E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.
November 2019

Council on Governmental
Ethics Laws Conference

I get a lot of calls about the conferences and programs we attend all around the country. “Why do you attend?” “Do you really need to go to all those programs?” And, of course, “Are you on vacation again?” Okay, that last one is from my mother!

The answer is “YES,” I do need to attend. I meet a lot of our clients and friends around the country and attend a lot of sessions. I am definitely not the person who hangs out at the pool instead of sessions.

I have attended the annual Council on Governmental Ethics Laws conference every year since 2000. Do you remember 2000? We were in Tampa, Florida discussing the presidential election when the fact of the matter was we still did not know who won.

Eight years later in 2008, we were in a session with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief of staff when he received a message that the governor had been arrested.

Well it has been 11 years since we were in Chicago, but we are headed back there December 15 through 18 after attending conferences in Washington DC, Nashville, Quebec, New Orleans, Scottsdale, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Columbus.

These are great opportunities to speak directly with the ethics, lobbying, and PAC directors in the states. You aren’t going to receive an off-the-cuff advisory opinion, but it is a casual enough atmosphere that you can converse with the folks we work with all year long.

You can see the thorough agenda and registration materials at www.cogel.org. You will notice we start in the morning and end eight hours later. The COGEL members want the states to know they are not wasting time during the day but have it filled with of sessions.

Until next month, check out the COGEL site and see if it is of interest to you to attend. State and Federal Communications will have seven staff people in attendance so you will see us all around.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO

California Amends Political Reform Act
During 2019 Legislative Session

Mario Dalessandro, J.D. 
Research Associate              

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills passed by the Legislature to amend lobbying and campaign finance laws in the Political Reform Act of 1974. Unless noted otherwise, the bills are effective January 1, 2020.

Lobbying Laws

Assembly Bill 902 requires a lobbyist registration statement to be filed both electronically and physically until the Office of the Secretary of State certifies an online filing and disclosure system. Upon certification, the registration statement will only be filed electronically. The bill also requires audits and investigations of lobbying firms and lobbyist employers to be performed by the state Franchise Tax Board on a biennial basis and cover reports filed during a period of two years.

Campaign Finance Laws

Assembly Bill 571 imposes limits on contributions to candidates for elective county and city offices in jurisdictions that have not independently imposed contribution limits. Currently, a county or a city may, by ordinance or resolution, limit campaign contributions in local elections. However, many counties and cities have not imposed such limits. The bill establishes contribution limits of $4,700 per election to a candidate for elective office in a city or county in which the local government has not established a limit. Local governments will also be permitted to establish different limits more precisely tailored to the needs of the community. Assembly Bill 571 becomes effective January 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 201 broadens the definition of mass mailing to include campaign-related mass texting. Mass text messages will be required to include the name or image of a candidate or refer to a ballot measure.

Assembly Bill 220 and Senate Bill 71 prohibit the expenditure of funds in a legal defense fund campaign account to pay or reimburse a candidate or elected officer for attorney's fees or other legal costs. The bills also prohibits the use of campaign funds to pay for fines, penalties, judgments, or settlements, except as specified.

Assembly Bill 903 clarifies general committees must file disclosures if, during a preelection reporting period, the committee makes contributions or independent expenditures totaling $500 or more to a general purpose committee, or to support or oppose a candidate or measure appearing on the ballot at the next primary or general election.

[The details for this article are updated on our website in the Gift Law and Definitions
sections of the Lobbying Compliance Laws and Political Contribution
Compliance Laws for California.]

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Research Manager

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: In 2018, the City Council enacted the Transparency in Lobbying Act requiring lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials. The effective date of the act was contingent on a viable online reporting system being implemented. The City Ethics Board has now implemented the online lobbying reporting system, allowing lobbyist registrations and reports to be filed electronically. The next year-end report is due on or before January 31, 2020, covering all of the reporting period immediately preceding January 1 through December 31, 2019. The City Ethics Board has advised persons that previously filed paper registration statements to submit the year-end report on paper and not electronically.

MONTANA: Campaign contribution limits increased following an every other year adjustment required by state law to match inflation. The amount an individual or PAC may give to the campaign for governor rose from $680 to $710 per election. Additionally, the aggregate amount a PAC may give to a candidate for state Senate rose from $2,850 to $3,050 and rose from $1,750 to $1,850 for a candidate for state House. The Commissioner of Political Practices is in charge of calculating the increase by multiplying last cycle’s limits by an inflation factor provided by statute. The new contribution limits took effect September 21. Contributions made before that date are subject to the old limits. However, those who have already given money may contribute again up to the new limits.

NEW JERSEY: A U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey issued an opinion and order issuing a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state of New Jersey from enforcing the changes in the law from a bill passed earlier this year concerning disclosure requirements by independent expenditure committees. Senate Bill 150, which was to take effect on October 15, requires the committees to disclose donors giving more than $10,000 and expenditures over $3,000. The parties filing the lawsuit, Americans for Prosperity v. Grewal, argue the disclosure requirements are unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment. The preliminary injunction will continue while the lawsuit proceeds.

OHIO: The House passed legislation on October 10 to reverse provisions in the state budget bill, restoring a business tax exemption for attorneys and lobbyists. Senate Bill 26 was originally introduced to allow educators to claim an income tax deduction for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. The House Finance Committee approved amendments to restore the deduction for attorneys and lobbyists excluded in the two-year state operating bill tax policy of House Bill 166. Since 2013, the state business income deduction (BID) has allowed those deriving income from any pass-through entity (e.g., LLCs, LLPs) to pay no tax on the first $250,000 of income and a flat 3% on any income above that threshold. House Bill 166 excluded otherwise eligible income from legal services provided by an attorney or income from legislative, executive agency, or retirement system lobbying activity beginning in 2020. Senate Bill 26 has been re-referred to the Senate for final approval.

PUERTO RICO: The Department of Justice released a lobbyist registry on its website, as required by Executive Order 2019-031, to establish a code of transparency for all agency heads in the executive branch. The lobbyist registry is part of an automatic slideshow on the main page of the Department of Justice. There are two separate links: one to conduct a search in the registry and the other for lobbyists to register. However, lobbyists have not yet been featured on the registry webpage. The Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service and the Department of Justice indicated they are working to publish the content.

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 2020
Lobbying Laws 313 52 56 83 72
Political Contributions 583 59 91 168 143
Procurement Lobbying 344 51 50 89 70


Our website now has 2020 legislative session and lobbying key dates information for all 50 states, over 300 local jurisdictions, five U.S. territories, the federal government, Canada, and select European jurisdictions. In the Lobbying Compliance Laws publication, the key dates information provides a schedule of all reports and registrations due in 2020. Continue to watch the website for updates to the 2019 and 2020 key dates and for the addition of key dates information regarding your political contribution compliance programs.


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.

Our company prefers to hire individuals with very specific skills and knowledge about our industry. Often, this can include former state procurement officials. Are there any issues we should be aware of during the hiring process?


This scenario is known as the revolving door between public and private employment. While this is a great strategy for business, states and even municipalities are increasingly scrutinizing these relationships and restricting what former officials or employees may do once they have entered the private sector. Avoiding the appearance of impropriety, particularly in the awarding of large state contracts, has become a priority across the country.

Many states have a required cooling-off period following the transition. In Florida, members of the Legislature, appointed state officers, and statewide elected officers are prohibited from personally representing another person or entity for compensation before the government body or agency of which the individual was a member for two years following vacation of office. By the end of 2022, this restriction increases to six years following the vacation of a public position.

Texas law includes a similar restriction, but also includes a permanent restriction on former officials representing a new employer regarding any matters in which they personally participated while serving with the agency, either through personal involvement or because the matter was within his or her official responsibility. Violations of either of the revolving door provisions are a Class A misdemeanor.

Avoid messy entanglements with state agencies or potential reputational harm to your company by knowing where your new hires stand with their former employers. For more information, be sure to check out the "Important Features of the Law" section of the U.S. Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication for each state. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Read the full article here

Kevin Newman, Esq. Compliance Associate

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State and Federal Communications’ Experts
Timothy Kilcullen
Research Assistant

This year’s State and Local Conference from the Public Affairs Council was a giant success.  Over four hundred members of firms working in lobby law and government relations, including eight State and Fed teammates, gathered in late September for a series of presentations by top experts in the field. All the seminars were exciting and engaging. Attorney Ken Gross discussed the need to maintain compliance with state and local lobbying laws, and the foolishness of disregarding them. Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich spoke of the need for public figures to recognize the vital role lobbyists play in the democratic process. Representatives from the American Heart Association described how to navigate the complex process of legislative testimony while lobbyists from Walmart and the American College of Surgeons walked through the details of grassroots lobbying. 

All this unfolded in the perfect fall weather of Old Town Alexandria. The city which hosted America’s founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison provided the perfect backdrop for lessons on the inner workings of our modern democratic process.

Even if State and Federal had not been a conference sponsor, our company would still be a familiar name to many of the attendees. Person after person detailed to us how they rely on the work done by us here in Akron. I know everyone in the State and Federal Communications team will be sure to keep up the good work for 2020!

PAC State and Local attendees from State and Federal Communications, Inc. included:  Jon Spontarelli, Joanna Kamvouris, James Warner, Gregory Bennett, Timothy Kilcullen, Anastasia Hadgigeorge, and Mario Dalessandro.



State and Federal Communications, Inc. enjoyed a round of golf with Mark Campbell and
Secretary Tom Ridge
of Ridge Policy Group; and James Warner, Esq., our Sr. Compliance Associate.



Akron Roundtable hosted Friend of State and Federal Communications and Former Pennsylvania Governor
and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge,
President, Ridge Global.

The United Way of Summit County hosted Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in October.


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

November 13-14

Women in Government -- State Directors Conference, Washington, DC

November 14-16

NCSL Emerging Leaders Meeting, Atlanta, GA

November 14

Leadership Akron -- Lieberth Community Vision Award,
Akron, OH

November 21

Akron Roundtable, Akron, OH

November 23-26

SGAC LPC, Charleston, SC

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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.