August 11, 2020 •

FEC Adjusts Penalty Amounts for Inflation

On August 7, the Federal Election Commission’s published its civil monetary penalty amounts adjusted for inflation in the Federal Register. The potential fine for civil violations of federal campaign finance laws now ranges from $6,069 to $70,973. The amounts are […]

On August 7, the Federal Election Commission’s published its civil monetary penalty amounts adjusted for inflation in the Federal Register.

The potential fine for civil violations of federal campaign finance laws now ranges from $6,069 to $70,973.

The amounts are calculated through a statutory formula applying the most recent “cost-of-living adjustment multiplier,” issued by the Office of Management and Budget, to the current amounts.

The amended civil monetary penalties took effect as of August 7, the publication date.

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August 10, 2020 •

October 5 Byelection for Seat on Ottawa Ontario Municipal Council

Ottawa City Hall

Ottawa City Hall - by Taxiarchos228

On October 5, the city of Ottawa will hold a byelection to fill the municipal council seat left vacant by Stephen Blais. The vacant Cumberland ward seat held by Blais, who left to serve as the Member of the Provincial […]

On October 5, the city of Ottawa will hold a byelection to fill the municipal council seat left vacant by Stephen Blais.

The vacant Cumberland ward seat held by Blais, who left to serve as the Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Orléans, could have been filled by an appointment made by the council itself.

While Blais was elected as MPP in February, the council held off deciding about whether to have an election or make an appointment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the Ottawa Council agreed to allow voters the choice to fill the seat.

For the first time, electors will be allowed to apply to vote by special mail-in ballot should they feel uncomfortable about voting in person or be unable to make it to a voting location.

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July 24, 2020 •

Ontario Lawmakers Adjourn Until September

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

On July 21, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario adjourned until September. During the previous five months lawmakers authorized limited sittings and focused predominantly on passing legislation to deal with the public health and economic effects caused by the novel coronavirus […]

On July 21, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario adjourned until September.

During the previous five months lawmakers authorized limited sittings and focused predominantly on passing legislation to deal with the public health and economic effects caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak. 18 pieces of legislation in total were passed, with six receiving unanimous consent of all parties.

The Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on Monday, September 14, at 10:15 a.m.

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June 9, 2020 •

Canada House of Commons Recalled June 10 to Consider COVID-19 Bill

Temporary Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

On June 10, the House of Commons will sit by order of a recall by the Speaker Anthony Rota, who issued the proclamation on June 8. Lawmakers are being recalled to consider a bill to enact certain measures in response […]

On June 10, the House of Commons will sit by order of a recall by the Speaker Anthony Rota, who issued the proclamation on June 8. Lawmakers are being recalled to consider a bill to enact certain measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The House had agreed to meet following the conclusion of the proceedings of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate, currently on an extended adjournment, is scheduled to next meet on June 16.

 

Since the start of safety measures to deal with the pandemic, the House and the Senate have been recalled under special standing orders for short one-day sessions.

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June 5, 2020 •

DOJ FARA Unit Publishes Letters of Determination

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building

On June 4, the Foreign Agents Registration Acts (FARA) Unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its public list “Letters of Determination” it has issued since 2017. The list was initially published on the DOJ’s website on June 1. […]

On June 4, the Foreign Agents Registration Acts (FARA) Unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its public list “Letters of Determination” it has issued since 2017. The list was initially published on the DOJ’s website on June 1.

The 15 letters made public were sent by the FARA Unit to potential registrants after evaluations were completed by the unit to determine whether registration was required. The letters, issued between 2017 and 2019, set forth relevant facts, applicable statutory and regulatory provisions, and the unit’s analysis.

While the names of the individuals and foreign principals who are the subject of the letters, and their respective activities being considered by the FARA Unit, are not redacted, the letters do contain some redactions.

According to the FARA Unit, “[The FARA Unit of the DOJ] regularly reviews information to determine whether an entity or individual has an obligation to register under FARA. Where such information suggests that a registration obligation may exist, the FARA Unit sends a letter advising the entity or individual of its potential obligations under FARA, and seeking additional information.”

FARA is a disclosure statute requiring persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make public disclosure of their relationship with and activities for the foreign principal.

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May 27, 2020 •

New IRS Rules: Some Tax-Exempt Groups Don’t Have to Report Contributors

IRS Building, Washington DC

Home of the Internal Revenue Service - by Joshua Doubek

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal […]

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal Register.

 

This exemption from reporting applies to tax-exempt organizations generally not receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as labor unions, volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups, local chambers of commerce, veterans’ groups, and community service clubs. These organizations are still required to continue to collect and keep the donor information and to make it available to the IRS upon its request. This change does not affect the information required to be reported by charities primarily receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, certain nonexempt private foundations, or 527 political organizations.

 

The Treasury Department and IRS had given three primary reasons for the change: the IRS makes no systematic use of this information collected by these organizations; the policy reduces the risk of inadvertent disclosure or misuse of confidential information; and the policy saves both private and government resources.

 

Previously, the IRS had issued a guidance to this effect, but on July 30, 2019, the IRS guidance limiting these disclosure requirements was set aside by a federal judge. In Bullock v. IRS, the U.S. District Court District of Montana (Great Falls) found the IRS violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing notice and allowing a public comment period before the guidance was issued. It predicated this decision by finding the guidance was a legislative rule. Subsequently, on September 6, the IRS issued a notice of a proposed rulemaking and accepted public comment.

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May 20, 2020 •

Senate Confirms Commissioner to FEC, Restoring Quorum

U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol - by Martin Falbisoner

On May 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), restoring a quorum for the agency.   With the confirmation of James “Trey” Trainor, the FEC now has four commissioners, which meets the minimum […]

On May 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), restoring a quorum for the agency.

 

With the confirmation of James “Trey” Trainor, the FEC now has four commissioners, which meets the minimum threshold of commissioners required for any official action.

The Commission has two registered members of the Republican Party, one registered member of the Democratic Party, and one Independent.

 

Trainor is a lawyer licensed in Texas who specializes in election law, campaign finance, and ethics.

Trainor previously served in the president’s administration as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, in the Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel.

Trump had originally nominated Trainor to serve as a commissioner in 2017, but a hearing in the Senate was never held.

 

Two seats on the FEC still remains vacant.

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April 20, 2020 •

Quebec National Assembly Extends Adjournment

National Assembly of Quebec by Avramescu Marius

On April 17, the Quebec National Assembly extended its adjournment until May 5 because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The Assembly had agreed on March 17 to adjourn parliamentary business until April 21. At the time, the leaders of the […]

On April 17, the Quebec National Assembly extended its adjournment until May 5 because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Assembly had agreed on March 17 to adjourn parliamentary business until April 21.

At the time, the leaders of the four parliamentary groups left open the option to recommend to the President of the National Assembly to extend the adjournment beyond April 21.

Lawmakers plan to hold four virtual committee sessions.

These will allow MPs and members of the opposition groups to exchange views with members of the executive.

These committee sessions will be held between April 24 and May 1.

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April 1, 2020 •

FEC Adjusts Some Reporting Dates for Postponed Elections

In response to several states postponing congressional and presidential primary elections to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been updating some of the campaign finance report due dates related to those elections. The law […]

In response to several states postponing congressional and presidential primary elections to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been updating some of the campaign finance report due dates related to those elections.

The law requires many reports, such as pre-election reports, electioneering communications reports, and reports accounting for independent expenditures, base their due date and their covered periods upon the actual date of the election.

The FEC will adjust the deadlines for the relevant reports related to postponed elections.

Specifically, the FEC has directed that if a state postpones its election after the deadline for the applicable pre-election report, participating committees must file an additional pre-election report due 12 days before the new election date.

Otherwise, committees need only file the pre-election report for the new election date.

A political campaign affected by a postponement may continue to accept contributions until the date of the rescheduled election.

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March 31, 2020 •

Lawmakers in Newfoundland and Labrador Adjourn

Confederation Building, Newfoundland, CA - by shhewitt

On March 26, the General Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to adjourn parliamentary business until an unspecified future date. The adjournment is in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature will remain adjourned until the call of the Chair, […]

On March 26, the General Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to adjourn parliamentary business until an unspecified future date.

The adjournment is in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislature will remain adjourned until the call of the Chair, the procedure for recalling lawmakers into session. 

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March 31, 2020 •

April Sitting of Prince Edward Island Legislature Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly Chamber - Joseph Thornley

The anticipated start date of April 7, 2020, for the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has been postponed until a date to be determined due to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaker Colin LaVie suspended the Spring Sitting of the Legislature […]

The anticipated start date of April 7, 2020, for the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has been postponed until a date to be determined due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaker Colin LaVie suspended the Spring Sitting of the Legislature based on recommendations of the province’s chief public health officer.

LaVie intends to call the legislature into session after consultation with the other parliamentary leaders as the situation evolves.

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March 31, 2020 •

British Columbia Legislative Committees Videoconferencing

British Columbia Legislature

As of March 30, committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, such as the Public Account Committee, continue to meet using videoconferencing. Some of the committee videoconferencing is available for the public to view live on the Assembly’s website. […]

As of March 30, committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, such as the Public Account Committee, continue to meet using videoconferencing.

Some of the committee videoconferencing is available for the public to view live on the Assembly’s website.

On March 23, lawmakers had adjourned their Spring Session to a date they have not yet determined.

Legislators will reconvene at their physical legislative building when the Speaker of the House, after consultation with the government, determines the public interest requires it or when advised by the government.

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March 31, 2020 •

Yukon Legislature to Convene October 1

Yukon Legislature

On October 1, the Yukon Legislative Assembly is scheduled to convene, having recessed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, the legislature adjourned its Spring Session earlier than the scheduled April 16 end-of-session date, while still staying late […]

On October 1, the Yukon Legislative Assembly is scheduled to convene, having recessed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 19, the legislature adjourned its Spring Session earlier than the scheduled April 16 end-of-session date, while still staying late on its last day to complete consideration of Bill No. 203, a fiscal appropriation act for the territory.

“These are unusual times that call for unusual measures,” said Speaker Hon. Nils Clarke said in his press release.

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March 24, 2020 •

No Late Fees for DC Lobbyist Reports due April 15

Washington D.C. City Hall

On March 23, the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability issued a notice to lobbyists informing them penalties will not be issued for late filings due in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 15, lobbyists […]

On March 23, the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability issued a notice to lobbyists informing them penalties will not be issued for late filings due in April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 15, lobbyists are required to file activity reports for the first three months of calendar year 2020.

That deadline has not been changed.

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is open and operating on full telework status through April 27.

Filing electronically online is working normally and payments can still be accepted by mail.

However, the OGE will be unable to provide walk-in assistance or to accept deliveries.

In addition to the OGE not assessing late fees on filings that are delayed due to the public health crisis, the agency will also consider other measures to assist registrants during this time, according to the notice.

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