January 22, 2020 •

West Virginia Senate Considering Bill Changing Contributions Limits

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A bill has been introduced in the Senate setting new limits on political contributions. Senate Bill 566 would reduce current limits on contributions to candidates from $2,800 to $1,000 per election. Additionally, contributions to a PAC related to a particular […]

A bill has been introduced in the Senate setting new limits on political contributions.

Senate Bill 566 would reduce current limits on contributions to candidates from $2,800 to $1,000 per election.

Additionally, contributions to a PAC related to a particular election reduce from $5,000 to $1,000.

The bill would also reduce contributions limits to state party executive committees from $10,000 to $1,000 per calendar year.

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January 8, 2020 •

Seattle City Council Considering Caps on Super PAC Donations

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The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections. Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel […]

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections.

Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel into elections.

The proposed legislation would limit Super PACs from receiving more than $5,000 per year from any single individual or corporation.

The act would also block multinational corporations, defined as companies with more than one percent ownership from a single foreign national or more than five percent ownership from multiple foreign nationals, from spending money on local elections.

Another proposed change would require all political advertising outside of election years to follow similar reporting requirements to current rules for election advertisements.

The Clean Campaigns Act is currently being considered in council chambers and could see a full council vote as early as next week.

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December 13, 2019 •

Appeals Court Tosses Tennessee Nonpartisan PAC Contribution Blackout

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On December 12, an appeals court found Tennessee laws barring nonpartisan PACs from donating to candidates within 10 days of an election violate the state constitution and cannot stand. The ruling from the Tennessee Court of Appeals reinforces an earlier […]

On December 12, an appeals court found Tennessee laws barring nonpartisan PACs from donating to candidates within 10 days of an election violate the state constitution and cannot stand.

The ruling from the Tennessee Court of Appeals reinforces an earlier judgment from Nashville Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle and will end the donation restriction facing nonpartisan PACs.

State campaign finance laws had created a 10-day blackout period when such PACs couldn’t give to a candidate, but PACs controlled by a political party could.

The group Tennesseans for Sensible Election Laws argued that the law created a double standard that unfairly penalized nonpartisan groups while giving political parties an advantage.

The Court of Appeals agreed with that argument, ruling against the state.

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April 10, 2019 •

Missouri Appeals Court Upholds PAC Contribution Ban

Missouri corporations may not make direct contributions to their own PACs, the Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed on April 9. The appeals court ruling upheld a similar 2018 finding in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s […]

Missouri corporations may not make direct contributions to their own PACs, the Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed on April 9.

The appeals court ruling upheld a similar 2018 finding in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s lawsuit against the Missouri Ethics Commission.

There, the chamber challenged two of the commission’s ethics opinions that prohibited corporations from contributing directly to the PACs they form.

The Cole County Circuit Court issued a judgment in favor of the commission, determining corporations that serve as connected organizations cannot contribute corporate funds to their connected PACs.

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April 5, 2019 •

Utah Campaign Finance Bills Signed

Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert signed six bills amending the state’s campaign finance laws. Updates include amended registration and reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and political issues committees (PICs). Additionally, updates modify provisions relating to the statement of […]

Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert signed six bills amending the state’s campaign finance laws.

Updates include amended registration and reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and political issues committees (PICs).

Additionally, updates modify provisions relating to the statement of organization and naming requirements of a PAC.

Other changes include a provision banning PICs from contributing to PACs and clarifications on how to dissolve a PAC.

Regarding electioneering communications, House Bill 319 requires a person making an expenditure for certain advertisements relating to a ballot proposition to disclose the person’s identity in the advertisement.

All bills take effect on May 13, 2019.

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March 29, 2019 •

South Dakota Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bills

Gov. Kristi Noem recently signed several campaign finance bills into law. House Bill 1189 provides any person who is subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor for campaign finance violations up to seven days to cure the violations prior to having […]

Gov. Kristi Noem recently signed several campaign finance bills into law.

House Bill 1189 provides any person who is subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor for campaign finance violations up to seven days to cure the violations prior to having a charge brought against him or her.

House Bill 1092 clarifies reporting requirements for candidates.

House Bill 1143 states all political action committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the same person or entity are affiliated and share a single contribution limit both with respect to contributions made and contributions received.

Senate Bill 114 requires any contribution from a person who is an unemancipated minor to be deducted from the total contribution permitted by the unemancipated minor’s custodial parent or parents.

The bills become effective July 1.

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March 28, 2019 •

West Virginia Governor Signs Campaign Contribution Bill

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 622 on March 27, with an effective date of June 7. The bill increases campaign contribution limits allowing $2,800 to candidates, $5,000 to political action committees (PACs), and $10,000 to party committees. The current […]

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 622 on March 27, with an effective date of June 7.

The bill increases campaign contribution limits allowing $2,800 to candidates, $5,000 to political action committees (PACs), and $10,000 to party committees. The current limits for each category are set at $1,000.

PACs will also be required to electronically file all independent expenditure reports and financial statements.

The bill also requires federal PACs who spend money on state elections to file disclosures with the Office of Secretary of the State.

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March 21, 2018 •

Utah Governor Signs Bill Expanding Ban on Contributions During Sessions

Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill 320 this week, putting it into effect immediately. The bill expands the existing prohibition on contributions to legislators during a legislative session to also cover contributions to the lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, […]

Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill 320 this week, putting it into effect immediately.

The bill expands the existing prohibition on contributions to legislators during a legislative session to also cover contributions to the lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer.

The prohibition extends to contributions to the personal campaign committees and political action committees (PACs) of the covered candidates. Previously, only contributions to legislators were banned during sessions.

Parties prohibited from contributing during session include persons, lobbyists, principals, and political committees.

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October 23, 2017 •

FEC Fines Federal Contractor for Contribution to Super PAC

Contributions by federal contractors to federal independent expenditure-only political action committees, also known as super PACs, may violate the federal pay-to-play prohibition. On September 25, 2017, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) entered into a Conciliation Agreement with a federal contractor […]

Contributions by federal contractors to federal independent expenditure-only political action committees, also known as super PACs, may violate the federal pay-to-play prohibition.

On September 25, 2017, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) entered into a Conciliation Agreement with a federal contractor after finding the contractor had violated pay-to-play prohibitions by making contributions to a federal independent expenditure-only political action committee.

The FEC fined the contractor, Suffolk Construction Company, $34,000 for making two $100,000 contributions in 2015 to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Because the matter was resolved by agreement between the FEC and the contractor, there was no challenge made to the FEC’s fine.

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August 30, 2017 •

Idaho Secretary of State Suggests Changes to Ethics and Campaign Finance Laws

Following suggestions from a working group of the legislature, Sec. of State Lawerence Denney presented a series of ethics and campaign finance draft bills to improve the state’s public disclosure system. The suggested changes include limiting PACs from accepting more […]

Following suggestions from a working group of the legislature, Sec. of State Lawerence Denney presented a series of ethics and campaign finance draft bills to improve the state’s public disclosure system.

The suggested changes include limiting PACs from accepting more than $1,000 from other PACs unless the contributing PAC is registered with the state, removing an exception for local election reporting, increasing the frequency of campaign finance reporting, and requiring lobbyists to report all year, rather than only while the legislature is in session. Increasing fines for reporting violations is also on the table.

With ample funding available, the Sec. of State’s office would also like to see major improvements to the online reporting system. Critics are concerned increased reporting would be too burdensome and dissuade citizens from getting involved in the political process.

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July 19, 2017 •

Missouri Ethics Commission Issues Advisory Opinion Regarding Corporate Contributions to PACs

The Missouri Ethics Commission recently issued an advisory opinion clarifying campaign finance rules for corporations seeking to contribute to PACs. Currently, a corporation may not contribute its own funds to its connected PAC, but it may contribute direct corporate funds […]

The Missouri Ethics Commission recently issued an advisory opinion clarifying campaign finance rules for corporations seeking to contribute to PACs.

Currently, a corporation may not contribute its own funds to its connected PAC, but it may contribute direct corporate funds to an unconnected PAC. The new opinion provides additional guidance on whether a corporation and a PAC are considered connected for the purpose of campaign finance law.

If contributions to a PAC are from a corporation’s general treasury, and not from the corporation’s officers, employees, or spouses thereof, it is possible the PAC is not connected to the organization. In such a scenario, if the corporation does not expend funds or provide services or facilities to administer or maintain the PAC, and it does not expend funds or provide services to solicit contributions to the PAC from its members, officers, directors, employees, or security holders, it is not a connected organization. This is true even when the PAC is funded 100 percent by a corporation’s general treasury funds.

Moreover, assuming the corporation did not establish the PAC and does not serve as a connected organization, it may make unlimited monetary contributions from the corporate treasury.

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June 9, 2017 •

Wisconsin Legislator to Introduce Campaign Finance Package

Wisconsin State Sen. Chris Larson is introducing eight bills aimed at amending state campaign finance laws. The bills would restore lower contribution limits, amend the definition of political action committee, require transparency in political communications, limit coordinated campaign expenditures, expand […]

Wisconsin State Sen. Chris Larson is introducing eight bills aimed at amending state campaign finance laws.

The bills would restore lower contribution limits, amend the definition of political action committee, require transparency in political communications, limit coordinated campaign expenditures, expand reporting requirements for committees receiving a contribution exceeding $100 from an individual, and prohibit corporations and labor unions from contributing to segregated funds established by political parties or legislative campaign committees.

Larson says the proposed changes reflect common sense and would not drastically overhaul the current campaign finance system.

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May 9, 2017 •

Judge Rules Missouri Campaign Finance Provisions Unconstitutional

Parts of a campaign finance law approved by Missouri voters in November have been ruled unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Ortrie Smith issued a ruling Friday finding corporations and labor organizations must be permitted to make contributions to campaign […]

Parts of a campaign finance law approved by Missouri voters in November have been ruled unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Ortrie Smith issued a ruling Friday finding corporations and labor organizations must be permitted to make contributions to campaign committees only supporting or opposing ballot measures, and political action committees must be able to receive contributions from other political action committees.

The court also ruled the ban on contributions to PACs by heavily regulated entities unconstitutional.

Finally, the ruling permanently enjoins the Missouri Ethics Commission from interpreting certain campaign finance provisions in any manner inconsistent with previously issued advisory opinions. Contribution limits will continue to apply only to contributions to candidates unless a contribution to a continuing committee or PAC is restricted or designated for a specific candidate.

The court stayed any injunctive relief ordered for 45 days to allow the state to review the ruling and to allow for an opportunity to appeal.

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March 28, 2017 •

Kentucky’s Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bill

Gov. Matt Bevin approved changes to a campaign finance law yesterday, March 27, 2017. Senate Bill 75 doubles current contribution limits for individuals giving to candidates, state executive committees, and caucus campaign committees. The limit for individuals giving to PACs […]

Gov. Matt BevinGov. Matt Bevin approved changes to a campaign finance law yesterday, March 27, 2017.

Senate Bill 75 doubles current contribution limits for individuals giving to candidates, state executive committees, and caucus campaign committees. The limit for individuals giving to PACs also increases from $1,500 to $2,000.

Contributions to candidates and PACs will be indexed for inflation every odd-numbered year based on the Consumer Price Index. The bill also creates a single reporting threshold of $3,000 for campaign finance reports.

The bill is effective June 28, 2017, or 90 days from adjournment sine die of the regular session of the Legislature.

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