August 3, 2010 •
Illinois residents can now find out who is trying to influence county government with the click of a mouse.
County Clerk David Orr and Commissioner Bridget Gainer announced “Lobbyist Online,” a searchable database of lobbyists and lobbying activity in Cook County. This Web site allows users to find out who is lobbying county government, what they are promoting, who they are trying to influence, and how much money they make. This site comes on the heels of a newly implemented electronic lobbyist registration and reporting system.
Orr’s office reported lobbyists made 576 contacts seeking to influence nearly 60 county officials during the first half of 2010.
Here is the Cook County Clerk Web site with a link to the Lobbyist Online database.
August 2, 2010 •
On July 30, 2010, during a special session, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Senate Bill 551.
SB 551 is a response to the recent U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield regarding the state’s Citizens’ Election Program. If signed by Governor M. Jodi Rell, the bill would limit contributions from communicator lobbyists, members of the lobbyist’s immediate family, and political committees established or controlled by the lobbyist or lobbyist’s immediate family to $100, while also banning the bundling of contributions by the same individuals.
Further, the bill expands the list of items not considered to be a contribution, while also prohibiting the knowing solicitation of contributions by state contractors, prospective state contractors, principals of state contractors, and principals of prospective state contractors from the contractor’s employees or a subcontractor or principals of a subcontractor on behalf of exploratory or candidate committees, political committees authorized to make contributions or expenditures to or for the benefit of specified candidates, or a party committee.
Additionally, grants to participating candidates would increase to $6,000,000 for the general election campaign. However, Governor Rell has previously indicated her intent to veto any bill increasing grants to participating candidates, citing state budget concerns.
Photo by jimbowen0306 in Wikipedia.
July 29, 2010 •
H.R. 5751, the Lobbying Disclosure Enhancement Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28, 2010 by a voice vote.
The measure creates the Lobbying Disclosure Act Enforcement Task Force inside the Department of Justice. The new task force will be charged with enforcing the disclosure provisions of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.
Further, the bill amends existing federal lobbying law by making public the names of registered lobbyists and firms who violate disclosure regulations. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Update 8-2-2010: Here is an article from The Hill giving K Street’s reaction to the Lobbying Disclosure Enhancement Act: “K Street feels it’s being unfairly targeted by bill disclosing lobbying violators“
July 29, 2010 •
Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1526 into law into law late Wednesday.
This bill changes several provisions of the lobbying laws. The registration fee is lowered to $300 in response to the previous fee of $1,000 having been enjoined. Under this new law, lobbyists must notify officials in writing of reportable expenditures at the time the expenditures are made.
Effective January 1, 2011, lobbyist reports are due on a semi-monthly basis. For 2010, a report covering the second half of the year is due January 15, 2011; the Secretary of State will issue instructions for reporting lobbyist expenditures incurred during the first half of the year.
July 19, 2010 •
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) will convene a two-day meeting beginning July 21, 2010 at 9:30 A.M.
The two-day session will continue on July 22, 2010 beginning at 8:30 A.M. There will be open and closed door sessions on both days. The G.A.B. is expected to discuss a request to extend G.A.B. Emergency Rule 1.91 relating to organizations making independent disbursements.
Among the other proposed campaign finance issues on the agenda are guidelines concerning charitable contributions, campaign fundraising, campaign contributions by lobbyists and principals, candidates and the lobby law, and campaign finance registration and reporting. Day One of the two-day meeting will be held in the Joint Committee on Finance Hearing Room located at 412 East in the State Capitol. Day Two will convene in the G.A.B. board room located at 212 East Washington Avenue, third floor in Madison.
Here are some great resources from the GAB Web site!
Photograph taken by Dori
July 16, 2010 •
Mason submits campaign finance and lobbying recommendations for new Cuyahoga County Government.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and the Campaign Finance Reform Committee, which convened in March 2010 to study campaign finance reform issues in Cuyahoga County, have announced four recommendations that will be forwarded to the new Cuyahoga County government due to take office on January 1, 2011. The recommendations include the establishment of an electronic filing system for campaign finance reports, the establishment of a lobbyist registry for Cuyahoga County, and the establishment of campaign contribution limits for county-wide offices. Finally, the committee recommends the new county government adopt a Clean Elections Act which would implement a voluntary, publicly funded campaign financing option for candidates for Cuyahoga County offices. Mason hopes the new county government will take up the recommendations quickly once it takes office next year.
Here are some resources for further reading:
New campaign finance rules proposed for Cuyahoga County, by Kevin Niedermier at WKSU
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announces campaign finance reforms, by Laura Johnston at the Cleveland Plain Dealer
July 15, 2010 •
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed ethics legislation designed to help clean up Missouri’s political culture.
This ethics overhaul was a top priority for Nixon and legislative leaders this year. Among the major changes, the new law requires elected officials and candidates to report larger campaign donations within 48 hours. It also gives the bipartisan Missouri Ethics Commission the power to begin investigations on its own, without waiting for a complaint. The law also expands reporting requirements for lobbyists who invite groups of state officials to events. Under this new law, campaign disclosure reports must be filed electronically beginning in January, 2011 and the fines for late reports are increased significantly.
July 7, 2010 •
A bill amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 has passed the House of Representatives.
H.R. 5609, which passed on a vote of 408-4, prohibits any registered lobbyist whose clients include foreign governments which are found to be sponsors of international terrorism or include other foreign nationals from making contributions and other campaign-related disbursements in elections for public office. The bill moves to the Senate.
July 2, 2010 •
State and Federal Communications, Inc. represented at organization’s annual meeting.
Amber Fish Linke, Esq., manager of compliance at State and Federal Communications, Inc., will speak on lobbying regulations to non-profit executives from across the country in Pittsburgh on July 15.
Her talk, Do you comply? A Guide to Federal and State Lobbying Regulations, will provide the executives an overview of lobbying laws on the federal and state levels, including grassroots lobbying. The presentation is tailored for lobbying done by non-profit organizations.
“In today’s heavily regulated environment, it is important to know and understand lobbying rules and regulations in all jurisdictions before undertaking lobbying efforts, not afterward,” Fish Linke said.
Her talk is sponsored by the host organization, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives.
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.