May 22, 2019 •

FEC Names Tony Baptiste as Acting Inspector General

On May 28, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced the appointment of Tony Baptiste as Acting Inspector General of the agency. Mr. Baptiste, who has worked with the Office of the Inspector General for 19 years, will leave his position […]

On May 28, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced the appointment of Tony Baptiste as Acting Inspector General of the agency.

Mr. Baptiste, who has worked with the Office of the Inspector General for 19 years, will leave his position at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“We look forward to working with him and drawing upon his deep expertise,” said Chair Ellen L. Weintraub in the FEC’s press release.

His appointment with the FEC becomes effective on May 28.

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May 22, 2019 •

On May 22, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) will hold a virtual public hearing to gather comments for a proposed rule regarding executive branch officials and employees setting up legal expense funds. The virtual public hearing will be […]

On May 22, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) will hold a virtual public hearing to gather comments for a proposed rule regarding executive branch officials and employees setting up legal expense funds.

The virtual public hearing will be recorded and a transcript of the hearing will be posted on OGE’s website.

The agency is seeking public comments even after the virtual hearing, with the comment period ending on June 14.

The OGE has also listed questions on its website for the public to consider in order to help the agency determine issues specifically related to legal expense funds.

Those questions include whether there should be contribution limits to legal expense funds; whether donations of pro bono legal services to legal expense funds should be permitted; and whether contributions should be subject to reporting requirements?

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May 20, 2019 •

Minnesota Bill Addresses Digital Political Contributions

Minnesota House Chamber - Chris Gaukel [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

On May 14, a bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives to prohibit political candidates from accepting certain digital currency like bitcoin unless backed by an official legal currency. House File 2884 would prohibit an individual, political committee, […]

On May 14, a bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives to prohibit political candidates from accepting certain digital currency like bitcoin unless backed by an official legal currency.

House File 2884 would prohibit an individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit from soliciting or accepting a contribution or donation of any digital unit of exchange.

This includes but is not limited to bitcoin, that is not backed by a government-issued legal tender.

Under the bill, a person knowingly accepting any prohibited digital unit of exchange would be guilty of a felony.

The legislation also imposes a civil penalty of up to $3,000 for any individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit knowingly soliciting or accepting any digital unit of exchange.

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May 10, 2019 •

Bill in Ontario Addresses Leadership Fundraising

Legislative Assembly of Ontario building - Saforrest (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

On April 29, a bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for purposes of clarifying certain contributions. Bill 103, the Election Finances Amendment Act (Leadership Fundraising Loophole) 2019, amends the Election Finances Act and provides that contributions to […]

On April 29, a bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for purposes of clarifying certain contributions.

Bill 103, the Election Finances Amendment Act (Leadership Fundraising Loophole) 2019, amends the Election Finances Act and provides that contributions to a leadership campaign following a leadership vote may only be used for the purpose of paying off campaign debt.

If passed, the private member’s bill introduced by MPP John Fraser, will come into effect on the day it receives Royal Assent.

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May 2, 2019 •

Canada’s Lobbying Commissioner Recommends Amending Lobbying Act

Nancy Belanger, Commissioner of Lobbying. iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood

On April 30, Nancy Bélanger, the Commissioner of Lobbying Canada, recommended to the Parliament that they amend the nation’s federal Lobbying Act to improve transparency when the travel of public officials is sponsored by lobbyists. Bélanger made her recommendation in […]

On April 30, Nancy Bélanger, the Commissioner of Lobbying Canada, recommended to the Parliament that they amend the nation’s federal Lobbying Act to improve transparency when the travel of public officials is sponsored by lobbyists.

Bélanger made her recommendation in her report to the House of Commons and to the Senate on her office’s investigation into sponsored travel provided by lobbyists.

The Commissioner found no violation of law related to sponsored travel, but did find a gap in the level of transparency of information disclosed in the Registry of Lobbyists.

“Amending disclosure requirements to include additional information that the Commissioner of Lobbying considers relevant would ensure that sponsored travel is captured as part of the context in which lobbying occurred,” said Bélanger in her press release.

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April 29, 2019 •

Iowa Senate Bill Concerning Lobbying by Political Subdivisions Introduced

On April 24, a bill relating to lobbying activities by political subdivisions was introduced into the Iowa Senate. Senate Bill 639 would enact new statutes concerning political subdivisions contracting with or otherwise compensating a person to lobby on behalf of […]

On April 24, a bill relating to lobbying activities by political subdivisions was introduced into the Iowa Senate.

Senate Bill 639 would enact new statutes concerning political subdivisions contracting with or otherwise compensating a person to lobby on behalf of the political subdivision.

The legislation requires authorities for a political subdivision to use requests for proposals to solicit lobbying services, limits the duration for lobbying contracts to five years, and prohibits renewals of contracts without new requests for proposals.

Additionally, the bill requires public disclosure of the lobbying contract.

The proposed legislation defines “political subdivision” as a county, city, township, community college, area education agency, or school district.

The legislation also defines “lobbying” as direct action to encourage the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order being considered by the general assembly, a state agency, or a statewide elected official.

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April 19, 2019 •

General Election Called in Newfoundland and Labrador

On April 17, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball issued a writ of election for the provincial general election to take place on May 16. On the same day, Bruce Chaulk, the Chief Electoral Officer of Newfoundland and Labrador, issued […]

On April 17, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball issued a writ of election for the provincial general election to take place on May 16.

On the same day, Bruce Chaulk, the Chief Electoral Officer of Newfoundland and Labrador, issued election writs to all 40 district returning officers of the province announcing the new date.

The advance poll date is May 9 and the deadline for candidate nominations is April 25.

Elections NL is also set to accept early voting applications, which will be available between April 25 and May 9.

Ball called for the election after tabling the budget.

“I am now seeking a mandate from the people of our province to continue our plan,” Ball announced according to the Western Star.

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April 4, 2019 •

Prince Edward Island General Election To Be Held April 23

On April 23, a general election for the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island will be held. The 65th General Assembly was dissolved on March 26. On March 27, Premier Wade MacLauchlan called for the general election for the 66th […]

On April 23, a general election for the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island will be held.

The 65th General Assembly was dissolved on March 26. On March 27, Premier Wade MacLauchlan called for the general election for the 66th General Assembly to be held on the April date.

A binding Election System Referendum regarding the province’s voting system is also scheduled for April 23.

The question on the referendum ballot is, “Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?”

Advance polls for early voting will be held on April 13, April 15, and April 18.

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April 4, 2019 •

Prince Edward Island Lobbying Law Comes into Force

A new lobbying law for the province of Prince Edward Island came into effect on April 1. Bill No. 24, the Lobbyist Registration Act, was passed in December of 2017 during the Third Session of the 65th General Assembly of […]

A new lobbying law for the province of Prince Edward Island came into effect on April 1. Bill No. 24, the Lobbyist Registration Act, was passed in December of 2017 during the Third Session of the 65th General Assembly of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly.

Consultant lobbyists, in-house lobbyists, and employers of in-house lobbyists are now required to register with the Registrar when communicating with a public office holder, directly or through grassroots communications, in an attempt to influence them on a variety of issues.

Additionally, consultant lobbyists are required to register when communicating with a public-office holder to influence the awarding of any contract by or on behalf of the Crown or arrange a meeting between a public-office holder and any other person.

Registrants are required to file returns with this Registrar every six months detailing any relevant subject matters lobbied, including legislative and regulatory proposals, the techniques of communication the lobbyist has used or expects to use to lobby, the employer or client for which the registrant is lobbying, and the identification of entities or persons paying more than $750 per fiscal year to the registrant to lobby.

Lobbying on a contingency fee basis is prohibited for consultant lobbyists and former public office holders are prohibited from lobbying for a period of six months after leaving office. Penalties for violations of the Act include fines up to $25,000.

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March 27, 2019 •

Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) By-Election Scheduled for May 6

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons. On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official […]

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons.

On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat became vacant following the resignation of Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned on January 2 to run in a provincial byelection.

On March 24, Elections Canada declared the May election date and announced the opening of its local office in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

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March 22, 2019 •

Federal Court Rules Concerning Unauthorized Committee Naming

On March 21, a federal court ruled an unconnected committee is not restricted from using candidates’ names in the titles of their websites and social media pages. In Pursuing America’s Greatness v. FEC, the United States District Court for the […]

On March 21, a federal court ruled an unconnected committee is not restricted from using candidates’ names in the titles of their websites and social media pages.

In Pursuing America’s Greatness v. FEC, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and denied the motion for summary judgment from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The court ruled 11 C.F.R. § 102.14(a) unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the FEC from enforcing the application of 11 C.F.R. § 102.14(a).

Federal law requires a candidate’s committee to include the name of the candidate in the committee’s title and requires an unauthorized political committee to not use a candidate’s name in its title. The purpose of the law is to avoid confusion.

Through the regulation, the FEC had extended the naming prohibition to other committee activities, solicitations, and communications, including special project names for websites or social media pages.

The court found the regulation violates the First Amendment and the FEC had not shown the regulation is the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s interest.

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March 20, 2019 •

Ontario to Centralize Public Procurement

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the government of Ontario intends to centralize all provincial procurements in an effort to save the public money. On March 20, Bethlenfalvy tweeted centralizing government procurement will save $1 billion a year, make it […]

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the government of Ontario intends to centralize all provincial procurements in an effort to save the public money.

On March 20, Bethlenfalvy tweeted centralizing government procurement will save $1 billion a year, make it easier and more efficient to deliver services to the people, and allow the province to invest in other core public services like healthcare and education.

In his press release on Monday, Bethlenfalvy said there would be interim measures, such as the limiting of long-term contracts during the building of a centralized system. The province will also hire consulting services to support the development of a centralized procurement system.

“Currently there is far too much duplication and fragmentation in the system. We are not taking advantage of our shared buying power to drive efficiencies and cost savings,” Bethlenfalvy told CP24.

 

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March 15, 2019 •

Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 Bill Introduced in US House

Vendors selling internet-of-things (IoT) to the federal government may soon be required to follow certain security guidelines concerning those devices. House Bill 1668, the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on […]

Vendors selling internet-of-things (IoT) to the federal government may soon be required to follow certain security guidelines concerning those devices.

House Bill 1668, the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on March 11, would require all federal contracts involving the purchase and use of internet-connected devices meet certain security requirements to better ensure these devices are secure against cyber-attacks.

The legislation requires contractors and vendors providing internet-of-things devices to the U.S. government adopt coordinated vulnerability disclosure policies, so that if a vulnerability is uncovered, that information is disseminated.

The bill also requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to issue recommendations addressing, at a minimum, secure development, identity management, patching, and configuration management for IoT devices.

Additionally, the legislation directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidelines for each agency consistent with the NIST recommendations and mandates the OMB with reviewing these policies at least every five years.

“As the government continues to purchase and use more and more internet-connected devices, we must ensure that these devices are secure. Everything from our national security to the personal information of American citizens could be vulnerable because of security holes in these devices,” said the bill’s sponsor, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, in her press release.

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March 11, 2019 •

Saskatchewan Bill: Eliminate 100-Hour In-House Lobbyist Registration Threshold

On March 7, a bill to amend Saskatchewan’s lobbying law was introduced in the Legislative Assembly. Bill No. 615, An Act to amend The Lobbyist Act, would remove the current 100-hour annual threshold required to trigger registration for in-house lobbyists. […]

On March 7, a bill to amend Saskatchewan’s lobbying law was introduced in the Legislative Assembly.

Bill No. 615, An Act to amend The Lobbyist Act, would remove the current 100-hour annual threshold required to trigger registration for in-house lobbyists.

Additionally, the bill would eliminate the registration exemption for non-profits, except for those non-profit entities with no more than five employees.

The bill also prohibits Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from accepting gifts, unless a gift is accepted in accordance with The Members’ Conflict of Interest Act. The gift prohibition in the bill extends to an MLA’s staff, members of the Executive Council and their staff, employees of the ministry, individuals in certain appointed positions, and employees, officers, directors, and members of governmental institutions.

If the legislation passes, the amendments would come into force on Assent.

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