June 17, 2019 •

NYCU Video Digest – June 17, 2019

New FARA Regulations, and changes being made to lobbying disclosures in various states. Catch up with all of it in this edition of News You Can Use Video Digest!

New FARA Regulations, and changes being made to lobbying disclosures in various states. Catch up with all of it in this edition of News You Can Use Video Digest!

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June 14, 2019 •

Massachusetts Offering Seminars on New Disclosure Reporting System

Massachusetts Capitol Building

The Lobbyist Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office announced they are transitioning to a new disclosure reporting system on June 19. Exclusive, hour-long introduction and training seminars on the new system will be held from June 19 […]

The Lobbyist Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office announced they are transitioning to a new disclosure reporting system on June 19.

Exclusive, hour-long introduction and training seminars on the new system will be held from June 19 to June 21.

Appointment requests can be sent to lob@sec.state.ma.us.

Firms should offer three preferable times between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any of the three available days.  Walk-ins for the seminar will not be accepted.

The Lobbyist Division will be offering additional training for all registered entities, lobbyists, and clients from June 24 to July 12.

Organizations that are unable to attend the introduction seminars can apply for these training sessions instead.

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May 20, 2019 •

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Corporate Contribution Case

United States Supreme Court Building

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it would decline to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law. The law in question bans corporate contributions to campaigns, parties and candidate-focused political action committees. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial […]

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it would decline to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law.

The law in question bans corporate contributions to campaigns, parties and candidate-focused political action committees.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously rejected the challenge, brought by 1A Auto Inc. and 126 Self Storage Inc., in September.

The suit claimed disparate treatment by banning for-profit corporate contributions while allowing significant contributions by unions and nonprofits.

After the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, state law was updated to allow corporate spending for independent expenditures but not political contributions.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey applauded Monday’s decision not to hear the case for the integrity of state elections.

Opponents of the law are hopeful the Supreme Court will take up the issue in another case.

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May 6, 2019 •

Massachusetts Campaign Finance Updates Delayed

Massachusetts Capitol Building

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) missed a self-imposed deadline this week to release updated regulations limiting political contributions from labor unions. A spokesperson for the agency said it could take several more weeks to work out […]

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) missed a self-imposed deadline this week to release updated regulations limiting political contributions from labor unions.

A spokesperson for the agency said it could take several more weeks to work out the details and release the new rules.

The push to update a labor union contribution loophole comes after a 2018 court ruling upholding the state’s ban on corporate contributions.

The ruling acknowledged the significant difference for labor unions.

The draft regulations released in March seek to reduce the amount of money a union can contribute to a candidate annually from $15,000 to $1,000.

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February 8, 2019 •

Massachusetts Considering Lowering Union Contribution Limit

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance released draft regulations this week that would reduce the amount of money a union can contribute to a candidate annually from $15,000 to $1,000. A state law banning corporate contributions was upheld […]

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance released draft regulations this week that would reduce the amount of money a union can contribute to a candidate annually from $15,000 to $1,000.

A state law banning corporate contributions was upheld by the high court this year, but the ruling noted Massachusetts law was unclear regarding contributions from unions.

The draft regulation would also cap union contributions at $500 to a PAC, and $5,000 to a political party.

A public hearing on the draft regulations will be held on March 15 with the final regulations expected by May.

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November 7, 2018 •

Massachusetts Passes Ballot Measure to Limit the Influence of Money in Politics

On Election Day, Massachusetts voters passed Question 2, paving the way for campaign finance reform. The ballot measure establishes a citizen commission tasked with producing a report on the state of political spending in the Massachusetts and promoting an amendment […]

On Election Day, Massachusetts voters passed Question 2, paving the way for campaign finance reform.

The ballot measure establishes a citizen commission tasked with producing a report on the state of political spending in the Massachusetts and promoting an amendment to the United States Constitution. The commission would also report on whether the state can legally limit corporate contributions.

Proponents of the ballot question hope it will help in overturning the 2010 decision in Citizens United, while those against it argued the measure was a protest vote and created a new governmental body solely for symbolic gesture.

The measure passed 71.3 percent to 28.69 percent, with 81.8 percent of precincts reporting.

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October 25, 2018 •

Massachusetts Ballot Measure Seeks to Regulate Corporate Influence in Elections

Next month, Massachusetts voters will decide on a ballot measure seeking to cap corporate spending in elections. Ballot Question 2, if passed, will create a commission made up of citizens tasked with producing a report on the state of political […]

Next month, Massachusetts voters will decide on a ballot measure seeking to cap corporate spending in elections.

Ballot Question 2, if passed, will create a commission made up of citizens tasked with producing a report on the state of political spending in Massachusetts and promoting an amendment to the United States Constitution. The commission would also report on whether the state can legally limit corporate contributions.

The ballot measure has been characterized as a way for the state to show their opposition to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

The group advocating for Ballot Question 2 envisions a 28th Amendment removing the ability of corporations, labor unions, super PACs and other wealthy interests from financially influencing political campaigns.

To pass, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution would require approval by two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate and must also be ratified by 38 states.

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October 22, 2018 •

Lawsuit Filed Over Massachusetts Campaign Finance Law

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) alleging that the state’s campaign finance laws are unconstitutional. The law in question requires ads within 90 days of a general election naming any […]

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) alleging that the state’s campaign finance laws are unconstitutional.

The law in question requires ads within 90 days of a general election naming any candidate or ballot question to include a statement from the sponsor’s chief executive officer, chairman, principal officer, or business manager.

The law covers television ads, radio, billboards, and print and must also include a list of the organization’s top five contributors.

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance asserts these requirements may lead to biased judgments about an ad based on the named officer’s sex, gender, race, or other personal characteristics.

Additionally, they argue the requirements imply the donors funded the ad when they only contributed money to support the organization’s overall mission.

The OCPF has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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October 22, 2018 •

Boston Mayor Signs Lobbying Ordinance

Mayor Marty Walsh signed an ordinance last week requiring lobbyist registration and reporting for individuals and entities attempting to influence city action. The ordinance was passed by city council in late September and requires registration by every person retained, employed […]

Mayor Marty Walsh signed an ordinance last week requiring lobbyist registration and reporting for individuals and entities attempting to influence city action.

The ordinance was passed by city council in late September and requires registration by every person retained, employed or designated by any client or lobbying entity to engage in lobbying or lobbying activities.

This comes after two years of Mayor Walsh calling for increased transparency through the implementation of a lobbying ordinance.

In July, Mayor Walsh vetoed a lobbying ordinance passed by council as it failed to define and regulate lobbying and did not create an adequate enforcement mechanism.

The new ordinance, effective April 13, 2019, creates a quarterly reporting requirement and penalties for late registration and reporting.

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September 7, 2018 •

Massachusetts Court Upholds Corporate Contribution Ban

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously to uphold the state’s prohibition on corporate contributions this week. Rick Green, the republican nominee for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat, owns 1A Auto Inc., one of the companies asserting the ban […]

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously to uphold the state’s prohibition on corporate contributions this week.

Rick Green, the republican nominee for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat, owns 1A Auto Inc., one of the companies asserting the ban discriminated against businesses’ right to free speech.

In upholding the ban, the Court stated allowing corporate contributions would create “a serious threat of quid pro quo corruption.”

The Massachusetts contribution ban applies to corporations and business entities but does not extend to unions or nonprofits.

Attorneys for Green and 1A have stated their intention to petition the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

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August 22, 2018 •

Massachusetts Issues Emergency Regulation Regarding Independent Expenditures

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance has issued an emergency regulation requiring independent expenditure disclosure prior to the primary election on September 4. “Due to the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 3, the statute would not require independent […]

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance has issued an emergency regulation requiring independent expenditure disclosure prior to the primary election on September 4.

“Due to the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 3, the statute would not require independent expenditures made on Aug. 23, 24 and 25 to be disclosed prior to the Sept. 4 primary election. However, independent expenditures made between Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 would be disclosed before the election.”

This emergency regulation will eliminate the gap in disclosure, and now independent expenditures must be disclosed within 24 hours if they are utilized on August 23, 24, or 25.

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July 16, 2018 •

Boston Lobbying Reform Vetoed

Last week, Mayor Marty Walsh vetoed a Boston City Council Ordinance on lobbying reform. Mayor Walsh first proposed an overhaul to the city’s lobbying laws in 2016, stating a need for an increase in transparency. His proposal brought stricter lobbying […]

Last week, Mayor Marty Walsh vetoed a Boston City Council Ordinance on lobbying reform. Mayor Walsh first proposed an overhaul to the city’s lobbying laws in 2016, stating a need for an increase in transparency.

His proposal brought stricter lobbying laws mirroring those of the state in the form of a home rule charter which would require approval by the state legislature. Council passed its own version of the ordinance in late June hoping it would go into effect immediately upon signature by the mayor.

In vetoing the ordinance, Mayor Walsh indicated the passed ordinance failed to define and regulate lobbying and did not create an adequate enforcement mechanism.

Mayor Walsh stated his continued confidence in his recommended proposals, but Boston’s lobbying reform is headed back for more debate.

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April 4, 2018 •

Massachusetts Updates Campaign Finance Regulations

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance released a draft version of updates to the agency’s regulations taking affect at the end of the month. The changes were subject to a public hearing last month and aim to make […]

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance released a draft version of updates to the agency’s regulations taking affect at the end of the month.

The changes were subject to a public hearing last month and aim to make the regulations consistent with changes to campaign finance law and agency practices of the last few years.

Some changes include updated due dates for electronically filed reports, clarifications on when an organization must register as a political committee, and explanations of the circumstances in which an independent expenditure political action committee (PAC) becomes a traditional PAC.

The official effective date of the updated regulations has not yet been announced, and a final copy of the changes will not be publicly available until later this month.

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January 30, 2018 •

Massachusetts State Senate Special Election Scheduled

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced the dates for the 1st Suffolk Senatorial District special elections. The primary will be held April 3, with the general on May 1. The vacancy was created after Linda Dorcena Forry resigned to become […]

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced the dates for the 1st Suffolk Senatorial District special elections.

The primary will be held April 3, with the general on May 1.

The vacancy was created after Linda Dorcena Forry resigned to become a vice president at Suffolk Construction.

Pictured: Outgoing Senator Linda Dorcena Forry

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