E-News from State and Federal
Random Acts of Audit
you are registered as a state lobbyist, there is a good chance
you have received notification for the state to conduct an audit
on your lobbying reports. California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New
York, West Virginia are just a few states with random acts of
But, are you ready for an IRS audit of your federal reports?
According to State and Federal Communications friend and client,
Ken Gross from Skadden Arps, about 75 percent of the filings to
the US Secretary of the Senate are filed using the LDA method,
as opposed to the IRS method. That’s fine in practice, but your
organization’s IRS filings need to show everything but lobbying
When we are speaking with clients and audiences we emphasize the
importance of keeping track of time, not only for your lobbying
reports, but for your company’s filing with the IRS since the
time devoted for lobbying is not deductible. It is impossible
for anyone to spend 100% of time on lobbying because there are
other administrative things people have to do, meetings to
attend, and conferences to attend.
It is important companies keep two sets of books.
No, this is not The Producers where Matthew Broderick has
two books—one to show the government and one not to show the
government. It allows your organization to file its LD2 report
without having to disclose lobbying expenditures for state and
grassroots activities and still have the information to include
in the IRS filings.
Take the opportunity to ask the accounting department if they
are keeping track of time two different ways to insure your LD2
reports are accurate and, more important, when the IRS is
a’knocking you can rest assured your reports are A-OK.
Until next month, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
The 2013 Guidebooks are on their
York Adopts Independent Expenditure Rules
The New York State Board of Elections officially adopted
rules concerning the disclosure of independent expenditures. The essence
of the rule will force people who make independent expenditures to
disclose funding and amounts spent by treating them as a political
committee. Therefore, they will have to register as an independent
expenditure committee and, for those elections in which they support or
oppose a candidate, file reports before and after the election. The
committee will also be responsible for filing periodic reports on
January 15 and July 15 of each year.
Independent expenditures are
defined by the state as expenditures made in support of or opposition to
a candidate, expressly advocating for the election or defeat of a
candidate, and made in complete independence from the candidate.
Expressly advocate is defined as communicating with specific words
calling for the election or defeat of a candidate, such as "vote,"
"oppose," "support," "defeat," "elect," or "reject."
Using these definitions, groups can avoid registering and
reporting as an independent expenditure committee if they avoid using
the special buzz words that would make their advertisements expressly
advocating. The board of elections has said these rules are not
completely new, but rather have been adopted to shed light on the rules
and to ensure that people understand exactly what is expected when
making independent expenditures. The rules have already taken effect and
committees making these expenditures will next have to file a report on
January 15, 2013.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
by John Cozine, Esq.
MASSACHUSETTS: Lobbyists using a LinkedIn online discussion group are not
prohibited from soliciting contributions for candidates from the group.
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) issued an opinion,
AO-12-03, detailing when a lobbyist can solicit contributions on
LinkedIn without being considered a regulated intermediary or conduit
bundling contributions. The OCPF considers the use of social media, such
as LinkedIn, as a "personal service” that is generally exempt from
campaign finance limitations or disclosure requirements. Asking members
of a lobbyist’s LinkedIn group to contribute directly to candidates does
not involve “arranging” for the making of contributions the opinion
holds. However, a lobbyist could be regulated if contributions are
either delivered by the regulated intermediary to a particular candidate
or such candidate's authorized committee or agent, or made in a manner
that identifies in writing the person who arranged the making of the
contributions. The restrictions for bundling apply only if at least one
of the bundled contributions is more than $156. The OCPF also opined
that persons who are not lobbyists may use LinkedIn or similar sites to
solicit contributions for candidates, with certain restrictions for
An old lawsuit has been resurrected that could leave Washington’s
public disclosure law involving grassroots lobbying in jeopardy. Two
groups, Conservative Enthusiasts and Many Cultures, One Message, sued
the Washington Public Disclosure Commission in 2010 claiming their free
speech rights were violated by the law requiring grassroots campaigns to
register and report with the state. The case was dismissed by a
magistrate for lack of standing. However, last week, a three judge panel
of the Ninth Circuit Court heard the appeal on the dismissal and will
soon be making a decision on the law in question. At issue in the case
will be whether the law is unconstitutionally vague. The law defines
lobbying, among other things, as attempting to influence the passage of
legislation. Included in the definition of legislation is “any other
matter that may be the subject of action” by the legislature. It is this
language that is the nature of the lawsuit. The two groups claim that
the language is overly vague and includes “an endless possibility of
matters.” Now, it is up to the appellate court to decide whether the
case will go back to the trial court for a hearing on the merits and
whether the dismissal will be upheld.
The clerk of the legislature's office is implementing voluntary
electronic filing for lobbyist registration and reporting for the 2013
legislative session. Paper filings will be accepted through 2014, and
mandatory electronic filing will be implemented January 1, 2015.
The Tallahassee City Commission has approved the volunteers
appointed to the newly-created ethics advisory panel. The panel will
spend six months reviewing the city's policies on ethics, financial
disclosure, and transparency to determine whether to keep the current
policies or adopt new ones. The meetings will be publicly noticed, and
the panel has already invited several outside experts to give feedback.
The Board of Commissioners of the Georgia Government Transparency and
Campaign Finance Commission issued an order for lobbyists with unpaid
fines, fees, and unfiled reports. The commission will deny lobbyist
renewal for 2013 to individuals registered with outstanding fees for
previous registrations, supplemental registrations, or identification
cards. The commission will also deny lobbyist renewal to individuals
with unpaid fines or unfiled reports previously due. The order went into
effect on December 16, 2012.
Legislation We Are
At any given time, more than 1,000
legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government
affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local
jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in the State and Federal
Communications’ digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying, and can be found in the client
portion of the State and Federal Communications' website.
Summaries of major bills are also included
in monthly e-mail updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the
number of bills we are tracking in regards to lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying.
Number of Jurisdictions
E B S I T E
T I P
Subscribers to the Executive Guide on Political Contributions have
access to a feature known as Election Cycles. Why is this important? In
many jurisdictions contributions are capped during each election cycle.
As a result, it is crucial to know how long the election cycle lasts so
you don’t exceed the contribution limits and so you know when you may
make additional contributions. Election cycles will be listed for every
elective office covered by that jurisdiction’s campaign finance laws. Of
course not every jurisdiction defines election cycle or relies on an
election cycle to regulate the timing of contributions. Where there is
no definition of election cycle, the listed election cycle will run from
the date of the last election for that office to the date of the next
election for that office.
ASK THE EXPERTS
State and Federal
Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and
Federal Communications, Inc. You can directly submit questions for this
feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here.
Send your questions to:
(Of course, we have always been 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.
I am an in-house
employee; however, I am not a registered lobbyist in my
responsible state. Although I engage in lobbying activities
from time to time, I do not meet the state’s registration
threshold. However, other people from my company are
registered. Do I have to disclose my expenditure and/or
compensation for lobbying activities on company reports?
jurisdictions, although you are not a registered lobbyist, you
may be required to include your expenditure and/or compensation
information on company lobbying disclosure reports. There are
27 states requiring some level of reporting for non-lobbyist
employees, including Arkansas, California,
Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts,
Michigan, and Wisconsin.
treats non-lobbyist reporting differently. For example, in
California, you are only required to include your
compensation and reimbursed expenditures on a quarterly employer
report if you spend more than 10% or more of your compensated
time in a calendar month engaging in lobbying activities. In
states such as North Carolina, Illinois, or New
Jersey, permissible expenditures on behalf of public
officials must be reported by the employer or registered
In the above
jurisdictions where your company has an active lobbying
presence, monitoring potential reportable activity is incredibly
important. Although your level of activity may not necessitate
registration in a state, you must become familiar with the
state’s non-lobbyist reporting requirements, and carefully track
activity, which may include the following:
Compensation for lobbying
expenditures for food, travel, or lodging in connection with
Expenditures on behalf of
public officials or employees;
Sponsorships for events where
public officials or employees will be present and receive a
Subject matter lobbied,
including agencies contacted.
In sum, as
you are reviewing your potential lobbyist registration
obligations for the new year, it is just as important to review
your potential reporting obligations as a non-lobbyist employee
in the jurisdictions where your level of activity does not
January's Expert -
Myra Cottrill, Esq.
Wealth of Information at
Want to interact
with your fellow government affairs and procurement colleagues? Then
jump into the State and Federal Communications, Inc. blog at
Once there, you
can join the exchange of ideas and view solutions to common challenges
and problems. Also, State and Federal Communications continually adds
content to the blog, including ‘hot topics,’ which are summaries of
important news items you need to know.
the conversation, and make use of this valuable information resource.
State and Federal
Linda Bird Johnson Robb with Elizabeth Bartz at
the opening reception discussing Elizabeth's work with Chuck
Robb's senatorial campaign in Virginia.
Luci Baines Johnson with
Elizabeth Bartz at the
State Dinner reception.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. President
and CEO, Elizabeth Z. Bartz and Executive Director, I.T. Ren
Koozer attended the State Dinner at the LBJ Museum and Library
in Austin, Texas.
Joining the State and Federal Communications, Inc.
table included friends and colleagues - [front row] Jacqueline
Clark - Ash Grove Cement Company, Beth Loudy - SGAC, Katrina
Iserman - Sunovion
Pharmaceuticals Inc., Elizabeth Bartz,
[back row] Christopher Badgley - Daiichi Sankyo, Inc,
Crislyn Lumia -SGAC, and Ren
James Warner, Esq., Compliance Associate from
State and Federal Communications, Inc. [far left] presented
the American League of Lobbyists certificate.
Christopher Coleman from
America's Natural Gas Alliance
with Elizabeth Bartz, at the NCSL Fall
season we worked
to help outfit
reach adult age
and will no
helps each one
get some things
they need to
their own home.
After presenting Elizabeth with gifts from the
staff, we stopped to take a group photo during our very relaxing
Local artist, Kari Fry, provided caricatures of
Our own Alexis Pope enjoyed Kari's caricature of her.
Each employee went home with a pizza from Luigi's
and a Temo's chocolate Christmas tree.
See Us in Person
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
GOVERNING Magazine -
Outlook 2013: The Power of States
National Grassroots Conference
Key West, Florida
NOW is published for our customers and friends.
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The Mission of State
and Federal Communications is
to make sure that your
organization can say, "I Comply."
We are the leading
authority and exclusive information source
legislation and regulations surrounding campaign finance
and political contributions; state, federal, and
municipal lobbying; and procurement lobbying.
Contact us to learn how
conveniently our services will allow you to say "I
Comply" for your compliance activities.