special election’s primary will be held on November 6, 2012.
Photo of the California State Capitol by Henri Sivonen on Wikipedia.
September 10, 2012 •
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
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.
You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: email@example.com.
(We are always 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.
September 5, 2012 •
Republicans and Democrats battle to be the most present on social media platforms
During the 2008 election, the use of social media by President Obama was considered innovative and a significant contributing factor to his success. While he is still hard at work to keep his title as the most social media savvy politician (even having a 50-state Twitter campaign), Republicans are catching up.
There now seems to be an ever-present competition going on between Republicans and Democrats, each trying to get the most traffic and largest response to their continuously updated social media platforms.
Although, the Democratic National Convention is still going on, it is already very apparent that this competition has extended with full force to both parties’ respective national conventions.
According to this article provided on Mashable, social media was dominated by GOP related traffic during their convention. There were over 4 million tweets and over 2.5 million YouTube views, as well as 300,000 streaming video hours.
Not to be outdone, an app created by ABC will provide a continuous news flow this week of the Democratic National Convention, including three live streams for mobile and desktop.
An interesting consequential outcome to the rising importance of social media in political campaigns is the rising competition among social media platforms to be the most innovative and utilized source.
It will be interesting to see which party comes out as the social media winner after all the statistics are tallied up for the DNC.
August 28, 2012 •
Some primary voters in the 87th House District received the wrong ballot
A St. Louis County judge ordered a new election between state Representative Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson for the 87th House District. The new Democratic primary election is scheduled to be held on Monday, September 24, 2012.
Initial results of the August 7, 2012 primary showed Newman had won the election by a single vote, but the St. Louis County Board of Election found irregularities soon after the results were announced. The mistakes occurred at a polling place in Brentwood, where poll workers accidentally handed voters ballots with the 83rd District race between James Trout and Gina Mitten.
During the court hearing, it was revealed that 100 voters in the 83rd District received ballots to vote in the 87th District, while two 87th District residents received ballots for the 83rd District. Judge Michael Jamison cited Revised Missouri Statute section 115.593, which allows the court to order a new election if the evidence provided demonstrates irregularities were sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome of the election.
August 7, 2012 •
Election will fill vacant seat in House District 30
Governor Robert Bentley has set the special election timeline for the House District 30 seat. The seat was vacated by Representative Blaine Galliher, who resigned to become the governor’s legislative director.
The primary will be held October 23, 2012, and the special general election held December 11, 2012 if no runoff is needed. If a runoff election is required, it will be held December 11, 2012, and the special general election held January 29, 2013.
The governor said in a statement that the timeline will allow the new lawmaker to be in place for the legislative session beginning February 5, 2013.
July 25, 2012 •
Timing will allow new senator and delegate time to prepare for 2013 session
Governor Bob McDonnell has set September 4, 2012 as the date of a special election to fill the seats for Senate District 5 and House District 45. The District 5 seat was previously held by the late Senator Yvonne Miller, who passed away July 3, 2012. The District 45 seat is currently held by Delegate David Englin, who announced his resignation effective August 31, 2012.
Governor McDonnell stated in his press release that the timing of the special election will allow the new senator and delegate adequate time to prepare for the 2013 legislative session, as well as allow time to hold a subsequent special election if needed.
July 24, 2012 •
The New Orleans City Council has voted to call a special election on November 6 in order to fill the recently vacated District E council member’s position. District E council member Jon Johnson had resigned after pleading guilty in federal court to embezzling FEMA funds to finance his 2007 campaign for state senate. In the interim, the vacant seat will be filled by the city council in an upcoming meeting.
The council’s statement on the special election can be read here.
July 18, 2012 •
Election coincides with general election for other races
Governor Phil Bryant has set November 6, 2012 as the date of a special election to fill the District 19 senate seat.
The seat was previously held by retired Senator Merle Flowers, who resigned effective July 11, citing a need to spend more time with his family.
Photo of Governor Bryant courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted on Wikipedia.
July 6, 2012 •
President Obama campaigns his way through Northern Ohio
Crowds gathered along Route 18 in the Montrose area of Summit County Thursday evening to witness President Obama’s tour bus make its way through Northeast Ohio. Eager Democrats and Obama fans filled the street corners, waiting anxiously for the president to pass by their local restaurants, stores and businesses.
Through his “Betting on Ohio” tour, Obama campaigned across the manufacturing belt of Northern Ohio on July 5, visiting the areas where he had received support during his election in 2008.
Obama arrived in Toledo on Thursday, traveling on a black secret-service bus to his first stop in Maumee, Ohio where he visited Wolcott House Museum. His tour took him across Northern Ohio, where he attended an ice cream social at Washington Park in Sandusky, and visited James Day Park in Parma, a suburb of Cleveland.
Obama endorsed his economic policies, presented his resolution to salvage American automakers Chrysler and General Motors, and compared his views to those of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
“Throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania, President Obama will talk about his efforts over the last three years to get our economy back on track, doubling down on American workers by saving the auto industry, investing in manufacturing and bringing jobs back to America,” the Obama campaign said in a statement, according to CNN’s Ashley Killough.
The crowds cheered and waved as Obama’s tour bus passed through Montrose. After residing for the evening at the Double Tree Hotel in Fairlawn, Obama chose an Akron diner for breakfast, indulging in eggs and bacon at Ann’s Place restaurant on South Hawkins Avenue. He continued his tour Friday to Dobbins Elementary in Poland, Ohio, before heading to Pittsburgh.
July 6, 2012 •
Healthcare ruling already having impact on presidential race
Announcing their decision on the last day of the judicial term, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decision of the Court is already playing a role in the Presidential and congressional elections as both sides look to paint the ruling in their favor.
The ruling was a win for the Obama Administration as the ACA was a major achievement of the President’s first term. The president’s campaign has used the decision to build support and highlight individuals who have been affected by the legislation. However, while the ACA was by and large upheld, the Court ruled that the individual mandate portion of the law is constitutional only as a tax, not as a penalty. A decision that has given fodder to the right to paint the legislation as a tax increase.
To complicate matters for Republicans, aides to former Gov. Mitt Romney came out in a couple of interviews over the last week stating they agreed with the administration that the mandate was in fact a penalty and not a tax putting the campaign at odds with many in the party. Eric Fehrnstrom, advisor to Gov. Romney, said during an interview with the Washington Post, “The governor disagreed with the ruling of the court, he agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia, that very clearly said that the mandate was not a tax.”
These comments forced Gov. Romney to clarify his position in an interview with CBS News on July 4th, stating, “Well, the Supreme Court has the final word. And their final word is that Obamacare is a tax. So it’s a tax.”
While both campaigns are still working to find the appropriate way to approach the ruling, polling suggests the issue may not be as important or at least not as currently relevant as previously thought. The Pew Research Center released a poll this week showing 45% of respondents either didn’t know what the court had ruled or thought most of the law had been struck down. Furthermore, 63% of people 18-29 years old either thought the law had been struck down or didn’t know.
While it’s almost certain that healthcare will become an issue in the campaign (the house has scheduled a full repeal vote for July 19) both President Obama and Gov. Romney have worked to pivot the focus of the dialogue to jobs and the economy. June employment numbers were released today showing the economy added 80k jobs leaving the unemployment rate at 8.2% for the second straight month.
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.