E-News from State and Federal
Go Red for Women
the third year, State and Federal Communications has joined the American Heart
Association in its Go Red for Women program. This year I am a member of the
Circle of Red Society, and John Chames is a member of the Red Tie Society.
is still an important message.
TODAY, heart disease is still the No.
1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. But it can be
prevented. TODAY, Make It Your Mission to learn how to stop this killer, and
then tell five women you love you want them to live. TODAY, you can help us stop
heart disease in our lifetime. You have an opportunity to
this mission. Call your local American Heart Association and make a
contribution. Here is how your donation can make a difference:
provides the newest CPR guidelines to more than 60 emergency care providers,
teaching them the most effective skills for treating cardiac arrest.
allows us to distribute the innovative CPR Anytime to 10 women who can then
train 2 to 3 friends or loved ones.
will teach 50 women in your community the connection between good food and
good health by showing them heart-healthy ways to prepare food using the
Recipes for the Heart cookbook.
can equip one hospital or health department with American Stroke Association
resources to educate female patients, the public, and health professionals
on stroke prevention and life after stroke.
TODAY, check out www.heart.org
and learn more about heart health. TODAY is the day to make a difference.
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission by George Ticoras
On April 2, 2014, in
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the United
States Supreme Court ruled aggregate limits on federal
campaign contributions are an unconstitutional violation of
the First Amendment’s guarantee of political expression and
Currently, federal law
imposes two types of limits on individual political
contributions. Base limits restrict the amount an individual
may contribute to a candidate committee; a national party
committee; a state, local, and district party committee; and
a political action committee. Biennial limits restrict the
aggregate amount an individual may contribute biennially to
candidate committees and all other committees.
Shaun McCutcheon, the lead
plaintiff in the case, is an Alabama businessman who
regularly makes political contributions to Republican
candidates and the Republican National Committee. McCutcheon
wanted to contribute $26,200 more to candidates and
committees than the aggregate ceiling would allow. Joined in
the suit by the RNC, McCutcheon challenged the aggregate
limits on contributions so he would be able to contribute
more than the current limits allowed.
In a 5-4 decision, with the
majority joined by Justice Thomas in a separate concurring
opinion, the Court found aggregate limits do not further the
permissible government interest in preventing quid pro quo
corruption or the appearance of such corruption.
The majority opinion, written
by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Scalia,
Kennedy, and Alito, found the aggregate contribution limits
do not further the only
governmental interest accepted as legitimate in Buckley v
Valeo. The 1976 decision by the Supreme Court found
aggregate limits to be a permissible government regulation
to curtail corruption or the appearance of corruption.
the Court stated, “Congress may not regulate contributions
simply to reduce the amount of money in politics.”
equated political contributions with “political campaign
speech,” writing, “Money in politics may at times seem
repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First
Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment
protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi
parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles
cause—it surely protects political campaign speech despite
The McCutcheon decision’s
effects extend beyond the federal campaign finance laws.
In Maryland, the State Board
of Elections issued a guidance memo stating the board will
no longer enforce the $10,000 aggregate limit on donors’
contributions to state candidates during the four-year
election cycle. The caps on contributions to individual
candidates remain in effect.
The Massachusetts Office of
Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) announced it will no
longer enforce the state’s $12,500 aggregate limit on the
amount an individual may contribute to all candidates.
However, the OCPF is going to review the decision more
closely before deciding whether the $5,000 aggregate limit
on contributions by individuals to party committees can
The Puerto Rico Office of the
Electoral Comptroller issued an information newsletter
stating that because the Court merely referenced the
aggregate contribution limits in other jurisdictions, but
did not declare them unconstitutional, it was not taking any
immediate action with regard to its own aggregate limits.
The office will instead request an opinion from the Puerto
Rico Secretary of Justice to determine how the Court’s
decision relates to Puerto Rico’s limits.
The Rhode Island Board of
Elections voted to support the creation of legislation
eliminating aggregate political contribution limits. The
board took action under the assumption the aggregate limits
would soon be subject to a constitutional challenge.
Vermont’s Senate Bill 82 added
an aggregate contribution limit of $40,000 per election
cycle, which was to take effect January 1, 2015. However,
the implementation of the aggregate contribution limit was
contingent on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of aggregate
limits in McCutcheon. Because the Supreme Court in fact
ruled against aggregate limits, Vermont’s aggregate limit
will not go into effect.
Wisconsin’s aggregate limits
have already been challenged in Young v. Government
Accountability Board. The parties in that case agreed to
put the case on hold until the McCutcheon decision was
issued. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its ruling,
the court in Young is sure to follow suit.
The Los Angeles Ethics
Commission announced it would no longer enforce aggregate
contribution limits to city and school board candidates.
However, limits on contributions to individual candidates
remain in place.
Several other jurisdictions
have aggregate limits. The aggregate limits in Connecticut,
the District of Columbia, Maine, New York, and Wyoming are
now all in doubt. Other jurisdictions have aggregate limits
operating somewhat differently from those challenged in
McCutcheon, but those may still be subject to a
constitutional challenge. State and Federal Communications
will continue to monitor developments in these
Clara County Implements Lobbying Ordinance
Beckett, Esq. Research
Santa Clara’s Board of Supervisors
adopted a lobbying ordinance to regulate any person who
contacts county officials with the purpose of promoting,
supporting, modifying, opposing, or causing delay or
abandonment of conduct. Late in 2013 the board requested a
draft lobbying ordinance to improve transparency and
accountability in county procurements. County counsel, Orry
Korb, was tasked with reviewing existing lobbying
regulations in other localities for drafting purposes. The
referral specifically mentioned San Jose’s lobbying
ordinance as one with a proven track record and ability to
provide much of the necessary framework and language.
Ordinance NS-19.42 regulates contract
lobbyists, in-house lobbyists, and expenditure lobbyists meeting the
applicable compensation, time, or spending threshold. Legislative,
procurement, and grassroots activities are covered by the ordinance,
which took effect on March 27, 2014.
The ordinance has several exempt
categories including any person whose sole activity is submitting a
bid on a competitively bid contract, providing a response to a
request for proposals, or negotiating the terms of an agreement with
the county official authorized to negotiate. However, registration
is required when engaging in lobbying activity, which includes the
proposal, drafting, development, consideration, advocacy,
recommendation, adoption, amendment, termination, extension, or
approval of any rule, regulation, agreement, contract, permit,
license, policy, or hiring action.
Registration is required only once per
calendar year, even if a registered lobbyist subsequently meets an
additional threshold. The initial registration fee is set at $180,
with a reduced rate of $90 for those registering on or after June
30. Renewal registrations are due by January 15 and carry a $60 per
day late penalty.
Lobbyists will register and report using the same paper form.
Electronic filing is not currently available. Reports are due quarterly
April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15.
Generally, lobbyists must report the name of each county official
contacted, the action the individual was attempting to influence,
the dates of the contacts, and the client on whose behalf the
contact was made. Contract lobbyists are also required to disclose
the total amount of compensation received from each client.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
by John Cozine, Esq.,
The city revised its campaign finance ordinance. The new
provisions went into effect on April 1, 2014. The most
notable change is a shift away from state law. Colorado
allows any municipality with an adopted ordinance
covering any issue addressed in the Fair Campaign
Practices Act to assume jurisdiction over all campaign
finance matters occurring within the municipality.
Lakewood will no longer fall within the jurisdiction of
the Office of the Secretary of State, as the ordinance
adds provisions concerning contribution limits,
registration and reporting requirements, and civil
penalties for violations of municipal campaign finance
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF)
announced it will no longer enforce the commonwealth’s
aggregate political contribution limit for the amount an
individual may contribute to candidates. The law, G.L.
§55-7A(a)(5), limits the aggregate amount an individual
can contribute to all candidates to $12,500. The OCPF
made its decision based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s
McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission decision,
which found aggregate limits on federal campaign
contributions a violation of the First
Amendment’s guarantee of political expression and
association. However, the OCPF is going to review the
decision more closely before deciding whether the $5,000
aggregate limit on contributions by individuals to party
committees can remain standing. On its website, the OCPF
stated, “The statutory provisions at the federal level
that were analyzed by the Court in McCutcheon differ
substantially from the law in Massachusetts, and a
determination on the applicability of the ruling in this
area will be made after careful review.”
The City Council passed ethics legislation providing a
dollar limit on gifts during its March 20, 2014,
meeting. The bill was signed by the mayor on March 31.
The legislation prohibits all city officers and
employees from receiving gifts worth more than $99 in a
calendar year from any donor and bans all cash gifts. A
number of exceptions are provided, including food and
beverage at meetings and nonticketed receptions.
After more than two years of debate, the Legislative
Assembly passed a bill containing a lobbyist
registration scheme. Under the new law, lobbyists, as
defined therein, must register and file activity reports
online. There are several notable provisions excepting
some individuals from the registration requirement,
including officers, directors, or employees when acting
in their official capacity of the Saskatchewan Urban
Municipalities Association, the Saskatchewan Association
of Rural Municipalities, and the Saskatchewan School
Boards Association. The bill also contains revolving
door restrictions prohibiting former public officials
from lobbying within one year of leaving office. The act
becomes effective upon proclamation by the lieutenant
governor. Justice Minister Gordon Wyant estimates no
such proclamation will be issued for at least nine
months, as the province must still develop protocols to
administer and enforce the new law.
Of the many changes to Vermont's campaign finance law
passed earlier this year, Senate Bill 82 included an
aggregate limit on contributions from a single source
set to take effect January 1, 2015. However, the
effective date provision of the bill included a caveat
that if the Supreme Court held aggregate campaign
finance limits unconstitutional, the aggregate limit
would not become effective. With the decision in
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission issued,
the provision in Vermont's new campaign finance law
regarding aggregate contribution limits will not become
effective in January 2015.
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
Carried over to 2015
E B S I T E
T I P
you log in to stateandfed.com you have access to updates offering
up-to-the-minute news that affects you as well as some of the latest
changes we have made to our website. On the right-hand side of the
screen there is a list titled “Updates.” These updates are news items of
interest to government affairs professionals occurring in the more than
300 jurisdictions we cover. Click on any of the headlines to view the
complete update. New updates are added every day, so check back often to
see the latest news.
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.
My company is a
registered lobbyist employer in California. I do not currently
meet the threshold for lobbyist registration, however, I do
engage in some lobbying activity. Am I required to disclose
this activity on the company’s report?
California, lobbyist employers are required to track and
disclose compensation and expenditures for non-lobbyist
employees (NLEs) on quarterly disclosure reports. If you meet
the NLE threshold for reporting, you are required to disclose
your pro-rata share of compensation and related expenditures,
even if you do not meet the registration threshold.
Specifically, you qualify as an NLE if you spend more than 10
percent of your compensated time in any calendar month in
connection with lobbying activities.
However, this does not include compensation paid
to an employee whose duties are solely clerical, manual, or are
limited to the compilation of data or statistics.
If you qualify as an NLE, you must track your
compensation and reimbursed expenditures dedicated to state
lobbying activities. This combined figure is included on the
employer report (Form 635) in Part D, Other Payments to
Influence Legislative or Administrative Action. When
estimating your time, you will need to include all time spent in
connection with lobbying activities, including direct
communications with public officials in the presence of your
company's or trade association’s contract lobbyist. Although
there is an exception in the Fair Political Practices
Commission regulations allowing employees to not count this type of direct
communication towards the registration threshold, you must
nevertheless track and disclose this time on your company’s
employer report if you exceed the NLE reporting threshold.
You will also need to include grassroots activity, research,
and preparation time.
Be mindful of the gap between the NLE reporting threshold and the lobbyist registration threshold.
If your level of activity exceeds the lobbyist registration
threshold, you are required to register within 10 days. The
registration threshold for in-house employees is defined as
spending one-third or more of your compensated time in any
calendar month engaging in direct communications with a
qualifying official for the purpose of
influencing legislative or administrative action.
The Ohio Chamber Annual Meeting was held in
Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Attending
from State and Federal Communications, Inc. were [left to right]
John Cozine, Esq., Research Manager; Amber Fish Linke, Esq.,
Director, Client and Product Operations; Sarah Gray, Compliance
Assistant Coordinator; and Melissa Coultas, Manager, Sales and
Fitzpatrick, writer of Home Sweet
Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent
Helped Me Survive
Nine Moves at the SGAC Annual Meeting
[left to right:
Elizabeth Z. Bartz;Fitzpatrick;
and James Warner, Esq.]
Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton
celebrating with proud KSU graduate, Elizabeth Z. Bartz. Go Kent Golden Flashes!
While in San Diego, California for the NASPO meeting, Elizabeth met with 10 year veteran and former State and
Federal Communications, Inc. Comptroller, Jeff Roberts [left]
and his twin brother Ted Roberts [right.]
Plan to say hello at future
State and Federal Communications, Inc.
will be attending and/or speaking regarding
April 30-May 2
WGR Spring Reception,
University of Akron Law
Alumni Reunion, Akron, Ohio
WGR PACS, Politics, and
Grassroots Conference, TBD
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The Mission of State
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legislation and regulations surrounding campaign finance
and political contributions; state, federal, and
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Contact us to learn how
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