July 29, 2015 •

Maine Ballot Measure Proposes Changes to State’s Campaign Finance Law

Mainers for Accountable Elections, an activist group advocating for stricter campaign finance law, has developed a ballot measure to be considered by voters in the November 2015 election. The measure proposes to establish gubernatorial transition committees to help finance a […]

MaineMainers for Accountable Elections, an activist group advocating for stricter campaign finance law, has developed a ballot measure to be considered by voters in the November 2015 election. The measure proposes to establish gubernatorial transition committees to help finance a governor-elect’s inauguration; increase penalties for late filings and certain other campaign finance violations; and require independent expenditure communications to include a conspicuous statement listing the top three funders of the communication.

The measure also proposes several amendments to the Maine Clean Election Act related to public funding for candidates. The most ambitious section of the measure proposes to require lawmakers to eliminate $6 million in corporate tax breaks in order to fund the expansion of the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

The measure will appear as “Question 1” on the November 2015 ballot.

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December 22, 2014 •

Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission Issues Statement Regarding Galassini Ruling

On December 19, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission issued a statement regarding the court ruling earlier this month invalidating the statutory definition of political committee. On December 5, a federal judge declared the state’s definition of political committee “vague, […]

Arizona with FlagOn December 19, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission issued a statement regarding the court ruling earlier this month invalidating the statutory definition of political committee. On December 5, a federal judge declared the state’s definition of political committee “vague, overbroad, and consequently unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.” In Galassini v. Town of Fountain Hills, Senior District Judge James A. Teilborg of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, relied on his prior determination finding A.R.S. §16-901(19) unconstitutional.

In its statement, the commission says, “We strongly recommend that candidates and other persons who participate financially in state and legislative candidate elections continue to make filings as required by law, subject to enforcement under the Clean Elections Act and Rules.”

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December 18, 2013 •

Arizona’s Supreme Court Allows Higher Political Contribution Limits

On December 17, 2013, the Arizona Supreme Court found House Bill 2593 to be constitutional, allowing newer and higher political contribution limits to take effect. On October 15, 2013, a state Court of Appeals had directed the secretary of state […]

Arizona with FlagOn December 17, 2013, the Arizona Supreme Court found House Bill 2593 to be constitutional, allowing newer and higher political contribution limits to take effect.

On October 15, 2013, a state Court of Appeals had directed the secretary of state not to enforce the new law, which had become effective on September 13, 2013. The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law was brought by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and others from the state.

Individuals and noncertified political committees may now give $2,000 to candidates running for legislative and statewide offices who do not participate in the state’s Citizens Clean Elections Act campaign financing system. Contributions made to candidates running for local office may be made in amounts up to $2,500. Contribution limits by committees certified by the secretary of state have also been increased.

Additionally, H.B. 2593 removes aggregate contribution limitations for individuals and some political committees.

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September 13, 2013 •

Political Contributions Limits Increase in Arizona

No Aggregate Contribution Limitations

Arizona Outline with flagA new law in Arizona raising the limits of political contributions to candidates took effect today. Individuals and noncertified political committees will now be able to give $2,000 to candidates running for legislative and statewide offices who do not participate in the state’s Citizens Clean Elections Act campaign financing system. Contributions made to candidates running for local office may be made in amounts up to $2,500. Contribution limits by committees certified by the secretary of state have also been increased.

Additionally, the new law removes aggregate contribution limitations for individuals and some political committees.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law, which was brought by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and others from the state, is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court.

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April 9, 2013 •

Tuesday Lobbying and Campaign Finance News

Keep up with the latest government relations news with these articles:

K StreetLobbying

Lobby Reports Expected To Show $750+ Million in First Quarter Lobbying” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call.

Indiana: “9-year-old lobbyist weighs in on school safety” by Maureen Hayden in the Tribune-Star News.

Kentucky: “Lawmakers treated to lavish parties in Frankfort” by The Associated Press in Kentucky New Era.

Missouri: “Loophole hides trail of lobbyists’ largesse” by Jason Hancock in the Kansas City Star.

Campaign Finance

James Bopp Jr. among 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” news release in the Tribune-Star News.

Florida: “Lights grow dim for campaign finance, ethics bills” by The Associated Press in WPEC News.

Maryland: “Maryland lawmakers approve campaign finance reform bill” by The Associated Press in the Washington Post.

New Jersey: “Group raising money for NJ races contests political donation limits” by Herb Jackson in the Bergen Record.

New Jersey: “Contributions from government contractors to New Jersey pols dropped to $7.5 million in 2012” by Anthony Campisi in the Bergen Record.

New York: “Eye on NY Spotlight: Bill Samuels on campaign finance reform and latest Albany scandals” by Robert Harding in the Auburn Citizen.

Texas: “Austin rep proposes restrictions for leftover campaign cash” by Tim Eaton in the Austin American-Statesman.

West Virginia: “House and Senate differ on campaign financing” by Phil Kabler in the Charleston Gazette.

Ethics

Colorado: “Scott Gessler’s discretionary spending not unique, investigator says” by Joey Bunch in the Denver Post.

Florida: “Lawmakers eye ‘blind trust’ in ethics reform bill” by Mary Ellen Klas in the Miami Herald.

New York: “Criticism of Cuomo Grows as the Problems in Albany Endure” by Danny Hakim in The New York Times.

New York: “Cuomo addresses ethics package” by Casey Seiler in the Albany Times Union.

Pennsylvania: “Bipartisan group of Pennsylvania state senators to introduce ethics bills” by Kate Giammarise in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Utah: “No Ethics Complaints Against Utah Legislators in Two Years” by Bob Bernick on UtahPolicy.com.

Elections

Which Governors Are Most Vulnerable in 2014?” by Micah Cohen in the New York Times’ Five Thirty Eight blog.

Government Tech and Social Media

Majority of Senate Standing Committees Still Aren’t Tweeting” by Joseph Marks in NextGov.

New Tactics in Fight Against Corruption Include Crowdsourcing, Mobile Games and SMS” by Jessica McKenzie in TechPresident.

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March 28, 2013 •

Thursday News Roundup

Here are some great articles for today’s government relations news summary:

blue diamondLobbying

Internet Association bolsters lobbying force” by Jennifer Martinez in The Hill.

Colorado: “Colorado gun lobbyist says he did nothing to warrant an ethics charge” by Lynn Bartels in the Denver Post.

Georgia: “Deal reported on lobbyist gift reform” by Greg Bluestein and Chris Joyner in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Campaign Finance

OFA Campaign Finance Reform Push Explained In Call To Supporters” by Paul Blumenthal in the Huffington Post.

Arizona: “Clean Elections’ funding could be returned to ballot” by Sean Peick in the Arizona Republic.

Illinois: “Bernard Schoenburg: Gaps remain in campaign finance reporting rules” – opinion piece by Bernard Schoenburg in the State Journal-Register.

Corporate Political Advocacy

Poll: Public wary of corporate politics” by Byron Tau in Politico.

Open Government

New law requires 72 hours of notice for public meetings” by The Associated Press in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

From the State Legislatures

Virginia: “Lacey Putney, longest-serving Va. lawmaker, to retire” by The Associated Press in the Times Dispatch.

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January 24, 2013 •

Thursday News Roundup

Here are some great articles for today’s government relations news summary:

blue diamondLobbying

Sandy adds a twist to some firms’ lobbying efforts” by Alex Guillen in Politico.

Business Lobbying In 2012 Soared, Buoyed By Fiscal Cliff Crisis” by Christina Wilkie in the Huffington Post.

K Street stumbles for the second straight year” by Catherine Ho in the Washington Post.

Georgia:  “Road contractors shower governor with campaign donations” by Greg Bluestein, Ariel Hart and James Salzer in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Wisconsin: “Contract lobbying still ‘under the radar’” by Bill Lueders in Wisconsin Watch.

Campaign Finance

Arizona:  “Jan Brewer taps lawyer for Clean Elections post” by The Associated Press in the Arizona Capitol Times.

Florida:  “Florida group wants to end caps on campaign donations” by T.W. Farnam in the Washington Post.

Washington:  “Lawmaker wants to fix Public Disclosure Commission online system” by Brad Shannon in the News Tribune.

Ethics

Ethics Panel Requires Added Disclosure of Funds, Accounts” by Amanda Becker in Roll Call.

Connecticut:  “Smoke shop owner pleads guilty in campaign finance case” by Mark Pazniokas in the Connecticut Mirror.

Iowa:  “Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Disclosure Board seeks complaint process change” by Rod Boshart in the Sioux City Journal.

Texas:  “Weak Disclosure Laws Keep Public in the Dark” by Ryan Murphy and Jay Root in the Texas Tribune.

Elections

Missouri House passes elections bill” by Elizabeth Crisp in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Virginia: “Lawmakers move to change Va. electoral vote system” by Julian Walker in the Virginian-Pilot.

Washington:  “Washington state lawmakers press for speedier election results” by The Associated Press in the Oregonian.

From the State Legislatures

Idaho:  “Wednesday highlights in the Idaho Legislature” in the Idaho Statesman.

Redistricting

Virginia: “Va. House Speaker holds key to redistricting vote” by Errin Haines and Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post.

Virginia: “Stewart cheers Va. Senate redistricting” by Laura Vozella in the Washington Post.

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September 14, 2012 •

West Virginia Public Campaign Finance Program Invalidated

Violates free speech rights of candidates receiving private contributions

Flag of West VirginiaThe West Virginia Supreme Court has struck down the state’s public campaign financing pilot program.

The program, similar to other programs invalidated in Arizona and Nebraska, provided additional public financing to candidates whose privately-financed opponents made expenditures beyond a certain amount.

The court held that West Virginia’s program violated privately-financed candidates’ free speech rights by essentially preventing them from making expenditures in order to avoid their opponents’ receipt of additional funds.

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March 20, 2012 •

Campaign Finance, Redistricting, and Ethics in the News

Today we have stories about campaign finance reform in North Carolina, clean elections in Connecticut, campaign finance violations, redistricting, and more:

newspaperCampaign Finance

Connecticut: “Watchdogs worried clean elections fund could run dry in next race for governor” by Keith M. Phaneuf in CTMirror.org.

District of Columbia: “Campaign finance inquiry takes close look at money-order donations in District” by Mike DeBonis and Nikita Stewart in The Washington Post.

Michigan: “Michigan group delays corporate disclosure measure” by The Associated Press on Michigan Live.

Missouri: “Kansas City lawmaker faces $30,585 in ethics fees” by Chris Blank in The Kansas City Star.

North Carolina: “Dome: Board of Elections will discuss campaign finance law” by John Frank and Tim Funk in The News & Observer.

Wisconsin: “GAB fined 110 people for campaign finance and ethics violations in last 3 years” by Kate Golden in The Wisconsin State Journal.

Campaigns and Elections

Rogue political robocalls on the rise in Ohio” by Sabrina Eaton in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Redistricting

Florida: “New Senate district map ticks off both parties” by Mary Ellen Klas and Darla Cameron in The Miami Herald.

New York: “Incumbents at risk in final N.Y. map” by Alex Isenstadt in Politico.

Ethics

Federal prosecutor under fire for anonymously commenting on news website” by Andrew Lapin in Government Executive.

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January 5, 2012 •

Matching Funds to Remain for Maine’s Gubernatorial Candidates

Joint Committee Votes Down Bill to Exclude Gubernatorial Candidates from Clean Elections Program

End to LD 120The Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs of the Maine State Legislature has killed LD 120, a bill aiming to stop gubernatorial candidates from participating in the state’s clean elections program.

“An Act to End Taxpayer-funded Campaigns for Gubernatorial Candidates” was held over from last session, but the Joint Committee voted for a recommendation of “ought not to pass” with little debate.

For the full story read “Committee kills bill that would weaken clean election law” by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.

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November 23, 2011 •

Lawsuit Brought against Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission

Suit alleges the commission used funds to promote itself.

Arizona Clean ElectionsThe Arizona Republic  reports that the group  No Taxpayer Money for Politicians has brought a lawsuit against the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Arizona.

Former state Sen. Jonathan Paton is quoted in the article as saying, “They’re using this [public money] for electioneering purposes and not for educating voters.”

The commission’s Executive Director Todd Lang called the suit a “wrong-headed” attempt to eliminate the agency’s education fund.

For the full story, read the article “Suit: Clean Elections agency misused tax dollars” by Mary Jo Pitzl.

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August 30, 2011 •

“Fair Fight” Not Fair Constitutionally According to Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission

Nebraska to Cease Enforcement of “Fair Fight” Campaign Statute

Nebraska State CapitolThe Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission voted unanimously Friday to stop enforcement of a 1992 law aimed at leveling the playing field in state political races. This decision stems from the recent United States Supreme Court decision concerning the state of Arizona where a similar law was deemed unconstitutional.

Under Nebraska’s law, candidates could qualify for “fair fight” money from the state if they adhered to voluntary spending limits and their opponent had exceeded such limits.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who had recently opined the law would be found unconstitutional if challenged in court, will have 10 days to file suit once the Commission officially notifies his office of the refusal to enforce the law, as is required in Nebraska any time a state agency refuses to enforce a law.

Photo of the Nebraska State Capitol by Decumanus on Wikipedia.

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July 25, 2011 •

News You Can Use Digest – July 25, 2011

Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:

News You Can Use logo

Federal:

Edwards Campaign Owes $2 Million

Pakistan’s Military Plotted to Tilt U.S. Policy, FBI Says

Washington’s Long Debt-Ceiling Debate Hits K Street in the Wallet

From the States and Municipalities:

Alabama

Country Stars Push Senator to Vote

California

Jerry Brown Assumes Uncommon Influence over FPPC

Georgia

Ethics Panelists Gave to Campaigns

Hawaii

Hawaii Ethics Director: Lawmakers ‘Pushed’ the Line on Gifts

Maine

Judge Strikes Down Maine’s Matching Funds Law

Massachusetts

Massachusetts House Democrats Block Debate on Republicans’ Ethics Rules Changes

North Carolina

North Carolina Election Will Go On, Even if No One Is Running

Pennsylvania

Chairman: Ethics board ‘being strangled’ by budget cuts

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Official Fired for Accepting Meals, Gifts from City Contractors

Tennessee

Tennessee GOP Finds Loophole in Campaign Law

Washington

Judge Blocks Washington Limit on Recall Contributions

West Virginia

Some W.Va. Election Ad Rules Again Struck Down

 

Jim SedorState and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.

News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.

Jim Sedor is editor of News You Can Use.

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June 28, 2011 •

West Virginia to Review Public Funding Program

Secretary of State Tennant will discuss the issue with the governor and attorney general.

W.V. Secretary of State Natalie TennantIn response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down Arizona’s public funding matching system, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has indicated that West Virginia will review its own public funding program.

West Virginia’s public funding program, approved by lawmakers in 2010, is set to begin with a pilot project involving two state Supreme Court seats up for election in the 2012 general election. West Virginia’s law would give candidates who opt into the program more state money as spending by their opponents or independent expenditures by third parties increased.

Tennant has stated that she plans to meet and discuss this issue with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

Photo of Natalie Tennant courtesy of Natalie Tennant on Wikipedia.

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