August 5, 2015 •
Federal contractors may be required to provide “paid leave to employees who are sick, are seeking medical attention or need to care for a sick relative,” according to an article published in today’s New York Times. The paper says it […]
Federal contractors may be required to provide “paid leave to employees who are sick, are seeking medical attention or need to care for a sick relative,” according to an article published in today’s New York Times.
The paper says it obtained a confidential draft of a presidential executive order, marked “pre-decisional and deliberative,” requiring all federal contractors and subcontractors to provide leave for illnesses and for care of “a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner ‘or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.’” The White House has refused to comment on the draft document.
July 13, 2015 •
Last week the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the law barring contractors from contributing to candidates, parties, and candidates’ and parties’ committees. Plaintiffs had challenged the constitutionality of 52 U.S.C. […]
Last week the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the law barring contractors from contributing to candidates, parties, and candidates’ and parties’ committees.
Plaintiffs had challenged the constitutionality of 52 U.S.C. § 30119(a)(1), which prohibits any vendors with contracts with the federal government from making political contributions to federal candidates or political parties. In Wagner v. Federal Election Commission, the plaintiffs had asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional as applied to individuals who have personal services contracts with federal agencies.
Because federal workers who are not contractors may make federal political contributions while contractors performing the same work may not, the suit argued the law violates both the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and the First Amendment.
September 30, 2014 •
Lobbying “Bottom Line” in The Hill. “Mack IV joins lobbying firm” by Salem Solomon in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Florida: “Search Broward lobbying database, if you find it” by Brittany Wallman in the Sun Sentinel. Ohio: “2nd lobbyist guilty […]
“Bottom Line” in The Hill.
“Mack IV joins lobbying firm” by Salem Solomon in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Florida: “Search Broward lobbying database, if you find it” by Brittany Wallman in the Sun Sentinel.
Ohio: “2nd lobbyist guilty of unreported Bengals tix” by Chrissie Thompson in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Greens take 2014 fight to states” by Darren Goode and Andrew Restuccia in Politico.
Minnesota: “Franken, McFadden complain about big money but still rake it in” by Catherine Richert on Minnesota Public Radio News.
Kentucky: “Special interests spend in Ky.” in The Courier-Journal.
Texas: “Panel weighs pros, cons of campaign donor reporting” by Joseph Basco in the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
Georgia: “Georgia ethics commission dismisses complaint accusing Jason Carter of fundraising violation” by The Associated Press in The Republic.
Hawaii: “Hawaii House leader fined a record $50,000 for ethics violations” by Malia Zimmerman in Watchdog.org.
Nevada: “Ex-employee alleges ethics director violated Nevada law” by Emerson Marcus in the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Tech and Social Media
“Contractors, Expect 72-hour Rule for Disclosing Corporate Hacks” by Aliya Sternstein in Nextgov.
October 31, 2013 •
Federal Vendor Suspensions and Debarment
On October 28, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa introduced a bill dealing with federal vendor suspensions and debarment.
The Stop Unworthy Spending Act (SUSPEND Act), House Resolution 4435, establishes a Board of Suspension with the General Services Administration for purposes of serving as a centralized body to manage and improve all executive agency suspension and debarment activities. The bill terminates any suspension and debarment office or functions in other executive agencies effective October 1, 2016 but it does allow for some exceptions.
“While the vast majority of contractors and grantees fulfill their obligations, the SUSPEND Act streamlines the procedures for dealing with the ones that do not,” said Issa in a House Oversight Committee press release.
The legislation provides $2 million dollars for each fiscal year from 2015 to 2021 to carry out the functions of the newly created Board.
July 12, 2013 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
Rothberg Political Report – Nathan Gonzalez | Published: 7/11/2013
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asked the FEC to grant same-sex couples and candidates the same rights as married opposite-sex couples in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. One expert said the agency is not likely to pass its own regulation on spouses. “The FEC is likely to conclude that it’s governed by state law, [and] then you will have different fundraising rules for different states,” said former FEC Chairperson Michael Toner.
U.S. News & World Report – Allie Bidwell | Published: 7/10/2013
According to a new survey by corruption watchdog Transparency International, more than a quarter of people worldwide paid a bribe when dealing with public services in the past 12 months. In the U.S., 60 percent of people said corruption has increased over the last two years, while only 10 percent said it has decreased by any amount. Overall, many countries found people do not trust the institutions they typically rely on to combat crime and corruption.
Politico – Byron Tau | Published: 7/7/2013
Disclosure on federal intelligence and procurement matters is opaque and confusing, stemming from loopholes in the nation’s lobbying transparency laws. Critics say the current rules are outdated and riddled with exemptions, and in need of revision.
Lancaster Eagle-Gazette – Deidre Shesgren | Published: 7/10/2013
The IRS’s acting chief, Danny Werfel, unveiled a new process as one part of the agency’s effort to address the scandal in which agents used inappropriate criteria to flag some tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny. Werfel said any group that has been waiting for tax-exempt status for more than 120 days will be able to self-certify. Those who are eligible will have to swear at least 60 percent of their organization’s resources will be devoted to a “social welfare” purpose and they will not spend more than 40 percent of their time or money on political activities.
Boston Globe – Christoher Rowland | Published: 7/7/2013
The impression of weakness at the FEC has escalated in recent years as Republicans commissioners united in the belief that the agency had been guilty of overreach and have moved to soften enforcement, block new rules, and limit oversight. According to critics, the FEC has been rendered toothless.
From the States and Municipalities:
Los Angeles Times – Patrick McGreevy | Published: 7/5/2013
Erin Peth was selected to be the new executive director of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Peth will step down from her post as deputy legal affairs secretary in Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, which she has held since 2011. Before that, she served as deputy attorney general while Brown was the state attorney general.
AccessNorthGa.com – Ray Henry (Associated Press) | Published: 7/10/2013
State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens and two of his staff members accepted meals and a round of golf from Gould Hagler, executive director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia. After being questioned about the spending, Hudgens said his staff will pay for their own entertainment at future events and begin following a new law limiting lobbyist spending before it legally takes effect in January.
Morning Sentinel – Naomi Schalit and John Christie (Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting) | Published: 7/9/2013
A grade of “F” in a national report that measured the states’ levels of accountability and transparency in government spurred Maine lawmakers to enact reforms. The bills signed by Gov. Paul LePage include stricter reporting requirements for statements of economic interests filed by legislators and slowing the “revolving door” at the Capitol.
Lincoln Journal-Star – JoAnne Young | Published: 7/7/2013
Some in Nebraska are asking if lobbyists exert too much influence on the legislative process. They contend that outside of committee hearing – where the public can see what is happening – lobbyists are able to advance their clients’ interests behind closed doors.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer – Michael Virtanen (Associated Press) | Published: 7/8/2013
Some have questioned whether the commission appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet its mandate to root out corruption in the state. David Grandeau, the former director of New York’s defunct lobbying commission, does not believe this new temporary group will be any more effective than the Commission on Public Integrity and its successor, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Grandeau compared the panels to the Peanuts character Charlie Brown – always having the football pulled away at the last minute.
New York Times – Michael Barbarao and David Chen | Published: 7/7/2013
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who stepped down in 2008 over a prostitution scandal, will enter the race for run for New York City comptroller. He said he believed New Yorkers would be open to his candidacy. “I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,” said Spitzer.
North Carolina – Arrests Mount as NC Legislative Session Nears End
Charlotte Observer – Michael Biesecker (Associated Press) | Published: 7/7/2013
Observers say some of the 700 people charged with the misdemeanors while protesting at the North Carolina General Assembly were exercising their First Amendment rights, behaving no differently than protesters from past years who were not arrested. That has raised concerns about whether Republican leaders who took control of the Legislature in 2010 are directing more aggressive enforcement against citizens who disagree with their agenda.
Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh Mayor’s Profile Wanes with Feds’ Probe
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Joe Mandak (Associated Press) | Published: 7/7/2013
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has gone from appearing on “Late Night with David Letterman” to facing a grand jury investigation. His staff members have testified about whether Ravenstahl sanctioned a slush fund that led to the police chief’s resignation and indictment, and whether the mayor instructed bodyguards to alter their time cards.
San Francisco Chronicle – Erik Schelzig (Associated Press) | Published: 7/7/2013
An FBI investigation of alleged fraud by the sales staff at Pilot Flying J, the truck stop chain owned by the family of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, has shined a spotlight on the governor’s pledge to keep his distance from company business. Opponents attacked Haslam for refusing to disclose his personal ownership stake, among other criticisms, in the 2010 Republican primary and general election.
Washington Post – Rosalind Helderman | Published: 7/10/2013
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is facing new allegations he failed to report donations made to him and other family members. Jonnie Williams, Sr., a businessperson and prominent political donor, gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister last year. The payments to the corporation offer the first public example of money provided by Williams that would directly benefit McDonnell and not just his family.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.
October 17, 2011 •
Comments Until December 13
A proposed federal regulation would require mandatory privacy training for certain contractors.
Under a new rule put forward by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and NASA, contractors would be required to identify employees designing, operating or having access to government systems of records, or handling personally identifiable information.
This training would be required upon the award of a contract and at least annually thereafter. Vendors would be required to maintain records of employee training for request by the government.
This rule does not apply to commercial items. The Regulatory Secretariat is accepting comments until December 13.
September 2, 2011 •
GovWin discusses communications strategies
Elliot Volkman has written a piece, “Contractors Use Webinars, Social Media To Extend Their Voices,” on GovWin.com’s blog. He discusses the benefits and limitations government contractors may face when using social media for their communications strategies.
Aside from discussing how to make the most out of using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, Volkman also gives advice on hosting webinars and how they can fit in with the use of social media.
June 1, 2011 •
Introduced in Both Houses
A proposed executive order requiring vendors submitting offers for federal contracts to disclose political contributions and expenditures has sparked a legislative response.
An amendment was added to HR1540, a fiscal national defense authorization bill, which passed last week, precluding an executive agency from requiring a vendor to disclose political contributions as a condition of contract participation.
Additionally, two companion bills opposing the proposed executive order were also introduced into the house and senate. SB1100 and HR2008, titled “Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act of 2011”, explicitly prohibit an executive agency from requiring submission of political information, and prohibit an agency from using political information as a factor in consideration of whether to award a contract. The bills’ definition of political information means information relating to political spending, including contributions, independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
Previously, a congressional hearing was also held concerning the proposed executive order.
Photo of the United States Capitol with the flag by Florian Hirzinger on Wikipedia.
May 20, 2011 •
Not Yet Signed
Reaction to the leaked draft presidential executive order requiring vendor disclosure of political contributions has been increasing. A hearing was held in the House last week to examine the proposed executive order, with testimony being presented from various witnesses.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing on behalf of a coalition of more than 80 business groups and trade associations, has strongly protested the proposed executive order, stating, “American businesspeople should not be forced to limit the exercise of their constitutional rights under a new and oppressive regulatory scheme.”
More than 30 public-interest groups have signed a letter in support of the draft executive order, writing, “In order to keep in check actual or perceived corruption in government contracting, it is imperative that there be full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures by federal government contractors.”
If the draft presidential executive order were to be signed, it would be effective immediately, requiring every entity submitting offers for federal contracts to disclose certain political contributions and expenditures made within the two years prior to submission of their offer.
Photo of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce courtesy of APK on Wikipedia.
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