May 20, 2020 •

Senate Confirms Commissioner to FEC, Restoring Quorum

U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol - by Martin Falbisoner

On May 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), restoring a quorum for the agency.   With the confirmation of James “Trey” Trainor, the FEC now has four commissioners, which meets the minimum […]

On May 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), restoring a quorum for the agency.

 

With the confirmation of James “Trey” Trainor, the FEC now has four commissioners, which meets the minimum threshold of commissioners required for any official action.

The Commission has two registered members of the Republican Party, one registered member of the Democratic Party, and one Independent.

 

Trainor is a lawyer licensed in Texas who specializes in election law, campaign finance, and ethics.

Trainor previously served in the president’s administration as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, in the Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel.

Trump had originally nominated Trainor to serve as a commissioner in 2017, but a hearing in the Senate was never held.

 

Two seats on the FEC still remains vacant.

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March 6, 2020 •

Nomination for Fourth FEC Commissioner to be Considered

On March 10, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a nomination hearing. This will comprise of the full committee to consider James “Trey” Trainor as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).   Trainor is a […]

On March 10, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a nomination hearing.

This will comprise of the full committee to consider James “Trey” Trainor as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

 

Trainor is a lawyer licensed in Texas who specializes in election law, campaign finance, and ethics.

Trainor previously served in the president’s administration as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, in the Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel.

President Donald J. Trump had originally nominated Trainor to serve as a commissioner in 2017, but a hearing was never held.

 

Currently the FEC, which has three of its six commissioner positions vacant, does not have a quorum to take most formal measures.

The FEC requires at least four commissioners to agree on any official action.

 

To become a commissioner, Trainor must be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate.

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November 7, 2018 •

Democrats Take House While Republicans Keep Senate

On November 6, voters gave Democrats the majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives while keeping Republicans firmly in control of the Senate. With early elections results in, it appears clear Democrats have gained at least 26 seats, giving […]

On November 6, voters gave Democrats the majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives while keeping Republicans firmly in control of the Senate.

With early elections results in, it appears clear Democrats have gained at least 26 seats, giving them more than the 218 seats required in the House for a majority.

In the Senate, Republicans gained two seats, ensuring their control of the Senate.

Republicans may possibly increase their majority in the Senate when the final votes are counted.

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September 27, 2018 •

US Senate Joint Resolution Seeks to Reverse IRS Disclosure Exemption for Certain Tax-Exempt Organizations

On September 24, U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Ron Wyden introduced a resolution to reverse a U.S. Treasury Department’s decision limiting IRS disclosure requirements of certain tax-exempt organizations engaging in political activities. On July 16, the U.S. Treasury Department and […]

On September 24, U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Ron Wyden introduced a resolution to reverse a U.S. Treasury Department’s decision limiting IRS disclosure requirements of certain tax-exempt organizations engaging in political activities.

On July 16, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced certain tax-exempt organizations are no longer required to report the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports.

This exemption from reporting applies to tax-exempt organizations generally not receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as the National Rifle Association, labor unions, volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups, local chambers of commerce, veterans’ groups, and community service clubs. These organizations are still required to continue to collect and keep the donor information and to make it available to the IRS upon its request.

This exemption does not affect the information required to be reported by charities primarily receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, certain nonexempt private foundations, or 527 political organizations.

Senate Joint Resolution 64, The Spotlight Act, would overturn the exemption and require disclosure to the IRS of the names and information of donors who contribute more than $5,000.

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September 4, 2018 •

Arizona Governor Names McCain Replacement

Gov. Doug Ducey has named Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat in the Senate. Sen. Kyl represented Arizona in the Senate for close to 20 years before reaching retirement in 2013. Kyl has committed to […]

Gov. Doug Ducey has named Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat in the Senate.

Sen. Kyl represented Arizona in the Senate for close to 20 years before reaching retirement in 2013. Kyl has committed to serving until the end of 2018, and possibly until a 2020 special election to fill the seat more permanently.

Gov. Ducey’s office reportedly considered several replacements since Sen. McCain’s diagnosis 13 months ago, including his wife Cindy McCain.

Gov. Ducey is the first governor in Arizona’s 106-year history to fill a U.S. Senate seat by appointment.

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March 16, 2018 •

Mississippi U.S. Senator to Retire

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is retiring because of ill health on April 1. Gov. Phil Bryant has 10 days after receiving an official notice of the vacancy to temporarily appoint a replacement until a successor is elected. Bryant has yet […]

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is retiring because of ill health on April 1.

Gov. Phil Bryant has 10 days after receiving an official notice of the vacancy to temporarily appoint a replacement until a successor is elected.

Bryant has yet to choose a replacement for the vacant seat. The special election will be held on November 6.

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May 30, 2017 •

“Close the Revolving Door Act of 2017” Would Enact Lifetime Lobbyist Ban on Members of Congress

Members of Congress could be banned from being lobbyists for life if legislation introduced this month becomes law. Senate Bill 1189, Close the Revolving Door Act of 2017, places a lifetime ban on current members of Congress from becoming lobbyists. […]

Members of Congress could be banned from being lobbyists for life if legislation introduced this month becomes law.

Senate Bill 1189, Close the Revolving Door Act of 2017, places a lifetime ban on current members of Congress from becoming lobbyists. Senators Michael Bennet, Cory Gardner, and Al Franken introduced the legislation, which also increases the statutory staff restrictions on lobbying from one year to six years.

Additionally, the bill bans lobbyists from joining Congressional staffs or committee staffs they lobbied for six years and increases the maximum penalty for violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

“Our legislation would put in place much-needed reforms-by not only banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, but also by making the industry become more accountable and transparent,” Franken said in a press release.

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May 2, 2017 •

Procurement Fraud Prevent Act Introduced in U.S. Senate

On April 25, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Gary Peters introduced legislation designed to help small businesses registering to procure federal contracts. Senate Bill 938, the Procurement Fraud Prevent Act, would require small businesses, when registering to contract with the […]

Flag of the United States Senate.svgOn April 25, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Gary Peters introduced legislation designed to help small businesses registering to procure federal contracts.

Senate Bill 938, the Procurement Fraud Prevent Act, would require small businesses, when registering to contract with the federal government, to be notified of free federal program assistance when procuring federal contracts. These federal programs include the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, the Small Business Administration, and the Minority Business Development Agency.

“Our legislation would ensure that more small businesses are aware of the free tools and resources already available to them so they can focus on making competitive bids, growing their companies, and creating jobs in their communities,” said Collins in a press release.

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December 12, 2016 •

Kennedy Wins Louisiana Seat in U.S. Senate

Republican candidate John Kennedy won a state run-off election on December 10 to fill Louisiana’s second seat in the U.S. Senate. Kennedy, Louisiana’s incumbent treasurer, won 61 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic candidate Foster Campbell. Kennedy will take […]

john_neely_kennedy_-_treasurer_of_louisianaRepublican candidate John Kennedy won a state run-off election on December 10 to fill Louisiana’s second seat in the U.S. Senate. Kennedy, Louisiana’s incumbent treasurer, won 61 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic candidate Foster Campbell.

Kennedy will take office January 3, 2017, creating a vacancy in his current position that will be filled in a special election to be held in March or October 2017. The First Assistant State Treasurer will take over as treasurer until an election can take place.

Campbell, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, was looking to increase the number of Democrats in the Senate and gained nationwide support and over $2 million in donations in the months leading up to the December 10 election.

With Kennedy’s victory, the Senate is comprised of 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. Kennedy will hold the seat until he is up for re-election in 2022.

 

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July 2, 2014 •

Arkansas Adjourns Special Session

Lawmakers ended a special session shortly after midnight on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. The House and Senate gave approval to a package of bills regarding teacher health insurance premiums, prison overcrowding, and limits on lottery monitor games. Photo of Arkansas […]

Arkansas State Capitol BuildingLawmakers ended a special session shortly after midnight on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. The House and Senate gave approval to a package of bills regarding teacher health insurance premiums, prison overcrowding, and limits on lottery monitor games.

Photo of Arkansas State Capitol Building by Stuart Seeger on Wikimedia Commons.

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June 12, 2013 •

Arizona Gov. Brewer Calls Special Legislative Session

June 11, 2013

Governor Jan Brewer
Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called for the Legislature to meet in a special session on June 11, 2013.

Brewer called the session for the legislators to consider the 2013-2014 state budget and other appropriations and budget matters related to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

The House, still in regular session, had adjourned until June 12, 2014. According to UPI.com, the House adjournment “was the final straw” that led to the governor, who feels she has been “extraordinarily patient” with the House and Senate leadership, to call the special session.

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June 12, 2013 •

Washington Legislature Begins Second Special Session

Government shutdown looming with no budget deal

Governor Jay Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee

Washington lawmakers apparently love Olympia in early summer. The Washington legislature ended its first special session late Tuesday night, and Governor Jay Inslee wasted no time in calling a second special session to begin on Wednesday.

The original special session was called because the state legislature had not passed a state budget. 30 days later and there is still no budget. On the bright side, there has been a little progress. Both the House and Senate passed proposals this week, but they have been unable to agree on a final deal.

With a worst case scenario looming, Inslee set a meeting with his Cabinet and financial office to start making plans for a potential government shutdown. If the Legislature does not have a budget passed by midnight on June 30, the government may be shutdown. “If there is not a budget by July 1, the law doesn’t allow us to keep government operating fully,” Inslee said. “This would have significant ramifications for the millions of citizens who depend on state services.”

The second special session is scheduled for a maximum of 30 days.

Picture of Governor Jay Inslee by Thomas Sørenes on Wikipedia

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