November 30, 2020 •
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) published the second draft of proposed revisions to state lobbying regulations. JCOPE adopted the revisions on an emergency basis and submitted Notices of Emergency Adoption for each. The revisions will be effective January […]
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) published the second draft of proposed revisions to state lobbying regulations.
JCOPE adopted the revisions on an emergency basis and submitted Notices of Emergency Adoption for each.
The revisions will be effective January 1, 2021; cover lobbying activity in the 2021-22 biennial lobbying period; and be applicable to registrations, bi-monthly reports due March 15, 2021, and client semi-annual reports due July 15, 2021.
Key revisions include changes to the definition of designated lobbyist, direct lobbying activities by volunteers, grassroots lobbying, coalitions, and prohibitions relating to the receipt of stock options as compensation.
Revisions to the source of funding regulations address segregated funds for out-of-state activities and reporting of anonymous contributions.
JCOPE is requesting comments on the revised regulations as soon as possible.
The 45-day comment period runs until December 28, 2020.
February 8, 2012 •
Last night the U.S. House removed all registration requirements by those conducting political intelligence activities from the Senate’s Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which passed the Senate last week with a bi-partisan vote of 96 to 3.
The original Senate Bill 2038, now in the house, expanded the Lobbyist Disclosure Act to include requiring registration and reporting from those conducting political intelligence activities, which was defined as “political intelligence contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research, and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with such contacts and efforts of others.”
While the House also made other changes to the bill, the only reference to the removal of the reporting and registration requirements made by Congressman Eric Cantor in a press release issued last night stated, “Tonight, we will introduce a strengthened and expanded STOCK Act, and remove provisions that would have made the bill unworkable or raised more questions then they answered.”
If passed as changed in the House, the bill would have to return to the Senate for another vote. The current version of Senate Bill 2038 can be found here.
Photo of the U.S. Capitol by Florian Hirzinger on Wikipedia.
February 3, 2012 •
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill which expands the Lobbyist Disclosure Act to include those conducting political intelligence activities.
Senate Bill 2038, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, defines the term ‘political intelligence activities’ to mean “political intelligence contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research, and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with such contacts and efforts of others.”
‘Political intelligence contact’ is defined to mean oral, written, and electronic communication to covered executive and legislative branch officials intended for use in analyzing securities or commodities markets, or in informing investment decisions.
The lobbyist registration and disclosure requirements would be required by both political intelligence consultants and political intelligence firms, also defined in the bill.
October 27, 2011 •
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Q: I am a registered lobbyist who would like to host a state legislator at a college football game. Are there specific restrictions to this type of gift?
A: The most common gift restrictions are those relating to food and beverage. Providing tickets or admission to a football game is a different type of gift, referred to as entertainment or hospitality.
Some jurisdictions do not restrict providing entertainment at all. Pennsylvania does not restrict a lobbyist providing hospitality to an official. However, Pennsylvania does require the lobbyist’s principal to report the gift of hospitality, even itemizing it if the aggregate of all gifts to the official is more than $650 in a calendar year.
Other jurisdictions allow a lobbyist to provide entertainment up to a certain amount. In Texas, a lobbyist may provide expenditures for entertainment of $500 or less in a calendar year. Ohio permits a lesser amount. Lobbyists may provide Ohio officials gifts worth an aggregate annual value of $75 or less. Like Pennsylvania, both Texas and Ohio require the gift to be reported.
Louisiana specifically prohibits providing tickets to sporting events except for a very narrow exception. Other jurisdictions do not specifically mention entertainment or hospitality, but generally restrict these gifts to officials. Though a big football state, Wisconsin generally prohibits all gifts to officials.
The question reinforces the idea that a lobbyist must understand all of a jurisdiction’s gift restrictions, not just those that pertain to food and beverage. When considering any dollar value limitation on entertainment or hospitality, be sure to consider the proper method to value the gift in that jurisdiction. For example, the cost of a football ticket for ethics purposes could be its face value or its fair market value.
You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: email@example.com.
(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
October 3, 2011 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
From the States and Municipalities:
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 13, 2011 •
Sponsors Renacci, Loebsack, Quigley
As The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction holds its first public hearing today, a new bi-partisan bill introduced last week is circulating which would require its 12 members to disclose meetings with lobbyists and special interests between committee members and staff 48 hours after the meeting on the committee website.
The bill also requires the same disclosure before any meetings occur within 48 hours of the November 23 vote and the submission of legislative text on December 2, and disclosure of lobbyist and special interest contributions to committee member campaigns or leadership PACs, and any contributions over $500, all within 48 hours after the donation occurs.
The committee is streaming today’s meeting live, but the bill would also require committee hearings to be streamed live on its website and be televised.
Additionally, the committee’s report and proposed legislative language would have to be published online 72 hours before the vote occurs.
July 6, 2011 •
New Chicago Lobbyist Regulations
On Wednesday July 6, 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will introduce a new ethics ordinance containing “the most comprehensive lobbyist disclosure database in the nation.”
Key components of the proposed ordinance include the creation of a searchable real-time database, a $50 gift limit per single non-cash gift given by a lobbyist, a $100 aggregate gift limit per calendar year on gifts from lobbyists, a prohibition on city employees, officials, or their businesses receiving loans from lobbyists, an amendment to the semi-annual lobbyist report form requiring lobbyists to disclose campaign contributions, and a codification of an executive order issued by Mayor Emanuel in May which bars employees from lobbying the city after leaving city employment.
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.