August 18, 2022 •
Our Tools for School student supply drive is in the books, and we are thrilled with the results! We asked our staff to donate school supplies, helping local groups collect materials for children to use this school year. The supply […]
Our Tools for School student supply drive is in the books, and we are thrilled with the results!
We asked our staff to donate school supplies, helping local groups collect materials for children to use this school year. The supply drive directly benefited students through two organizations: United Way of Summit and Medina, and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church’s Philoptochos society.
Our amazing staff stepped up to the plate, and is shown with this outstanding final tally: 52 utility boxes, 1 container of Clorox wipes, 100 quart Ziplock bags, 50 gallon Ziplock bags, 110 folders, 2 notebooks, 12 binders, 750 sheets of notebook paper, 114 glue sticks, 150 washable markers, 144 highlighter pens, 72 dry erase markers, 14 erasers, 98 packs of 24 crayons, 875 pencils, 80 ballpoint pens, 44 rulers, and 48 pairs of women’s ankle socks.
See the video below to learn more about our Tools for School supply drive:
August 16, 2022 •
What are your areas of expertise? I work on computers and networks. I enjoy finding the solutions to issues, hardware or software. I learn something new each day. How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal […]
What are your areas of expertise?
I work on computers and networks. I enjoy finding the solutions to issues, hardware or software. I learn something new each day.
How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal Communications??
I have been at State and Federal Communications for thirteen years.
How do you help our clients?
I work to keep everything running smoothly and try to anticipate needs in the present and near future.
August 11, 2022 •
Q: I have taken on a new role handling our company’s government outreach in Florida. I will likely be lobbying both state and local officials. Where do I get started? A: Florida offers a labyrinth of compliance issues for state […]
Q: I have taken on a new role handling our company’s government outreach in Florida. I will likely be lobbying both state and local officials. Where do I get started?
A: Florida offers a labyrinth of compliance issues for state and local lobbyists. The decentralized nature of the regulatory landscape means you may need to register at the state level, as well as in each individual city or county where you will be active.
At the state level, registration is required prior to engaging in lobbying activities. This includes any attempt to obtain the goodwill of a legislator, executive official, or employee of either branch. Registrants must select whether they will be lobbying the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, or both. Activity reports for the state are limited to lobbying firms, who must disclose compensation received on a quarterly basis. Gift disclosures may also be required for any registered lobbyist, but we will discuss these in a moment.
Engaging with city or county officials is where staying compliant can be complicated. Most cities and counties have their own registration and reporting ordinances. Luckily, a general theme throughout is the requirement to register prior to engaging with officials. Most locales require annual registration, for either the calendar year or fiscal year, and reporting of lobbying activities. Be careful here to note the reporting periods as they can differ from the registration period. Some cities, such as Orlando, do not require the submission of a report if no expenses were incurred during the reporting period.
Also, be sure to note additional requirements such as meeting logs, lobbyist trainings, or registrations with subgroups of a municipality. For example, Miami-Dade County Publics Schools has its own registration requirement separate from Miami-Dade County.
Finally, whether you are registered with the state or a municipality, state statutes require quarterly disclosures of gifts to certain officials and employees. These reports include gifts valued at more than $25 given to officials or employees who file financial disclosures with the state; however, no such report is required if no reportable gifts were given. And, as always, please be sure any gift is permissible according to the relevant ethics rules.
For more information, be sure to check out the “Registration” and “Reports Required” sections of the Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication for Florida and its municipalities. If you have any questions, please feel free to learn more and contact us at www.stateandfed.com
August 4, 2022 •
By the time you’re reading this article, I would have assisted in organizing my 3rd Women in Government Relations (WGR) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit, and my 2nd one serving as WGR’s DEI Committee Chair! One of the things […]
By the time you’re reading this article, I would have assisted in organizing my 3rd Women in Government Relations (WGR) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit, and my 2nd one serving as WGR’s DEI Committee Chair!
One of the things that I have enjoyed (among many) about helping to plan the Summit each year is the Resource Workbook that we provide (electronically thus far) to all DEI Summit attendees. This Workbook not only contains general information about the event, but it also includes a list of DEI resources (books, articles, toolkits, etc.) that WGR’s DEI Committee Members find invaluable! In addition to the various resources, the Workbook also contains reflection pages where DEI Summit attendees can jot down their thoughts, ideas, questions and challenges!
Successful DEI efforts require commitment, vulnerability, and authenticity – and it is a lifelong journey, there is no “one and done” effort or action in this space. As a result, you will likely: participate in sometimes uncomfortable conversations; stumble at times as you’re expanding your DEI knowledge; and learn new things about yourself as you’re beginning to learn new things about others!
I invite you to begin (or continue) developing your own DEI Resource Workbook! Jot down all of those great resources that have come your way and don’t be afraid to share all of this good stuff with others in your network! Allow yourself some space to also write down those thoughts, ideas, questions and challenges that I mentioned earlier – and don’t be afraid to open yourself to others… We are all on a continuous DEI learning journey, moving along one step at a time – together!
What are you doing today to help create change within your organization?
August 2, 2022 •
Good morning, Denver. The State and Federal Communications team flew to town yesterday and today we are setting up our booth. In fact, this is our 22nd year at NCSL…Would have been 23 had it not been for the pandemic. […]
Good morning, Denver. The State and Federal Communications team flew to town yesterday and today we are setting up our booth.
In fact, this is our 22nd year at NCSL…Would have been 23 had it not been for the pandemic. It is interesting how things have changed in the 22 years we have been at the conference.
State and Federal Communications considers the NCSL Legislative Summit as our #1 trade show to attend and we make sure our booth is inviting for our clients, and prospective clients, and friends. There really isn’t another conference like it. I am so impressed how bipartisan the programs are how well both parties work together for the states.
This year’s team includes Jean Cantrell, Rebecca South, Gamble Hayden, Jon Spontarelli, Anthony Didion along with my husband, John Chames, to build up our booth, attend sessions, welcome guests to our booth, catching up with our government relations friends from Washington State Relations Group (WASRG) and State Government Relations Group (SGAC), and attend a number of evening receptions.
Years ago…okay decades ago…State and Federal Communications also joined the NCSL Foundation and that has instrumental in meeting so many others not only in government affairs but also state legislators from all over the country.
It really isn’t too late to fly to Denver and register for the great programs, which include Kevin O’Leary—Mr. Wonderful—from Shark Tank along with Charlie Cook widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S. elections and political trends. And if you are already in Denver stop by Booth 428 and we will “stateandfederalize” you.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz, @elizabethbartz
July 21, 2022 •
Meet Michael Beckett, Esq., Associate Director, Research Services! What are your areas of expertise? I direct the Research Department and oversee website content regarding lobbying, campaign finance, ethics and gifts, procurement, and pay-to-play. How long have you been with State […]
Meet Michael Beckett, Esq., Associate Director, Research Services!
What are your areas of expertise?
I direct the Research Department and oversee website content regarding lobbying, campaign finance, ethics and gifts, procurement, and pay-to-play.
How long have you been with State and Federal Communications?
I have been with the company for 10 years.
How do you help our clients?
Overseeing the content produced by the Research team allows me to provide high-level consulting on compliance-related matters for subscribers and clients. My experience allows me to provide in-depth analysis based on over a decade of keeping up with the latest developments in corporate compliance.
July 11, 2022 •
On July 4, 2022, America will celebrate 246 years of independence from Great Britain’s rule, as the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. This important document professed “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their […]
On July 4, 2022, America will celebrate 246 years of independence from Great Britain’s rule, as the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. This important document professed “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Fast forward to 2022, however, and it continues to be evident that not everyone is seen as being deserving of these basic human rights – calling into question the lack of equality that exists, particularly amongst underrepresented populations.
For these individuals, what equality looks like in the workplace can be especially challenging. For some, equality may mean having a fair opportunity to compete and apply for a desired position; for others, it may mean that they are not discriminated against based on any multitude of characteristics that make them the unique individuals whom they are. I would argue that equality in the workplace should include both of these things, in addition to other elements, such as: providing everyone with a safe and hostile-free working environment; allowing everyone to take advantage of opportunities for additional growth and professional development; and providing a space for all employees to come to work as their true, authentic selves. For me, this is equality in action – “walking the talk” as I like to say!
I invite you to think about what equality currently looks like in your own workplace? Are your company’s policies, procedures, and overall office culture conducive to an atmosphere that champions equality for all who work there? I hope the answer is Yes! If your organization, however, is not where it wants or needs to be, it may be time to take a step back and reassess its core mission and values – there may be some tough questions to answer, but in the end, the organization in its entirety will be better and stronger for it!
July 7, 2022 •
Question: I am hiring an outside lobbying firm soon. What sorts of compliance issues should I be watching for? Answer: You no doubt have a list of criteria you use when evaluating an outside firm’s ability to advocate for your […]
Question: I am hiring an outside lobbying firm soon. What sorts of compliance issues should I be watching for?
Answer: You no doubt have a list of criteria you use when evaluating an outside firm’s ability to advocate for your company, but there are other issues you should be looking for.
Many lobbyists are former government officials and staffers, which means they are likely subject to revolving door provisions. While those restrictions will have expired for the majority of lobbyists if there is a new hire at the firm they may still be subject to time or subject matter restrictions and unable to lobby on your behalf. Revolving door restrictions can be a general ban on any lobbying in that jurisdiction, a ban specific to a particular issue in which the former government employee was heavily involved, or a ban only on lobbying their former government agency. If your firm is recommending a lobbyist who recently left government employment, you will want to confirm the lobbyist has no restrictions that will affect their work.
You will also want to ensure the firm is properly filing required registrations and reports. This information is publicly available on state websites, so it is not difficult to determine if the firm is meeting its obligations. Look for reports that are past due and reports that were filed after the due date. This is especially critical if you are going to be relying on the firm to file your company’s principal reports for you.
Finally, search the state’s website for fines, penalties, and reprimands issued to the firm. Again, your company’s reputation, both with the public and with the government officials contacted, will be tied to the firm.
More information about these topics can be found in the Lobbying Compliance Guidebook on the State and Federal Communications subscriber website. Specifically, information regarding revolving door restrictions can be found in the Important Features of the Law section, report due date information can be found in the Reports Required section, and the Contact Information section has links to state ethics websites.
July 5, 2022 •
July 1, 2022 is the 29th anniversary of State and Federal Communications, Inc. Yes, 29 years! I wanted to see the percentage of small businesses who are still around for 29 years. What is the average age of small business […]
July 1, 2022 is the 29th anniversary of State and Federal Communications, Inc. Yes, 29 years!
I wanted to see the percentage of small businesses who are still around for 29 years. What is the average age of small business CEOs? What percentage of businesses succeed?
Let me just say we have outlasted the percentages. Most research talks about businesses around for only five years. I am far older than the average 44-year-old small business owner. Do you know 70% of small businesses fail after 10 years.
Enough of all that bad news.
The team at State and Federal Communications works together for our clients. That is the most important part of the work we do. We understand each of our clients have different needs and we work with them to help with compliance. Our website has grown and grown because we listen when our clients want additional reference information, want additional municipalities included, and adding additional countries to our growing International Guidebook.
There is a lot we need to do for the future. I am not getting any younger and I want to protect our work and our staff. So, what are we doing?
We are working together to find a new home in Akron when our lease expires in 2024 to be more efficient for the way we operate.
Our senior team will begin the EOS—Entrepreneurial Operating System—which integrates a complete set of simple tools and process to produce powerful business results.
And the largest is to plan to integrate an ESOP—employer stock ownership plan—which gives the staff ownership interest in the company.
There is a lot we need to do even before we start these programs…And we are up to the challenge. If there is something you would like to see us do, please reach out. We are open to your ideas.
Stay tuned…We will have a lot to share.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer. Please continue to be safe and protect yourself from COVID. #MaskUp
June 24, 2022 •
National/Federal 2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022 Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps […]
2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries
CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022
Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps the most closely watched race was the Alabama Republican U.S. Senate runoff for retiring Sen. Richard Shelby’s seat, which pitted U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks against Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff. The two candidates shared the unusual distinction having both had, at one point, the sought-after endorsement of former President Trump. Brooks, who was a longtime Trump ally, won his first endorsement, but Trump withdrew it just before the primary election on May 24, when polls showed Brooks sliding in the polls.
American Influence Has a New Address on State Street
Yahoo News – Hailey Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 6/22/2022
According to a new report from OpenSecrets, total spending on state lobbying increased across 19 states from which it has collected data dating back to 2015. Interest groups spent a record $1.8 billion on state lobbying in 2021. As partisan divides ensnare congressional lawmakers in stalemates, many lobbying firms find it faster to take their efforts to governors and state Legislatures. State leaders have become as influential as they have ever been and are now shaping the national conversation on issues as diverse as energy policy and abortion rights.
Caught in the Culture Wars, Teachers Are Being Forced from Their Jobs
MSN – Hannah Natanson and Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
More than 160 educators were either fired or resigned their jobs in the past two academic years due to the culture wars that are roiling many of the nation’s schools, according to a Washington Post analysis. On average, slightly more than two teachers lost their jobs for every week that school remained in session. The teachers included in the analysis all lost their employment when hot-button cultural, racial, political, or pandemic issues intersected with their ability to teach, either because the teacher sought to address controversial topics in the classroom or administrators took issue with the teacher’s views as expressed inside or outside the classroom.
‘First-Degree Puppetry’: Stephen Colbert defends ‘Late Show’ staffers after arrest at Capitol
Yahoo News – Naledi Ushe (USA Today) | Published: 6/21/2022
Stephen Colbert addressed the arrest of his production crew by U.S. Capitol Police and joked they were guilty of “puppetry in the first degree.” Seven members of the “Late Night” team were arrested in the Longworth House Office Building and charged with unlawful entry. CBS said the crew was recording a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and had filmed authorized and pre-arranged interviews with members of Congress. Colbert called it “shameful and grotesque” that his staff’s behavior had been compared in the media to the insurrection on January 6, 2021.
GOP Spends Millions on Election Volunteers to Search for Fraud
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2022
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is spending millions of dollars this year in 16 critical states on an unprecedented push to recruit thousands of poll workers and watchers, adding firepower to a growing effort on the right to find election irregularities that could be used to challenge results. The RNC was until recently barred from bringing its substantial resources to bear on field operations at polling sites because of a decades-old court order. Now, the party apparatus is mobilizing volunteers to scrutinize voting locations for suspected fraud.
Jan. 6 Committee Reveals New Details About Pence’s Terrifying Day
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol disclosed new details of Mike Pence’s terrifying day on January 6, 2021, as it sought to explain how easily democracy could have fallen if the then-vice president had not resisted an unrelenting campaign from Trump to ignore legal advisers and his own conscience and use his role to give Trump a second term. Pence announced he did not believe the Constitution allowed him to follow Trump’s wishes. The committee demonstrated the crowd’s immediate reaction using video clips of rioters taken that day.
Justice Dept. Expands Jan. 6 Probe with Fresh Subpoenas
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The Justice Department’s investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol ratcheted up as federal agents issued subpoenas on people in at least two states, in what appeared to be a widening probe of how political activists supporting then-President Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. FBI officials confirmed that agents conducted court authorized law enforcement activity at the address of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector, and another the home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.
Liberal Groups Devote Millions to Blocking GOP Election Deniers
MSN – Michael Scherer (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
Pouring liberal donors’ money into the midterms to elect Democrats is hardly novel. What is different about a new strategy is a large portion of the 2022 efforts are aimed at 2024 –attempting to block Republican 2020 election deniers from gaining power and potentially upending valid results in a presidential election year. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation’s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom to sound an alarm about the coming elections. “MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group.
Sen. Ron Johnson Under Fire Over Fake-Electors Disclosure at Hearing
MSN – Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The House committee investigating January 6 Capitol riot revealed that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence a slate of fake electors backing then-president Trump, raising questions about Johnson’s role in a deliberate and coordinated plan to block Joe Biden’s win and give Trump the presidency. The disclosure also underscores the extent of Johnson’s role as one of Congress’s most prominent election deniers and January 6 apologists.
Supreme Court Justices Don’t Have a Code of Ethics. Hundreds of Judges Say That’s a Problem
Yahoo – Tami Abdollah (USA Today) | Published: 6/22/2022
Hundreds of judges said U.S. Supreme Court justices should be bound by a code of ethics, and many said they were shocked to find out that was not already the case. The National Judicial College surveyed judges across the nation on whether the Supreme Court should be held to a higher standard. The survey came amid a contentious and high-profile calendar that has involved questions of bias, as well as investigations into Justice Clarence Thomas’ family ties to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump’s Pressure Drew Violence, Threats to Local Officials, Committee Shows
Anchorage Daily News – Rosalind Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2022
In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump engaged in an unrelenting campaign targeting state and local officials – many of them fellow Republicans – riling up his supporters and putting in physical danger officials who refused to help overturn his election loss, according to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. At its fourth public hearing, the committee laid out how menace and violence trailed Trump’s election falsehoods, afflicting everyone who resisted, from high-level elected officials to ordinary election workers.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – Campaign Finance Regulators Withdraw $56,600 Fine Levied Against Anchorage Rep. Tuck
Yahoo News – Nathaniel Herz (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 6/18/2022
The Alaska Public Offices Commission withdrew a $56,500 fine it had imposed on state Rep. Chris Tuck, saying he showed the 2020 campaign contribution the agency alleged was late reported past the deadline was actually made outside of a required reporting window. Tuck has announced he was not seeking reelection.
California – Anaheim City Council Deadlocks on Campaign Finance Reform Following FBI Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Spencer Custodio | Published: 6/22/2022
Anaheim City Council members deadlocked on a campaign finance reform proposal to lessen special interests’ influence on policy decisions, which has come under intense scrutiny since revelations of an FBI corruption probe into City Hall. The ordinance would have required a 72-hour reporting window for all campaign contributions of $250 or more, along with mandatory recusal periods for council members. Residents have been calling for the council to limit the influence that special interests like the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Angels, and Disney-funded PACs have on City Hall. Many of those same interest groups funded a majority of the council members’ election campaigns.
California – Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act
MSN – Seth Rosenfeld (San Francisco Public Press) | Published: 6/20/2022
An appeals court ruled the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the state’s Public Records Act. The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.
California – State Attorney General Bonta Gives Mark Ridley-Thomas Backers a Chance to Fight His Removal from LA City Council
Los Angeles Daly News – Elizabeth Chou | Published: 6/22/2022
The state attorney general gave plaintiffs the go-ahead to challenge the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to appoint former council member Herb Wesson to a seat vacated by Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended by his colleagues after being indicted on federal corruption charges. The plaintiffs’ attorneys contend Wesson is ineligible to be a temporary replacement because the appointment violates city charter rules for term limits and appointments to vacant seats. They had also challenged the suspension of Ridley-Thomas by the city council and sought his reinstatement.
Colorado – Colorado Guilty Plea a First for US Election Task Force
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 6/20/2022
A Nebraska man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Colorado’s top elections official in a what officials say is the first such plea obtained by a federal task force devoted to protecting elections workers across the U.S. who have been subject to increasing threats since the 2020 presidential election. Travis Ford admitted sending threats to Secretary of State Jena Griswold on social media. Griswold is a national advocate for elections security who has received thousands of threats over her insistence that the 2020 election was secure and that former President Trump’s claims it was stolen from him are false.
Connecticut – It’s Official: CT candidates can start spending campaign money on child care
CT Insider – Julia Bergman | Published: 6/19/2022
Candidates for elected office in Connecticut can now spend public campaign money on childcare while they are campaigning. The new election rule was finalized recently and follows a years-long fight by a Fairfield mother and former state House candidate that gained national attention. When she first ran for office in 2018, Caitlin Clarkson Pereira often had her daughter, Parker, who was three years old at the time, in tow
Florida – Federal Judge Blows Up Florida’s Law Limiting Contributions for Ballot Initiatives
MSN – Jim Saunders (News Service of Florida) | Published: 6/16/2022
A federal judge struck down a Florida law limiting contributions to people or political committees championing ballot initiatives, ruling it violates the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor issued a permanent injunction against the law that limited such donations to $3,000. The Florida Elections Commission had argued the law limited the potential for fraud and corruption. “But those concerns don’t legally justify the restriction at issue,” Winsor said.
Florida – Former Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum Indicted on Federal Charges
Politico – Matt Dixon and Arek Sarkissian | Published: 6/22/2022
Andrew Gillum, a former Tallahassee mayor who was the Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018, was indicted on charges he illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in return for the financial support. The indictment outlines a series of interactions with two undercover FBI agents who posed as developers seeking contracts in Tallahassee. Gillum’s adviser, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, also faces 19 counts, including allegations that some of those contributions were funneled to a separate company she operates.
Hawaii – Hu Honua Lobbyist Hosted Fundraiser for Senators Who Were Key to Energy Bill
Honolulu Civil Beat – Stewart Yerton and Chad Blair | Published: 6/20/2022
As far as the public could tell from official disclosures, a recent campaign fundraiser was paid for by the candidate committees of four Hawaii senators: Donovan Dela Cruz, Glenn Wakai, Michelle Kidani, and Bennette Misalucha. But undisclosed in public filings required for such events was a behind-the-scenes host: Joanne Hamm, an energy industry lobbyist. Hamm’s client Hu Honua Bioenergy had just scored big wins in the state Legislature, thanks in part to Wakai and Misalucha, who are the chair and vice chair of the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee; and Kidani and Dela Cruz, who sit on the Ways and Means Committee, which Dela Cruz chairs.
Illinois – Ex-State Sen. Thomas Cullerton Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison in Ghost Payrolling Case
MSN – Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Illinois Sen. Thomas Cullerton was sentenced to a year in prison for pocketing more than $250,000 in salary and benefits from the Teamsters union despite doing little or no work. In rejecting a defense request for probation, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman said people are tired of the “depressing” amount of public corruption and he had to send a message to other elected officials that breaching the public trust will not be tolerated. Former Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. said he hired Cullerton to his do-nothing position “as a favor to Senator A.” The two ignored complaints from supervisors when Cullerton failed to even show up for work.
Maine – Paul LePage’s Campaign Fined $3K for Late Finance Report
Bangor Daily News – Caitlin Andrews | Published: 6/22/2022
Maine’s ethics commission hit former Gov. Paul LePage’s 2022 campaign with a $3,000 fine on for filing a campaign finance report a few hours late. The total amount of money raised had been released to the media on May 3, but campaign staffer Joe Turcotte said he had fallen asleep due to illness while submitting the report. He did not wake up until four a.m. the next day to finish filing the report, which was after the deadline.
Maryland – Judge’s Donation to Baltimore State’s Attorney Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Raises Ethical Questions
MSN – Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/17/2022
Maryland District Court Judge Flynn Owens is listed as having donated $100 to Thiru Vignarajah’s campaign for Baltimore State’s Attorney. Owens’ listed employer and occupation, a requirement for donors, is “State of MD” and “Legal.” It is a violation of the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct for any sitting judge to make a political contribution to any candidate, let alone a someone running for a political office that the judge is involved with. As a District Court judge overseeing Baltimore, Owens oversees cases brought by the state’s attorney’s office.
Massachusetts – Mass. High Court to Hear Arguments in DiMasi Lobbying Case
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/21/2022
The Supreme Judicial Court will take up a lobbying case involving former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. At issue is whether those found guilty of federal corruption charges should be barred from lobbying state lawmakers, the governor, and other officials for 10 years after their conviction, even if their crimes are not directly cited in the state law. While DiMasi is at the center of the case, he will not be impacted by any ruling as the 10-year ban on him expired in 2021. The court reasoned the legal issue at the case’s core is still of “great public importance and is likely to recur.”
Massachusetts – MassHealth Director Fined $6,000 for Receiving Free Red Sox Tickets
Boston.com – Susannah Sudborough | Published: 6/16/2022
A former MassHealth official paid a $6,000 penalty for breaking the state’s conflict-of-interest law by receiving free Boston Red Sox tickets from the contractor administering the agency’s dental program. Stacia Castro, while serving as director of the MassHealth Specialty Provider Network, asked DentaQuest’s regional director if the company had access to the Red Sox tickets. It then gave Castro four free tickets valued at $120 apiece, a tour of Fenway Park, and a $500 voucher for dinner at Fenway Park’s EMC Club.
Michigan – How One Firm in a ‘Wild West’ Industry Upended the Michigan GOP Governor Race
Bridge Michigan – Yue Stella Yu, Mike Wilkinson, and Joel Kurth | Published: 6/16/2022
Some say signature gathering for candidates to qualify for the ballot is the “Wild West” side of politics. A now-inactive website for the signature-gathering firm First Choice Contracting claimed it was “your best chance at getting on the ballot.” Instead, it was anything but. Fraudulent signatures disqualified five of 10 Republican gubernatorial candidates in Michigan from the race, and a Bridge Michigan investigation found First Choice Contracting worked for all five campaigns. Elections officials have submitted their findings of fraud to state Attorney General Dana Nessel for a criminal investigation.
Missouri – Eric Greitens Ad Touts ‘Hunting Permit’ for GOP Rivals in Missouri U.S Senate Race
Missouri Independent – Rudi Keller | Published: 6/20/2022
In a video of a fake no-knock home raid, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens ––flanked by extras in body armor, using flash grenades and carrying firearms – promoted a fundraising program offering a “RINO Hunting Permit” to supporters of his U.S. Senate campaign. RINO stands for “Republican in Name Only.” Within a few hours of posting, the video was hidden behind a warning message but remained visible on Twitter to those who wish to see it. The video was removed from Facebook. Violent imagery has been a part of Greitens political persona since he began running for office.
Missouri – Missouri Supreme Court Asks Eric Schmitt to Stop Using Judge Photo in Campaign Mailers
KSHB – David Medina | Published: 6/17/2022
The Missouri Supreme Court asked state Attorney General Eric Schmitt to stop using photos of the court’s judges for campaign mailers used for his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The mailer shows Schmitt along with three of the justices. The photo was taken by a member of Schmitt’s staff during Missouri’s bicentennial celebration last August. The judges were there in official capacities and were not aware the photo would be used in such a context.
Montana – Convention of States Group Violated Campaign Law
Montana Free Press – Alex Sakariassen | Published: 6/20/2022
An out-of-state super PAC that spent $126,752 supporting a trio of Republican legislative primary candidates in Montana violated state campaign finance laws, according to Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan. A complaint filed against the Convention of States Political Fund said the organization failed to adequately disclose its spending on mailers and radio ads. Mangan also said the group did not meet the state’s definition of a nonresident political committee because it had failed to file its activity in its home state.
New Mexico – New Mexico County Certifies Election Results, Bowing to Court Order
MSN – Annie Gowan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2022
Commissioners in New Mexico’s Otero County voted two-to-one to comply with a state Supreme Court order and certify primary-election results, reversing an earlier rejection of vote totals over unfounded claims that voting machines were insecure. Commissioner Couy Griffin refused to back down from assertions the machines were not secure or apologize for leading a charge against a normally straightforward procedural vote that caused a week-long uproar. “My vote to remain a no isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,” Griffin said.
New York – Corporate PACs Fail to Disclose Cash Behind Attacks in Primary Races
New York Focus – Sam Mellins | Published: 6/22/2022
With days to go before New York’s primary election, two real estate-backed groups likely spending millions of dollars to boost moderate Democrats may be violating campaign finance law by failing to disclose where they are getting their money and how they are spending it. Common Sense New Yorkers and Voters of New York are independent expenditure committees, which can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections but cannot coordinate with candidates. New York law mandates that such committees file reports detailing their spending and fundraising 32 and 11 days before a primary, which neither group has done.
New York – Law School Deans Unveil New York’s New Ethics System
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 6/15/2022
The deans of New York’s accredited law schools announced a rigorous vetting process to select nominees for the state’s new 11-member Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, which was created this year to overhaul the existing state ethics panel, which has for years faced criticism for some of its members’ apparent allegiance to the lawmakers who appointed them. Unlike the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, whose members were generally appointed with little vetting, the new rules will enable a nominating committee comprised of the law school deans to reject someone not found to have “undisputed honesty, integrity and character.”
New York – Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner Resigns After Being Accused of an Ethics Violation
MSN – Steve Lieberman (The Journal News) | Published: 6/22/2022
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner resigned from the bench rather than contest claims he engaged in prohibited political activity as a jurist. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct alleged that in September 2015 and November 2017, Berliner accompanied and/or introduced two candidates to three gatherings of community and political leaders in Orange and Rockland counties. “Prohibiting [judges’] involvement in campaigns, except when running for judicial office themselves, is essential to public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,” said commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian.
North Dakota – North Dakota Ethics Panel Adopts Disclosure Rules for Powerful State Boards
Bismarck Tribune – Jack Dura | Published: 6/22/2022
The North Dakota Ethics Commission adopted rules for how certain state officials should handle potential bias arising from campaign contributions. The new rules take effect immediately and apply to the Public Service Commission and governor-led Industrial Commission, which make decisions usually involving companies in the energy and utility industries. Both boards have their own ethics policies.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Fired Its CEO Amid Bribery Scandal but Let Him Keep Millions, Documents Show
Ohio Capital Journal – Jake Zuckerman | Published: 6/23/2022
As its starring role in a political bribery scandal became clearer and two alleged conspirators pleaded guilty, FirstEnergy fired its chief executive officer, Charles Jones, who was later outed as an architect of the operation. But documents show FirstEnergy’s board of directors declined to invoke a provision in Jones’ contract that would have allowed the company to claw back some of the tens of millions it had paid him during a “pay-to-play” operation the company has admitted to. Between 2017 and 2020, roughly the time frame of the alleged conspiracy, Jones earned more than $51 million.
Ohio – Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Campaign Finance Violations
WVIZ – Matthew Richmond | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins was sentenced to 30 days in jail for campaign finance violations. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg issued the sentence despite the prosecutor’s recommendation of five years’ probation and no jail time. “I’m surprised quite frankly that the state of Ohio doesn’t recognize the seriousness of the violation of a public official violating the public trust,” Synenberg said. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections found 651 instances where Elkins used money donated for his campaigns on expenses like bar and restaurants tabs and haircuts, totaling more than $130,000.
Ohio – P.G. Sittenfeld Trial May Expose How Fundraising, Developer Deals at City Hall Really Got Done
WCPO – Paula Christian | Published: 6/20/2022
Former Cincinnati City Councilperson P.G. Sittenfeld’s federal trial on corruption charges is underway. But the trial is not just about Sittenfeld, and whether he traded “official acts” to help a city project in exchange for $40,000 in donations to his PAC. Experts say the trial is really about the murky, sometimes seedy side of campaign fundraising. The trial will likely expose how business at City Hall got done during one of the most explosive periods of development in recent memory. “This is not a case strictly about him and a couple of developer deals, this is a case about the way American politics works,” said University of Cincinnati professor David Niven.
Pennsylvania – Pa. House Eyes Expanding Who Can Bring Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Lawmakers
Spotlight PA – Stephen Caruso | Published: 6/17/2022
Pennsylvania House leaders are negotiating a deal to close a loophole in the chamber’s rules that protects lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct from facing institutional sanctions. The talks center around a bipartisan resolution that would forbid lawmakers from engaging in sexual harassment “while performing House-related services or duties or in or on any House owned or leased property or facilities.” Consequences could range from censure to expulsion, depending on the outcome of an internal investigation.
South Dakota – South Dakota AG Convicted on 2 Impeachment Charges, Removed
ABC News – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 6/21/2022
The South Dakota Senate convicted state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg of two impeachment charges stemming from a 2020 fatal automobile crash, removing and barring him from future office in a rebuke that showed most senators did not believe his account of the accident. Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher the night of the crash that he might have struck a deer or other large animal and has said he did not know he struck Joseph Boever until he returned to the scene the next morning. Criminal investigators said they did not believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements, and several senators made clear they did not either.
Texas – At Texas GOP Convention, Loyalists Embrace Far Right, Anti-Gay Rhetoric
MSN – Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 6/19/2022
Thousands of Republican activists meeting in Houston for the state’s party convention agreed to a resolution that rejects the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and refers to Joe Biden as an illegitimate president. The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Separately, a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” The platform also advocates for children to learn in school about “the humanity of the preborn child,” promoting new messaging after the state has taken steps to vastly restrict abortion when knocking on constituents’ doors.
West Virginia – Former West Virginia Lawmaker Who Livestreamed Jan. 6 Riot Gets 3 Months in Prison
MSN – Alanna Durkin Richer (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/22/2022
Former West Virginia lawmaker who livestreamed himself on Facebook storming the U.S. Capitol and cheering on what he described as a “revolution” was sentenced to three months in prison. Derrick Evans was sworn in as a member of the state’s House of Delegates just weeks before the riot that left more than 100 police officers injured. Evans was arrested two days after the insurrection and resigned a month before the start of the legislative session.
June 16, 2022 •
On June 14, I had the privilege of joining Finance Administrative Assistant Emone Smith and her parents, Stewart and Ethel Satterwhite at a meeting with the Summit Metro Parks at the Himelright Lodge on Cuyahoga Street in Akron. This was […]
On June 14, I had the privilege of joining Finance Administrative Assistant Emone Smith and her parents, Stewart and Ethel Satterwhite at a meeting with the Summit Metro Parks at the Himelright Lodge on Cuyahoga Street in Akron. This was an amazing moment of connection, family history, and a glimpse into an important part of Akron’s history.
It all began on April 21, when Emone attended the Akron Roundtable presentation “Summit Metro Parks: Embarking on Our Second Century” by Lisa King, Executive Director, Summit Metro Parks.
Lisa King talked about an important archaeological find on the grounds of the Cascade Valley Metro Park. They found the remains of a house that George C. and Willie Mae Prather built on Honeywell Drive, an unpaved street off Cuyahoga Street. It was one of the homes making up a forgotten, but historically important neighborhood of African Americans in Akron. Eventually, the neighborhood was taken over by a golf course and then by the Metro Parks.
The Cultural Resources Group, made up of archaeologists and historians gathered basic facts and material culture about the neighborhood, but knew very little about the residents’ lives: “We have the dates they were born, when they were married and when they died. George passed away in 1975 and Willie Mae followed in 1983. We know that George worked for Goodyear and at one point Willie Mae worked as a maid. Beyond that, however, we know next to nothing about their lives.” wrote Charlotte Gintert in The Devil Strip 2018.
This is where Emone entered the story. At the Roundtable, she recognized her great aunt Willie Mae’s obituary being shown in the presentation and saw her own address listed! Emone confirmed with her mom that this was in fact her own family and spoke to Lisa King, which led to a set of interviews with Ethel Satterwhite, Emone’s mom.
Ethel and Stewart were able to tell the amazing story of George and Willie Mae Prather, about their lives, their neighborhood, and their church. This was exactly what the park’s archaeological team needed to fill out the story. They couldn’t have gotten this information anywhere else and it is all thanks to Emone attending Akron Roundtable.
During the event at Himelright Lodge, Ethel, Stewart, and Emone had the chance to see some of the 6000 archaeological artifacts, including foundation stones, nails, bed springs, cooking pans, even bits of a phonograph LP! They rode golf carts deep into the park, where the Honeywell Drive neighborhood used to be and saw the archaeological dig at the foundation of Uncle George and Aunt Willie Mae’s house. Ethel Satterwhite teared up when she saw it and said she was grateful to see the place again.
View some photos from this amazing afternoon in the carousel below:
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June 15, 2022 •
Meet Amber Fish Linke, Esq., Director, Client and Product Operations! What are your areas of expertise? I lead the Compliance and Research departments’ daily operations to meet our consulting and publication clients’ needs regarding lobbying, campaign finance, ethics and gifts, […]
Meet Amber Fish Linke, Esq., Director, Client and Product Operations!
What are your areas of expertise?
I lead the Compliance and Research departments’ daily operations to meet our consulting and publication clients’ needs regarding lobbying, campaign finance, ethics and gifts, procurement, and pay-to-play.
How long have you been with State and Federal Communications?
I have been with the company for 17 years.
How do you help our clients?
In addition to overseeing the Compliance and Research team, I address and resolve high-level compliance-related matters for our clients. We work hard to stay ahead of the curve with new trends. Our attention to detail and superior client service set us apart.
June 13, 2022 •
Question: I am planning to give a state legislator a permissible gift. I know I need to include it on my next lobbying disclosure report. Do I need to worry about anything else to make sure I am compliant with […]
Question: I am planning to give a state legislator a permissible gift. I know I need to include it on my next lobbying disclosure report. Do I need to worry about anything else to make sure I am compliant with state laws?
Answer: Yes, some states have additional requirements when an expenditure is made on a covered state official or employee. You may be required to provide the official with a notification or file additional reports.
California requires filers reporting gifts aggregating $50 or more in a calendar year to an official to provide the beneficiary with the date and amount of each gift reportable and a description of the goods or services. This information must be provided to the beneficiary within 30 days following the end of each calendar quarter in which the gift was provided.
In Virginia, lobbyists must send each legislative and executive official who is required to be identified by name on schedule A or B of the Lobbyist’s Disclosure Form a copy of schedule A or B or a summary of the information pertaining to that official. Notifications are due to the official by January 10 for the preceding 12 months. Additionally, lobbyists must send post-session notifications to covered officials summarizing all gifts made by the lobbyist during the period beginning on January 1 complete through adjournment sine die of the regular session.
Maryland requires additional reporting for certain permissible expenditures. A lobbyist who invites all members of a legislative unit to a meal or reception must, at least five days before the date of the meal or reception, extend a written invitation to all members of the legislative unit and register the meal or reception with the Department of Legislative Services on Form 13E by filing the report electronically. A post-event filing is then required within 14 days after the date of the meal or reception meal or reception.
Proper gift disclosure can involve more than simply including the gift on your normal lobbying disclosure reports. It is always a good idea to check the jurisdiction’s specific disclosure requirements on our website prior to giving a gift.
You can find this information under the “Reports Required” section of the U.S. Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication.
June 10, 2022 •
I have been thinking a lot lately about the term “allyship,” and what it truly means to me as I continue to move through my DEI journey. Does it mean calling out unfairness or injustice against another right when it […]
I have been thinking a lot lately about the term “allyship,” and what it truly means to me as I continue to move through my DEI journey. Does it mean calling out unfairness or injustice against another right when it occurs? Or does it mean advocating for not only your basic human and civil rights but also the rights of another — even though you may not always see eye-to-eye with them? I would argue that allyship encompasses both things (among many others), and so I challenge you (and myself) to consider how we “show up” for others each day?
Are we “showing up” for our family, friends, colleagues, members, and clients in ways that are both meaningful and authentic? If you are not quite where you would like to be in this allyship space (I know I am not!), that’s ok – we are all on a continuous path of learning, growing, and reflection, and there is always room to do and be better!
The next time you have an opportunity to “show up” meaningfully and authentically for someone, recognize and honor that as an opportunity to connect with and support another fellow human being! You may never know just how much of an impact you might have on them by showing that you are genuine, you are thoughtful, and you are a true ally!
What are you doing today to help create change within your organization?
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.