May 2, 2017 •

Tennessee Legislators Considering Disclosure Requirements for Travel Expenses Provided by Lobbyists

The Tennessee House voted unanimously last week to require legislators to disclose travel expenses provided by anyone with an interest in public policy if the travel was for the purpose of educating a legislator with respect to said policy. The […]

tennessee_state_capitolThe Tennessee House voted unanimously last week to require legislators to disclose travel expenses provided by anyone with an interest in public policy if the travel was for the purpose of educating a legislator with respect to said policy.

The bill, as originally introduced, would cover national organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), or other organizations where corporations provide scholarship funds for legislators to attend a conference.

The bill would require disclosure of the corporation or entity providing the scholarship or funding, but would not require specific dollar amounts.

The Senate passed an amendment to the House bill to exclude from the definition of travel expense any expense paid for by an organization of elected or appointed state government officials, or any other established and recognized organization serving as an umbrella organization for legislative officials and staff.

It has been placed back on the House calendar for early May.

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March 19, 2015 •

South Carolina Ethics Reform Back in Senate

Ethics reform is again in the hands of the Senate after the House voted overwhelmingly to overhaul ethics laws. House Bill 3722 would give the State Ethics Commission authority to investigate legislators, would amend certain unconstitutional campaign finance definitions, and […]

Seal_of_the_Senate_of_South_CarolinaEthics reform is again in the hands of the Senate after the House voted overwhelmingly to overhaul ethics laws.

House Bill 3722 would give the State Ethics Commission authority to investigate legislators, would amend certain unconstitutional campaign finance definitions, and would remove a lobbyist employer’s ability to pay for American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conventions.

The Judiciary Committee has reported the bill as favorable with an amendment to remove certain whistleblower protections.

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August 11, 2014 •

Monday News Roundup

Lobbying “Corporate Lobby ALEC Aims at U.S. City Councils With New Group” by Tim Jones in Bloomberg. “Netflix bulks up K St. help” by Megan R. Wilson in The Hill. Campaign Finance “Big Checks Strengthen Super PACs” by Kent Cooper […]

Government Relations NewsLobbying

Corporate Lobby ALEC Aims at U.S. City Councils With New Group” by Tim Jones in Bloomberg.

Netflix bulks up K St. help” by Megan R. Wilson in The Hill.

Campaign Finance

Big Checks Strengthen Super PACs” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call.

Waiting for the next Watergate” by Byron Tau in Politico.

Wall Street Campaign-Cash Restrictions Face Legal Attack” by Robert Schmidt in Bloomberg.

Arizona: “Groups spend nearly $2 million in Arizona primary” by The Associated Press in the Arizona Daily Sun.

Montana: “Montana candidates late with campaign finance reports” by The Associated Press in the Great Falls Tribune.

Pennsylvania: “Pa. lawmakers face crowded calendar when they return” by The Associated Press in Herald-Mail Media.

West Virginia: “‘Dark money’ finds its way to W.Va.” by Ben Fields in The Herald-Dispatch.

Wyoming: “Candidates, committees disclose info as campaign finance deadline looms” by Laura Hancock in the Casper Star-Tribune.

Ethics

Florida: “Florida Lawmakers’ Personal Wealth Keeps Growing” by Marianela Toledo in the Sunshine State News.

Rhode Island: “Ethics complaint filed against R.I. Rep. Palumbo over beach concession contracts” by Randal Edgar in the Providence Journal.

West Virginia: “Lawmakers can’t use voters lists when sending letters, Ethics Commission rules” by Phil Kabler in the Charleston Gazette.

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December 6, 2013 •

News You Can Use Digest – December 6, 2013

      National: ALEC Facing Funding Crisis from Donor Exodus in Wake of Trayvon Martin Row The Guardian – Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg | Published: 12/3/2013 A conservative group that critics say has undue influence on public policy faces […]

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National:

ALEC Facing Funding Crisis from Donor Exodus in Wake of Trayvon Martin Row

The Guardian – Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg | Published: 12/3/2013

A conservative group that critics say has undue influence on public policy faces a funding crisis and possible legal trouble, show internal documents. The documents indicate the American Legislative Exchange Council is appealing to major donors for help in averting a financial crisis, and is establishing a new project with a different name to help remove “questions of ethical violations made by our critics and state ethics boards,” reported The Guardian.

State Supreme Court Judges Reveal Scant Financial Information

The Center for Public Integrity – Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir, and Chris Young | Published: 12/4/2013

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have more lax financial disclosure rules for their high court justices than the disclosure requirements for federal judges, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. Some states do not require any disclosure of gifts to judges; others have limits but with loopholes. The center cited Iowa, which allows these judges to receive gifts worth any amount for their wedding or for their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries.

Federal:

Capitol Metrics Bridges Lobbying and Data

Washington Post – Catherine Ho | Published: 12/1/2013

There were not many data-driven resources for lobbyists to research their competitors or potential merger partners. Then John Brain got the idea to create Capitol Metrics. It compiles lists of the top lobby firms by revenue, as well as the companies and associations that are spending the most on lobbying. Capitol Metrics also breaks down some of the data and packages it in a way that a lobbyist can better spot opportunities to pick up new business.

SEC Backs Off Corporate Giving Regs

The Hill – Ben Goad | Published: 12/2/2013

The Securities and Exchange Commission dropped a proposal to require publicly traded firms to disclose campaign spending to their shareholders from its list of regulatory priorities, a potential setback for watchdogs looking for ways to force some of the anonymous money in elections into public view. The issue drew more than 650,000 written comments, along with rebukes from trade groups, which argued the push was intended to silence of voice of business in politics.

From the States and Municipalities:

Arizona – Donation Cap for Political Campaigns Still in Place, for Now

East Valley Tribune – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 11/26/2013

The Arizona Supreme Court rejected a bid by top Republican lawmakers to allow campaign donors to give more while the justices review the legality of the increase. The justices agreed to give the GOP interests a chance to convince them the Court of Appeals erred in ruling the Legislature acted unconstitutionally earlier this year in approving the sharp increase. A hearing is set for December 17.

District of Columbia – Council Unanimously Approves Campaign Finance Reform Legislation

DCist.com – Matt Cohen and Sarah Anne Hughes | Published: 12/4/2013

The District of Columbia Council unanimously passed a campaign finance reform bill recently. The legislation will restrict contributions from related businesses and require campaigns to report all fundraising data online. The bill also limits money order donations to $100. Lobbyists will have to disclose any contributions bundled and forwarded to a campaign.

Louisiana – Super PAC Backing Sen. David Vitter Says State Has No Choice, Must Lift $100,000 Contribution Limit

New Orleans Times Picayune – Bruce Alpert | Published: 12/4/2013

The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, the super PAC created to support U.S. Sen. David Vitter, wants to end enforcement of the state’s $100,000 limit on independent committee donations. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that equated spending on independent political expenditures with free speech, and a follow-up decision by a federal appeals court, makes it clear that such limits are unconstitutional, say lawyers for the PAC. Groups favoring limits on campaign spending do not necessarily disagree.

Minnesota – ‘Free Lunches’ Back on Menu for Minnesota Legislators

Minneapolis Star Tribune – Abby Simons | Published: 12/3/2013

For the first time in 19 years, Minnesota lawmakers and their staff will be allowed to eat and drink for free at receptions hosted by special interest groups, as long as all 201 legislators are invited at least five days in advance. Backers of the new law say the easing of what once was one of the strictest gift bans in the nation was needed as a way to restore camaraderie in an increasingly polarized Legislature. The law still prohibits lawmakers from accepting gifts in more exclusive gatherings.

Missouri – Prefiled Bills Suggest Ethics Reform on Agenda

Springfield News-Leader – Jonathan Shorman | Published: 12/4/2013

Eight ethics reform bills have been filed in the Missouri Senate by members of both parties. Senate Bill 486 would cap the amounts any one donor may give to a candidate: $25,000 for gubernatorial and statewide candidates, $10,000 for senators, and $2,500 for representatives and other public offices. Senate Bill 512 requires lawmakers to reimburse lobbyists for expenses within 30 days.

Nevada – Nevada Supreme Court Upholds Ethics Laws

San Francisco Chronicle – Sandra Chereb (Associated Press) | Published: 11/27/2013

The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the state Ethics Commission’s censure of a former Sparks City Council member who voted for a casino project even though his campaign manager was a consultant on the project. The decision reversed an earlier high court opinion that found the ethics law prohibited Councilperson Michael Carrigan from exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech.

New Mexico – New Mexico’s ‘Revolving Door’

Albuquerque Journal – Dan Boyd | Published: 11/29/2013

New Mexico lawmakers are free to resign one day and start lobbying the next. A recent report by a watchdog group identified 26 former legislators who work as lobbyists. Critics say the “revolving-door” practice erodes public trust in government by allowing former lawmakers to cash in on their expertise and connections with former colleagues.

New York – Report: Reform can’t wait

Albany Times Union – Casey Seiler | Published: 12/2/2013

A state commission investigating public corruption in New York recommended a system of public financing for state elections, an independent election-law enforcement agency, and stricter disclosure policies for legislators, saying a “permissive culture of both illegal and legal corruption” must change. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to use the panel’s suggestions as the basis for a series of ethics law changes in 2014.

Jim SedorState and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.

News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.

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August 7, 2013 •

Wednesday Government Relations News

Here is our roundup of the latest articles on lobbying, campaign finance, ethics, and more!

government buildingLobbying

100 People to Watch This Fall” in The Hill.

Legislators head to Chicago for ALEC retreat” by Elizabeth Crisp in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Campaign Finance

New York: “Moreland panel issues its first subpoenas” by Jimmy Vielkind in the Albany Times Union.

Ethics

Public Corruption Convictions: State Totals, 2001-2010 in Governing.

New York: “Bruno trial is a go” by Brendan J. Lyons in the Albany Times Union.

New York: “Court Rules Bruno May Face Fraud Charges” by The Associated Press in The New York Times.

Virginia: “Support lacking for Cuccinelli’s quick ethics reform” by Julian Walker in The Virginian-Pilot.

Virginia: “Virginia Lt. Gov. Bolling calls for gift and ethics reform” by Rosalind S. Helderman in The Washington Post.

From the State Legislatures

Kansas: “Brownback signs resolution for special session” by Tim Carpenter in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

NCSL 2013 Legislative Summit Online Resources

Government Tech and Social Media

Analysis: How Twitter Is Revolutionizing Washington Relationships” by Matthew Cooper in NextGov.

Massachusetts: “MA Democratic Primary Candidates To Participate In Crowdsourced Online Debate” by Sarah Lai Stirland in TechPresident.

New York: “Elections to Be Easier for Voters With an App” by Nick Corasaniti in The New York Times.

Redistricting

Congressional District Compactness, Gerrymandering By State in Governing.

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July 29, 2013 •

Monday News Roundup

Let’s start off the week with these lobbying, campaign finance, and ethics news articles:

Government-Relations-NewsLobbying

Kansas: “Kansas GOP flocking to ALEC gathering” by Tim Carpenter in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

South Carolina:  “State House for Sale: SC’s unregistered lobbyists profit in ‘gray area’” by Jamie Self in The State.

Campaign Finance

House ethics panel taking more time to review Rep. Bachmann” by Mark Sommerhauser in the Des Moines Register.

FEC Fines Campaigns of Anthony Weiner and Ron Paul” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call.

Virginia: “Local candidates owe Richmond nearly $90,000 in fines for campaign report filing violations” by The Associated Press in The Washington Post.

Ethics

House ethics panel investigating four members” by Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan in Politico.

Ethics Panel Advancing Inquiry Into Illinois Republican” by Ashley Parker in The New York Times.

California: “Executives Resign From Lobbying Firm Assisting Mayor” by Wendy Fry on NBC 7 San Diego News.

Virginia: “Va. first lady McDonnell spent thousands from husband’s PAC on clothes, other items” by Laura Vozella in The Washington Post.

Elections

Alabama Special Election Scheduled” by Abby Livingston in Roll Call.

Redistricting

Judge to weigh limiting Arizona redistricting suit” by The Associated Press in the Arizona Capitol Times.

Government Tech and Social Media

Rhode Island: “Website change clouds vote tallies in R.I. General Assembly” by Randal Edgar in the Providence Journal.

Code for America Announces 2013 Accelerator Class” by Sam Roudman in TechPresident.

This New Hack Keeps You Up to Date on House Floor Votes as if You Were There” by Sarah Lai Stirland in TechPresident.

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November 2, 2012 •

See Us in Person!

Here is our November and December calendar. Say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

November December calendarNovember 17-20, 2012   SGAC Leaders’ Policy Conference, Santa Monica, California

November 28-30, 2012    ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, Washington, D.C.

December 2-5, 2012   COGEL Annual Conference 2012, Columbus, Ohio

December 3, 2012  Women in Government Relations PACs, Politics and Grassroots Taskforce Annual Conference, TBD

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October 16, 2012 •

Tuesday Lobbying and Campaign Finance News

Keep up with the latest government relations news with these articles:

government buildingLobbying

Lobbyists ready for a comeback under Mitt Romney” by Anna Palmer in Politico.

Lobbyists Might Join Romney’s Team” by Kate Ackley in Roll Call.

Hill Climbers: Long Hill Career Leads to K Street” by Molly C. Braswell in Roll Call.

Wyoming:  “ALEC Model Bill Group Triggers Calls for Transparency” by Greg Nickerson in WyoFile.

Campaign Finance

The IRS’s ‘feeble’ grip on big political cash” by Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti in Politico.

Ethics

Florida: “Gaetz unveils massive ethics overhaul proposal” in the Orlando Sentinel.

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October 4, 2012 •

See Us in Person!

Here is our October and November calendar. Say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

October November calendarOctober 11, 2012   WASRG Summit, Washington, D.C.

November 17-20, 2012   SGAC Leaders’ Policy Conference, Santa Monica, California

November 28-30, 2012   ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, Washington, D.C.

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September 11, 2012 •

Tuesday News Roundup

Take a look at these lobbying, campaign finance, and social media articles:

campaign finance and lobbyingLobbying

ALEC Finds New Friends” by Janie Lorber in Roll Call.

Arizona: “Ex-Fiesta Bowl lobbyist takes plea deal in probe” by Craig Harris in the Arizona Republic.

Campaign Finance

Appeals court upholds Illinois campaign disclosure law” by Nate Raymond (Reuters) in the Chicago Tribune.

Minnesota: “Minnesota to keep enforcing campaign disclosure law; federal judge called part of it ‘onerous’” by Martiga Lohn (Associated Press) in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Nonstop Fundraising Stretch Starts” by Kate Ackley in Roll Call.

Rahm Emanuel suspends super PAC fundraising” by Kenneth P. Vogel in Politico.

Shop Talk: Celebrating Campaign Women” by Kyle Trygstad in Roll Call.

Look-alike sites funnel big money to mystery PAC” by Shaqne Goldmacher in NextGov.

Corporate Contributions and Disclosure” editorial in the New York Times.

Social Media

Twitter adopts new targeting method for advertisers” by Steve Friess in Politico.

Cementing social media’s place in the campaign world” in Campaigns & Elections.

Social-Media Insights Inspired By Barack Obama, America’s First Truly Social President” by Amber Mac in Fast Company.

Nine Tech Tips for Starting a New Government Job” by Mark Micheli in Government Executive.

Social Media Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Government Career” by Mark Malseed in OhMyGov!

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July 17, 2012 •

Tuesday News Summary

Campaign finance, lobbying, ethics, and social media

newspaperCampaign Finance

Connecticut: “Vote to kill filibuster on campaign finance bill fails, despite Connecticut senators’ support” by Ana Radelat in the CT Mirror.

Florida: “Unlimited campaign contributions finding a route to Florida lawmakers” by Steve Bousquet in the Miami Herald.

Lobbying

ALEC struggles to retain members” by Steve Terrell in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Tech lobbyists’ new mantra: Strength through unity” by Michelle Quinn in Politico.

Connecticut:  “Lobbyists form SuperPAC to help Murphy in Senate race” by Ana Radelat in the CT Mirror.

Government Ethics

Former top state administrator fined for conflicts of interest” by Jennifer Gollan in the Bay Citizen.

Gov 2.0

Despite Cuomo’s Vow of Sunlight, a Bid to Keep Aides’ E-Mail in the Dark” by Thomas Kaplan in The New York Times.

What Social Media Do Government Officials Use Most?” by Matt Williams in Government Technology.

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July 2, 2012 •

Monday Campaign Finance and Lobbying News Roundup

Don’t miss today’s articles:

campaign finance and lobbyingCampaign Finance

Political Perceptions: Email Fundraising, Too Forward?” by Peter Nicholas in The Wall Street Journal.

The 2012 Congressional race and super PAC intermingling” by Stephen Wright in the Examiner.

Maryland: Editorial “Cleaning up Maryland politics” in The Washington Post.

Michigan:  “Michigan Campaign Finance Network questions fundraising by lame-duck lawmakers” by The Associated Press in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lobbying

Bill Miller to head lobbying for Business Roundtable” by Mike Allen in Politico.

Mining bill drew lobbyists’ attention” by Steve Mistler in the Portland Press Herald.

Investment in lobbying not surefire in Maine” by Steve Mistler in the Kennebec Journal.

Who is ALEC?” on CBS News.

Former IRS Official Demands Investigation of ALEC” by Janie Lorber in Roll Call.

Ethics Inquiry Exonerates Governor In Lobbying” by Robbie Brown in The New York Times.

Rhode Island: “Former Lawmakers Cash in Playing Revolving Door Game” by Dan McGowan in GoLocalProv.com.

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June 18, 2012 •

Monday Campaign Finance and Lobbying News Summary

Start the week off right with these latest news items:

campaign finance and lobbyingCampaign Finance

‘Citizens United’ Case Gets Renewed Scrutiny” by David Welna on NPR.org.

Post-Watergate campaign finance limits undercut by changes” by Dan Eggen in the Washington Post.

Will Text-Message Fundraising Revolutionize the Political Cash Game?” by Alex Roarty in the Atlantic.

Connecticut: “Common Cause slams Malloy veto of campaign finance bill” by Mark Pazniokas in CTMirror.org.

Florida: “High school students create a super PAC” by Lane DeGregory in the Miami Herald.

Tennessee: “Many TN lawmakers have deeper pockets than challengers” by Elizabeth Bewly on WBIR.com.

Lobbying

Does ALEC influence politics, laws?” by Dana Beyerle in the Tuscaloosa News.

Arkansas: “Ethics reform emerging in partisan politics” by Rob Moritz in Arkansas News.

Georgia: “Lobbyist fined for $17,000 European trip with Ralston” by Doug Richards in WXIA News.

Rhode Island: “Lawmakers Pocketed Thousands from Lobbyists in May” by Dan McGowan in GoLocalProv.

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April 17, 2012 •

Today’s News Roundup

Keep up with the latest campaign finance, ethics, and lobbying news:

newsCampaign Finance

Rep. Ted Deutch Holds Summit on Overturning Citizens United” via a press release on Rep. Ted Deutsch’s website. The meeting is set for tomorrow.

Alabama: “Campaign finance, PAC-to-PAC transfer law needs teeth, grand jury says” by Brian Lyman in the Montgomery Advertiser.

Fundraising Numbers Tip Scales of Power” by Joshua Miller in Roll Call.

ALEC

Midwest Democracy | Study accuses ALEC of ‘secretive influence’ in Missouri Capitol” by Jason Hancock in The Kansas City Star.

Government Ethics

Figure at center of D.C. campaign finance probe resigns from health-care company” by Mike DeBonis in The Washington Post.

U.S. congressman under fire for campaign expenses turns to high-powered law firm” by Matt Friedman in the Star-Ledger.

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