know it is March and the first quarter
of 2020 is almost over…but
is what the State and Federal
Communications team heard at
our February staff meeting. Every
year, Director Amber Fish Linke
provides statistics, or analytics, of
the work we did the previous year.
More than 1,250 lobbying, political
contributions, and procurement bills
were tracked. Of those, 113 passed
and 83 had substantive changes on
We filed more than 13,000 lobbying
and direct corporate contributions
reports for our consulting clients.
If you consider pay-to-play reports,
we filed 47 in Maryland, 20 in New
Jersey, and 10 in Pennsylvania.
We filed 283 LD-2 and LD-203 reports
along with a number of LD-1
registration forms and additional
reports providing directions,
guidance, tracking, and review of
We vetted contributions of near
$1,000,000 from more than 600
Our European Guide includes the
European Union, 27 EU members, the
United Kingdom, and Scotland.
For 2020, we filed 1,500
registrations for our consulting
clients—1,377 in January alone.
The staff in our Research and
Compliance departments wrote 466
blog posts about relevant topics—An
average of 39 per month and an
average of 58 per staff member.
We helped our clients with 11 audits
of filings in New York,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and
We added two additional questions
onto our website. “How are lobbying
fees paid?” and “Are contribution
limits per election, year, cycle, or
We prepared hundreds of client
projects addressing revolving door,
gifts/events, preparing information
for shareholder reports, and
updating reports for clients to keep
Yes, 2019 was a busy year and we are
already starting 2020 in fourth gear. We
are here to help you—our valuable
clients—have the information you need at
If any of this triggers something you
need done, give me a call. We are happy
to make your life easier.
We are in Miami this week for the Public
Affairs Council PAC Conference, learning
what else we can add to our volumes of
pages on our website.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Maine Legislature Expands Restrictions
Contributions from Lobbyists
Legislative Document 54, an Act to
Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on
Accepting Political Contributions, has become law. The bill was
passed last summer by the Legislature and became law without
Gov. Janet Mill’s signature on January 12.
Legislative Document 54 extends
the session ban restricting the governor, members of the
Legislature, constitutional officers, and staff from soliciting
and accepting contributions from a lobbyist or lobbyist
associate to a year-round ban. Additionally, a lobbyist or
lobbyist associate may not intentionally give, offer or promise
a contribution to a gubernatorial or legislative candidate who
is not the governor or a member of the Legislature, or the staff
or agent of a gubernatorial or legislative candidate, at any
time during the year. Previously, lobbyists were only restricted
from contributing to officials during the legislative session.
The new prohibition does not
restrict lobbyists and lobbyist associates from making
contributions if they are eligible to vote or will be eligible
to vote on the day of the election in a district where the
governor, member of the Legislature, gubernatorial or
legislative candidate will appear on the ballot. Legislative
Document 54 also does not apply to the solicitation or
acceptance of a contribution from or the offer or promise of a
contribution by a lobbyist or lobbyist associate that is not the
property of that lobbyist or lobbyist associate. An employer of
a lobbyist or a lobbying firm are not subject to the year-round
ban, but remain restricted during the session ban on
Legislative Document 54 allows for
the gift of money or anything of value for bona fide social
events hosted for nonpartisan charitable purposes; contributions
supporting campaigns for federal office; and attendance at
fundraising events held by a municipal, county, state or
national political party. For fundraising events to qualify, the
official may not be involved in soliciting attendance at the
event and all proceeds are paid directly to the political party
organization hosting the event or a nonprofit charitable
An intentional violation of the
prohibition against contributions from a lobbyist or lobbyist
associate will result in a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000
for each violation. A contribution accepted in violation must
also be returned to the contributor.
FEDERAL: The Federal
Election Commission (FEC) published its price index adjustments
for expenditure limitations and the federal lobbyist bundling
disclosure threshold. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold
has increased for 2020 from $18,700 to $19,000. This threshold
amount is adjusted annually. Federal law requires authorized
committees of federal candidates, leadership political action
committees (PACs), and political party committees to disclose
contributions bundled by lobbyists and lobbyists’ PACs.
Additionally, the FEC published its adjusted Coordinated Party
Expenditure Limits for political parties for 2020.
MISSOURI: The Missouri Ethics Commission increased
contribution limits for state House and Senate candidates. The
per election limits have increased from $2,000 to $2,046 for
House candidates and from $2,500 to $2,559 for Senate
candidates. The inflationary adjustments are the first under a
constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018. The $5
lobbyist gift limit for members of the General Assembly remains
unchanged. There are several Bills pending in the House and
Senate that would lower contribution limits.
NORTH DAKOTA: David Thiele became the Executive
Director of the newly formed Ethics Commission at the beginning
of the year and chaired the first meeting of the commission on
January 22. Thiele, a Bismarck resident and former judge
advocate for the U.S. Army, said his background as an attorney
and ethics counselor for the National Guard will help him
establish ethics rules. State law gives the commission nine
months from its creation (April 2020) to take preliminary steps
to create the new rules. Thiele believes he can meet this goal,
but noted the commission will give members of the public a
chance to comment and could ask for an extension, if necessary.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: U.S. District Judge
Charles Breyer upheld the bulk of an ordinance requiring
political ads to disclose top donors and secondary funding
sources. Proposition F requires print, audio, and video
political ads disclose the top three donors who contributed at
least $5,000. If one of those donors is a PAC, the committee’s
top two donors must also be disclosed. The judge rejected claims
the ad disclosure law hinders political speech. While refusing
to block most of the law, Judge Breyer agreed requiring lengthy
disclaimers for small print and short length political ads is
likely unconstitutional and indicated he will issue a partial
injunction blocking those types of restrictions.
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO:
A federal judge in New Mexico ruled on January 30 that a Santa
Fe ordinance requiring disclosure of campaign spending of more than
$250 on a ballot proposition is constitutional. Santa Fe
Campaign Code 9-2.6, passed in 2015, states that a person or
entity spending $250 or more in support of or opposition to a
ballot proposition must disclose all expenditures made and
contributions received with the city clerk. Senior U.S. District
Court judge Judith C. Herrera’s ruling stems from a 2017 lawsuit
brought by nonprofit Rio Grande Foundation, which claimed that
disallowing anonymous donations to the foundation was an
infringement on free speech. While the foundation argued that
anonymity protects donors from potential harassment from those
who disagree with the issues being advocated, the judge found
that the disclosure requirements of the ordinance serve
substantial governmental interests
If your government affairs activities reach the local level,
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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 regarding lobbying laws, political contributions,
and procurement lobbying.
A valuable feature of our website is the ability to
view an entire entry at once. By using the View All
menu item you will be able to see all of the
information in a chosen jurisdiction without needing
to click on each of the topics found in the left
side menu. The obvious benefit and the reason for
the feature’s name is the ability to view and print
out all of the information at once. One less obvious
benefit is the ability to use CTRL-F within the View
All feature to find information when you are not
sure under which topic heading it appears. You can
also use CTRL-F to find all known instances of a
particular word, phrase, or citation throughout the
entry. View All is available for all entries,
including Canada and Europe, and is yet another way
State and Federal Communications helps you work more
State and Federal Communications’ Experts
Here is your chance
to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Send your questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org. (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.
As a federal
lobbying registrant, we have some employees that engage
in a minimal amount of lobbying activity during the
course of the quarter. What is our obligation to
identify these employees and report expenditures
associated with their activities?
federal lobbying disclosure requirements, registrants
are required to include expenditures (i.e. compensation,
reimbursed expenses, etc…) associated with any
employee’s lobbying activity during the quarter.
However, registrants are not required to identify
specific employees (by listing them on the LD-2
report) or the issues on which they lobbied unless they
meet the statutory definition of a “lobbyist”—which
the full article here
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Rebecca Pixton South
Associate Director, Federal Compliance
PAC ADVOCACY Conference
marked the Public Affairs Council’s biggest
Advocacy Conference yet, as hundreds gathered in
Nevada for engaging seminars on the political
contribution laws and procedures that shape our
electoral process. I was excited to be on the
team of State and Federal employees representing
our amazing company at the event, and was
delighted to meet representatives from various
firms we have the pleasure of working with.
The conference delved right into the details of
what types of advocacy is and is not allowed and
how disclosure requirements do and do not work.
Between 501(c)4s, joint expenditure committees,
PACs, super PACs, grassroots advocacy, and
traditional media, political advocacy rules can
be confusing to keep track of, but the Council’s
incredible slate of speakers made sure to keep
things engaging, informative, and easy to
understand. It also helped that our team got to
relax in the evenings and enjoy Las Vegas. Be it
visiting the fountains, watching Blue Man Group,
or just walking the Strip, it is easy to see why
this is such an iconic American city.
State and Federal attends conferences throughout
the year to stay informed on all lobbying and
contribution issues and in touch with our
clients throughout the industry. Even if you
don’t see us, though, know that everyone here is
dedicated to continuing our quality work through
the 2020 election and beyond!
State and Federal Communications hosted author, Eric
Nuzum, as he
shared his newly published book, "A Creator's
Guide to Podcasting".
Harvest for Hunger
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez with Elizabeth Bartz
after she made a presentation to choose to
#BeTheChange and donate to make a difference.
Nobody should go hungry.
As a Co-Chair of the 2020 Harvest for Hunger event,
Elizabeth distributed change boxes to 500+ guests
asking them to collect their coins for this effort.
Huntington Bank has offered to talley up all the
donations which come.
Attending the Akron Foodbank Harvest for Hunger
Kick-off breakfast event was several staff
members of State and Federal Communications.
It was an impressive and touching program featuring
many ideas to help support the foodbank.
Plan to say hello
at future events where State and
Federal Communications, Inc.
attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.
National PAC Conference, South
Party, Washington, DC
SXSW, Austin, TX
For Women, Forever Annual Dinner, Akron, OH
Media Conference, Kent, OH
Chamber Annual Meeting, Akron, OH
Chamber YPN Leadership Luncheon, Akron, OH
United Way Summit
County Annual Meeting, Akron, OH
Speaks Out for Values Breakfast, Akron, OH
April 30-May 2
Salt Lake City, UT
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