December 10, 2012 •
Have you met these men from the staff yet?
Each of them, as well as eight more of us from State and Federal Communications, attended the Council on Government Ethics Laws (COGEL) in Columbus, Ohio last week. Each of them presented at the conference and took the work they do every day and shared it with others.
Jim Sedor is our in-house rock star. He is Editor of News You Can Use our weekly news service we provide to all of our clients. We know now difficult it is to read 100 newspapers a week so we…I mean, Jim…helps you out by reviewing them for you. At COGEL, Jim spoke at one of the breakfast table topics on Monday, December 4th on How Do You Use the News.
John Cozine is the Research Manager and oversees a group of attorneys reviewing states, municipalities, and Canadian provinces and territories to make sure our website has all of the information our clients need for lobbying, political contributions, procurement lobbying, pay-to-play, gift laws, legislative sessions, and on and on and on. At COGEL he led a breakfast table topic on Monday about the Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College.
Joe May, Social Media Coordinator, had an encore performance of an earlier presentation—DIY Outreach and Education: e-Learning and Beyond.
Joe has taken State and Federal Communications and put us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Lobby Comply blog, and even You Tube (State and Federal Communications TV). He has conducted presentations to federal government agency staff and at the Heartland Group (a regional part of COGEL) on how everything can work together to reach people using social media…and that includes a lot of people.
I love sharing my staff with others. They are in the trenches and making sure we are always providing our clients with up-to-the-minute news.
Until next month, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a Happy New Year. We look forward to 2013 and know you will be extremely busy with every state’s legislature in session.
September 26, 2011 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
From the States and Municipalities:
District of Columbia
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.
Jim Sedor is editor of News You Can Use.
September 17, 2010 •
We are celebrating a special anniversary!
An English proverb states, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” On Monday, September 13, State and Federal Communications, Inc. thanked News You Can Use Editor Jim Sedor for keeping company with us for ten years.
Almost the entire company walked or drove to Downtown Akron’s Bricco restaurant for a celebratory lunch. Also in attendance were Jim’s sister, Mary Ann LoBue, and her husband, Joe, who drove in from Mars, Pennsylvania for the occasion.
The meal was followed by a tribute to Jim by President and CEO Elizabeth Bartz, along with the presentation of a recognition book with photos and warm wishes from our staff. Everyone returned to the office to enjoy a beautiful and wonderfully chocolate cake.
In 2000, Elizabeth determined there was a need for governmental movers and shakers to know what was going on in the worlds of campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics, but there was no vehicle for that information to be provided in a timely manner. Then Jim Sedor walked through State and Federal’s doors. Since that day, Jim has taken the idea from a small, in-house proposition to what it is now, a piece that has virtually taken on a life of its own. For ten years, Jim Sedor has kept our clients—and our staff—on top of the accolades and escapades of elected officials throughout our country, and for a few hours, we took time to let him know how much we appreciate him.
As for the fact Jim is a great guy and deserving of the praise?
Well, that’s just icing on the cake.
September 16, 2010 •
In honor of the 10th anniversary of News You Can Use (NYCU), I interviewed its editor, Jim Sedor.
News You Can Use is a weekly digital news aggregation on the issues of campaign finance, lobbying, procurement, and government ethics. Every week Jim Sedor gathers between 80 and 100 articles, and every Friday morning NYCU is sent out to our subscribers.
Hi Jim! How did NYCU come about? How long have you been associated with it?
The idea for compiling a weekly review of what is happening across the country in ethics, campaign finance, and lobbying originated with Elizabeth Bartz. I came aboard in 2000 to implement what she wanted.
Elizabeth had found the company didn’t have a process to find important information that was out there in a timely way and was missing a lot of things that would affect the business.
When we started, it was just an in-house review of the most recent happenings – it had not even been christened “New You Can Use” yet (a name that Elizabeth also coined).
As it grew, we figured our clients would love to see – and needed to know – what we were finding, so we started sending NYCU out to them by e-mail.
Who is a typical NYCU reader? How does NYCU give them a “heads up” regarding campaign finance and lobbying news?
I don’t know if I can classify a typical reader – maybe someone who subscribes to our services and needs to know what is happening in their field – like lobbyists, campaign finance lawyers, companies that employ lobbyists and give money to candidates, or firms that compete for state contracts.
We often give readers the first word about specific changes in campaign finance or lobbying law in a given state or the federal level. Most of the time, we have been tracking those changes from the beginning and see them through to the end – articles on a bill’s introduction to its signing by the governor.
We also follow scandals closely because those are most often the trigger for reform and you can almost predict at the start of some corruption investigation that there will be changes ahead and it should be monitored. The whole issue of “pay-to-play” reform is an example.
After ten years of gathering news, do any stories stand out? Craziest? Most egregious? Biggest surprise?
I try not to be cynical, but sometimes I can’t help it. I’m not surprised by most stories of graft and quid pro quo deals and the like, although sometimes the sheer scope and audacity involved in a particular story catches my eye.
We had that recently here in Northeast Ohio when it seemed like the whole Cuyahoga County government was indicted for corruption that involved tens of millions of dollars in bribes and crooked contracts.
One case that stands out for sheer strangeness is Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina who said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but was actually much further south – in Argentina visiting the woman he was having an affair with. Nobody knew where he was.
You have a lot of fun at COGEL Annual Conferences. Can you tell us what happened at one particular COGEL breakfast in Chicago, December 2008?
We were having breakfast at the conference when a person from the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission got a message on his Blackberry and excused himself. When he got back to the table, he said he had pressing business and had to leave – the governor of Illinois had just been arrested and “led away in handcuffs.” That turned out to be the day Rod Blagojevich was arrested.
Can you picture doing NYCU fifteen years ago, prior to the advent of on-line newspapers and super smart search engines?
It would be impossible to do NYCU without the Internet and be as comprehensive – we just couldn’t cover the whole country and really stay on top of things.
According to our tally, you have gathered 41,517 articles in the last 10 years for NYCU. How does that make you feel?
Tired. (Laughs) And it makes me feel like I need a vacation – I’ve been working too hard.
When you break it down like that, it really shows the vast amount of material that has been published on campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics.
I feel a sense of accomplishment – that I have been able to stay on top of this and get most of the important stories that have been out there. We don’t miss much.
It also shows these are issues that are of great importance to a lot of people and reporters will continue to churn out story after story.
Thank you, Jim! All the best to you for another wonderful 10 years!
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.