July 19, 2019 •

July 31: Three MLAs to Resign Nova Scotia House of Assembly

Province House, Nova Scotia - Louperivois

On July 31, three members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly will resign their positions to seek federal positions. The members, Chris D’Entremont, Alfie MacLeod, and Eddie Orrell, have been nominated as candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada. […]

On July 31, three members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly will resign their positions to seek federal positions.

The members, Chris D’Entremont, Alfie MacLeod, and Eddie Orrell, have been nominated as candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada.

The three are required to step down before the writ period begins for the fall elections.

By-elections for the soon-to-be-vacant provincial seats have not been yet been called.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

July 12, 2019 •

FEC Advisory Opinions: Blockchain Tokens, T-Shirts, & Cybersecurity

On July 11, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued three Advisory Opinions addressing diverse campaign finance issues. In Advisory Opinion 2019-08, the FEC found a campaign committee was free to distribute digital blockchain tokens, having no monetary values, to volunteers […]

On July 11, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued three Advisory Opinions addressing diverse campaign finance issues.

In Advisory Opinion 2019-08, the FEC found a campaign committee was free to distribute digital blockchain tokens, having no monetary values, to volunteers and supporters as incentives for those individual to participate in campaign activities. The Commission concluded the tokens do not constitute compensation, but rather are “materially indistinguishable” from traditional forms of campaign souvenirs.

In Advisory Opinion 2019-09, the FEC determined a nonconnected political committee may sell t-shirts bearing the facial likenesses and names of certain candidates because the committee intends on treating the entire purchase price of the t-shirts as contributions falling under regular campaign finance reporting requirements and contribution limits.

In the third decision issued, Advisory Opinion 2019-12, the FEC said it is permissible for a corporation to offer cybersecurity services to federal candidates and political committees under a “low to no cost” pricing tier that the corporation offers to all qualified non-political customers in the ordinary course of business. The FEC concluded the proposal would not be considered an in-kind contribution.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

July 3, 2019 •

HUMBLE (Halt Unchecked Member Benefits with Lobbying Elimination) Act Introduced in U.S. Congress

A bill meant to permanently ban former members of Congress from lobbying the U.S. Legislature was introduced in the House on June 21 by U.S. Representative Angie Craig. House Bill 3419, the HUMBLE (Halt Unchecked Member Benefits with Lobbying Elimination) […]

A bill meant to permanently ban former members of Congress from lobbying the U.S. Legislature was introduced in the House on June 21 by U.S. Representative Angie Craig.

House Bill 3419, the HUMBLE (Halt Unchecked Member Benefits with Lobbying Elimination) Act, would prohibit former Members and elected officers of Congress from lobbying Congress at any time after leaving office.

The legislation also prohibits Members of the House of Representatives from owning individual stocks while in office.

Additionally, the bill prohibits use of government funds for first-class airline accommodations.

The bill also eliminates certain benefits currently available to former members of the House, such as access to parking, athletic facilities, and the House members’ dining room.

“A lifetime ban on lobbying will ensure that Congress is no longer a revolving door of influence, and banning individual stock ownership will cut down on conflicts of interest and show that Congress has its priorities straight so that we can advocate for policies that will improve lives and expand economic opportunity for every Minnesotan,” said Craig in her press release.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 24, 2019 •

Iowa House District 46 Special Election set for August 6

On June 21, Gov. Kim Reynolds called a special election for House District 46. The special election will fill the vacancy left by the resignation of State Representative Lisa Heddens. Heddens resigned on June 17 to serve on the Story […]

On June 21, Gov. Kim Reynolds called a special election for House District 46.

The special election will fill the vacancy left by the resignation of State Representative Lisa Heddens.

Heddens resigned on June 17 to serve on the Story County Board of Supervisors.

Reynolds has set the special election for August 6.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

June 20, 2019 •

SEC FINRA Pay-to-Play Rule Upheld by Federal Court

On June 18, a federal appellate court affirmed the legality of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pay-to-play rule. In New York Republican State Committee v. SEC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the […]

On June 18, a federal appellate court affirmed the legality of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pay-to-play rule.

In New York Republican State Committee v. SEC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the SEC’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2030 constitutional.

The rule prohibits a placement agent from accepting compensation for soliciting government business from certain candidates and elected officials within two years of having contributed to such an official’s electoral campaign or to the transition or inaugural expenses of a successful candidate.

The New York Republican State Committee and the Tennessee Republican Party had argued the SEC did not have authority to enact the rule, the order adopting the rule was arbitrary and capricious because there was insufficient evidence it was needed, and the rule violated the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

While the court found the plaintiffs had standing, it ruled against all their arguments and upheld the rule.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 11, 2019 •

Bi-Partisan Bill to Amend FARA Introduced in U.S. Senate

On June 10, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). The bill would provide the U.S. Attorney General greater authority to promote enforcement of the law and increase […]

On June 10, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA).

The bill would provide the U.S. Attorney General greater authority to promote enforcement of the law and increase disclosure requirements of agents of foreign principals.

Senate Bill 1762 requires foreign agents to disclose their clients immediately so policy makers can evaluate their positions in light of those associations.

Additionally, the bill requires the Justice Department to craft a comprehensive FARA enforcement strategy, and creates oversight mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new authorities according to the press release of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican sponsor of the bill.

The legislation would also establish a review of the Lobbying Disclosure Act exemption to determine whether and to what extent it has been abused for purposes of concealing foreign influence.

Only 15 violations of FARA have been criminally prosecuted since 1966 and “about half of those stemmed from Mr. Mueller’s investigation,” according to Grassley’s statement in his press release.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Dianne Feinstein.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 4, 2019 •

Manitoba Assembly Adjourns: Municipal Amendment Act Receives Royal Assent

By Kooma (original)Echando una mano (current) - Sodipodi's Clipart Gallery (through Wayback Machine), Public Domain, Link

On June 3, the 4th Session of the 41st Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, which began on November 20, 2018, adjourned until October 2, 2019. Bill 2, The Municipal Amendment Act (Strengthening Codes of Conduct for Council Members), received Royal Assent […]

On June 3, the 4th Session of the 41st Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, which began on November 20, 2018, adjourned until October 2, 2019.

Bill 2, The Municipal Amendment Act (Strengthening Codes of Conduct for Council Members), received Royal Assent on June 3.

The new law amends The Municipal Act to require a code of conduct for members of municipal councils be adopted through by-laws.

The code must include procedures for receiving and dealing with reports of contraventions, relevant sanctions, and training on the municipality’s code of conduct.

The new legislation requires each member of a council to undergo training.

Lawmakers plan to adjourn the Assembly again on November 7.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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?

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close