E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

Women Who Persisted

Before It Was in our Everyday Lingo

It is true: I am a woman-owned business. I admire women who take the step to dare to be different and make a difference. There have been many first women in this country.

For the next six months, we are going to introduce you to many firsts. The women we are featuring were elected; they were not appointed because their spouses died. Each of these women ran and won. You can say they persisted.

In 2018, there are a lot of women running for election…And, they should be supported because I believe many of them—maybe not all of them—deserve to win and we need them. I write a column on LinkedIn called Another One Bites the Dust and the lion’s share of them are about men who have abused the power given to them as an elected official.

This month we are featuring Susanna Salter, who was born in OHIO, which makes her extra special. She was the first elected female mayor of Argonia, Kansas at the age of 27. She earned $1 for her service…yes, correct - one dollar! She served one term and did not run for re-election.

I am the mother of a successful daughter whom I believe should run for office. (Public enough for you, Nicole?) I am not a man-basher…We have had a number of college interns at State and Federal Communications—men and women—who should consider running for office and I suggest they start with a club at school. Start with student government. Start with your fraternity or sorority. Put yourselves out there.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of State and Federal Communications, we will recognize and celebrate the achievements of female pioneers. I hope you find these of interest.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO

New York Placement Agent Ban Signed into Law

Adrienne Borgstahl, Esq.
Research Associate

On August 21, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill codifying an existing policy of the Office of the State Comptroller prohibiting the use of placement agents or intermediaries by investment managers engaging the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Effective immediately, Assembly Bill 3137 defines placement agent or intermediary as any person or entity, including registered lobbyists, directly or indirectly engaged and compensated by an investment manager to assist the investment manager in obtaining investments by the Fund whether compensated on a flat fee, a contingent fee, or any other basis. Employees of an investment manager and its affiliates are excluded from this definition unless employed principally for the purpose of securing or influencing the decision to secure a particular investment transaction or investment by the Fund. An investment manager must certify the investment manager has not used the services of placement agents, registered lobbyists, or other intermediaries.

In 2009, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli implemented the policy following a pay-to-play scandal involving former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. An investigation by then-Attorney General Cuomo revealed members of Hevesi’s family and friends inappropriately benefited from financial firms interested in assisting the public employee retirement fund to obtain investments. For those crimes, Hevesi was sentenced to one to four years in prison. Hevesi’s conviction contributed to nationwide reforms banning placement agents and political contributions, including those adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

DiNapoli continually pushed for the policy to become state law by introducing it as legislation during every session since 2011. The New York State Teachers’ Retirement Fund also has a policy restricting certain contacts with placement agents, but the restriction is not included in Assembly Bill 3137.

[The details for this article have been updated on our website in the Registration section of the Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for New York].

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq., Research Manager

CALIFORNIA: The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering changes to state campaign finance regulations. The commission was asked to consider the permissible use of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, for campaign contributions and expenditures. Though similar to cash, such currency is not issued by a governmental entity. Issues expected to be discussed at a public hearing include banning the use of cryptocurrency for campaign purposes, limiting cryptocurrency contributions to the amount of contributions received in cash, requiring cryptocurrency contributions to be converted to cash, permitting committees to establish separate cryptocurrency accounts, or permitting cryptocurrency contributions as in-kind contributions without regard to cash limits. A public hearing will be held September 20. Written comments should be received by September 18.

MAINE: Lobbyists will now be required to complete an in-person harassment training following the passage of Legislative Document 1842. The training must be taken at the beginning of every regular session. Additionally, lobbyists must include the date the training was completed on their lobbyist registration form.

MASSACHUSETTS: The Office of Campaign and Political Finance issued an emergency regulation requiring independent expenditure disclosure prior to the primary election on September 4. Without the regulation, independent expenditures made on August 23, 24, and 25 would not have been disclosed until after the September 4 primary election. The emergency regulation eliminated the gap by requiring disclosure within 24 hours if utilized on August 23, 24, or 25.

MONTANA: Attorney James Bopp, Jr. has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Montana’s contribution limits, arguing they are an unconstitutional limit on free speech. Bopp was an attorney in the well-known Citizens United case, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling corporations cannot be prohibited from spending on elections. Montana’s limits were struck down in 2012 and again in 2015, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last October the limits are constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet said if it will take up the case.

NORTH DAKOTA: If the anti-corruption measure on the November 6 ballot is approved by voters, a new ethics commission will be responsible for adopting rules related to elections, lobbying, and for reporting and investigating alleged violations of those rules and related state laws. Additionally, the measure prohibits gifts from lobbyists, prohibits the delivery of campaign contributions by lobbyists, and creates a revolving door provision banning public officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office.

Legislation We Are Tracking

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.

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2019
Lobbying Laws 407 48 23 217 6
Political Contributions 689 50 58 393 10
Procurement Lobbying 551 50 31 297 7

W  E  B  S  I  T  E      T  I  P

Determining what law applies to the county or city you are researching can be difficult. State and Federal Communications takes the confusion out of the process. The Applicable Law section, found in all of our publications, outlines the laws cited in the entry you are viewing. In county and city entries, if a state law applies, it will be listed and cited in addition to any applicable local laws. We also directly answer for you whether state laws apply to local jurisdictions in the Lobbying Registration, Gift, and Pay-to-Play sections. This allows you to always know the universe of laws applicable to your local advocacy efforts.

New Educational Video “Legal Considerations When Making Corporate Contributions”

We invite you to view our new informative video on legal considerations when making corporate contributions. In this brief video, considerations such as limits, session bans, lobbyist restrictions, and disclosure are discussed.

Before you make corporate contributions, know the best practices so your company can avoid fines, debarment, or brand damage. Companies with a strong reputation for ethics compliance can better establish their role as industry leaders and trusted advisors.

If you are planning on making a corporate political contribution, you will want to watch this video.

Click here to for downloading instructions.


State and Federal Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc. Send your questions to experts@stateandfed.com. (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 have communicated with state officials, but I am not a registered lobbyist in the state. I think I may have crossed the registration threshold. What should I do?

The first question to ask is does my activity meet the definition of lobbying? Many states require communications with an official to include an attempt to influence official action. Others, like Florida, include attempts to gain the goodwill of an official, even if no specific piece of legislation or executive action is discussed. Additionally, some states, such as Nebraska, limit the definition of lobbying to promoting or opposing legislation. Discussions with executive officials, therefore, are not considered lobbying and registration would not be required. Nebraska does, however, include the practice of promoting or opposing executive approval of legislation.

Next, consider if your contacts with officials surpasses a time, salary, or expenditure threshold...

Read the full article here

Additional information regarding lobbyist registration thresholds can be found in the U.S. Lobbying Compliance Laws section of the State & Federal Communications website, under Definitions and Registration.

Kevin L. Newman, Esq., Compliance Associate

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State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Scrapbook - September 2018

WKYC’s Jim Donovan with Elizabeth Z Bartz at the Akron Roundtable.

The United Way of Summit County Bold Ball celebrating its 100th Anniversary.  Nola R. Werren, Esq., Elizabeth Z. Bartz, and John P. Chames.

Elizabeth Bartz found a lone Honda at the
2018 NCSL Legislative Summit
 … Alas, it had no battery in it.

Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications, Inc.
will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.


September 4 - 8

CMI Content Marketing 2018, Cleveland, Ohio

September 6 - 7

Practising Law Institute, Washington, DC

 September 13  PWIA Workshop, Atlanta, GA
 September 24-27  PAC - State and Local Government Relations Conference, Alexandria, VA


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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 on 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.