E-News from State and Federal
Are you ready for some baseball … and
surprise it is 2014 and there have been a lot of elections already. And
there are more on the horizon. Is your organization ready to handle the
requests for contributions from direct contributions, federal
PACs, or state PACs? Are you even prepared to discuss how the procurement
process affects your contribution decisions? And, how do the individual
contributions from employees and their families affect the contracts you
have in the states, cities, and counties?
On Thursday, April 3rd, Amber Fish Linke, Nola Werren, and I
will host the Public Affairs Council Compliance on the State Level
webinar from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. It is only an hour long but will be
full of the information you need right now.
Amber Fish Linke will start our program by talking about state
and local lobbying laws and gift laws.
Nola Werren will continue the conversation and discuss the
pay-to-play laws, strategies for compliance, and how to avoid
violations. She will follow that up with a discussion about
state campaign finance laws and where you can make corporate
I will round out the discussion with what to watch for in the
conversation for a Thursday afternoon … but so important to know in
2014. Take the time to register now for the webinar by going to
www.pac.org or contact Piper Evans, Manager of the
Council’s Government Relations Practice, at 202-787-5978 or
Your company’s reputation in its home state and where it has business
operations depends on it. As we are preparing our program if you have a
specific question to ask, please send me an e-mail at
Be the person your company can depend on to hit a home run by having
this important information at your fingertips.
Until next month, batter up!
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Bergen County Reforms
Pay-to-Play for Second Time in Nine Months
Katlin Newman, Research
The new pay-to-play law in
Bergen County, New Jersey became
effective on March 11, 2014. Reform began on January 19,
2014, as the county Board of Chosen Freeholders passed its
first ordinance of the year. Ordinance No. 14-01 amends
Ordinance No. 13-06, passed in May 2013, to place greater
restrictions on the amount no-bid county contractors may
contribute to political parties. No-bid contractors include
professionals such as attorneys, auditors, accountants, and
engineers. Last year’s ordinance increased the limit of such
contributions from $2,500 to $5,200 per election cycle.
Ordinance No. 14-01 reduces the limit to $2,000, but it does
not affect the $300 per candidate limit.
In addition to addressing contribution limits, the new
ordinance also amends the period during which an individual
may remedy a violation of pay-to-play rules. Instead of
having 60 days from the date of the contribution, business
entities, countywide candidates, and officeholders may cure
a violation if they notify the Board of Freeholders in
writing within 30 days of learning a violation occurred.
They then have 60 days following such notification to seek
and receive reimbursement of the prohibited contribution.
For those not taking remedial action, the new ordinance
increases penalties for pay-to-play violations. Punishment
will depend on the level of intent involved in the
misconduct. A business entity, other than a labor union,
found in violation of applicable contribution limits may be
debarred for up to four years for a knowing violation and up
to one year for an unintentional violation. New penalties
notwithstanding, a business entity curing a violation
pursuant to the aforementioned policy will not be subject to
any fines, penalties, or debarment.
Bergen County’s pay-to-play reform serves as a potential
catalyst for reform at all levels of New Jersey government.
On February 17, just two days prior to the board’s final
approval of the bill, three Freeholders joined County
Administrator Ed Trawinski and Senate Majority Leader
Loretta Weinberg in a grassroots workshop to discuss
pay-to-play policy. Aimed at improving contribution
transparency and enabling enforcement, the panel agreed to
also pursue a statewide solution to the problem.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
by John Cozine, Esq.,
Beebe signed a bill on March 4, 2014, allowing him not
to call a special election to fill the lieutenant
governor’s office. Senate Bill 139, now Act 210, allows
the governor to forgo a special election to fill a
vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office when the
vacancy occurs within 10 months of a general election,
if holding a special election would be impractical or
burdensome. Mark Darr resigned from his position as
lieutenant governor after being fined $11,000 by the
state Ethics Commission for misuse of campaign
contributions and taxpayer dollars.
12, 2014, President Barack Obama issued an executive
order establishing a minimum wage for federal
contractors. Effective January 1, 2015, contractors and
subcontractors for the federal government must pay
employees a minimum of $10.10 an hour or $4.90 an hour
for employees who are tipped. The wages will be annually
adjusted according to the consumer price index. The
order applies only to new contracts starting in 2015.
6, 2014, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its
Price Index Adjustments for Expenditure Limitations and
Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold in the Federal
Register. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold
increased to $17,300 for 2014 from $17,100 in 2013. This
threshold amount is adjusted annually. Federal law
requires authorized committees of federal candidates,
leadership PACs, and political party committees to
disclose contributions bundled by lobbyists and
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA:
The Board of Supervisors adopted a lobbyist ordinance to
regulate any person contacting certain county officials
with the purpose of promoting, supporting, modifying,
opposing, or causing delay or abandonment of conduct.
Ordinance No. NS-19-42 regulates contract lobbyists,
in-house lobbyists, lobbying firms, and expenditure
filers who influence policy without directly contacting
officials. Legislative, procurement, and grassroots
activity is covered by the ordinance, which specifically
provides for the possibility a political action
committee will qualify as an in-house lobbyist.
Registration and disclosure forms will be available when
the ordinance becomes effective on March 27, 2014.
13, 2014, the Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion
concerning the requirement of lobbyists to disclose
officeholders or candidates using political
contributions to compensate or reimburse the lobbyist
for services. In Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 515, the
commission held that while a lobbyist must disclose in a
registration the full name and address of a candidate or
officeholder who uses political contributions to
compensate or reimburse the lobbyist, he or she is not
required to disclose compensation or reimbursement
received by an entity for services rendered by someone
other than the lobbyist or a person acting as an agent
of the lobbyist. Lobbyists must disclose the full name
and address of a candidate or officeholder who uses
political contributions to compensate or reimburse an
entity employing or hiring the lobbyist to render
services for the candidate or officeholder.
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 State and Federal
Communications' digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the client
portion of our website.
Summaries of major bills are also included
in monthly email updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the
number of bills we are tracking in regard to lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying.
Number of Jurisdictions
E B S I T E
T I P
What’s the best way to get to your desired jurisdiction once you have
logged in to State and Federal’s website? There are two ways to get to a
jurisdiction’s entry once you are logged in. The primary method is to
first choose the publication you want by clicking on the large red box
(or, if you subscribe to and wish to view the Canadian Compliance
publication, the blue box) labeled with the publication you choose. Note
that clicking on the right edge of the box, where the three horizontal
lines are found, will bring you to the quick reference guides. But if
you want to choose from one of the hundreds of jurisdictions available
on our website, you need to click on the much larger left side of the
box. Once you click on the box you will have two drop-down menus to
choose from. Choose your state from the left menu and the specific
jurisdiction in that state from the right menu. Click “Go” and you will
have your desired entry in front of you. The second method is to utilize
bookmarks. In brief, when you are in a jurisdiction’s entry you can
bookmark it. Thereafter, when you log in to the website, you can use
your bookmark to jump to that entry directly from your dashboard and
skip the need to select it from the list of jurisdictions. More
information on bookmarking can be found in the Website Tip in the
December 2013 Compliance Now.
ASK THE EXPERTS
State and Federal
Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions
is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal
Communications, Inc. 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 email us with questions about your particular
company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly
provide answers or information you need.) Our replies are not legal advice,
just our analysis of
laws, rules, and regulations.
I am currently a registered lobbyist who
files reports on a monthly basis. I incurred a permissible meal
expenditure on a covered official at the end of last month.
However, I did not pay for the expenditure until I received my
credit card bill this month. What date should I use to report
A common question concerns what accounting method
to use for the reporting of expenses. The accrual basis of
accounting reports expenditures according to the time the
benefit is given. The cash basis of accounting reports
expenditures according to the time it is actually paid.
The exact accounting method used depends on the
jurisdiction in question. Both Arizona and Michigan prefer the
accrual method of accounting. An expenditure is reported when
it occurs or is given, not when it is paid. Indiana provides
for activity reports to be filed on a cash basis. South
Carolina also follows this method requiring an expenditure to be
reported at the time it is paid.
Some states do not have a set accounting method
to be used when reporting expenditures or permit either method
to be used. In California, an expenditure should be reported at
the time the benefit is given; however, if it is reported when
the money is paid, the actual date of the expenditure should be
noted. Pennsylvania allows a registrant to use any reasonable
methods of estimation and allocation. However, once a method of
accounting is chosen, filers should be consistent in its use. The filer should also keep an internal record of the accounting
method used in case there is an audit by the Pennsylvania
Department of State. Texas law indicates an expenditure does
not have to be reported until the amount is readily
determinable. An expenditure made by a credit card may be
reported either according to when the expenditure is made or
when the bill is received.
After confirming an expenditure is permissible,
you must include it on the proper report. Consult with your
jurisdiction’s filing office to determine the accounting method
used for the disclosure of expenditures.
April's Expert -
Esq., Sr. Compliance Associate
National Governors Association [NGA] Winter Meeting in Washington,
D.C. are Elizabeth Z. Bartz and
Brian S. Rosen from
Katrina Iserman from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
attending the Democratic Governor's Association [DGA] reception at Mayflower Hotel during NGA Winter
Meeting in Washington, D.C.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. attended the
UNANET Champion Conference in Tysons Corner, VA.
IT Business and Operations Analyst.
The UNANET software will allow us to reduce the time spent on timesheet
processing and will provide us with a quick turn-around for billing.
We are always interested in better use of our time. Here
[from left to right] are Renold Koozer, Executive Director; Mark Sedmock, Comptroller; and Dave McPeek,
The 2014 Ohio State Bar Association Convention
will be held April 30 - May 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus,
Ohio. Attorneys attending from State and Federal Communications are:
[from left to right] Michael Beckett, Esq.; Jennifer Zona, Esq.;
Myra Cottrill, Esq.; and Shamus Williams, Esq.
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications, Inc.
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
Broadcast Educators Association
Las Vegas, NV
PAC Spring Board Meeting
You Too Social Media Conference
San Francisco, California
April 30 - May 2
NOW is published for our customers and friends.
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COMPLIANCE NOW e-newsletter.
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Contact us to learn how
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