September 9, 2015 •
President Obama marked Labor Day by signing an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. The order also allows employees to use paid sick leave to care for […]
President Obama marked Labor Day by signing an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. The order also allows employees to use paid sick leave to care for themselves, a family member, a domestic partner, or another loved one, and grants leave for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, according to a White House press release.
The While House hopes the Executive Order will set a standard prodding “lawmakers, private employers, and state and local governments to expand their leave policies,” according to the New York Times. The order’s requirements will take effect with new contracts starting in 2017.
September 23, 2013 •
Let’s start off the week with these lobbying, campaign finance, and ethics news articles:
California: “California political watchdog sets sights on major cases” by Christopher Cadelago in The Sacramento Bee.
Florida: “Lobbying group wants a say in auditing process” by Rochelle Koff in Miami Herald’s Naked Politics blog.
Utah: “Las Vegas business leaders broaden approach to DC lobbying” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Supreme Court may strike new blow to campaign funding laws” by David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times.
Arizona: “Campaign finance law throws twist at candidates” by The Associated Press in KSAZ Fox10 News.
Arkansas: “Ethics panel: Candidate’s corporation can’t provide free office space” by John Lyon in the Arkansas News.
Delaware: “Illegal donations to Jack Markell’s 2008 campaign discovered” by Maureen Milford in The News Journal.
Wisconsin: “Political Conduits: Pouring Millions Into Wisconsin Elections” by Tim Morrissey in Public News Service.
“Senate confirms Obama’s FEC nominees” by Byron Tau in Politico.
Georgia: “Claims in ex-Ga. Ethics Commission leader’s lawsuit call agency’s independence into question” by The Associated Press in the Seymour Tribune.
Georgia: “LaBerge Gets Raise As Ethics Comm. Cuts Costs” by The Associated Press on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Florida: “Lawmakers return to Tallahassee for committee week” by Michael Van Sickler in the Miami Herald.
September 20, 2013 •
Ravel and Goodman on Path to Confirmation
Currently, President Obama’s two new nominations for the commission, Anne Ravel and Lee E. Goodman, are in the process of being confirmed as commissioners with the FEC. On September 17, they both received unanimous approval from the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Ravel is the chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Goodman is a partner with the law firm of LeClairRyan.
Without McGahn, the FEC has only four of the six required commissioners serving, all with expired terms.
February 14, 2013 •
Response to the President’s State of the Union Address
The American League of Lobbyists has issued a statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.
Monte Ward, the organization’s president, said on their site: “Lobbyists are the professional advocates who help educate lawmakers every day about how their action (or inaction) affects the nation. Lobbyists will be critical components helping our federal lawmakers to understand the implications of their votes on the issues that they will tackle.”
The American League of Lobbyists statement provides a summary of the group’s self understanding and a reflection on the nature of the lobbying industry, with an eye to the future. You can find a pdf file of their “Recommendations for Improving the Regulation of Federal Lobbyists” at this link.
July 6, 2012 •
President Obama campaigns his way through Northern Ohio
Crowds gathered along Route 18 in the Montrose area of Summit County Thursday evening to witness President Obama’s tour bus make its way through Northeast Ohio. Eager Democrats and Obama fans filled the street corners, waiting anxiously for the president to pass by their local restaurants, stores and businesses.
Through his “Betting on Ohio” tour, Obama campaigned across the manufacturing belt of Northern Ohio on July 5, visiting the areas where he had received support during his election in 2008.
Obama arrived in Toledo on Thursday, traveling on a black secret-service bus to his first stop in Maumee, Ohio where he visited Wolcott House Museum. His tour took him across Northern Ohio, where he attended an ice cream social at Washington Park in Sandusky, and visited James Day Park in Parma, a suburb of Cleveland.
Obama endorsed his economic policies, presented his resolution to salvage American automakers Chrysler and General Motors, and compared his views to those of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
“Throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania, President Obama will talk about his efforts over the last three years to get our economy back on track, doubling down on American workers by saving the auto industry, investing in manufacturing and bringing jobs back to America,” the Obama campaign said in a statement, according to CNN’s Ashley Killough.
The crowds cheered and waved as Obama’s tour bus passed through Montrose. After residing for the evening at the Double Tree Hotel in Fairlawn, Obama chose an Akron diner for breakfast, indulging in eggs and bacon at Ann’s Place restaurant on South Hawkins Avenue. He continued his tour Friday to Dobbins Elementary in Poland, Ohio, before heading to Pittsburgh.
June 18, 2012 •
Taking a look at the week in politics and campaigning.
President Obama and his campaign are looking to bounce back after a rough first week of June. According to numbers released by both campaigns, Governor Mitt Romney outraised President Obama in May bringing in $76.8 million compared to the president’s $60 million. This marks the first time Gov. Romney has topped the president during this campaign. President Obama’s totals include a $15 million fundraiser at the home of Actor George Clooney, while Gov. Romney’s totals include $75,000 donations made by both he and his wife.
Additionally, the President spent the week dealing with a May jobs report that didn’t meet projections as the unemployment rate rose to 8.2% and saw only 69,000 new jobs created. However, the campaign can find some comfort in that it is still early in the election cycle, and there is plenty of time for growth between now and November.
Super PAC’s continue to play a major role in the campaign as more and more money is being spent on advertising in key battleground states, like Ohio, where both the president and Gov. Romney gave speeches on Thursday. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has reportedly pledged $10 million to Restore our Future, a pro-Romney Super PAC while the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has teamed with Priorities USA, a pro-Obama Super Pac, to run a $4 million ad campaign.
Other Campaign notes:
- A judge has signed off on the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the remaining five charges against former Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards. The jury in the North Carolina trial found Edwards not guilty on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions but were deadlocked on the remaining five.
- In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker survived his recall election in what many are calling a referendum on the president’s policies and likely putting Wisconsin in play in the general election.
- Democratic candidate Ron Barber, former district director for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, won the special election in Arizona’s 8th congressional district and will serve the remainder of Giffords term. Giffords resigned to focus on her recovery from a brain injury suffered during a shooting at an event in January 2011. Barber was Giffords choice to succeed her and will run for a full term in November in the newly drawn 2nd congressional district.
- Utah will hold the final Presidential primary contest on Tuesday, June 26. While Governor Romney has already secured the Republican nomination, Utah will likely be a boost for the campaign as Romney is expected to do well in the state with its large Mormon population.
May 10, 2012 •
President Obama Comes Out in Support of Same-Sex Marriage
During an interview aired last night with ABC News Robin Roberts President Barack Obama expressed his personal support for same-sex marriage. The news broke when ABC news leaked portions of the interview yesterday afternoon.
“At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” Obama told Roberts in the interview.
The admission comes after Vice President Joe Biden set off a media firestorm with comments he made during an interview with David Gregory on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. Additionally, on Tuesday, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
While the President has personally come out in support of same-sex marriage, he told Roberts that he still believes the issue should be decided by the states and not at the federal level. Sources told the Associated Press the President was under increasing pressure from supporters and donors who threatened to withhold funds from the pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA, without clarification from the President of his positions on same-sex marriage.
Following the announcement, Republican Party Presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated to KOCO in Oklahoma City “I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.”
While the issue will likely not be heavily debated in the coming months of the general election, the announcement is historic as it is the first time a sitting president or presidential nominee from either major political party has come out in support of same-sex marriage.
March 29, 2012 •
NASA wins its third Shorty Award for government use of social media, President Obama is now using Pinterest, and find out if your city made the list of “Fastest Downloads in America” in today’s news:
“President Obama adds Pinterest to his social networks” by Dara Kerr in C|Net.
“The Fastest Downloads in America — Big Cities Ranked” from Government Technology.
“NASA Wins Third Shorty Award” by Ross Gianfortune on NextGov.
“NASA’s Twitter Wins Shorty Award for Social Media” on LiveScience.com.
“Report: Republicans Outpace Democrats in Twitterverse” by Emma Dumain in Roll Call.
“White House to petitioners: We ARE listening” by Joseph Marks in Nextgov.
March 14, 2012 •
The organization connects the president’s anti-lobbyist position with an increase in unregistered lobbying.
Howard Marlowe, president of the American League of Lobbyists, recently sent a letter to President Obama asking him to change his tone toward lobbyists and the lobbying profession. The organization is making a connection between the administration’s anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the rising number of unregistered lobbyists.
Whether they are calling themselves consultants or advisers, Marlowe points out that these people are lobbying and their activity thus goes on without any oversight:
“Those who are not registered are protected from discovery by the lack of an effective enforcement mechanism. Our primary concern with incentivizing deregistration is that the public loses knowledge of who these people are lobbying, who is paying for their advocacy work, how much they are being paid, and what issues are they being paid to work on.”
For full news coverage, please read “Lobbyists to Obama: Tone down the rhetoric!” by Byron Tau in Politico.
Photo of the White House by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.
March 9, 2012 •
The much anticipated government ethics clearing house is here as the White House promised.
The Obama administration has unveiled Ethics.gov, the site that provides sets of data for those interested in White House visitors, data from Lobbying Disclosure Act reports, campaign finance data, travel records of elected officials, and much more.
As part of the larger Data.gov, the new site has a great deal of muscle: “Ethics.Data.gov brings records and data from across the federal government to one central location, making it easier for citizens to hold public officials accountable.”
According to the Ethics.gov site, this is what you’ll find:
“On www.Ethics.gov, the public will be able to find millions of White House Visitor records. You will be able to see agency reports of payments from non-Federal sources for travel to meetings and conferences.
You’ll find records for entities registered with the Federal Election Commission. This includes federal political action committees and party committees, campaign committees for presidential, House and Senate candidates, as well as groups or organizations who are spending money in connection with elections for federal office.
You’ll also find records for each candidate who has either registered with the Federal Election Commission or appeared on a ballot list prepared by a state elections office. This includes contributor information for each contribution of $200 or more from an individual to a federal committee.
Finally, you’ll be able to find lobbying registrations and reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.”
For a good summary, read “White House Launches Ethics.gov” by Samuel Rubenfeld in The Wall Street Journal.
March 1, 2012 •
Leaked draft executive order
In the spring of 2011, a draft presidential executive order was leaked to the public. The order would require 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. The disclosure requirement included contributions made to federal candidates, parties, and committees by the bidding entity, its officers, and any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control. Contributions made to parties for independent expenditures and electioneering communications would also be reported. These disclosures would be required whenever the aggregate amount of the contributions and expenditures by the bidding entity exceed $5,000.
Reaction to the order was swift. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing on behalf of a coalition of more than 80 business groups and trade associations, strongly protested the proposed executive order. Meanwhile, a letter in support of the order, signed by more than 30 public interest groups, urged full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures by federal government contractors. U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo sent a letter to President Obama, signed by more than 60 members of the House, in support of the proposed executive order.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Small Business Committee held a joint hearing to examine the order, evaluate its impact and consequences on the federal acquisition system, and determine whether it introduced politics into the procurement process. Bills opposing the proposed order were introduced in both the House and the Senate. Finally, a compromise amendment, precluding an executive agency from requiring a vendor bidding on a contract to disclose political contributions, was added to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012. The act passed and was signed by President Obama at the end of 2011.
Passage of the bill did not end calls for disclosures of political contributions from federal contractors, however. Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures were submitted by Public Citizen and MoveOn.org to the White House, urging the President to require federal contractors to disclose their political contributions after the bidding process is completed and a federal contract is awarded.
January 25, 2012 •
The day after the State of the Union Address brings a flurry of activity in campaign finance and lobbying news.
“Obama says Congress should stop campaign bundling by lobbyists” by Kevin Bogardus on The Hill.
“Super PACs set sights on 2012 congressional races” by Fredreka Schouten in USAToday.
“Super PACs drive a near-doubling in federal election spending” by Jim Galloway in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Wis. governor fights recall with out-of-state cash” by The Associated Press on CBS Money Watch.
“Gingrich says $1.65M contract wasn’t for lobbying” by The Associated Press.
“Ex-Gingrich Adviser Now Trying to Close Lobbying Loopholes” by Eliza Newlin Carney and Kate Ackley on Roll Call.
“Ethics bill gets cool reception in Ga. House” by Chris Joyner and Christopher Quinn in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Clerk reports on lobbyist activity in Cook County” by The Associated Press in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
September 26, 2011 •
Begins at 2:00 pm ET today!
Send your questions in now at this LinkedIn page.
July 28, 2011 •
Federal Contractor Political Disclosure
U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo has sent a letter to President Obama in support of a proposed executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political expenditures. The letter was signed by more than sixty members of the House.
In part the letter reads, “[D]isclosure will not politicize the procurement process–it will improve it. Political expenditures are already well-known to those that make them and to the officials who benefit. With disclosure, the public will have access to this information as well, allowing them to judge whether contracts were awarded based on merit.”
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.