E-News from State and Federal
We Wish You a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year
is so hard to believe this is December and 2017 is
almost over. At State and Federal Communications, we
are exceptionally busy this month, making sure our
website is up-to-date; preparing our popular
Guidebook, now in its 19th year of existence; and
most important, insuring our consulting clients are
properly registered and ready for the New Year of
activity in 2018.
We are extremely excited about 2018 as we will also
celebrate our 25th anniversary; we will introduce
our international guide for lobbying and campaign
finance, and procurement lobbying; and we will be
here to help you maneuver through the thousands of
elections in 2018.
In addition, State and Federal Communications makes
sure our own staff takes the time to develop their
skills for professional and personal development and
they have each given me their one goal for 2018. In
fact, they wrote it down, put it in an envelope, and
sealed it. Each wrote their own name on the outside
of their envelope and I will distribute it at our
2018 Holiday Party to see if the goal was reached.
This is extremely important to me. To have a
well-rounded staff with a strong culture, which
everyone finds welcoming, we need to keep our skills
sharp. We use BizLibrary and ask everyone to take 20
minutes a month to watch whatever is of interest and
ask their managers to direct them to keep computer
skills strong. You see us everywhere because we
attend conferences—not only to see our many friends
and clients—but to learn from the various speakers
about the work we do and the work we have to
understand you do.
What is your 2018 goal? Email it to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will follow up with
you during the year to see how you are doing and how
I can help you meet your goal. I consider myself the
“connector” Malcolm Gladwell termed in his first
book, The Tipping Point.
In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season and take
some time to breath and be ready for what will be
another big election year.
Thank you for the confidence you have with State and
Federal Communications and watch out for what we do
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
State and Federal Communication’s
Primer Website webinars are a
wonderful way to
familiarize yourself with the
Compliance Laws for
Have you ever wanted to see all that our
Sign up for this month’s webinar and find out what
our clients are raving about. This is your opportunity
to understand the potential of our online political
publications. Join us to learn about their features and
they can help you.
This month’s webinar is on
Wednesday, December 6, at 2 p.m. EST
Seats are limited, so
Montana Campaign Contribution Limits Reinstated
Alexandra Vernis, J.D.
month the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana’s
voter-approved political contribution limits, striking down a
district court decision in Lair v. Motl finding the state’s campaign
contribution limits unconstitutional. The initial lawsuit filed in
2011 by campaign donors and state political action committees (PACs)
claimed the campaign finance laws infringed on First Amendment
rights by burdening speech and association. The limits were ruled
unconstitutional in 2016 by a federal district judge in Helena who
found the limits restricted political speech without being closely
drawn to serve an important state interest.
9th Circuit found the contribution limits established by a voter
referendum in 1994 to be “both justified and adequately tailored to
the state’s interest in combating quid pro quo corruption or its
appearance.” The three-judge panel found no actual case of quid pro
quo corruption was necessary to prove campaign contributions can be
used to influence political action. The decision also notes
contributors who have reached the contribution limit have other
avenues available such as volunteering services, donating to
political parties, and running independent advertising.
the reinstated limits, individual and PAC contributions to a
gubernatorial candidate have been reduced to $660 per election. The
new limits drop by close to $600 for individuals, while the limit
for what a PAC can give is down from $10,610 per election cycle.
Direct corporate contributions remain prohibited. The decision
affects candidates currently running in local elections, but anyone
who has received a campaign contribution under the old limits is not
required to return it. The Office of the Commissioner of Political
Practices announced its intention to adjust the reinstated contribution
limits for inflation before the 2020 elections.
Plaintiffs have already announced plans to appeal the two-judge
majority decision, but are considering whether to ask a full panel of the 9th
Circuit to reconsider the case or petition the U.S. Supreme Court.
[The details for this article have been updated on
our website in the Montana Contributions section of the Political
Contribution Compliance Laws.]
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
Michael Beckett, Esq., Research
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 867 into law, recasting
various provisions of the Political Reform Act regarding the
definition of contribution. The law moves the behested
payment reporting requirements out of the definition and places
those requirements in campaign disclosure sections of the act.
Additionally, the law provides specific definitions for terms
related to the reporting of behested payments. The law is effective
January 1, 2018.
Elections Canada announced several by-elections for the House of
Commons to be held on December 11. The federal by-elections will be
held for the electoral districts of Battlefords–Lloydminster
(Saskatchewan), Bonavista–Burin–Trinity (Newfoundland and Labrador),
Scarborough–Agincourt (Ontario), and South Surrey–White Rock
(British Columbia) to fill vacancies in the House of Commons.
Battlefords–Lloydminster (Saskatchewan) MP Gerry Ritz resigned on
August 31 in order to retire from politics. Bonavista–Burin–Trinity
(Newfoundland and Labrador) MP Judy Foote resigned in September. Foote has been on leave since April for personal
family medical reasons. In August, she had resigned her position as
Minister of Public Services and Procurement. The seat for
Scarborough–Agincourt (Ontario) became vacant on September 14 when
MP Arnold Chan died at the age of 50 of cancer after a three-year
battle. South Surrey–White Rock (British Columbia) MP Dianne Watts
resigned to run for the provincial Liberal leadership.
Contributions by federal contractors to federal independent
expenditure-only political action committees, also known as super
PACs, may violate the federal pay-to-play prohibition. In late
September, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) entered into a
conciliation agreement with a federal contractor after finding the
contractor had violated pay-to-play prohibitions by making
contributions to a federal independent expenditure-only political
action committee. The FEC fined the contractor, Suffolk Construction
Company, $34,000 for making two $100,000 contributions in 2015 to
Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting former presidential
candidate Hillary Clinton. Because the matter was resolved by
agreement between the FEC and the contractor, there was no challenge
made to the FEC’s fine.
ILLINOIS: Gov. Bruce Rauner
signed a bill passed by lawmakers during the fall veto session aimed
at curbing sexual harassment within state government. Senate Bill
402 expressly prohibits sexual harassment by lobbyists, provides for
a $5,000 fine for violations, and requires lobbyists to take an
annual sexual harassment training course. The training course must
be completed within 30 days of registration or renewal, beginning
January 1, 2018. Additionally, each person and entity required to
register must have a written sexual harassment policy by January 1,
2018. Rauner criticized the bill as rushed and needing more work,
but conceded it was a step in the right direction. The bill takes
The General Assembly has implemented a new lobbyist reporting
application for the upcoming 2018 session. A training class for the
new application is being offered on several different dates.
Interested parties may reserve a seat by emailing
or by calling the Help Desk at (515) 281-6506. All trainings will be
held in the Miller Building, Room 300, 1112 E Grand, Des Moines,
Iowa, 50319. The old system will remain in place until the new
system is available in December.
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' online Compliance Laws for Government Relations
Professionals. They can be found on a
jurisdiction's home page.
Summaries of major bills are also included
in the monthly Summary of Changes email update 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
W E B S I T E
T I P
Our website now has 2018 legislative
session and key dates information for all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, the federal
government, and Canada. In the Lobbying Compliance Laws
publication, the key dates information provides a
schedule of all reports and registrations due in 2018.
In the Political Contributions Compliance Laws
publication, the key dates information includes reports
due and scheduled elections. Continue to watch the
website for updates to the 2017 and 2018 key dates and
for the addition of key dates information for city 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.
Every six months we survey our officers and directors asking
whether they have made personal political contributions. Is
this sufficient for purposes of pay-to-play reporting?
Unfortunately, an after-the-fact survey is insufficient in
protecting your company from running afoul of pay-to-play
Surveys provide information about personal contributions
after the contribution has already been made. When you sit
down to complete a pay-to-play report and you consult the
survey responses, the damage has already been done if the
contribution was made in violation of the pay-to-play law.
Furthermore, the time for corrective measures (seeking
reimbursement of the contribution) has more than likely
Read the full article here
Please feel free to contact us if you
have any questions.
Click here to read ALL Ask the Experts
articles in full
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Nola R. Werren, Esq., Client Specialist
State and Federal
Communications, Inc. Scrapbook
In 2017, we have celebrated each staff team
member and how long they have worked at State and Federal
We end the year with our Sr. Compliance
Associate, James Warner, Esq. as he celebrates his 9 year
anniversary. He is an exceptional member of our staff.
Out and About
Elizabeth Z Bartz with Howard Fineman at the
SGAC LPC conference in Naples, FL.
Emilia Sykes with Elizabeth Z. Bartz.
Are you a KSU Flash?
Congratulations to Elizabeth Z. Bartz as you won the
2017 Spirit of Philanthropy award
Plan to say hello at future
events where State and Federal
will be attending and/or
speaking regarding compliance issues.
December 3-7, 2017
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
December 5, 2017
SGAC Holiday Party
Ohio Holiday Party
December 10-13, 2017
NCSL Capitol Forum
December 12, 2017
December 14 - 16, 2017
Council of State Governments National
Las Vegas, Nevada
December 26, 2017
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