December 22, 2014 •
On December 19, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission issued a statement regarding the court ruling earlier this month invalidating the statutory definition of political committee. On December 5, a federal judge declared the state’s definition of political committee “vague, […]
On December 19, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission issued a statement regarding the court ruling earlier this month invalidating the statutory definition of political committee. On December 5, a federal judge declared the state’s definition of political committee “vague, overbroad, and consequently unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.” In Galassini v. Town of Fountain Hills, Senior District Judge James A. Teilborg of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, relied on his prior determination finding A.R.S. §16-901(19) unconstitutional.
In its statement, the commission says, “We strongly recommend that candidates and other persons who participate financially in state and legislative candidate elections continue to make filings as required by law, subject to enforcement under the Clean Elections Act and Rules.”
September 30, 2014 •
County Council has voted to enact public financing for county elections beginning with the 2015-2018 election cycle. Bill 16-14 will establish a public election fund, regulate participating candidates, and authorize the Maryland State Board of Elections to enforce the provisions. […]
County Council has voted to enact public financing for county elections beginning with the 2015-2018 election cycle. Bill 16-14 will establish a public election fund, regulate participating candidates, and authorize the Maryland State Board of Elections to enforce the provisions.
To qualify, candidates for county executive or council must demonstrate viability by raising a specific number of small individual contributions between $5 and $150. Candidates for county executive need at least 500 contributions totaling $40,000. At-large council candidates must collect 250 donations worth $20,000.
Maryland lawmakers included a public funding option for counties as part of a 2013 campaign finance reform bill. Montgomery is the first county to pass such a public campaign financing measure.
September 13, 2013 •
No Aggregate Contribution Limitations
A new law in Arizona raising the limits of political contributions to candidates took effect today. Individuals and noncertified political committees will now be able to give $2,000 to candidates running for legislative and statewide offices who do not participate in the state’s Citizens Clean Elections Act campaign financing system. Contributions made to candidates running for local office may be made in amounts up to $2,500. Contribution limits by committees certified by the secretary of state have also been increased.
Additionally, the new law removes aggregate contribution limitations for individuals and some political committees.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law, which was brought by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and others from the state, is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court.
March 28, 2013 •
Here are some great articles for today’s government relations news summary:
“Internet Association bolsters lobbying force” by Jennifer Martinez in The Hill.
Colorado: “Colorado gun lobbyist says he did nothing to warrant an ethics charge” by Lynn Bartels in the Denver Post.
Georgia: “Deal reported on lobbyist gift reform” by Greg Bluestein and Chris Joyner in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“OFA Campaign Finance Reform Push Explained In Call To Supporters” by Paul Blumenthal in the Huffington Post.
Arizona: “Clean Elections’ funding could be returned to ballot” by Sean Peick in the Arizona Republic.
Illinois: “Bernard Schoenburg: Gaps remain in campaign finance reporting rules” – opinion piece by Bernard Schoenburg in the State Journal-Register.
Corporate Political Advocacy
“Poll: Public wary of corporate politics” by Byron Tau in Politico.
“New law requires 72 hours of notice for public meetings” by The Associated Press in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
From the State Legislatures
Virginia: “Lacey Putney, longest-serving Va. lawmaker, to retire” by The Associated Press in the Times Dispatch.
January 24, 2013 •
Here are some great articles for today’s government relations news summary:
“Sandy adds a twist to some firms’ lobbying efforts” by Alex Guillen in Politico.
“Business Lobbying In 2012 Soared, Buoyed By Fiscal Cliff Crisis” by Christina Wilkie in the Huffington Post.
“K Street stumbles for the second straight year” by Catherine Ho in the Washington Post.
Georgia: “Road contractors shower governor with campaign donations” by Greg Bluestein, Ariel Hart and James Salzer in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wisconsin: “Contract lobbying still ‘under the radar’” by Bill Lueders in Wisconsin Watch.
Arizona: “Jan Brewer taps lawyer for Clean Elections post” by The Associated Press in the Arizona Capitol Times.
Florida: “Florida group wants to end caps on campaign donations” by T.W. Farnam in the Washington Post.
Washington: “Lawmaker wants to fix Public Disclosure Commission online system” by Brad Shannon in the News Tribune.
“Ethics Panel Requires Added Disclosure of Funds, Accounts” by Amanda Becker in Roll Call.
Connecticut: “Smoke shop owner pleads guilty in campaign finance case” by Mark Pazniokas in the Connecticut Mirror.
Iowa: “Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Disclosure Board seeks complaint process change” by Rod Boshart in the Sioux City Journal.
Texas: “Weak Disclosure Laws Keep Public in the Dark” by Ryan Murphy and Jay Root in the Texas Tribune.
“Missouri House passes elections bill” by Elizabeth Crisp in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Virginia: “Lawmakers move to change Va. electoral vote system” by Julian Walker in the Virginian-Pilot.
Washington: “Washington state lawmakers press for speedier election results” by The Associated Press in the Oregonian.
From the State Legislatures
Idaho: “Wednesday highlights in the Idaho Legislature” in the Idaho Statesman.
Virginia: “Va. House Speaker holds key to redistricting vote” by Errin Haines and Laura Vozzella in the Washington Post.
Virginia: “Stewart cheers Va. Senate redistricting” by Laura Vozella in the Washington Post.
October 11, 2012 •
Here is a short roundup of articles for you:
“How Citizens United has transformed campaigns: An introduction to Big Sky, Big Money” by Kai Ryssdal on Marketplace.
“Celebrities Recruited to Make Case on Campaign-Finance Reform” by Thomas Kaplan in The New York Times.
“Nats fever sweeps Congress, K Street” by Kevin Bogardus in The Hill.
Government Tech and Social Media
“New App Opens Up Presidential Documents” in Government Technology.
January 5, 2012 •
Joint Committee Votes Down Bill to Exclude Gubernatorial Candidates from Clean Elections Program
The Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs of the Maine State Legislature has killed LD 120, a bill aiming to stop gubernatorial candidates from participating in the state’s clean elections program.
“An Act to End Taxpayer-funded Campaigns for Gubernatorial Candidates” was held over from last session, but the Joint Committee voted for a recommendation of “ought not to pass” with little debate.
For the full story read “Committee kills bill that would weaken clean election law” by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.
November 23, 2011 •
Suit alleges the commission used funds to promote itself.
The Arizona Republic reports that the group No Taxpayer Money for Politicians has brought a lawsuit against the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Arizona.
Former state Sen. Jonathan Paton is quoted in the article as saying, “They’re using this [public money] for electioneering purposes and not for educating voters.”
The commission’s Executive Director Todd Lang called the suit a “wrong-headed” attempt to eliminate the agency’s education fund.
For the full story, read the article “Suit: Clean Elections agency misused tax dollars” by Mary Jo Pitzl.
January 4, 2011 •
Commission on Governmental Ethics Seeks Independent Investigatory Powers and New Campaign Finance Restrictions in 2011
The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices has issued a memo outlining the agencies priorities for 2011. The commission seeks to investigate possible violations of legislative ethics on its own, even if no formal complaint is filed.
The commission also wishes to enact regulations that restrict legislative candidates from using Clean Election money to buy computers, cell phones, and other electronic equipment and increase the fine for failing to include a disclaimer on campaign communications from a maximum of $200 to a maximum of $5,000.
The Great Seal of Maine courtesy of Wikipedia.
November 29, 2010 •
US Supreme Court to Determine Constitutionality of Arizona’s Clean Elections Campaign Finance Law
The United States Supreme Court will again review Arizona’s attempt to level the playing field for political candidates, agreeing to determine the constitutionality of Arizona’s law to distribute campaign subsidies to publicly funded candidates who face big-spending opponents.
In June, the Supreme Court blocked a portion of Arizona’s Clean Elections program, which authorized the state to provide “matching funds” to those candidates who face opponents spending large amounts of their own money or outside groups that target them. The court combined two cases, Arizona Free Enterprise, et al v. Bennett and McComish v. Bennett, and will hear arguments in the spring of 2011.
Picture of the U.S. Supreme Court by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.
October 26, 2010 •
On Friday, October 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an application for an emergency writ of injunction in the pending case of Respect Maine PAC v. McKee.
In their application, the plaintiffs, represented by James Bopp, Jr., the Indiana attorney who helped launch the landmark Citizens United v. FEC litigation, requested an order blocking portions of Maine’s campaign finance law which provides matching for candidates as well as the part of Maine law capping contributions to gubernatorial candidates at $750. By the time the plaintiff’s motion reached the high court for the second time, it had been denied three times: by Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Circuit Justice for the First Circuit, by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and by the Maine District Court where the litigation originated.
The plaintiff’s last resort to enjoin the law prior to the November 2nd election was the emergency writ of injunction to the Supreme Court which was presented to Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who then referred it to the Supreme Court for consideration. The writ’s denial was not unexpected as the Supreme Court has not granted such a motion for two decades.
Photo of the Supreme Court by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.
August 13, 2010 •
The latest news on the bill to fix the Citizens’ Election Program in Connecticut.
The Connecticut House of Representatives voted to override Governor M. Jodi Rell’s veto of the bill designed to reinstate the public election financing program, which had been previously limited by a federal court decision. The state senate had already voted to override the veto.
The immediate effect of the vote is to provide gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy with six million dollars from the Citizens’ Election Program, twice as much as he was originally scheduled to receive.
August 2, 2010 •
On July 30, 2010, during a special session, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Senate Bill 551.
SB 551 is a response to the recent U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield regarding the state’s Citizens’ Election Program. If signed by Governor M. Jodi Rell, the bill would limit contributions from communicator lobbyists, members of the lobbyist’s immediate family, and political committees established or controlled by the lobbyist or lobbyist’s immediate family to $100, while also banning the bundling of contributions by the same individuals.
Further, the bill expands the list of items not considered to be a contribution, while also prohibiting the knowing solicitation of contributions by state contractors, prospective state contractors, principals of state contractors, and principals of prospective state contractors from the contractor’s employees or a subcontractor or principals of a subcontractor on behalf of exploratory or candidate committees, political committees authorized to make contributions or expenditures to or for the benefit of specified candidates, or a party committee.
Additionally, grants to participating candidates would increase to $6,000,000 for the general election campaign. However, Governor Rell has previously indicated her intent to veto any bill increasing grants to participating candidates, citing state budget concerns.
Photo by jimbowen0306 in Wikipedia.
July 16, 2010 •
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued two separate decisions in regards to the case of Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield on July 13, 2010, one decision affecting the Connecticut Campaign Finance Reform Act (CFRA) and another affecting the state’s Citizens Election Program (CEP).
In the first decision, the court affirmed the U.S. District Court’s decision upholding the CFRA’s ban on contributions by state contractors, prospective state contractors, and the principals of contractors and prospective state contractors, as well as the spouse and dependent children of these individuals. However, in a reversal of the lower court’s decision, the Second Circuit struck down the ban on contributions from lobbyists and their families.
In the second decision, the court overturned a prior U.S. District Court decision which had declared the Citizens Election Program’s public financing for qualifying candidates as unconstitutional on the basis it discriminated against minor parties and their candidates. The court, however, agreed with the earlier decision in finding the CEP to unconstitutionally infringe upon the First Amendment rights to free speech of privately funded wealthy candidates when the state’s program required extra public funds be distributed to publicly funded candidates when certain financing “triggers” had been achieved. The Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission is expected to meet with the attorney general to determine the next course of action.
(Image from the National Atlas of the United States)
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