December 21, 2012 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
From the States and Municipalities:
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.
October 2, 2012 •
Keep up with the latest government relations news with these articles:
Via Eric Brown’s Political Activity Law blog – Missouri:“Mo. Sen. candidate wants ban on all lobbyist gifts to state lawmakers” by Marshall Griffin in St. Louis Public Radio.
Wisconsin: “Former Assembly speaker now a lobbyist” by Jason Stein in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Rules of the Game: Shining a Light on Political ‘Dark Money‘” by Eliza Newlin Carney in Roll Call.
Arizona: “Probe into Horne’s campaign finances leads to report over alleged hit-and-run” by Howard Fischer in the East Valley Tribune.
“Mashable Special Report: How Digital Is Transforming Politics” by Josh Catone in Mashable.
“How the Internet will Change the Government” by Henry Brown in Govloop.
September 25, 2012 •
Gifts from lobbyists between registration periods are targeted
Council President Jack Young has introduced legislation on behalf of city watchdog officials to close gaps in Baltimore’s ethics code after reviewing attempts to take advantage of loopholes.
The bill would prohibit council members from accepting gifts from anyone who has lobbied the city in the previous 12 months, even if the lobbyist is no longer registered.
Last January a prominent lobbyist attempted to give a gift, including tickets, to a council member during a short interlude between the expiration of the lobbyist’s 2011 registration and the eventual 2012 registration renewal.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.
July 20, 2012 •
Proposal moves to full city council vote
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new proposed ethics ordinance has advanced out of committee and will now head to a full city council vote. The proposal, which stems from the first set of recommendations handed out by Emanuel’s appointed Ethics Board, will, among other things, lower the value of gifts that city’s employees and officials may receive. Currently, the limit is $100, but the proposed ordinance lowers that limit to $50.
The proposal is expected to pass the city council. The ethics board is expected to release its second set of ethics recommendations in late summer.
July 19, 2012 •
We have everything you need in our new report.
2012 is an exciting year for national politics. State and Federal Communications, Inc. is your trusted resource for comprehensive lobbying and campaign finance guidelines to assist your organization with navigating the national party conventions. Here is our User’s Guide to National Party Conventions.
The Republican National Convention is being held in Tampa, Florida at the Tampa Bay Times Forum from August 27th to August 30th. The Democratic National Convention opens at the Time Warner Cable Arena on September 3rd and closes on September 6th with President Obama accepting the nomination of his party at the Bank of America Stadium.
These conventions will be a gathering place for delegates and other party members from across the country and thus will represent an excellent opportunity for your organization to interface with a wide range of public officials.
Knowledge of the applicable federal, state, and local rules governing your interactions with both convention delegates and other public officials in attendance will ensure your organization has the tools available to say, “I Comply.”
What is important as you read the document is knowing the official names of the convention and host committees:
1. Republican Convention Committee —
Committee on Arrangements for the 2012 Republican National Convention;
2. Democratic Convention Committee —
The 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc.;
3. Republican Host Committee —
2012 Tampa Host Committee; and
4. Democratic Host Committee —
Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee.
In closing, we hope this resource serves you well during the upcoming convention season. The Research Department of State and Federal Communications, under Manager John Cozine, made sure we looked at all avenues of giving.
We wish you all the best this summer before the conventions.
President and CEO of State and Federal Communications
July 13, 2012 •
FPPC allows cheese and wine exception to gift valuations at “drop-in” events.
The Fair Political Practices Commission has approved a change to simplify lobbyist reporting requirements for “drop-in” events.
The amendment to regulation 18640 allows appetizers and beverages to be excluded from the gift valuation for an official who does not stay for any meal or entertainment. The value of the gift is now any specific item, other than food, presented to the official and guest accompanying the official, if the official notifies the lobbyist in writing that the official did not stay for any meal or entertainment.
The amendment provides consistency with regulation 18946.2(e), which was previously amended to exclude the value of appetizers and drinks from the value of a gift received by an official who briefly appears or drops by an invitation-only event. Prior to the amendment, the value of the gift received was limited to the actual value of the food and beverages consumed by the official and guest, along with the value of any specific item received at the event.
Image of the Seal of California courtesy of Zscout370 on Wikipedia.
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.