September 26, 2023 •
This summer, State and Federal Communications, Inc. had the opportunity to sponsor three out of four Council of State Government Regional Annual Meetings. CSG’s regional organizations allow us to focus on and connect with colleagues, partners, and other government affairs […]
This summer, State and Federal Communications, Inc. had the opportunity to sponsor three out of four Council of State Government Regional Annual Meetings. CSG’s regional organizations allow us to focus on and connect with colleagues, partners, and other government affairs experts on a more personal, geographic-specific level. Through our participation we were also able to engage with and learn about topical issues affecting states, our nation, and our valued clients.
Select highlights from the meetings included:
- Midwest – a trip to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and topics from food insecurity to strategies to ensure the continued property of the Midwest
- South – top tier speakers including Trey Gowdy and Chris Singleton and an opening reception on the USS Yorktown, docked at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant
- East – visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame and learning about the diverse community making up the great city of Toronto.
Kudos to executive directors Laura Tomaka, Lindsey Gray and David Biette for a job well done.
July 1, 2016 •
National: Report: It’s harder to know who’s paying for political ads Star Tribune – Geoff Mulvilhill (Associated Press) | Published: 6/27/2016 A report by New York University’s Brennan Center finds the use of so-called dark money in several states has increased […]
Report: It’s harder to know who’s paying for political ads
Star Tribune – Geoff Mulvilhill (Associated Press) | Published: 6/27/2016
A report by New York University’s Brennan Center finds the use of so-called dark money in several states has increased faster than in national elections. Across six states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts – dark money expenditures rose by 38 percent between 2006 and 2014, outstripping the 34 percent rate of increase found in federal elections. And that does not include other categories of nontransparent outside money. The report defines “gray money” as expenditures by entities that do disclose their contributors, but who also list dark money organizations as donors, making it difficult or impossible to locate the original source of the money.
Two Transgender Candidates – Both Named Misty – Just Made History by Winning Primaries
Washington Post – Amber Phillips | Published: 6/29/2016
Primary voters in Utah and Colorado selected transgender women to run for spots in Congress next fall, a first in major-party American political history. Misty Snow will run against U.S. Sen. Mike Lee in Utah this November, while Misty Plowright will challenge U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in Colorado. Neither Snow nor Plowright sought to make their gender identities a campaign issue, instead focusing on progressive issues like getting money out of politics. Their wins come as transgender rights have been thrust into the national spotlight after contentious debates in states like North Carolina. “This is even more breathtaking considering the political climate today, the uphill curve to educate people about who transgender people are,” said Bob Witeck, a Washington, D.C.-based LGBT advocate.
Bernie Sanders Campaign Showed How to Turn Viral Moments into Money
New York Times – Nick Corasaniti | Published: 6/24/2016
Like most modern campaigns, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his team relied on widely used digital fundraising tactics, like sending email solicitations and advertising online. They raised more than $61 million and acquired more than three million email addresses directly from digital ads. But the campaign was also able to harness social media networks – which, until recently, most candidates had used primarily for messaging purposes – and turn them into fundraising engines, allowing Sanders’ team to raise money almost exclusively online. The campaign raised roughly $216 million of its nearly $230 million total online.
Donald Trump and R.N.C. Crack Down on Rebelling Delegates
New York Times – Jeremy Peters | Published: 6/26/2016
Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are moving quickly and aggressively to head off the fledgling effort to stage a revolt at their July convention in Cleveland, hoping to spare the party an embarrassing spectacle that could deeply wound the presumptive nominee. They are employing hard-nosed tactics, warning delegates that attempting to undermine Trump’s claim to the nomination violates party rules, and threatening to deny speaking slots to Republicans they deem disloyal for not backing him. The RNC and the campaign are also installing loyal party stalwarts in key party positions to help ensure they maintain control of the convention if rogue delegates attempt a disruption. And they are trying to discredit Republicans who are advocating an interpretation of party rules that would allow delegates to vote for anyone they want on the first ballot.
Trump Fundraising Emails Overseas Prompt Complaints Here and Abroad
Washington Post – Sean Sullivan and Max Bearak | Published: 6/29/2016
Donald Trump’s campaign sent a wave of fundraising emails in recent days to lawmakers in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Australia, and elsewhere. The solicitations prompted watchdog groups to file two separate complaints with the FEC alleging the campaign was violating federal law by soliciting funds from foreign nationals. The episode is only the latest fundraising stumble by Trump’s presidential campaign, which has been scrambling to put together a financial operation to take on the well-funded campaign of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Whether the snags prove to be growing pains for a campaign that until recently eschewed traditional fundraising or a sign of more serious stumbles to come is a key question facing Trump and the Republican Party as the general election comes into focus.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – At the Corner of Power and Poverty
CALmatters – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 6/28/2016
The Capitol in Sacramento serves as a magnet for money and power. Nearby shops sell fine cigars and custom suits. A bar serves $16 martinis. But the streets that surround the building also are home to some of the city’s most destitute residents, many suffering from mental illness or drug addiction in addition to extreme poverty. It is not uncommon to see them rifling through trash cans, shouting incoherently, or sleeping barefoot in the shade on the Capitol’s manicured grounds. Bridging these two worlds is Debbie Bartley, who stands across the street selling Homeward, a newspaper produced by homeless people. She chats with the political staffers and lobbyists who give her a few dollars as they pass by. Then she buys food for people who sleep on these streets.
California – Sweeping Public Utilities Commission Changes Announced
Sacramento Bee – Jeremy White | Published: 6/27/2016
A deal between Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers will bring major changes to the California Public Utilities Commission. When commissioners engage in ex-parte conversations around rate-setting rules, they would need to disclose them online under the agreement. The state attorney general could bring enforcement actions against people who violate the rules. The deal also clarifies that people who lobby the PUC would need to register as lobbyists. Through March of this year, more than 50 utilities and other lobbyist employers reported more than $6.3 million in PUC-connected lobbying activities.
Connecticut – Cigna-Anthem Merger: Gov. Malloy’s Insurance Regulator Told Ethics Officials She Was Not Involved in Cigna Issues, even as Her Agency Was
International Business Times – David Sirota | Published: 6/27/2016
Connecticut ethics officials are now investigating whether it is legally permissible for the state’s insurance commissioner to oversee the government’s review of her former company’s proposed merger. In regulators’ probe of conflict-of-interest issues in the Cigna-Anthem transaction, one question they may ask is whether the commissioner in question, former Cigna lobbyist Katharine Wade, deliberately misled them. Emails show that in February, Wade told ethics officials she had no Cigna business before her, even though her agency was then leading the national multistate review of the company’s merger plan, and even though Wade had repeatedly met with the company’s representatives. Wade’s letter to ethics officials did tell them that her staff was reviewing the merger, but did not disclose any information about her own contacts with the companies and their lobbyists.
Delaware – Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Delaware Election Law
Wilmington News Journal – Jessica Masulli Reyes | Published: 6/28/2016
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a conservative group’s challenge to Delaware’s campaign finance law. The justices left in place a lower court ruling allowing the 2012 law to be enforced. It requires third-party groups and individuals to disclose their donors to the state elections commissioner if they publish advertisements or other communications, including Internet postings, that refer to a candidate in the 60 days before an election. Previously, only groups that directly advocated for or against a candidate were required to disclose their donors.
Kentucky – Bevin Asserts Control of All Ethics Board Appointments
Lexington Herald-Leader – Jack Brammer | Published: 6/28/2016
Kentucky’s attorney general and state auditor will no longer be able to nominate members of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission under a new executive order from Gov. Matt Bevin. The governor appoints the members of the commission, which investigates allegations of state ethics code violations in the state’s executive branch. But in 2008, then-Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order requiring the governor to appoint two members of the commission that had been recommended by the attorney general and the state auditor. Bevin repealed that order, effectively allowing him to control all of the appointments to the board assigned to hold his administration accountable. Bevin spokesperson Jessica Ditto said the order simply returns the appointment process to the system state lawmakers intended.
New York – Bill Would Expand Disclosure for Donors to Lobbying Groups
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/29/2016
Under a 2011 law, charitable tax-exempt nonprofits in New York are not required to report their donors, even if the organizations have financially supported lobbying efforts meant to influence state government. Based on comments from state lobbying officials, a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign appears to require any charitable organization making a contribution over $2,500 to a substantial New York lobbying campaign to publicly disclose every one of its donors, even those unrelated to the lobbying effort. That would include both donations of staff and other resources for a charity to a lobbying nonprofit, or a monetary contribution.
Ohio – As Activists Prepare to Protest the RNC, the FBI Comes Knocking
Los Angeles Times – Matt Pearce | Published: 6/27/2016
In July, Donald Trump will come to Cleveland to claim the Republican presidential nomination. Given how turbulent some protests outside Trump rallies have been, and that the convention comes just weeks after the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, finding the right balance between security and First Amendment rights will be a challenge. Shivers have gone through the Cleveland activist community since law enforcement officials began knocking on their doors as tens of thousands of visitors prepare to come to town. The FBI office in Cleveland said the visits were part of their plans with state and local law enforcement to prepare for the convention by “working collaboratively with members of the community.”
Virginia – Supreme Court Vacates Ex-Virginia Governor’s Graft Conviction
New York Times – Adam Liptak | Published: 6/27/2016
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. He was charged with using his office to help Jonnie Williams Sr., who had provided McDonnell and his wife with gifts worth more than $175,000 when McDonnell was governor. The gifts themselves were legal; the question was whether they were part of a corrupt bargain in which McDonnell reciprocated by using the power of his office to help Williams. The Supreme Court ruled prosecutors defined too broadly the kind of conduct that qualifies as an “official act.” Chief Justice John Roberts said the law cannot punish politicians for giving their constituents access to public officials who are willing to listen, but do not actually exercise government power.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
February 26, 2016 •
National: Political Polarization? It’s Not Just in Washington Boston Globe – Jill Ramos | Published: 2/19/2016 Political scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have measured for the first time the relative liberalism or conservatism of all 50 states by examining […]
Political Polarization? It’s Not Just in Washington
Boston Globe – Jill Ramos | Published: 2/19/2016
Political scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have measured for the first time the relative liberalism or conservatism of all 50 states by examining a host of policies from the past eight decades. The study shows state policies across the country became more liberal between the 1930s and 1970s, and then stopped. In more recent years, overall economic policies have been constant, but social policies have become more liberal. The findings also confirmed what might have been suspected for some time: that over the past 20 years, states have become more politically polarized, not just in voting for president or members of Congress but also in state-level policies.
Univision Aims to Make Hispanic Voting Bloc Even More Formidable
New York Times – Nick Corasaniti | Published: 2/22/2016
Univision, including its top-rated Spanish-language network and many subsidiaries, is making an ambitious nationwide effort aimed at registering about three million new Latino voters this year, roughly the same number who have come of voting age since 2012. The initiative will entail an aggressive schedule of advertisements on all of Univision’s video and digital platforms. Station managers will exhort their audiences in old-fashioned editorials, a comprehensive online voter guide will be updated throughout the election season, and the media company will use the kinds of grassroots organizing events usually staged by candidates to try to turn its viewers into even more of a powerhouse voting bloc than it already is.
Bernie Sanders, as Secular Jew, Leaves Religion in Background
New York Times – Joseph Berger | Published: 2/24/2016
The secular image that Bernie Sanders casts is complicating the way American Jews regard the historic nature of his candidacy. When Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew who spurned campaigning on the Sabbath, was Al Gore’s vice-presidential running mate in 2000, many Jewish voters saw it as a breakthrough. While Sanders’ surprising run for even higher office is eliciting many strong emotions, religious pride is usually not the main one.
Democratic Party Fundraising Effort Helps Clinton Find New Donors, Too
Washington Post – Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger | Published: 2/20/2016
Campaign officials for Hillary Clinton last summer urged state officials to sign on to an ambitious fundraising endeavor that would allow Clinton’s presidential bid, the Democratic National Committee, and the state parties to collect and share contributions from wealthy donors. A record 32 state parties signed on to the fund, allowing the committee to solicit donations 130 times greater than what a supporter can give to Clinton’s campaign for the primary. But the states have yet to see a financial windfall. Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign has been a major beneficiary, getting an infusion of low-dollar contributions through the committee. The early, expansive use of a jumbo-size joint fundraising committee shows how the Clinton campaign has worked to maximize donations from wealthy supporters, seizing on rules loosened by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fall of the House of Bush: How last name and Donald Trump doomed Jeb
Washington Post – Ed O’Keefe, Dan Balz, and Matea Gold | Published: 2/21/2016
Jeb Bush dropped out of the presidential race, ending a quest for the White House that started with a war chest of $100 million, a famous name, and a promise of political civility but concluded with a humbling recognition: in 2016, none of it mattered. No single candidacy this year fell so short of its original expectations. It began with an aura of inevitability that masked deep problems. The campaign had rested on a set of assumptions that, one by one, turned out to be incorrect: that the Republican primaries would turn on a record of accomplishment in government; Bush’s cerebral and reserved style would be an asset; and a country wary of dynasties would evaluate this member of the Bush family on his own merits.
Shuster Lounges Poolside with Airline Lobbyists as He Pursues FAA Bill
Politico – Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and John Bresnahan | Published: 2/23/2016
Nick Calio, head of the nation’s top airline trade group, Airlines for America, testified before U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently. The topic was a top priority for both men: a bill to overhaul the Federal Aviation Administration, most controversially by putting air traffic control in the hands of an entity favorable to the airlines. Two days later, Shuster’s committee approved the measure. The week after that, he and Calio traveled to Miami Beach with Shelley Rubino, an Airlines for America vice president who is Shuster’s girlfriend. The three lounged by the pool and dined together during festivities tied to U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s annual weekend fundraising trip. It is the most recent example of Shuster’s cozy relationship with the powerful airline association. His panel has jurisdiction over the $160 billion U.S. airline industry.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – Former State Sen. Leland Yee Sentenced to Prison
San Jose Mercury News – Howard Mintz | Published: 2/24/2016
Former California Sen. Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting he accepted bribes from undercover agents posing as campaign donors. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, which was filed as part of an organized crime investigation in San Francisco’s Chinatown that led to charges against more than two dozen people. Yee acknowledged accepting $11,000 in exchange for setting up a meeting with another state senator and $10,000 for recommending someone for a grant. He also discussed helping an undercover FBI agent buy automatic weapons from the Philippines that were intended to be brought to the U.S. for distribution.
Kansas – Want to Vote in This State? You Have to Have a Passport or Dig Up a Birth Certificate.
Washington Post – Sari Horwitz | Published: 2/19/2016
National attention on voting rights has mostly focused on whether new voter-identification laws in states such as North Carolina and Texas will disenfranchise minority voters. But there is a battle unfolding in Kansas over who can register to vote in the first place. Election-law experts say what happens here could have ramifications for voting throughout the country during a pivotal presidential election year. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Kansas, saying thousands of state residents are “trapped in limbo” because of the requirement that Kansans who register to vote have to show documents, such as a birth certificate or a passport, proving they are citizens.
Maine – After Legislative Raids and Funding Delays, Maine’s Public Campaign-Finance Money Could Run Out
Portland Press Herald – Steve Mistler | Published: 2/23/2016
Maine’s public campaign finance system could run out of money as state lawmakers have repeatedly raided the fund for other purposes. Jonathan Wayne, the executive director of the state ethics commission, told the Legislature’s budget writing committee that lawmakers have withdrawn around $12 million from the clean elections fund since 2002. Wayne also said the Legislature had returned $5.6 million to the voter-approved program, but that was not enough to offset the decline in funds. Supporters of the program also blame Gov. Paul LePage for withholding $1 million that was supposed to go the fund. The additional funding was included in the 2015 referendum that boosted the annual allocation to the program.
Massachusetts – Walsh Files Municipal Lobbying Legislation
Boston Globe – Mark Arsenault | Published: 2/25/2016
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh filed a home rule petition that would force city lobbyists to register and publicly report their efforts to influence public policy. It requires approval by the city council and then the Massachusetts Legislature. The proposal is based on existing lobbying rules for state government, Walsh said. He wants to get it through the Legislature this session. If the plan wins approval, municipal lobbyists in Boston would be required to file reports twice a year declaring their campaign contributions, the names of their clients, the legislation or policy decisions they had tried to influence, and the political positions for which they advocated. Lobbyists would also be required to report the pay they received from each lobbying client, as well as the dates of “lobbying communications” with public officials.
Mississippi – Elected Officials Use Campaign Finds for Private Gain in Mississippi
The Sun-Herald – Geoff Pender, Mollie Bryant, and Katie Royals (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) | Published: 2/22/2016
For many Mississippi politicians, campaign funds have become personal expense accounts or a second income, potentially tax free. The spending is largely paid for by lobbyists and special interests doing business with state government. They otherwise would not be allowed to lavish cash, gifts, or a second income on politicians. Campaign funds are shielded from taxes, ethics, and other laws because they are ostensibly to be used only for campaigning and records of them are ostensibly open to the public. Most states and the federal government, in efforts to reduce the corrosive influence of money in politics, have stringent reporting requirements. Mississippi does not. Most states also have prohibitions against personal spending of campaign money. In Mississippi, the practice is common.
Missouri – Some Question the Limits to Legislating the Missouri Legislature
St. Louis Public Radio – Jason Rosenbaum | Published: 2/24/2016
The Missouri House this year embarked on an ethics overhaul buoyed by the resignations of Reps. John Diehl and Paul LeVota, who stepped down amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns. Once the session began, the House quickly passed bills that would curb lobbyist gifts and slow down the transition between legislating and lobbying. But some lawmakers have questions about whether these reform initiatives will change a Legislature whose reputation has increasingly declined. They point out the scandals in question involved male lawmakers sexually harassing female interns, conscious choices that do not have much to do directly with lobbyist gifts or influence.
New Hampshire – N.H. Campaign Finance Lapses Go Unnoticed
Concord Monitor – Allie Morris | Published: 2/20/2016
A bill in New Hampshire would bar lawmakers from accepting campaign donations from lobbyists and block legislators from becoming registered lobbyists immediately after leaving office. It is not yet clear what lawmakers will do with the bill. But before they seek to put more regulations in place, a recent report shows they could be better served focusing on enforcing the ones that already exist. The Center for Public Integrity found campaign finance violations in New Hampshire can go largely unnoticed. The center cited a 2013 report that showed the state attorney general’s office regularly reviewed complaints regarding election violations and voter fraud, but investigated just one complaint out of 40 that dealt with campaign finance.
New Jersey – Birdsall CEO Pleads Guilty in Huge N.J. Pay-to-Play Scheme
Newark Star Ledger – S.P. Sullivan (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 2/18/2016
The former chief executive of a politically connected engineering firm has admitted to his role in a $1 million scheme to get around New Jersey’s “pay-to-play” laws. Howard Birdsall pleaded guilty to corporate misconduct. He ran Birdsall Services Group before investigators found the company disguised illegal corporate political contributions as personal donations from employees. The firm would have been disqualified from public contracts if made contributions to campaigns and political organizations in its own name. The state will recommend that Birdsall be sentenced to four years in state prison. He must also pay nearly $50,000. That is the amount of political donations he made that were reimbursed by the firm.
Virginia – No Rules Means No Accountability for Virginia Campaign Funds
ABC News – Alan Suderman (Associated Press) | Published: 2/19/2016
Records show the businesses that lobby Virginia politicians are also subsidizing meals at fancy restaurants, stays in the finest hotels, and personal expenses like gas and cellphone bills through campaign donations. Compounding the issue is the fact that lawmakers seldom face serious challenges; only a handful of races were seriously contested in 2015, and not a single incumbent lost in the general election. That means politicians who run up huge fundraising accounts to scare off challengers do not have to spend the money on campaigning.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
February 19, 2016 •
National: Sanders Supporters Like Chipotle, While Trump Fans Prefer Sonic Bloomberg.com – Tim Higgins | Published: 2/18/2016 Consumer data have traditionally been used by campaigns to better understand where they should invest their ad dollars, or which potential voters and donors […]
Sanders Supporters Like Chipotle, While Trump Fans Prefer Sonic
Bloomberg.com – Tim Higgins | Published: 2/18/2016
Consumer data have traditionally been used by campaigns to better understand where they should invest their ad dollars, or which potential voters and donors they should have volunteers call. Now, candidates are increasingly using the sentiment to figure out how to present themselves to voters. A survey by Resonate shows Bernie Sanders supporters are 82 percent more likely than the average American to eat at Chipotle, while Donald Trump fans are 111 percent more likely to grab a bite at Sonic. Marco Rubio’s backers are 141 percent more likely to have stayed at a Ritz-Carlton.
Snapchat Bets Big on Quick-Fire Approach to Campaign Coverage
New York Times – Nick Corasaniti | Published: 2/12/2016
Best known for photo and video messages that disappear soon after they are delivered, Snapchat is making a big bet by trying to break into the news business at a time when the industry is in turmoil. Developing a strategy for news coverage at a time when established newsrooms are struggling with the digital transition could be seen as a risky move, even for a booming technology company. But Snapchat has something that every other news organization is after: a loyal and active audience of more than 100 million users. Snapchat’s mission is to reinvent mobile storytelling through the most compelling and important story of the year – the presidential election – and it is already finding an audience, with more than one million viewers on every political story it has produced.
The Year of ‘Enormous Rage’: Number of hate groups rose by 14 percent in 2015
Washington Post – Niraj Chokshi | Published: 2/17/2016
For the first time in five years, the number of hate groups in the U.S. rose in 2015, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Swelling numbers of Ku Klux Klan chapters and black separatist groups drove last year’s surge, though organizations classified as anti-gay, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim saw small increases, too. A creeping rhetoric of intolerance among politicians helped to normalize hate, the center argued. And while it singled out other presidential contenders, the center, which conservatives criticize for casting too wide a net, stated Donald Trump had “electrified the radical right.”
Battle over Scalia’s Replacement Already Spilling into Senate Races
Washington Post – Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin | Published: 2/15/2016
Advocacy groups are gearing up for a fierce political fight over President Obama’s pick to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and already the battle is spilling from the presidential campaign into some of the nation’s most hotly contested Senate races. Republicans have argued Obama should allow his successor to make the pick and they would block any attempt to confirm a new justice this year. One consideration that may force Republicans to recalibrate their strategy is the prospect of political damage to some of the embattled Senate incumbents up for re-election this fall. Democrats see a potential confirmation battle as an opportunity to put Republicans on the defensive and as a wedge issue that could help them retake control of the Senate.
Campaigns Secretly Prep for Brokered GOP Convention
Politico – Brett Schreckinger | Published: 2/15/2016
As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz divide up the first primaries and center-right candidates hammer one another in a race to be the mainstream alternative, Republicans are waging a shadow primary for control of delegates in anticipation of what one senior party official called “the white whale of politics”: a contested national convention. Should the first ballot fail to produce a nominee, the outcome of the convention will depend on results of the parallel primary now underway for the hearts and minds of delegates. Each state party has its own rules governing delegate selection, a process so steeped in nuance and legal ambiguity that there are multiple blogs dedicated to wading through it all.
DNC Rolls Back Restrictions on Lobbyist Donation
Washington Post – Tom Hamburger and Paul Kane | Published: 2/12/2016
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has dismantled the last of its prohibitions on receiving contributions from lobbyists and PACs. The DNC opened the door to K Street donations earlier this summer, when it announced that lobbyists and corporate PACs would once again be allowed to contribute to the annual nominating conventions. With the DNC now accepting all lobbyist and PAC donations, it has reversed the policies that were adopted in 2008, when Barack Obama vowed to curb the influence of special interests in Washington.
Pope Francis Suggests Donald Trump Is ‘Not Christian’
New York Times – Jim Yardley | Published: 2/18/2016
Pope Francis suggested Donald Trump “is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border. Trump has also made inflammatory comments accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists and criminals. Asked whether he would try to influence Catholics in how they vote in the presidential election, Francis said he “was not going to get involved in that” but then repeated his criticism of Trump, with a caveat. “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that,” Francis said.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – Coastal Chief’s Ouster Prompts Bill to Require Transparency between Lobbyists and Panel
Los Angeles Times – Dan Weikel and Tony Barboza | Published: 2/12/2016
Assembly members said they plan to introduce legislation to require people who lobby the California Coastal Commission to register with the state and disclose their clients with business pending before the land-use agency. Lawmakers contend the measure would close a loophole that exempts lobbyists on the commission level from reporting details of their activities to the public. They say their bill also would require lobbyists to report to the public the payments they receive from clients and how much they spend on lobbying for specific matters that come before the commission. Lawmakers said they are motivated by what they consider a lack of transparency surrounding the firing of commission Executive Director Charles Lester.
California – L.A. Ethics Commission OKs $47,000 in Fines for Lobbying Violations
Los Angeles Times – Emily Alpert Reyes | Published: 2/16/2016
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission voted to fine two nonprofits more than $47,000 for failing to accurately report how much they had spent on lobbying. Both the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and the Hospital Association of Southern California had registered employees with the city as lobbyists. Yet the two groups reported spending nothing on lobbying by those employees for years, even as they spoke up on a laundry list of issues at City Hall. The steeper fine imposed on LAANE – $30,000 for a dozen violations over three years – appears to be the highest for a lobbying violation that the Ethics Commission has ever imposed. The hospital group will pay $17,500.
Florida – Apopka’s Hired Lobbyist Not Registered to Lobby for City in 2014, 2015
Orlando Sentinel – Bethany Rodgers | Published: 2/11/2016
The city of Apopka paid $165,000 to Richard Anderson to lobby the state and federal governments on behalf of the city from late 2014 through 2015. But state records show there was no registered lobbyist for Apopka during that time period, either in Tallahassee or Washington, D.C. Anderson said he has not done any state or federal lobbying for Apopka because city officials never requested it. Dave Mica, chairperson of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists, said Anderson is not a member of his organization and declined to comment on Apopka’s situation. Mica said there are industry standards for lobbyists. “It’s stated in our code of ethics that all members should diligently and vigorously advance the interests of their client and employer,” Mica said.
Massachusetts – FBI, IRS Raid Canton Law Office of State Senator Brian Joyce
Boston Globe – Milton Valencia, Astead Herndon, and Andrea Estes | Published: 2/17/2016
The FBI and IRS raided the law office of Massachusetts Sen. Brian Joyce. A person familiar with the investigation said the raid stemmed from recent stories in The Boston Globe detailing several ways in which Joyce allegedly used his position as a senator to benefit himself and his law practice. He is already under investigation by the state Ethics Commission and recently settled allegations of improper use of his campaign fund with Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Jerry Richman said he gave Joyce free dry cleaning for more than a decade starting in 1997. Richman, who owned Woodlawn Cleaners until 2008, said Joyce brought in $50 to $100 worth of dry cleaning almost weekly for years and did not pay.
Michigan – Lansing Power Brokers: Law firms, others strengthen their lobbying corps
Crain’s Detroit Business – Lindsay Vanhulle | Published: 2/7/2016
Lobbying is not just the work of traditional multi-client firms in state capitals. Some law firms with offices in Michigan are hiring more in-house lobbyists or forming other partnerships to handle meetings with legislators, prepare testimony for committee meetings, and build the relationships needed to help swing the pendulum in favor of their clients. The investment in lobbying is not without its critics, but nontraditional shifts in hiring, and consultants who serve as these behind-the-scenes dealmakers and educators, are a trend as clients seek to save money on litigation or influence policy decisions. Another motivation is to educate existing staff on legislative issues of the day.
New Mexico – Ethics Bill Appears Dead after Sponsor Ends Support
Albuquerque Journal – Dan Boyd | Published: 2/16/2016
The New Mexico Legislature abandoned efforts to establish a state ethics commission this year that would oversee the conduct of public officials, lobbyists, and contractors. A proposed constitutional amendment to create an independent ethics agency died in a Senate committee after requests were made to rein in the authority of the agency. The plan was an ambitious component of reforms proposed in response to a campaign finance scandal last year that led the resignation and jailing of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran. The House had voted in favor of creating the ethics commission.
Utah – Free Lunches Becoming More Rare for Utah Legislators
Salt Lake Tribune – Lee Davidson | Published: 2/15/2016
Utah lawmakers’ schedules these days generally include fewer free-meal events sponsored by special-interest groups than they used to. Many groups hoping to lobby the Legislature en masse seem to be shifting away from time-consuming lunches and dinners to receptions where legislators can drop in briefly. A likely reason is the Legislature changed its pay structure a few years ago to eliminate what had been a financial incentive to accept free meals. With that gone, many now tend to value quick events that do not consume too much of their time. But so many free breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snack breaks, receptions, and family events still exist that questions arise about whether they allow wealthy special interests to buy extra access and, perhaps, influence.
Washington – State: Food industry lobby engaged in ‘egregious’ money laundering in 2013 vote
Seattle Post-Intelligencer – Joel Connelly | Published: 2/17/2016
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson alleges the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) concealed the source of $11 million spent to fight a 2013 ballot initiative, and internal documents reveal how it was done. Ferguson is suing the GMA over a fund it set up to conceal food companies donating to the defeat of Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of all genetically engineered foods and seeds sold in Washington. Ferguson filed a suit against the GMA late in the campaign, after which the association agreed to register with the Public Disclosure Commission and provide information on donors, who turned out to be a “who’s who” of big food companies. The GMA decried what it called Washington’s “hopelessly vague disclosure law” and charged it “improperly burdens” the constitutional right of trade associations to participate in the state’s political process.
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August 2, 2013 •
Take a look at our August-September calendar. Say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.
August 2-5, 2013 National Governors Association Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
August 8, 2013 Public Relations Society of America, Tangiers in Akron, Ohio
August 12-15, 2013 NCSL Legislative Summit Booth 921, Atlanta, Georgia
September 19-22, 2013 CSG National Conference, Kansas City, Missouri
September 25-27, 2013 Public Affairs Council State and Local Government Relations Conference, Washington, D.C.
August 2, 2013 •
April 23, 2013 •
April 10, 2013 •
With a warm Akron reception directly following the Akron Roundtable Luncheon
State and Federal Communications is a big fan of the Akron Roundtable and we attend their speaker series luncheon each month. “Bringing the World to Akron” is the Roundtable’s motto, and for us this is especially true this month.
We are very proud to sponsor this month’s speaker, David Adkins, who is the Executive Director and CEO of the Council of State Governments (CSG). Mr. Adkins will be speaking on “The State of the States” with insight and perspectives you can find nowhere else!
CSG is the only nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving all three branches of government.
Following the Akron Roundtable luncheon, State and Federal Communications will be offering a warm Akron reception honoring Mr. Adkins. The reception will take place from 1:15 to 3:30 at our office located across the street from the Quaker Station at 80 South Summit Street, Suite 100, Akron.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Alexis Pope at 330-761-9960.
November 16, 2012 •
A valued voice from the Associate community
Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Associates Advisory Committee of The Council of State Governments (CSG) for 2012/2013 term.
CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. It is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government.
According to their website, “The [Associates Advisory Committee] consists of public and private representatives who assist CSG in identifying and recruiting potential associate members, provide advice on development and marketing techniques for the program, and make recommendations to the CSG Executive Committee for promising new public/private partnership opportunities. The committee also assists CSG in identifying key policy issues and state trends.”
Congratulations to you, Elizabeth, for this honor and service!
July 17, 2012 •
Legislators join for 67th annual meeting
Attending from 11 Midwestern states and four Canadian provinces, legislators have gathered in Cleveland for the 67th annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments from July 15 through the 18. The conference is being held in the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, giving legislators a taste of Cleveland.
Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, Inc. is attending the meeting to observe as legislators discuss the need for regional and economic improvements.
According to the Cleveland brochure for the 2012 conference, five political speakers will give presentations at the meeting, including the host, Ohio representative Armond Budish. The reception took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Events in the evening will give the attendees the opportunity to bond and participate in discussions, while the Family Night at the FirstEnergy Powerhouse building allows time for family fun.
Referring to the annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference, Senator Kate Sullivan of Nebraska was quoted in the brochure, stating that it is “a time for networking with colleagues, learning from each other, listening to great presenters, all with the overarching reminder that we, as legislators, have been elected to ‘govern’ and that it is done best in the spirit of bi-partisanship.”
Through a variety of activities and events, the 67th annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislatives Conference in Cleveland will bring together legislators to expand on regional matters while enjoying the sites of the city.
July 2, 2012 •
Here is our July-August calendar. Say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.
July 13-15, 2012 National Governors Association Annual Meeting, Williamsburg, Virginia
July 15-18, 2012 The Council of State Governments [CSG] Midwestern Legislative Conference, Cleveland, Ohio
August 6-9, 2012 NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) Booth 923, Chicago, Illinois
May 17, 2012 •
Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, is attending the Council of State Governments’ National Leadership Conference 2012.
She was appointed to CSG’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for the 2011/2012 term.
The event is being held in La Quinta, California, and runs from May 17-20.
October 19, 2011 •
CSG’s National Conference motto: “Listen. Learn. Lead. Join Us.”
Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, is attending the Council of State Governments 2011 National Conference & North American Summit in Bellevue, Washington.
This year’s National Conference is being held from October 19-23 and for the first time will include representatives from Canada and Mexico.
Elizabeth Bartz was recently appointed to CSG’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for 2011/2012 term.
October 4, 2011 •
NCSL blog cites the results of two surveys
NCSL’s blog The Thicket at State Legislatures put up a post yesterday that discusses where legislators turn in order to get information to help them make public policy decisions.
The blog cites two sources of information and makes a comparison. The first source is a survey by NCSL, the Council of State Governments, and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation from 2002. The second source is a book called Power, Knowledge, and Politics: Policy Analysis in the States by John Hird from 2005.
The two surveys approached the question in different ways, but according to the blog post, they came up with the same rankings. Take a look at this chart, which summarizes it with bar graphs. Interest groups and lobbyists appear in eighth place on the list.
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