April 21, 2017 •

Executive Committee of the Williams Honors College Alumni Board Honors University of Akron Students

If we believe Benjamin Franklin’s old adage, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” But today’s student loan market can discourage many young people from realizing their potential through higher education. As a result, I was thrilled to accept […]

WHCABIf we believe Benjamin Franklin’s old adage, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” But today’s student loan market can discourage many young people from realizing their potential through higher education. As a result, I was thrilled to accept an invitation to chair The University of Akron Williams Honors College Alumni Board’s Endowed Scholarship Committee, which selects a junior in The University of Akron Williams Honors College to receive a scholarship to defray the costs of their senior year of study, allowing them instead to focus on successfully completing their college education while also juggling post-graduation plans.

Since assuming the role of Secretary on the Executive Committee of the Williams Honors College Alumni Board (WHCAB) in 2016, I have participated in many wonderful opportunities to meet emerging leaders and successful alumni dedicated to building the Akron community. However, reviewing the scholarship applications provided a renewed sense of pride in my alma mater and the place where I grew up; each student was incredibly accomplished, and determined to meaningfully contribute to their campus and community.

At our annual Alumni and Student Breakfast held April 8, 2017,  the Committee honored ten outstanding seniors, the recipient of the The John B. and Kathryn M. Hunter Award in Community Leadership and Service, and the 2017 Endowed Scholarship winner, Neil Bernard. Neil is a native of South Africa who chose The University of Akron Williams Honors College to begin his educational journey towards becoming a doctor, and he was selected for his excellent scholastic accomplishments, in addition to his civic engagement.

Looking to the future, I hope to continue fostering relationships between University of Akron students, alumni, and Akron’s community leaders, ideally to help Akron maintain bright, driven young people. I am extremely grateful to State and Federal Communications, Inc. for supporting me in this goal.

 

Holly WHCAB
From Left to Right: Dr. Lakeesha Ransom, Dean, University of Akron Williams Honors College; Chanel Jackson, Graduate Assistant; Chris Burton, Treasurer, WHCAB; Neil Bernard, scholarship recipient; Holly Johnston, Secretary, WHCAB; Derek Daily, WHCAB; Lynn Lalley Wagers, Chair, WHCAB; Laura Defrain, WHCAB

 

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August 25, 2016 •

Governor Signs New York Ethics Reform Bill

Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 8160, part of his five-point ethics reform package introduced earlier this year. Effective immediately, individuals working in public relations are no longer required to register or report as lobbyists. Other major changes to […]

Andrew-CuomoToday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 8160, part of his five-point ethics reform package introduced earlier this year. Effective immediately, individuals working in public relations are no longer required to register or report as lobbyists.

Other major changes to lobbying law will take effect 30 days from today. The most important of these changes are: lobbyists and lobbyist employers will face lower reporting thresholds, and 501(c)(4) organizations engaged in lobbying activity will be required to disclose all donors, including 501(c)(3) organizations.

In the realm of campaign finance, the new reform provides definitions and permissible actions for two types of political committees and increased disclosure from PACs.

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August 22, 2016 •

New York JCOPE Investigation Could Impact Lobbying Disclosure

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is investigating a series of donations to Manhattan nonprofit Pledge 2 Protect. Under current law, groups engaged in lobbying activities exceeding $50,000 annually must disclose donors of $5,000 or more. The investigation arose […]

JCOPEThe Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is investigating a series of donations to Manhattan nonprofit Pledge 2 Protect.

Under current law, groups engaged in lobbying activities exceeding $50,000 annually must disclose donors of $5,000 or more. The investigation arose from a series of donations nearing $700,000 from unknown sources to a newly founded law firm, Marquart & Small. These donations were ultimately given to Pledge 2 Protect, with only Marquart & Small disclosed as Pledge 2 Protect’s donor.

Depending on the outcome of the case, Marquart & Small may be required to name their undisclosed third-party donors, and similarly situated groups would have to do the same moving forward.

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August 19, 2016 •

No Minnesota Special Session Ahead

After negotiations on Thursday broke down, Gov. Mark Dayton announced no special session will take place. Republican leaders would not agree to a special session to fund a light rail project, while Democrats would not agree to holding the session […]

Minnesota_Capitol_domeAfter negotiations on Thursday broke down, Gov. Mark Dayton announced no special session will take place.

Republican leaders would not agree to a special session to fund a light rail project, while Democrats would not agree to holding the session without approval for the project.

The result is a tax bill that would have provided $260 million in tax breaks for certain groups will not be passed this year.

Photo of the Minnesota State Capitol dome by Mulad on Wikimedia Commons.

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August 15, 2016 •

No Minnesota Special Session This Week

Gov. Mark Dayton previously hoped to call a special session of the Legislature during the third week of August. Lawmakers have been unable to agree on key issues, including a controversial light rail bill, so no special session is currently […]

Gov. Mark DaytonGov. Mark Dayton previously hoped to call a special session of the Legislature during the third week of August.

Lawmakers have been unable to agree on key issues, including a controversial light rail bill, so no special session is currently scheduled for this week.

Dayton will meet again with leadership from the Legislature on Thursday, in what he has said may be the last meeting to discuss a special session.

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August 12, 2016 •

New Mexico Fixes Campaign Finance Website Glitch

During a spot check of campaign spending records, election officials realized a glitch in the database showed discrepancies between information searchable online and printable reports. Online, the purpose of some expenditures is omitted, for example. The glitch was discovered after […]

New Mexico with Great SealDuring a spot check of campaign spending records, election officials realized a glitch in the database showed discrepancies between information searchable online and printable reports. Online, the purpose of some expenditures is omitted, for example.

The glitch was discovered after an ethics complaint was filed against Republican candidate for secretary of state Nora Espinoza, relying on the system’s printable reports.

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August 11, 2016 •

JCOPE Extends Lobbyist Amnesty Program

The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics has extended the deadline for the lobbyist amnesty program through September 30. The program is meant to encourage nonfiling lobbyists and employers to comply with the Lobbying Act by disclosing activity, as […]

JCOPEThe New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics has extended the deadline for the lobbyist amnesty program through September 30. The program is meant to encourage nonfiling lobbyists and employers to comply with the Lobbying Act by disclosing activity, as required by law.

The program remains open only to those who have never been contacted by JCOPE for noncompliance with filing requirements and have never been the subject of a criminal proceeding for a Lobbying Act violation. The parallel New York City program was not extended.

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August 3, 2016 •

Minnesota Campaign Finance Board Selects New Leader

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has named Jeffrey Sigurdson as its new executive director. He currently serves as a member of the Campaign Finance Board and has previously worked in the election division of the Secretary of […]

MinnesotaThe Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has named Jeffrey Sigurdson as its new executive director.

He currently serves as a member of the Campaign Finance Board and has previously worked in the election division of the Secretary of State’s Office.

Sigurdson will replace current Executive Director Gary Goldsmith, who is retiring from the position.

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August 2, 2016 •

Ethics Complaint Filed Against New Mexico State Representative

Progress Now New Mexico has filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office alleging state Rep. Paul Pacheco failed to disclose a conflict of interest on a major project. According to the complaint, Pacheco violated state law and House ethics […]

Paul PachecoProgress Now New Mexico has filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office alleging state Rep. Paul Pacheco failed to disclose a conflict of interest on a major project.

According to the complaint, Pacheco violated state law and House ethics rules when he requested over $1.2 million in state funds for the project managed by his brother, architect David Pacheco.

The Attorney General’s Office is currently reviewing the complaint.

Photo of Rep. Paul Pacheco by Gopmario on Wikimedia Commons.

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August 2, 2016 •

Michigan to Hold Special Primary Election

Gov. Rick Snyder has called for a special primary election to take place August 30. Candidates will be running to fill the vacancy created after the sudden death of state Rep. Julie Plawecki, who served the 11th House District. The […]

MichiganGov. Rick Snyder has called for a special primary election to take place August 30.

Candidates will be running to fill the vacancy created after the sudden death of state Rep. Julie Plawecki, who served the 11th House District.

The general election for the completion of Plawecki’s term will be held November 8, with the winner serving through the end of 2016.

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July 28, 2016 •

New Mexico Secretary of State Candidate Faces Ethics Complaint

The treasurer of the state Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Republican nominee for secretary of state, Nora Espinoza. The complaint alleges violations of state law in her campaign finance reports, specifically failing to report the purpose of […]

Nora EspinozaThe treasurer of the state Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Republican nominee for secretary of state, Nora Espinoza.

The complaint alleges violations of state law in her campaign finance reports, specifically failing to report the purpose of some expenditures, failing to identify certain vendors and spending for credit card reimbursement, and failing to properly identify some donors’ occupations, instead stating “business” or “business person.”

Espinoza is running to complete the term of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who resigned after misusing campaign funds.

Photo of Nora Espinoza courtesy of the New Mexico Legislature archived website.

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July 27, 2016 •

Prince George’s County, MD Proposes Addition of Two At-Large Council Seats

This November, voters will decide whether to approve the addition of two at-large seats on the County Council, increasing the number of council members from nine to 11. The at-large seats would represent countywide seats instead of a specific district, […]

Seal of Prince George's County, MarylandThis November, voters will decide whether to approve the addition of two at-large seats on the County Council, increasing the number of council members from nine to 11.

The at-large seats would represent countywide seats instead of a specific district, which proponents argue will combat parochialism.

Neighboring high-population counties, including Montgomery County, frequently use at-large seats to better distribute resources throughout the county.

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July 22, 2016 •

Suffolk County, NY Committee Delays Campaign Finance Measure from November Ballot Appearance

A legislative committee has voted against a proposed bill to finance Suffolk County candidates’ campaigns with future casino revenues and to increase term limits from two to four years. Specifics of the bill include a 4-to-1 match for donations up […]

Suffolk CountyA legislative committee has voted against a proposed bill to finance Suffolk County candidates’ campaigns with future casino revenues and to increase term limits from two to four years. Specifics of the bill include a 4-to-1 match for donations up to $150 for all candidates who agree to a $1,000 cap on contributions.

As a result of the vote, the bill will not appear on the November ballot, but an initiative to allow a video slot machine casino in the Village of Islandia will.

The campaign finance bill’s sponsor, Legislator Rob Calarco, has indicated he would reintroduce his legislation if voters approve the casino initiative.

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July 21, 2016 •

New York Bill Proposes Giving Limits

Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Representative Charles Lavine have introduced a new bill which would amend the penal law relating to unlawful giving. Senate Bill 8169 would close a loophole allowing public officials to receive or give gifts or benefits in […]

New York mapSen. Todd Kaminsky and Representative Charles Lavine have introduced a new bill which would amend the penal law relating to unlawful giving. Senate Bill 8169 would close a loophole allowing public officials to receive or give gifts or benefits in excess of $3,000 simply because of their official position.

The bill does not affect campaign contributions, which are already monitored by the Board of Elections.

The legislation is a response to the recent Supreme Court decision in McDonnell v. The United States, which permits officials to receive lavish gifts so long as the gifts are not exchanged for promises to perform governmental acts.

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