March 16, 2020 •

Utah Democrats, GOP Cancel In-person State Conventions

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions. Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings […]

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions.

Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings of groups in the state will be limited to 100 people.

Both party leaders say they are restructuring their April 25 state conventions, but had little information about how the meetings will look.

Vetting and candidate voting traditionally associated with the state convention will still occur, but primarily in an online format.

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August 22, 2016 •

WA Legislative Ethics Board to Consider National Convention Fundraising Issues

The Legislative Ethics Board will consider whether lawmakers need to file fundraising reports for money received to attend national political conventions as delegates. Some lawmakers attending this summer’s political conventions as delegates raised money to help fund their attendance at […]

Washington State CapitolThe Legislative Ethics Board will consider whether lawmakers need to file fundraising reports for money received to attend national political conventions as delegates.

Some lawmakers attending this summer’s political conventions as delegates raised money to help fund their attendance at the conventions through crowdsourcing sites such as GoFundMe. Informal advice earlier this year provided to lawmakers said that such donations did not violate ethics rules and did not need to be reported.

The Legislative Ethics Board is expected to review the matter in October.

Photo of the Washington State Capitol by Tradnor on Wikimedia Commons.

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July 26, 2016 •

Two delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention are permitted to receive free legal services from corporate nonprofit organizations thanks to a legal settlement between the delegates and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). On July 22, in Two Unnamed Plaintiffs […]

FEC

Two delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention are permitted to receive free legal services from corporate nonprofit organizations thanks to a legal settlement between the delegates and the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

On July 22, in Two Unnamed Plaintiffs v. FEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an order consenting to the settlement between the parties. The case arose from concerns that presidential candidate Donald Trump would bring litigation against those supporting delegate autonomy at the Republican National Convention, according to a press release from Pillar of Law Institute.

Benjamin Barr, lead counsel in the case, believes this settlement provides precedent for future convention delegates, including delegates at this week’s Democratic National Convention. “With this win, conscientious delegates now and for conventions to come are not alone. Non-profit corporations are free to help fund their efforts and donate legal services, breathing new life into the convention process,” said Barr in the press release.

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July 22, 2016 •

NYCU Video Digest – July 22, 2016

Here is our latest edition of the News You Can Use Video Digest. Have a great weekend!   NYCU Video Digest was produced by 2016 interns Brittany Anderson and Clémence Besnard for State and Federal Communications.

Here is our latest edition of the News You Can Use Video Digest. Have a great weekend!

 

NYCU Video Digest was produced by 2016 interns Brittany Anderson and Clémence Besnard for State and Federal Communications.

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July 15, 2016 •

NYCU Video Digest – July 15, 2016

We are excited to debut our very first weekly News You Can Use Video Digest!   NYCU Video Digest was produced by 2016 interns Brittany Anderson and Clémence Besnard for State and Federal Communications.

We are excited to debut our very first weekly News You Can Use Video Digest!

 


NYCU Video Digest was produced by 2016 interns Brittany Anderson and Clémence Besnard for State and Federal Communications.

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July 7, 2016 •

Ask the Experts – 2016 Party Conventions

Q. In what ways are my company and I allowed to get involved in the 2016 national party conventions? A. The opportunities for individuals and companies to involve themselves in this year’s party conventions are legion, but caution must be […]

John CozineQ. In what ways are my company and I allowed to get involved in the 2016 national party conventions?

A. The opportunities for individuals and companies to involve themselves in this year’s party conventions are legion, but caution must be exercised to avoid running afoul of the many intersecting laws governing your interaction with the delegates and other officials in attendance as well as the committees putting on the conventions.

Convention delegates and those seeking selection as delegates are subject to the federal contribution rules, which means corporations, labor organizations, foreign nationals and businesses, and federal contractors are not permitted to make contributions. However, those permitted to contribute may do so without limits. Delegates who are public officials are subject to the gifts laws governing the office they hold. In other words, federal officials are subject to federal gift laws, state officials are subject to state gift laws, and local officials are subject to any state and local laws applicable to their office.

Individuals and organizations seeking to become involved with the conventions may contribute to the convention host committees. The host committees are nonprofit organizations set up to encourage commerce in and project a favorable image of the convention city. Organizations and individuals may donate money and make in-kind donations to the host committee to defray the costs of the convention, including costs related to promoting the city and welcoming attendees, providing information and samples to attendees, administrative expenses, providing the use of convention facilities, transportation, law enforcement, hotel rooms, accommodations and hospitality for party site selection groups, and for other convention-related facilities and services.

Convention committees are related to the national party organizations and therefore federal campaign finance laws apply. As a result, direct and in-kind contributions using funds from a corporation, labor organization, foreign nations and businesses, and federal contractors are prohibited. Goods and services may be provided to the national committee in the ordinary course of business. Obviously, it’s quite important to distinguish the host committees from the convention committees. Thankfully, both host committees, the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee and the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, use the word “host” in their official names.

The national party conventions represent high profile ways to gain exposure both personally and for your organization. This high profile is also why compliance with the rules governing your dealings with committees, delegates, and attendees is so important.

experts line

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: experts@stateandfed.com.

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

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July 7, 2016 •

Take a Look at Our User’s Guide to National Party Conventions!

State and Federal Communications, the industry expert in providing government compliance information and consulting to many Fortune 500 companies, has developed a new ‘User’s Guide to National Party Conventions’ to provide organizations and convention participants with comprehensive compliance advice and […]

User's Guide to National Party ConventionsState and Federal Communications, the industry expert in providing government compliance information and consulting to many Fortune 500 companies, has developed a new ‘User’s Guide to National Party Conventions’ to provide organizations and convention participants with comprehensive compliance advice and guidelines to navigate the national party conventions. The publication is being offered free to any interested person after registering their inquiry on the company’s website at http://www.stateandfed.com/conventions/

The firm’s staff of attorneys and researchers has expertise in state, federal, and municipal laws regarding lobbying, political contributions, and procurement lobbying. They have teamed together to prepare the new User’s Guide in advance of this year’s Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena from July 18-21, 2016, and also the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center and Pennsylvania Convention Center from July 25-July 28, 2016.

Each convention operates to nominate a Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate for that party. These conventions are a gathering place for delegates and party members from across the United States, providing an excellent opportunity for organizations and individuals to interface and network with a wide range of public officials. Therefore, knowledge of the applicable federal, state, and local rules governing interactions and gift giving with both convention delegates and other public officials in attendance is of vital importance. The User’s Guide explains and details state-by-state jurisdiction permissibility of gifts to delegates and attendees who are public officials. It also informs readers of the different political leaders and attendees that will be at the conventions, including their roles, and the contribution rules that apply.

According to Ms. Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, based in Akron, Ohio, “Producing the 2016 User’s Guide to National Party Conventions, and offering this free of charge, is our way to give back to the many people involved in our country’s great political system. We want to provide lobbying and compliance information from our vast resources to help everyone stay compliant at these conventions.”

This is the third edition of the State and Federal Communications User’s Guide to National Party Conventions. Previous issues were produced in 2012 and 2008.

Ms. Bartz adds, “We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to know and act correctly about what gifts can be given, to avoid potential ethics problems and unexpected fines at the conventions.”

For more information and to receive the free ‘User’s Guide to National Party Conventions’ please visit: http://www.stateandfed.com/conventions/

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March 21, 2016 •

Primer: Contested Convention for the Republican Party

As the primaries wind down and the conventions draw closer, there is more and more discussion of the Republican convention being contested. But what is a contested convention? How does the Republican Party handle such an event? And what does […]

Megan Huber-KovachikAs the primaries wind down and the conventions draw closer, there is more and more discussion of the Republican convention being contested. But what is a contested convention? How does the Republican Party handle such an event? And what does it mean for the eventual nominee?

The Pew Research Center describes a contested convention occurring “when no candidate has amassed the majority of delegate votes needed to win his or her party’s nomination in advance of the convention. A candidate still might gather the delegates needed by the time balloting begins, in which case the nomination is settled on the first ballot. But should the first ballot not produce a nominee, most delegates become free to vote for whomever they wish, leading potentially to multiple ballots.”

Since the adoption of the modern primary system in the early 1970s, most presidential conventions have not been contested as one candidate usually won enough delegates to enter the convention as the presumptive nominee. But this year there is a possibility no Republican candidate will have the majority of delegates when the convention begins.

Under the rules of the Republican National Convention, “each candidate for nomination for President … shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight or more states” (including territories) before he or she is able to be on the convention’s first ballot. The balloting process ends when one candidate receives the majority of delegate votes. This year there are 2,472 delegates, so to secure the Republican nomination a candidate will need 1,237—one more vote than 50 percent. Simply having a plurality of delegates is not enough to become the Republican nominee.

Entering the convention, each candidate who ran in the primaries will have a dedicated number of delegates from each state based on his or her performance in that state. Candidates who fail to have the support of enough states or who dropped out will not be able to be on the first ballot.

For the first ballot, the majority of delegates are bound to a specific candidate based on the performance of the candidate in the delegate’s state due to convention rules and, in some cases, state law. Some states assign delegates based on percentage of votes won in the primary, while others are “winner take all.” About 5 percent of the delegates come to the convention free to vote for who they want. These delegates, which include state party leaders and delegates from states or territories electing to not hold a primary, are able to vote their preference on the first ballot. Delegates who were bound to candidates who do not appear on the first ballot may also become unbound for the first ballot.

If no candidate receives a majority vote on the first ballot, the second and subsequent ballots are open to all who wish to put forth their names. Delegates are progressively unbound until all of them are free to vote their personal preference. The balloting will continue until a nominee is chosen. But the more ballots that occur, the less likely the nominee will win in November.

A Pew Research Center study looking at presidential elections since the Civil War found that only seven candidates coming out of contested conventions with multiple ballots were elected president. However, four of those seven candidates had opponents who had also been elected through a contested convention requiring multiple ballots. The last time this occurred was in 1920 when Warren Harding, who required 10 ballots to secure the nomination, beat James Cox, who required 44 ballots to secure his nomination.

The last president to be elected after a contested convention and face a candidate from an uncontested convention was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. Adlai Stevenson was the last candidate to require multiple ballots to win the party nomination.

Sources:

Call of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Republican National Committee, 11/30/15

Contested presidential conventions, and why parties try to avoid them, Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center, 2/4/16

The Democratic Convention of 1924, Digital History (archived page)

An Extremely Detailed Guide to What the Heck Might Happen at a GOP Contested Convention, Josh Voorhees, Slate Magazine, 3/10/16

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