RECENT UPDATES ON LOBBYING, ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCING
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welcome to Compliance Notes from Nossaman Government Relations and Regulatory Group – a periodic summary of headlines, statutory and regulatory changes, and court cases relating to campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law, and government ethics issues at federal, state and local levels.
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Campaign finance and lobbying compliance
Federal prosecutors have charged Matt Tunstall and Robert Reyes with conspiracy to lie to the Federal Election Commission and to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors allege that the Political Action Committees (PACs) led by Tunstall and Reyes raised about $ 3.5 million in the 2016 election. However, PACs only distributed about $ 19.00 – ten -nine dollars – to any political cause or authorized campaign committee of any candidate, and the PAC operators have used over $ 1.5 million for their own benefit. According to the indictment, PACs made “false and misleading statements” to solicit donations, but PAC operators used the money to directly enrich themselves and support their independent business ventures. (Caitlin Oprysko, Politics)
Colorado: Colorado Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters alleging that Peters was ineligible for contributions for a 2022 re-election campaign. Colorado law requires all candidates to register nominating committee or file an affidavit with the Secretary of State before accepting any contribution, which Peters did not. (Charles Ashby, Grand Junction’s Daily Sentry)
Illinois: A new law coming into effect in January will prohibit judicial candidates from accepting campaign contributions from non-state donors and black money groups. Illinois law takes a different approach from states that require disclosure of nonprofit donors by prohibiting court applicants from accepting contributions from an entity that does not disclose its donors. (Hannah Meisel, NPR Illinois)
Missouri: Two PACs linked to Steve Tilley, former Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, take action to account for nearly $ 170,000 in cash that has not been disclosed to the state’s ethics committee. Since reporters discovered and reported the discrepancies, one PAC has filed an amended report, while the other PAC has yet to file amended disclosures. (Jason Hancock, Independent from Missouri)
Ethics and government transparency
Alabama: Former District Attorney Brandon Hughes was sentenced to at least ten months in prison for perjuring himself while in office and breaking Alabama ethics laws. The convictions stem from Hughes giving false information to a grand jury and using $ 14,000 from his office’s official budget to settle a sex discrimination complaint filed against him by a prosecutor who worked for his office. (Associated press)
new York: The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) voted 12 to 1 to revoke the approval it gave to former Governor Andrew Cuomo to release his 2020 memoir. JCOPE’s revocation will force Cuomo to seek a new authorization. If JCOPE denies the subsequent request, JCOPE could force Cuomo to hand over the $ 5.1 million he was paid to write the brief. (Bill Mahoney, Politics)
Wisconsin: US Senator Ron Johnson is calling on state lawmakers and local officials to take charge of federal elections in Wisconsin and put aside the work of the state’s bipartisan election commission. Senator Johnson argues that the legislature could unilaterally take control of federal elections because, when it comes to holding elections, “there is no mention of a governor in the Constitution.” (Patrick Marley and Bill Glauber, The Milwaukee Journal Sentry, Going through Blog on electoral law)