March 20, 2015 •
National: Evangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016 New York Times – Jason Horowitz | Published: 3/15/2015 David Lane travels the country trying to persuade clergy members to become politically active. His hope is the politicized pastors will […]
Evangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016
New York Times – Jason Horowitz | Published: 3/15/2015
David Lane travels the country trying to persuade clergy members to become politically active. His hope is the politicized pastors will help mobilize congregations that have been disheartened by the repeated failure of socially conservative candidates, and by a Republican Party that has softened its opposition to same-sex marriage. It is an organizing approach far different from those in the days when larger-than-life leaders could activate evangelical voters simply by anointing a candidate. But close observers of evangelicals and their political involvement say Lane is emblematic of a new generation of leaders who draw local support or exert influence through niche issues or their own networks.
IRS May Broaden Rule to Police Political Nonprofits
Politico – Hillary Flynn and Rachel Bade | Published: 3/18/2015
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency may expand a yet-to-be-released rule governing 501(c)(4) social welfare groups to include political groups known as 527s, which focus on elections. It could require them both, as well as other types of tax-exempt organizations, to operate under the same definition of “political activity.” The law is currently vague, requiring that 501(c)(4)s operate “primarily” for social welfare. It is one of the reasons the IRS found itself in hot water for pulling tea party groups for extra scrutiny between 2010 and 2012.
Rep. Aaron Schock to Resign amid Spending Scandal
Washington Post – Mike DeBonis, Robert Costa, and Paul Kane | Published: 3/17/2015
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) will resign on March 31 following questions about spending by his office and campaign. Schock has faced a torrent of bad publicity that began when it was revealed he had his office redecorated – for free – in the style of the PBS series “Downton Abbey.” Schock repaid $40,000 for the redecoration, but the initial story set off a series of reports on his lavish spending habits. Subsequent reports detailed a dozen charter flights worth over $40,000 on donors’ planes and $24,000 in campaign funds spent on concerts and events. The Chicago Tribune published a report raising questions about the use of campaign funds to finance the construction and sale of a house that Schock owned in Peoria.
The ‘Moneyball’ Effect on K Street: The influence game gets scientific
Washington Post – Catherine Ho | Published: 3/15/2015
Companies rooted in data analytics are attempting to change the way lobbying is done in Washington, D.C. At least four companies have introduced new ways to sell data-based political and competitive intelligence that offers insight into the policymaking process. They are turning lobbying, which was once based entirely on personal connections, into more of a science, and the idea is gaining traction among the field’s most established power brokers. In some ways, technology is just automating and verifying knowledge a lobbyist may already have, based on instincts and experience. But access to statistics is now key to selling lobbying services to clients, who increasingly want empirical evidence to back up claims about a lawmaker’s reputation.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – Big Money Arrived Too Late for L.A. Election Debate
Los Angeles Times – David Zahniser | Published: 3/15/2015
The campaign behind Charter Amendments 1 and 2, which changed Los Angeles’ election dates and gave some officials an extra 18 months in office, reported its funding from the union that represents most Department of Water and Power employees 90 minutes before the polls closed. That money was part of a larger phenomenon in this year’s campaign season: big contributions that arrived too late to be disclosed on mailers or, in some cases, too late even to be part of the public debate.
Connecticut – Rowland Sentenced to 30 Months, a Decade after Last Imprisonment
New York Times – Kristin Hussey and Marc Santora | Published: 3/18/2015
Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a political consulting scheme, exactly one decade after he was ordered behind bars in an earlier scandal that forced him from office. Rowland committed the latest crimes as he maneuvered to insert himself in two separate congressional campaigns. He was convicted on charges he conspired to conceal payment for the work, which he knew would bring unwelcome publicity to the candidates because of his criminal history. Prosecutors said Rowland was paid $35,000 to work on the failed 2012 campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley and conspired to hide those payments through a consulting contract with a business owned by her husband. They say he tried to strike a similar deal with another failed congressional candidate.
Florida – Marco Rubio’s House of Horrors
Politico – Marc Caputo | Published: 3/16/2015
A house in Tallahassee jointly owned by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) could be a headache for Rubio if he goes ahead with an expected run for president. The property is a stubborn symbol of both a politically problematic friendship and lingering questions about Rubio’s personal finances, which dogged him on the campaign trail in 2010 and may do so again. Rubio’s critics are waiting to make hay of any revelations that may come of the federal campaign finance investigation of Rivera and to point to their status as roommates during the years when Rivera allegedly engaged in illegal campaign activities.
New Mexico – Freshman Lawmaker Determined to ‘Pay My Own Way’ at the Roundhouse
KRQE – Matt Grubs | Published: 3/17/2015
New Mexico Rep. Jim Dines agreed to run for a House seat with the condition that he would not take campaign money from lobbyists or special interests. When Dines got to Santa Fe, he continued his independent streak. He refused to accept all the coffee mugs, jewelry, and free food that normally find their way onto a lawmaker’s desk during the session. Dines does not think a free meal or a stuffed animal or even free golf passes from a lobbyist equate to a promise to vote the way that lobbyist would prefer. But he said that does not really matter. “The perception of the public is … there’s a reason things are being given,” said Dines.
New Mexico – House Democrat Questions Lobbyist Bill Delay, Seeks Probe
Taos News – Steve Terrell (Santa Fe New Mexican) | Published: 3/16/2015
State Rep. Brian Egolf wants an investigation into why the New Mexico House delayed sending a bill on lobbyist disclosure to the Senate. Egolf says the delay in sending the measure to the Senate likely killed it as the legislative session nears its end. House Bill 155 would require lobbyists to disclose what issues or causes they have been hired to represent. It also would extend how long the state keeps lobbyist records. The House approved the legislation on March 7 but did not send it to the Senate until March 13. Normally, bills are sent within a day.
North Carolina – Sex, Romance Would Be a Conflict of Interest under NC General Assembly Proposal
Raleigh News & Observer – Colin Campbell | Published: 3/17/2015
The North Carolina Ethics Commission in February ruled that sex between a lobbyist and state official is not a gift that must be formally disclosed. Some lawmakers now want to make it clear that such relations require officials to step back from governmental action. House Bill 252 says an official must avoid acting if the official is married to a lobbyist and the lobbyist or the company the person works for could gain financially. It also applies if the two are dating or have a sexual relationship.
North Dakota – Lawmakers Say ‘No’ to Letting Voters Decide on State Ethics Commission
Dickinson Press – Mike Nowatzki (Forum News Service) | Published: 3/16/2015
The North Dakota House defeated a resolution that would have allowed voters to decide if a state ethics commission should be established. Assistant Minority Leader Corey Mock, the prime sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 3060, said the lack of an ethics agency creates a perception problem for the state, and he questioned why lawmakers would want to wait until something egregious happens before creating one. But Rep. Scott Louser said while some states have a culture of corruption, North Dakota has a culture of openness and accessibility.
Texas – In Dallas, Most Ethics Complaints Go Nowhere
Dallas Morning News – Elizabeth Findell | Published: 3/15/2015
The Dallas City Council recently took steps to cut down on the number of frivolous complaints filed with the city’s Ethics Advisory Commission, and to allow the city to reimburse the subjects of such complaints for their defense costs. But ethics complaints, frivolous or otherwise, are rare at City Hall, shows a review by The Dallas Morning News. And when a complaint is filed, the chances are slim that anything will happen as a result. Of the 69 complaints filed since 2001, six were immediately declared invalid because they were submitted incorrectly or related to activities by people not affiliated with the city. Of the remainder, 56 were dismissed by a preliminary panel review.
Vermont – Senate Grumbles about Lobbyist Disclosure Bill
Seven Days – Terri Hallenbeck | Published: 3/17/2015
The Vermont Senate passed Senate Bill 93, which would require registered lobbyists, principals, and lobbying firms to disclose advertisements or advertising campaigns that they spend $1,000 or more on during a legislative session. The advertising report requirement is in addition to lobbyists’ current obligations to file expenditure reports, and the bill would increase the number of times per year lobbyists need to file those expenditure reports from three to five.
Washington – Zombie Lobby Descends on Capitol to Rally for Expanding Film and TV Tax Incentive Program
The Daily Journal – Rachel La Corte (Associated Press) | Published: 3/17/2015
Supporters of Washington’s film and television industry staged a mock zombie apocalypse at the Capitol as part of their lobbying efforts on a measure to expand a tax-incentive program designed to lure more projects to the state. More than 200 people, including actors, crew, and support staff, staged a daylong shoot for a spot they planned to release later in support of Senate Bill 6027, which would increase the amount of money available every year under Washington’s tax incentive program for the industry. Dozens of actors dressed as zombies were part of action scenes where the script included monologues or conversations about the bill.
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 3, 2015 •
A new bill could increase the expenditure threshold for lobbyist registration. House Bill 2082, attempting to account for inflation, would increase the current $100 threshold to $1,000. The current law has been in place since 1975. Proponents of the bill […]
A new bill could increase the expenditure threshold for lobbyist registration. House Bill 2082, attempting to account for inflation, would increase the current $100 threshold to $1,000.
The current law has been in place since 1975.
Proponents of the bill believe it will only serve to protect private citizens from inadvertently breaking the law, while having no effect on industry lobbyists, who typically expend much larger sums.
Carol Williams, executive director of the Kansas Government Ethics Commission, presented the proposal to the House Elections Committee and was the only person to testify on the matter.
April 11, 2014 •
National: States Look Harder at Rules on Gifts to Lawmakers Philadelphia Inquirer – Amy Worden | Published: 4/6/2014 News that four state lawmakers from Philadelphia were caught on tape allegedly taking cash or gifts from a lobbyist has stoked new […]
Philadelphia Inquirer – Amy Worden | Published: 4/6/2014
News that four state lawmakers from Philadelphia were caught on tape allegedly taking cash or gifts from a lobbyist has stoked new calls for reform. Pennsylvania is not alone. Organizations that monitor ethics laws nationwide say the last decade has brought tighter state laws involving gift-giving, lobbying, and conflict-of-interest, some driven by similar scandals.
Politico – Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti | Published: 4/2/2014
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the limit on an individual’s overall campaign contributions infringed on First Amendment rights cleared the way for donors to give the maximum amount to as many candidates and political parties as they wish during a two-year election cycle. The decision means a common excuse for brushing off fundraising requests – that potential donors, many of them lobbyists, have already “maxed out” their contributions under the cap – is now moot.
From the States and Municipalities:
Arizona Republic – Mary Jo Pitzl | Published: 4/8/2014
Disclosure is not a comfortable topic at the Arizona Capitol, where four years ago the Fiesta Bowl scandal erupted over 28 current and former lawmakers accepting lavish trips and college-football game tickets. Since then, despite proposals to clarify disclosure rules, nothing has changed. State law requires elected officials to disclose gifts they received that were worth $500 or more. But that is not strictly followed, according to an Arizona Republic review of the annual reports. At least nine lawmakers did not initially report trips they took in 2013.
Sacramento Bee – Jeremy White | Published: 4/6/2014
The legal troubles roiling Sacramento have left millions of constituents without the elected representatives they sent to the Capitol to advocate and vote for their interests. Three senators fighting criminal cases were suspended from office. When lawmakers are stripped of their most basic and potent tool for shaping policy – a vote on legislation – the constituents are also, in a sense, disenfranchised.
Delaware – Lobbying Fee Proposed to Pay for Oversight
Wilmington News Journal – Jonathan Starkey | Published: 4/9/2014
Legislation will be introduced in Delaware that would require lobbyists to pay an annual registration fee to help fund the state Public Integrity Commission. The bill would require lobbyists to pay the fee for each client they represent. Another measure filed recently would impose a fee for lobbyists who file disclosure reports late.
Athens Banner Herald – Kate Brumback (Associated Press) | Published: 4/5/2014
A jury ruled former state ethics commission Executive Secretary Stacey Kalberman was unfairly forced from that job as retribution for investigating Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign, and ordered the state to pay her $700,000. Kalberman’s lawyers tried to show the decision to cut her salary by $35,000 and to eliminate an aide’s job were a response to the pair’s desire to issue subpoenas for records in the investigation. Attorneys for the commission tried to establish the agency’s budget was in crisis and that was what motivated the cuts.
Indianapolis Star – Tony Cook | Published: 4/4/2014
An Indiana House ethics committee is set to probe Rep. Eric Turner’s role in quashing legislation that would have halted new nursing home development and helped his son’s company. An Indianapolis Star review of Turner’s personal business interests found he has a stake in at least a half dozen companies that have been engaged in building, leasing, or investing in nursing home properties. The Star also found Turner did not list some of the companies on financial disclosure statements.
Reuters – Lawrence Hurley | Published: 4/7/2014
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to an Iowa law that prohibits campaign donations from corporations but allows them from unions. By opting not to hear the case, the justices left intact an Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from June 2013 that upheld the ban.
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Rachel Stassen-Berger | Published: 4/8/2014
For decades, Minnesota law has said campaigns can raise 20 percent of their cash from lobbyists, PACs, and donors who give large amounts. After candidates hit that limit, they only can accept lesser amounts from subsequent contributors. Opponents say the “first come, first served” law is an unconstitutional limit of free speech, and the libertarian Institute for Justice will file a lawsuit challenging the statute.
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Jeremy Pelzer (Northeat Ohio Media Group) | Published: 4/9/2014
The Ohio House passed legislation that would abolish a state rule restricting corporate political spending. Under the rule, corporations have to identify themselves in political ads and disclose money they spend in support of candidates. It also bars political spending made independently of campaigns by foreign-owned corporations and companies that recently received government contracts. House bill 483 now goes to the Senate.
Pennsylvania – Pa. Senate Passes Bill to Ban Cash Gifts to Legislators
Philadelphia Inquirer – Amy Worden | Published: 4/9/2014
The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved a bill that bans cash gifts to lawmakers and other elected and appointed officials in state and local government. The Senate also approved unanimously passed an ethics rule change for the chamber that carries the same provisions on cash and cash-like gifts. The only difference between the two is the bill caries the weight of the law so violators could be prosecuted. The ethics rule does not; it calls for a civil penalty.
Pennsylvania – Sources: U.S. prosecutors made no judgment on sting case
Philadelphia Inquirer – Craig McCoy and Angela Couloumbis | Published: 4/8/2014
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported federal officials never came to a final conclusion about the merits of a suspended legislative sting operation before Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane asked them to halt that review. Kane, after revelations she decided to abandon the case in which several officials were caught on tape accepting cash and other gifts from an informant posing as a lobbyist, had said her decision had been endorsed by federal law enforcement officials who she has not identified by name.
South Carolina – SC Governor, AG Candidates Collected Excess Campaign Cash
The State – Andrew Shain | Published: 4/5/2014
An analysis by The State showed candidates for governor and attorney general in 2010 received $336,345 in campaign contributions above South Carolina’s legal limits. While the excessive donations represent a fraction of the amounts raised by these candidates, the newspaper said its analysis of state Ethics Commission data points to how campaigns can fail to follow campaign finance rules without getting caught by regulators.
Columbus Republic – Alan Suderman (Associated Press) | Published: 4/8/2014
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe amended an ethics bill that passed the General Assembly in the wake of a gifts scandal that led to corruption charges against former Gov. Bob McDonnell. McAuliffe’s proposed changes would require lobbyists to report what they spend on gifts and entertainment for both lawmakers and their families. Lawmakers will have to approve the governor’s changes.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Patrick Marley and Daniel Bice | Published: 4/10/2014
A secretly recorded video produced by a conservative activist shows state Senate President Mike Ellis talking about creating and raising money for a committee to run negative ads against his Democratic opponent, which would be illegal for a candidate to do in Wisconsin. Ellis issued a statement acknowledging the conversation but said he learned the next day the proposal was illegal and did not pursue it.
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.
April 7, 2014 •
Lobbying “Lobbyists kick in for Ready for Hillary” by Anna Palmer in Politico. Alabama: “Lobbying for former Alabama Legislature limited” by The Associated Press in the Daily Press. Kentucky: “Ethics Reporter: Health care lobbying tops spending list first two months […]
“Lobbyists kick in for Ready for Hillary” by Anna Palmer in Politico.
Alabama: “Lobbying for former Alabama Legislature limited” by The Associated Press in the Daily Press.
Kentucky: “Ethics Reporter: Health care lobbying tops spending list first two months of 2014 session” by the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission in KyForward.
New York: “Lobbyists ready to get to work now that state budget is completed” by Tom Precious in The Buffalo News.
Wisconsin: “Lobbyist bill draws sharp reactions” by Bill Lueders in The Dunn County News.
“High Court Rejects New Campaign Finance Case” by The Associated Press in Time.
“Nancy Pelosi pushes campaign finance reforms” by Lauren French in Politico.
“John Roberts’s rules of money in politics” by Josh Gerstein in Politico.
“Campaign finance ruling shakes political world” by James R. Carroll in The Courier-Journal.
“Rep. Robert Pittenger Pays $31,000 Fine” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call.
California: “How Will the Change in Campaign Finance Law Affect California?” by Scott Shafer in The California Report.
Connecticut: “Foleys Plead Guilty In Campaign Scheme Linked To Rowland” by Edmund H. Mahony and Jon Lender in The Courant.
Michigan: “Election campaign finance reports in Kalamazoo County to go online under Michigan pilot program” by Alex Mitchell in Michigan Live.
“FEC Member Says it Aloud: We’re Dysfunctional” by Charles S. Clark in Government Executive.
Colorado: “Colorado ethics group hears arguments in Gov. Hickenlooper complaint” by Lynn Bartels in The Denver Post.
Georgia: “Former State Ethics Commission Director testifies in court” by Richard Elliot in WSB TV News.
Georgia: “Former ethics attorney said bosses didn’t want deep Deal investigation” by Aaron Gould Sheinin in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Missouri: “Mo. Senate panel endorses ethics law overhaul” by The Associated Press in The Rolla Daily News.
Pennsylvania: “States look harder at rules on gifts to lawmakers” by Amy Worden in The Inquirer.
Rhode Island: “R.I. lawmakers debate ethics oversight bills, hold for further study” by Randal Edgar in The Providence Journal.
West Virginia: “Ethics commission talks board changes” by Phil Kabler in the Charleston Gazette.
April 3, 2014 •
A team of experts from State and Federal Communications is presenting the Public Affairs Council’s Compliance on the State Level webinar this afternoon from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Join us for an hour full of compliance information you […]
A team of experts from State and Federal Communications is presenting the Public Affairs Council’s Compliance on the State Level webinar this afternoon from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Join us for an hour full of compliance information you need right now.
1. Director of Client and Product Operations Amber Fish Linke will start our program by talking about state and local lobbying laws and gift laws.
2. Client Specialist Nola Werren will continue the conversation and discuss the pay-to-play laws, strategies for compliance, and how to avoid violations. She will follow that up with a discussion about state campaign finance laws and where you can make corporate contributions.
3. President and CEO Elizabeth Z. Bartz will round out the discussion with what to watch for in the procurement process.
Riveting conversation for a Thursday afternoon … but so important to know in 2014. If you haven’t already, take the time to register now for the webinar by going to www.pac.org or contact Piper Evans, manager of the council’s Government Relations Practice, at 202-787-5978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your company’s reputation in its home state and where it has business operations depends on it. As we are preparing our program if you have a specific question to ask, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
March 24, 2014 •
Lobbying “Former White House lawyer defends Obama limits on lobbying, hints at possible changes” by Holly Yeager in The Washington Post. “Obama alumni join ranks of ‘unlobbyists’” by Mike Dorning in the Concord Monitor. “Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Hires Blanche […]
“Former White House lawyer defends Obama limits on lobbying, hints at possible changes” by Holly Yeager in The Washington Post.
“Obama alumni join ranks of ‘unlobbyists’” by Mike Dorning in the Concord Monitor.
“Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Hires Blanche Lincoln” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call.
“House Ethics Reviewing Gutierrez Contract With Illinois Lobbyist” by Emma Dumain in Roll Call.
“Putin’s lobbyists escape sanctions” by Kevin Bogardus in The Hill.
Connecticut: “Lobbyists command millions from Conn. Industries” by Neil Vigdor in the Stamford Advocate.
Missouri: “Our million-dollar Legislature” opinion piece by State Rep. John Wright in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Forget the Dictionary, Super PACs Aren’t New” by Francis Barry in Bloomberg View.
Louisiana: “Feds asked to look into super PAC backing Vitter” in The Advocate.
New York: “Campaign finance reform benefits women” opinion piece by Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Letitia James in The Journal News.
New York: “Business interests against NY public campaign financing want to preserve their influence (Commentary)” by Lawrence Norden in The Post-Standard.
Kentucky: “Former state official assessed ethics fine” by The Associated Press in the Bangor Daily News.
New Jersey: “Christie’s campaign treasurer goes to bat for underfunded agency: The Auditor” in The Star Ledger.
Pennsylvania: “Gift ban urged after report of Pa. lawmakers getting cash” by Mark Scolforo (Associated Press) in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
State Legislative Sessions
Idaho: “Idaho Legislature wraps up with pay raises at the top” by Betsy Z. Russell in The Spokesman-Review.
Virginia: “McAuliffe proposes expanding Medicaid in two-year pilot” by Olympia Meola and Jim Nolan in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Rhode Island: “House speaker candidates courting votes” by Randal Edgar in the Providence Journal.
Pennsylvania: “Legislators clash over district boundary changes” by Robert Swift in The Times-Tribune.
March 10, 2014 •
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is investigating allegations of illegal lobbying by a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in connection with work for an energy advocacy group in Calgary. The RCMP says after Bruce Carson left […]
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is investigating allegations of illegal lobbying by a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in connection with work for an energy advocacy group in Calgary. The RCMP says after Bruce Carson left the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) he was paid for his top level involvement with federal contacts and to influence a new national energy strategy.
As a past senior adviser to Harper, Carson is subject to a five-year ban on lobbying under the Lobbying Act.
Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd initiated a probe of Carson’s lobbying activities for the Canada School of Energy and Environment and a business-funded group called the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC). Shepherd referred the allegations to the RCMP in July 2012.
EPIC’s lawyers assumed the group would be in compliance if Carson’s job description was to communicate “for the purpose of information exchange and not to represent EPIC’s view, opinion, or to ask for a decision from government.”
March 6, 2014 •
Lawmakers called a press conference to announce a package of bills to make major upgrades to government accountability rules and practices. Senator Ricardo Lara and Kevin de Leon have filed Senate Bill 1441 through Senate Bill 1444 as spot bills, […]
Lawmakers called a press conference to announce a package of bills to make major upgrades to government accountability rules and practices. Senator Ricardo Lara and Kevin de Leon have filed Senate Bill 1441 through Senate Bill 1444 as spot bills, with the intention to add substantive provisions at a later date.
The bills will include a ban on fundraisers at lobbyists’ homes and a ban on all gifts from lobbyists.
There is also a proposal to lower the current non-lobbyist gift limit of $440 to $200 for state and local officials.
February 19, 2014 •
We are tracking more than 600 legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in State and Federal Communications’ digital […]
We are tracking more than 600 legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in State and Federal Communications’ digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the client portion of our website.
Summaries of major bills are also included in monthly email updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are tracking in regard to lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.
January 20, 2014 •
Lobbying “Obama lobbying ban faces setback in court” by Andy Sullivan (Reuters) in the Chicago Tribune. “Federal court orders rehearing on lobbying ban” by Byron Tau in Politico Influence. “Congress and Lobbyists Are Going Downhill” by Kent Cooper in Roll […]
“Obama lobbying ban faces setback in court” by Andy Sullivan (Reuters) in the Chicago Tribune.
“Federal court orders rehearing on lobbying ban” by Byron Tau in Politico Influence.
“Congress and Lobbyists Are Going Downhill” by Kent Cooper in Roll Call’s Political MoneyLine.
Missouri: “Missouriʹs secretary of state proposes his own lobbyist restriction plan” by Phil Brooks in the South County Mail.
West Virginia: “Statehouse beat: Lobbyist spending for 2013” by Phil Kabler in the Charleston Gazette.
California: “Two groups that used secret political donations haven’t paid penalties” by Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times.
Louisiana: “Ethics board limits Vitter fundraising” by Marha Shuler in The Advocate.
Massachusetts: “Candidates cough up campaign costs” by Erin Smith in the Boston Herald.
New York: “Cuomo’s Budget Is Said to Include Ethics and Campaign Finance Reforms” by Thomas Kaplan in The New York Times.
New York: “205 campaign finance reports not posted because of errors” by Jessica Alaimo in Capital New York.
Rhode Island: “RI Board of Elections fines NRA for campaign law violation” by Philip Marcelo in the Providence Journal.
Utah: “Utah Senator Calling For Campaign Finance Reform” by Christine L. McCarthy in KUTV News.
California: “Senate ethics chief calls allegations against Sen. Calderon troubling” by Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times.
Kentucky: “Legislative Research Commission pay to join larger ethics push” by Kevin Wheatley in The State Journal.
Massachusetts: “Mass. panel OKs new conflict of interest rule” by The Associated Press in The Boston Globe.
Virginia: “Gilbert introduces ethics reform bill” by Joe Beck in The Northern Virginia Daily.
“Welcome Back, Congress” from Roll Call.
From the State Legislatures
Government Tech and Social Media
Kansas: “Bill would put legislative committee meetings a mouse click away” by Scott Rothschild in the Lawrence Journal-World.
January 2, 2014 •
The Chicago Board of Ethics recently posted two new publications on its website, both of which outline ethics restrictions for city officials. The first addresses, among other things, general conflicts of interest, lobbying on behalf of others, financial interests in […]
The Chicago Board of Ethics recently posted two new publications on its website, both of which outline ethics restrictions for city officials.
The first addresses, among other things, general conflicts of interest, lobbying on behalf of others, financial interests in city contracts, financial disclosure requirements, gifts, revolving door provisions, and penalties for ethics violations.
The second addition is a publication delineating what city employees and officials may or may not do in terms of contracting with the city.
Both documents are intended to provide a basic understanding of ethics rules and are not deemed legal advice.
December 28, 2013 •
Federal: Political Advertisers and TV Stations Ignore Disclosure Rules The Sunlight Foundation – Jacob Fenton | Published: 12/18/2013 The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 requires television stations to make available detailed information about political ad buys, including […]
The Sunlight Foundation – Jacob Fenton | Published: 12/18/2013
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 requires television stations to make available detailed information about political ad buys, including the names of any elected officials mentioned in the ads and any national issues discussed in them. But a review by the Sunlight Foundation reveals TV stations often fail to report even the most basic information about the political ads that outside groups buy on their airwaves.
New York Times – Nicholas Confessore | Published: 12/23/2013
At least a dozen super PACs are setting up to back individual Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate, challenging the strategic and financial dominance that Karl Rove and the group he co-founded, American Crossroads, have enjoyed ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision cleared the way for unlimited independent spending. Some are suggesting Crossroads’ ties to the Republican establishment and recent clashes with conservative activists are a potential liability for GOP incumbents facing tea party challengers.
From the States and Municipalities:
Los Angeles Times – Patrick McGreevy | Published: 12/19/2013
California Common Cause proposed reforms to the state’s gift law to reduce the ability of special interests to seek favor by providing expensive meals, lodging, and travel. The group’s recommendations include applying the $10-per-month limit on gifts from lobbyists to also include gifts from the lobbyists’ clients, and reduce the limit on gifts that can be accepted by state elected officials from $440 per source annually to $250.
WABE – Michelle Wirth | Published: 12/19/2013
The Georgia ethics commission hired former administrative law judge Robert Constantine to help with daily operations while federal authorities probe the agency’s investigation into Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign. Several commission members received federal grand jury subpoenas over the matter. Chairperson Kevin Abernathy said Constantine will serve as an intermediary between the commission and staff members, and will have the ability to help resolve any disputes among agency employees.
Baton Rouge Advocate – Marsha Shuler and Mark Ballard | Published: 12/22/2013
At his January 2008 inauguration, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced a special legislative session to repair the state’s ethics system, saying he wanted to create a “gold standard.” Some observers say the decrease in violations shows the changes gummed up the works by making proceedings more like criminal prosecutions, with more lawyers, motions, and delays. Supporters of the changes argue the previous system was simply unfair.
Washington Post – John Wagner | Published: 12/20/2013
All candidates in Maryland are supposed to include an “authority line” when they promote themselves on social media. The Washington Post identified 92 Twitter accounts maintained by the state’s 188 senators and delegates. Of those, only 45 included authority lines that identify the name of the campaign entity and its treasurer.
Washington Post – John Wagner | Published: 12/19/2013
The State Board of Elections cleared the way for Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign to raise money during the legislative session despite a law preventing state officials from seeking contributions during that period. The ruling addressed the issue of gubernatorial candidates and their political partners seeking to be lieutenant governor. While Brown, as a state official, cannot raise money during the session, his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, is a local official and thus free to do so.
Lexology.com – Alexandra Megaris | Published: 12/17/2013
The New York City Council passed an ordinance revising the lobbying law. The definition of “lobbying” has been expanded, the schedule for filing reports was changed, and the dollar threshold for determining whether registration is required has been increased from $2,000 to $5,000 per calendar year, among other provisions. Most of the law takes effect on May 8, 2014; the registration threshold will become effective on January 1.
Tulsa World – Curtis Killman | Published: 12/23/2013
Some are questioning what is required to be reported and the value of the information revealed to the public on Oklahoma lawmakers’ financial disclosure reports. In an age of growing transparency, the disclosure requirements provide little information when compared to congressional standards or those in other states.
Salt Lake Tribune – Robert Gehrke | Published: 12/20/2013
Investigators for the House Special Investigative Committee said former Utah Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, gave big donors extraordinary access in exchange for campaign contributions and special favors. The revelations upset committee members and several said they now want to continue the five-month probe that was shut down after Swallow announced his resignation.
Virginia – Chef Speaks Out about Va.’s McDonnells
Washington Post – Rosalind Helderman | Published: 12/21/2013
For months, Todd Schneider, the former chef at the governor’s mansion, has been the dramatic but silent figure who launched an investigation that has threatened to bring down Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. But he said now that his case is resolved and the governor is ending his term, it is time to speak out. It was Schneider who first alerted authorities that businessperson Jonnie Williams had paid for catering at the wedding of one of McDonnell’s daughters, a tip that spiraled into a broad criminal probe that has brought the governor to the brink of federal charges.
Columbus Republic – Rachel LaCorte (Associated Press) | Published: 12/20/2013
The Legislative Ethics Board dismissed a complaint about some Washington lawmakers accepting free meals from lobbyists. The board said if the state Legislature does not address the issue in the 60-day session beginning in January, the panel will work to establish rules on an enforceable standard.
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.
August 29, 2013 •
Here are some great articles for today’s government relations news summary:
Virginia: “Lax laws lead to cloudy view of lobbyists’ spending” by Julian Walker in
Virginia: “Lobbyist reports say $15.9 million spent in Virginia” by Olympia Meola and Jim Nolan Richmond Times-Dispatch.
California: “MapLight Launches Tool to Easily Search California Secretary of State Campaign Finance Data” by Jay Costa on Maplight.org.
Massachusetts: “Mass. AG: Lawrence mayor broke campaign law” by Steve Le Blanc in Bloomberg News.
Florida: “3rd Fla. mayor arrested within the past month” by Curt Anderson in Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Massachusetts: “Ethics Commission extends deadline for Dan Wolf” by Frank Phillips and Michael Levenson in the Boston Globe.
South Carolina: “SC ethics panel flip-flops on governor’s NC trip” by Adam Beam in The State.
Government Tech and Social Media
“Gamification: Governments Use Gaming Principles to Get Citizens Involved” by Colin Wood in Government Technology.
“Building the Social Town Hall” by Stephen Goldsmith in Government Technology.
Kansas: “State librarians open to texts, calls, IMs about legislative questions” in the Topeka Capital-Journal.
September 28, 2011 •
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Q. I’m registered as a legislative lobbyist in Indiana. How should I keep track of reportable expenditures for my upcoming report due in November?
A. The Indiana Lobby Registration Commission (ILRC) is currently in the process of reviewing the reporting guidelines for lobbyist expenditures and gifts. As fall kicks off and the November reporting deadline will soon be upon us, it is important to review key reporting changes.
Specifically, the ILRC does not consider a meal expenditure on behalf of a legislator to be a gift, but instead, an entertainment expenditure, as long as the lobbyist is present when the meal is consumed. Per the ILRC’s reporting guidelines, please make sure you save an itemized receipt outlining the exact cost of the meals associated with reportable legislators. Here are some important things to remember regarding entertainment expenditures, including meals:
- When determining how much to attribute to a particular legislator, only direct costs must be associated with the legislator. Unlike most states, determining a pro-rata cost of an official’s meal by dividing the bill by the number of people present is not permissible. Instead, you must save an itemized receipt, and attribute only the amount of the specific items ordered for that particular legislator. Tax and tip must be appropriately allocated as well.
- If you are not present when making an expenditure, this qualifies as a gift, and is subject to special reporting guidelines. Starting with this reporting period (form was not developed until late April), a gift report must be submitted if a gift is given to a legislator equaling $50.00 per day, or $250.00 in the aggregate. This report is due 15 business days after the gift is given. A copy must be sent to the legislator who is named in the report. Moreover, informed prior consent must be obtained from the legislator before the gift is given.
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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.