January 14, 2019 •

Canadian House of Commons By-Elections Set for February 25

On February 25, three by-elections will be held to fill vacancies in the Canadian House of Commons. The by-elections will take place for the electoral districts of Burnaby South (British Columbia), Outremont (Quebec) and York–Simcoe (Ontario). The seat for Burnaby […]

On February 25, three by-elections will be held to fill vacancies in the Canadian House of Commons. The by-elections will take place for the electoral districts of Burnaby South (British Columbia), Outremont (Quebec) and York–Simcoe (Ontario).

The seat for Burnaby South (British Coumbia) became vacant following the resignation of Kennedy Stewart, who resigned on September 14 in order to run for mayor of Vancouver.

The seat for Outremont (Quebec) became vacant following the resignation of Tom Mulcair, who left office to teach at the at Universite de Montreal and to become a regularly scheduled political commentator at CJAD radio and CTV news.

The seat for York–Simcoe (Ontario) became vacant following the resignation of Peter Van Loan, who resigned on September 30 to return to the practice of law.

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January 9, 2019 •

Amendments to Canada’s Election Laws Take Effect in June 2019

On June 13, 2019, amendments to the Canada Elections Act affecting spending limits for third parties and political parties takes effect. Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018. The bill is scheduled to take […]

On June 13, 2019, amendments to the Canada Elections Act affecting spending limits for third parties and political parties takes effect. Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018.

The bill is scheduled to take effect six months after Royal Assent, unless Elections Canada determines some portion of the law should take effect earlier. The legislation establishes measures to increase transparency regarding the participation of third parties in the electoral process by adding reporting requirements for third parties engaging in partisan activities, partisan advertising, and election surveys.

Additionally, the bill creates an obligation for third parties to open a separate bank account for expenses and creates an obligation for political parties and third parties to identify themselves in partisan advertising.

The bill also extends voting hours on advance polling days to encourage participation in the election process for voters. Bill C-76 also amends the Parliament of Canada Act to prevent the calling of a by-election for a vacant seat in the House of Commons within nine months before a scheduled general election.

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January 9, 2019 •

By-Election Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) Seat in House of Commons To Be Announced on Future Date

Sometime before July 6, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Commons representing Nanaimo–Ladysmith in the province of British Columbia. On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, received official notice […]

Sometime before July 6, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Commons representing Nanaimo–Ladysmith in the province of British Columbia.

On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat for Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) became vacant following the resignation of Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned on January 2 to run in a provincial by-election.

Under the law, the by-election date must be announced between January 18 and July 6, 2019, and will signal the start of the by-election period.

According to Elections Canada, the earliest date the by-election can be held is February 25, 2019.

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January 7, 2019 •

First U.S. House Bill Introduced is Sweeping Campaign Finance Bill

The first piece of legislation introduced into the new U.S. House of Representative was a sweeping 571-page campaign finance bill. Introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, House Bill 1, the For the People Act, requires any organization involved in political activity […]

The first piece of legislation introduced into the new U.S. House of Representative was a sweeping 571-page campaign finance bill. Introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, House Bill 1, the For the People Act, requires any organization involved in political activity to disclose its largest donors, creates a multiple matching system for small donations for political campaigns, and amends rules governing super PACs.

The bill also restructures the Federal Election Commission, amends the federal conflict of interest law, and expands the revolving door provision by prohibiting members of Congress from serving on corporate boards. If passed, the bill also requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, prohibits partisan gerrymandering, increases oversight over election vendors, creates an automatic voter registration across the country, and changes registration requirements for lobbyists and foreign agents.

Sarbanes argued the rational for the bill in his press release, stating, “The bold, transformative set of reforms that we introduced today will strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people by making it easier, not harder, to vote, ending the dominance of big money in our politics and ensuring that public officials actually serve the public.”

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January 4, 2019 •

2019 Sackville-Cobequid By-Election Date Announcement Due in Spring

Sometime before May 16, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Assembly representing Sackville-Cobequid in the province of Nova Scotia. The Sackville-Cobequid seat became vacant with the resignation of MLA David Wilson on November […]

Sometime before May 16, 2019, a by-election will be announced for the seat in the House of Assembly representing Sackville-Cobequid in the province of Nova Scotia.

The Sackville-Cobequid seat became vacant with the resignation of MLA David Wilson on November 16, 2018.

When Wilson tendered his resignation to the Clerk of the House, he would not reveal his future plans. “It’s just time for me to look at other things,” said Wilson, according CBC.com.

A writ for a by-election must be issued six months from the date of his resignation. The by-election must be held on a Tuesday between 30 and 46 days from the date that writ is issued.

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January 4, 2019 •

Federal Lobbying Law Amended: Disclosure of Lobbyist Convictions for Bribery and Fraud Now Required

Federal Lobbyists are now required to disclose convictions for bribery, fraud, and other crimes when registering and reporting. President Trump signed Senate Bill 2896, the “Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018” or the “JACK Act” on January […]

Federal Lobbyists are now required to disclose convictions for bribery, fraud, and other crimes when registering and reporting.

President Trump signed Senate Bill 2896, the “Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018” or the “JACK Act” on January 3. On December 20, 2018 the U.S. Congress passed the bill, which passed the U.S. Senate in August with unanimous consent.

The new law requires lobbyists to disclose any prior conviction for bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion, fraud, conflicts of interest, making false statements, perjury, or money laundering.

The House voted 390-0 to pass the Senate’s bill on to President Trump.

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December 21, 2018 •

By-Election Announced for Topsail-Paradise in Newfoundland and Labrador

On December 19, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced a by-election date of January 24, 2019, for the Topsail-Paradise seat in the House of Assembly. MHA Paul Davis, a former premier of the province, retired from the seat on […]

On December 19, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced a by-election date of January 24, 2019, for the Topsail-Paradise seat in the House of Assembly. MHA Paul Davis, a former premier of the province, retired from the seat on November 2 to consider other careers, according the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Two of the three major political parties have candidates selected for the upcoming by-election. The New Democratic Party hopes to have their candidate selected by December 26, the day before the filing deadline for candidates.

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December 21, 2018 •

Bill Amending U.S. Lobbying Law Passes Congress

On December 20, the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose any prior convictions. Senate Bill 2896, the “Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018” or the “JACK Act”, which passed the U.S. Senate in August with […]

On December 20, the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose any prior convictions.

Senate Bill 2896, the “Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act of 2018” or the “JACK Act”, which passed the U.S. Senate in August with unanimous consent, would require lobbyists to disclose any prior conviction for bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion, fraud, conflicts of interest, making false statements, perjury, or money laundering. The House voted 390-0 yesterday to pass the legislation on to President Trump.

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December 18, 2018 •

Prince Edward Island Lobbying Laws Scheduled to Come into Force on April 1, 2019

The new lobbying law for the province of Prince Edward Island is scheduled to come into effect April 1, 2019, according to its Department of Justice and Public Safety. Bill No. 24, the Lobbyist Registration Act, was passed in December […]

The new lobbying law for the province of Prince Edward Island is scheduled to come into effect April 1, 2019, according to its Department of Justice and Public Safety. 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 and has already received Royal Assent. Currently the province is setting up an Office of the Lobbyist Registrar.

Upon the Act coming into force, consultant lobbyists, in-house lobbyists, and employers of in-house lobbyists will be 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, a consultant lobbyist will be 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 will be 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. Canada’s three territories still do not have laws regulating lobbying.

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December 18, 2018 •

Canadian Territory of Yukon To Have Lobbying Law

Sometime in 2019 the Canadian territory of Yukon will have its first lobbying law. Bill No. 23, the Lobbyist Registration Act, received Royal Assent on November 22, 2018, but is not yet in effect. The Act will come into force […]

Sometime in 2019 the Canadian territory of Yukon will have its first lobbying law. Bill No. 23, the Lobbyist Registration Act, received Royal Assent on November 22, 2018, but is not yet in effect. The Act will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by the Commissioner in Executive Council, likely in late 2019.

Upon the Act coming into force, consultant lobbyists and in-house lobbyists will be required to register. Registration will be required for individuals communicating with a public office holder, directly or through grassroots communications, in attempts to lobby. Additionally, a consultant lobbyist will be required to register when arranging a meeting between a public office holder and any other person for the purposes covered by the Act.

There are two revolving door provisions in the Act. For the six-month period after ceasing to be in office, a former public office-holder is prohibited from lobbying as a consultant lobbyist, but he or she is not prohibited from immediately lobbying as an in-house lobbyist. Additionally, a consultant lobbyist is prohibited from becoming an employee of Yukon’s public service for six months after the terminating of his or her lobbyist registration.

Penalties for violations of the Lobbyist Registration Act include fines up to $25,000 for the first violation and up to $100,000 for each subsequent violation.

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December 12, 2018 •

FEC to Consider Whether Mining Cryptocurrencies Is Contribution

On December 13, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may consider whether allowing an individual volunteering to allow the processing power of his or her internet-enabled device to mine cryptocurrencies for the benefit a political committee would be considered a political […]

On December 13, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may consider whether allowing an individual volunteering to allow the processing power of his or her internet-enabled device to mine cryptocurrencies for the benefit a political committee would be considered a political contribution.

An advisory opinion request asks the FEC if a federal political committee could allow its individual supporters to volunteer the processing power of their internet-enabled devices to pool the processing power of these devices, which results in the mining of a “block.”

Mining allows transactions between users to be authenticated and generates a new cryptocurrency unit for the miner as a reward for creating the “block” and pays the miner a transaction fee. Creating blocks requires enormous amounts of computing power and can take years to generate a valid “block” by a single miner.

The FEC may consider Draft Advisory Opinion 2018-13 (Draft A) at its open meeting December 13, or hold it over for a future date.

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December 10, 2018 •

FEC Seeks Comments on Comments

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is seeking public comments on proposals for rules establishing specific time periods for the submission of public comments on drafts of advisory opinions. These comments must be submitted on or before February 1, 2019. In […]

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is seeking public comments on proposals for rules establishing specific time periods for the submission of public comments on drafts of advisory opinions. These comments must be submitted on or before February 1, 2019.

In 2016, a Petition for Rulemaking was received by the FEC requesting the Commission modify 11 CFR §112.3 and codify procedures establishing specific time periods for public comments on drafts of advisory opinions before the Commission votes on the drafts.

The petition, filed by Make Your Laws PAC, Inc., Make Your Laws Advocacy, Inc., Make Your Laws, Inc., and Dan Backer, Esq., additionally asks the Commission to amend existing regulations to require that, when the Commission makes public multiple drafts of an advisory opinion, the Commission indicate the differences between those drafts.

After the comment period is over, the FEC will consider the merits of the petition. The notice of availability for the submission of public comments was issued in the December 3 Federal Register.

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November 28, 2018 •

Alberta, Canada Considering Municipal Campaign Finance Bill

On November 26, a campaign finance bill concerning municipal elections in Alberta, Canada, was adjourned for consideration of an amendment increasing the proposed fines for third party election advertisers found in violations of the Act. The provincial government’s initial 180-page […]

On November 26, a campaign finance bill concerning municipal elections in Alberta, Canada, was adjourned for consideration of an amendment increasing the proposed fines for third party election advertisers found in violations of the Act.

The provincial government’s initial 180-page legislation, Bill 23, An Act to Renew Local Democracy in Alberta, introduced earlier this month, would ban corporate and union political contributions for municipal and school board elections. Individuals would be limited to contributions of $4,000 for local elections.

Additionally, campaign periods would be shortened from four years to one year before the date of a local election. The bill also requires financial disclosures from all local candidates, including individuals who fund their own campaigns.

Some entities would still be able to receive unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations, but would have to disclose the names of its contributors to Elections Alberta. Those organizations would also be limited on how the raised funds could be spent.

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November 28, 2018 •

Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act Introduced in House

On November 16, a 289-page bill with various changes to federal lobbying and ethics laws was introduced in the House of Representatives. The identical bill was introduced in August in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Among the legislative […]

On November 16, a 289-page bill with various changes to federal lobbying and ethics laws was introduced in the House of Representatives. The identical bill was introduced in August in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Among the legislative changes included in H.R. 7140, the “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act”, are an expanded definition of “lobbyist”. The new definition covers individuals employed for compensation making at least one lobbying contact or engaging in lobbying activities that do not include making lobbying contacts.

The bill creates the definition of “corporate lobbyist”, which are lobbyists compensated by for-profit entities and 501(c)(6) organizations like chambers of commerce, but does not include other 501(c) entities or political organizations. Reporting by lobbyists would be expanded to include disclosure of specific bills, policies, and governmental actions attempted to be influenced, meetings with public officials and documents provided to those officials.

The bill permanently bans all foreign lobbying by both foreign actors and American lobbyists. American lobbyists would be prohibited from accepting money from foreign governments, foreign individuals, and foreign companies to influence United States public policy.

Other changes include a life-time ban on lobbying by former presidents, vice presidents, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, and federal judges. All other federal employees would be banned from lobbying their former office, department, agency, or Congress after leaving their position until the end of the Administration, but for no less than two years or at least six years for corporate lobbyists. The bill prohibits companies from immediately hiring senior government officials from an agency or office recently lobbied by that company.

The law similarly would prohibit large companies, measured by annual revenue or market capitalization, from hiring former senior government officials for four years after they leave the government. Additionally, lobbyists would be prohibited from making political contributions to candidates or members of Congress, giving gifts to the executive and legislative branch officials being lobbied, and from working for any contingency fee. The bill also contains changes to the federal rule-making process, expands the open record laws, creates ethics requirements for the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court, and creates an independent U.S. Office of Public Integrity for enforcement.

An additional part of the bill addresses conflict of interest laws for federal office holders and employees, including a ban on stock ownership, while in office or employed, by members of Congress, federal judges, and White House staff and senior agency officials. Also, the legislation includes the “Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act”, which requires sitting presidents and vice presidents to place conflicted assets into blind trusts to be sold.

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