September 16, 2016 •

FEC Unable to Agree on Policy Regarding Permissible Corporate Political Activity by U.S. Domestic Subsidiaries of Foreign Nationals

On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals […]

FEC On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity.

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from directly or indirectly making contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements in connection with federal, state, or local elections. FEC regulations also prohibit foreign nationals from directing, controlling, or participating in the decision-making process of any person, such as a corporation, with regards to decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections in the U.S.

Additionally, the FEC was unable to reach an agreement on the creation of a safe harbor for political committees to accept corporate contributions deemed not to have come from foreign national sources.

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April 20, 2016 •

San Luis Obispo, CA City Council Votes Against Democracy Vouchers

San Luis Obispo City Council voted yesterday not to proceed with a proposed ordinance to create a system of democracy voucher funding for municipal elections. The voucher system would have provided each registered voter with a $20 voucher that could […]

Seal_of_San_Luis_Obispo,_CaliforniaSan Luis Obispo City Council voted yesterday not to proceed with a proposed ordinance to create a system of democracy voucher funding for municipal elections. The voucher system would have provided each registered voter with a $20 voucher that could be donated to the municipal candidate of choice.

Additionally, this ordinance would have created an ethics commission and required reporting on independent expenditures over $500.

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April 14, 2016 •

MA OCPF Issues Regulation Concerning Coordination

On April 8, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) issued new regulations concerning coordination between candidates and independent expenditure-only political committees. The new regulations clarify definitions in the law for the terms “independent expenditure” and “electioneering communication” […]

MassachusettsOn April 8, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) issued new regulations concerning coordination between candidates and independent expenditure-only political committees. The new regulations clarify definitions in the law for the terms “independent expenditure” and “electioneering communication” and try to “define situations in which a presumption of coordination exists between a candidate and an outside spender who is expressly advocating on the candidate’s behalf,” according to the OCPF.

The OCPF has said the regulations were created in response to frequent inquiries about the rules of coordination between candidates and other political entities.

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February 29, 2016 •

MA OCPF Seeks to Clarify Differences Between Coordinated and Independent Political Expenditures

On February 24, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) held a public hearing on proposed regulations to clarify political expenditure coordination between entities. The proposed regulations seek to elucidate the differences between independent and coordinated expenditures, including […]

OCPFOn February 24, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) held a public hearing on proposed regulations to clarify political expenditure coordination between entities. The proposed regulations seek to elucidate the differences between independent and coordinated expenditures, including “situations in which a presumption of coordination exists between a candidate and an outside spender who is expressly advocating on the candidate’s behalf,” according to an OCPF press release. “We get complaints all the time, so we’re trying to create a roadmap,” said OCPF Director Michael Sullivan, as reported in the New Boston Post. Written comments about the draft regulations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on March 4.

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August 25, 2015 •

Illinois Gov. Signs Bill to Shine Light on Independent Expenditures

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Senate Bill 248, increasing the transparency of political spending. The bill requires political committees making independent expenditures of $1,000 or more file a report within five business of the expenditure. If the expenditure is made […]

IllinoisGov. Bruce Rauner has signed Senate Bill 248, increasing the transparency of political spending. The bill requires political committees making independent expenditures of $1,000 or more file a report within five business of the expenditure.

If the expenditure is made during the 60-day period before an election, the report must be filed within two business days.

The bill, now Public Act 99-0437, goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

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July 30, 2015 •

Proposed FEC Rules Up for Public Comment

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is seeking public comment on new campaign finance regulations addressing disclosure of independent expenditures and electioneering communications. The FEC is also seeking comment on new rules addressing solicitations of corporate and labor organization employees and […]

Federal Election Commission logoThe Federal Election Commission (FEC) is seeking public comment on new campaign finance regulations addressing disclosure of independent expenditures and electioneering communications. The FEC is also seeking comment on new rules addressing solicitations of corporate and labor organization employees and members, independence of expenditures made by independent expenditure-only political committees and accounts, and election-related spending by foreign nationals.

Comments may be submitted electronically at http://www.fec.gov/fosers, referencing REG 2015–04, and must be submitted on or before October 27, 2015.

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May 13, 2015 •

Philadelphia City Council Seeks Greater Transparency from Super PACs

City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a measure to increase the transparency of money donated to city elections. With the mayoral race hitting its stride, independent expenditure PACs are making their presence known, donating millions to support their candidate of […]

Seal of PhiladelphiaCity Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a measure to increase the transparency of money donated to city elections. With the mayoral race hitting its stride, independent expenditure PACs are making their presence known, donating millions to support their candidate of choice.

The bill, while unable to limit these contributions, seeks to increase disclosure of the source of PAC funds by moving the first report from 11 days before a primary election to six weeks before the primary and every two weeks thereafter. This requirement would apply to donations of $5,000 or more on communications mentioning a candidate in any way.

Though the bill was introduced too late to apply to the primary on May 19, Clarke is hoping the changes will be in effect prior to the general election in November.

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April 28, 2015 •

Campaign Finance Bill in Iowa Signed into Law

Gov. Terry Branstad signed Senate File 135 into law on April 24, 2015. The bill increases political expenditures triggering filing requirements for committees to $1,000. The bill also amends the definition of an independent expenditure to be one or more […]

Flag-map_of_Iowa.svgGov. Terry Branstad signed Senate File 135 into law on April 24, 2015. The bill increases political expenditures triggering filing requirements for committees to $1,000.

The bill also amends the definition of an independent expenditure to be one or more expenditures in excess of $1,000. It also makes anonymous contributions in excess of $25 illegal.

Beginning January 1, 2016, all committees not already required to file electronically must do so by 4:30 p.m. of the day the filing is due.

Senate File 135 takes effect July 1, 2015.

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March 4, 2015 •

New Mexico Bill Would End Contribution Limits

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (D) is sponsoring a bill to eliminate the state’s campaign contribution limits. Senate Bill 689 repeals the 2009 law enacting the first-ever limits on how much candidates and committees can raise per election. Sanchez believes […]

Seal of the New Mexico LegislatureSenate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (D) is sponsoring a bill to eliminate the state’s campaign contribution limits. Senate Bill 689 repeals the 2009 law enacting the first-ever limits on how much candidates and committees can raise per election.

Sanchez believes the limits encourage big donors to funnel money to independent expenditure committees, resulting in less transparency.

The bill is currently pending in the Senate Rules Committee.

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November 17, 2014 •

Wyoming Interim Committee Tables Campaign Finance Bill

A legislative committee has voted to table a draft bill to expand disclosure requirements for political independent expenditure groups. The bill would require a group to report an independent expenditure if it “directly or indirectly” advocated for the election or […]

Wyoming CapitolA legislative committee has voted to table a draft bill to expand disclosure requirements for political independent expenditure groups. The bill would require a group to report an independent expenditure if it “directly or indirectly” advocated for the election or defeat of a candidate.

Current law requires reporting only if the expenditure “expressly” advocates for the election or defeat of a candidate. A majority of the Joint Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee decided the language was overly broad.

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October 9, 2014 •

FEC to Finalize Rules in Response to Citizens United

Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is considering final rules concerning independent expenditures and electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations. In response to the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision, the commission has written rules expected […]

FEC Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is considering final rules concerning independent expenditures and electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations. In response to the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision, the commission has written rules expected to be approved at today’s meeting. The rules will be effective once they have been transmitted to Congress for a 30-legislative-day review period. The FEC will also consider proposed rule-making and interim final rule responses to McCutcheon v. FEC.

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September 23, 2014 •

MA OCPF Clarifies Independent Expenditure Registration and Reporting Requirements in Advisory Opinion

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) issued an advisory opinion last week to clarify when an organization may be required to register with the state as an independent expenditure political action committee (IEPAC). An IEPAC is a […]

advisory opinionThe Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) issued an advisory opinion last week to clarify when an organization may be required to register with the state as an independent expenditure political action committee (IEPAC). An IEPAC is a political committee or other entity receiving contributions to make independent expenditures.

On September 18, the OCPF issued AO-14-05, which explains how an organization raising funds for political purposes is generally not required to register as an IEPAC in Massachusetts unless donors are told or otherwise know “that at least a portion of funds given will be used to influence” an election in the state. Registration as an IEPC with the state would not be required even if a portion of the funds raised by the organization is subsequently transferred to a Massachusetts IEPAC or is used by the organization itself to make independent expenditures in the state.

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August 22, 2014 •

NY City Council Considers More Disclosure Requirements for Independent Spenders

The New York City Council is considering a measure increasing disclosure requirements for those making independent expenditures to influence city elections. Introduction 148 will require individuals and entities making independent expenditures totaling $5,000 or more to disclose the owners, partners, […]

Seal of New York CityThe New York City Council is considering a measure increasing disclosure requirements for those making independent expenditures to influence city elections. Introduction 148 will require individuals and entities making independent expenditures totaling $5,000 or more to disclose the owners, partners, board members, or their equivalents of any entity reporting the expenditure. The measure further requires an individual or entity who transfers $1,000 or more to another individual or entity for the purpose of such other individual or entity making independent expenditures to report the transfer of money as if the transferor has directly made the independent expenditure.

Another provision of the measure requires individuals or entities to disclose detailed information on any electioneering communications, such as the top five donors to the entity responsible for the communication, and names of the owner and CEO of the entity.

Amy Loprest, the executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, applauded the new disclosure requirements, saying, “This legislation will give voters a more complete view of who is paying for the campaign ads that fill their mailboxes and airwaves.”

If passed, Introduction 148 will take effect one year after its enactment.

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May 13, 2014 •

Utah Law Requiring Independent Expenditure Reporting Effective Today

A new Utah state law requiring independent expenditure reporting for political spending became effective today. House Bill 39 requires all persons and entities, except political parties, to file independent expenditure reports with Utah’s chief election officer within 30 days after […]

Seal of Utah

A new Utah state law requiring independent expenditure reporting for political spending became effective today. House Bill 39 requires all persons and entities, except political parties, to file independent expenditure reports with Utah’s chief election officer within 30 days after the day on which a person or entity has made a total of at least $1,000 in independent expenditures during an election cycle.

Another provision of the new law is the requirement to retain records related to the filings for two years, including all independent expenditures, receipts, and donations described in the reports. New definitions concerning independent expenditures are now codified, including telephone bank, which is defined as “500 or more identical or substantially similar telephone calls within any 30-day period.” Fines from $100 to $1000 can be imposed for violations.

 

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