Compliance Notes – Vol. 2, number 50 | Nossaman LLP

RECENT UPDATES ON LOBBYING, ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCING

We read the news, cut the noise and get the notes to you.


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.

Our lawyers, policy advisers and compliance consultants are available to discuss any question or how specific issues can impact your business.

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Campaign finance and lobbying compliance

The Department of Justice’s FARA unit issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comment on whether certain aspects of FARA regulations, such as the scope of the definitions of “agency” and “policy consultant Should be clarified. Learn more about our point of view here.

Wisconsin Family Action has filed a lawsuit to overturn federal campaign finance regulations, which require outside groups that make independent spending to report their underlying donors. The group say the rules violate their First Amendment rights and are reluctant to spend money on two congressional races because they fear the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will try to force the group to disclose its donors . The group asked the district court to declare some of the FEC’s regulations unconstitutional because such a ruling would allow the group to spend money without revealing its donors. (Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State’s Office ordered Unite for Colorado nonprofit group to reveal donors and pay $ 40,000 fine, claiming group violated Colorado law by contributing millions of dollars to conservative causes during the 2020 elections without registering as a thematic committee. Unite for Colorado paid for signature collection and digital ads for several voting initiatives, but did not disclose the origin of its funding, as is often the case with the 501 (c) (4) s . However, the complaint filed in August 2020 claimed that the group was spending so heavily and was so closely tied to politics that it should have signed up as a thematic committee, which would have required more financial disclosures. (Andrew Kenney, RCR News)


Legislation

California: The San Francisco County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting city department heads from soliciting third-party donations, also known as “ordered payments,” from companies and lobbyists trying to contract with the city. The ordinance was first introduced in March in response to a city-wide corruption scandal. (CBS SF / BCN)

Texas: To minimize wrongdoing by officials and staff, Dallas City Council has unanimously approved several proposals to strengthen transparency and accountability and clarify the rules for reporting ethics violations. A crucial part of the reform package is creating an Inspector General’s Division in the city prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for investigating all complaints and anonymous advice regarding internal fraud, waste, abuse and corruption . (Everton Bailey Jr., The morning news from Dallas)


Voting initiatives

Oregon: After months of negotiations on how to structure a system of campaign finance limits, a coalition of groups has filed three potential voting measures with the state. The proposals, all different in their specifics, modify Oregon’s permissive fundraising system. Each proposal would institute new contribution limits for individuals, advocacy groups, labor organizations, businesses and political parties who donate to candidates and causes. The proposals also have disclosure requirements that political ads display top donors and that “black money” groups that engage in campaigns must disclose their sources of funding. (Dirk VanderHart, OPB)

Utah: Secure Vote Utah has tabled a proposed voting initiative to end universal postal voting and all advance in-person voting in favor of the exclusive use of paper ballots. Currently, every registered voter in Utah receives a ballot in the mail, which must be stamped the day before the election or dropped off in official drop boxes before the polls close on election day. The proposed voting initiative makes other significant changes to Utah’s election laws, such as changing the registration deadline and reducing acceptable forms of identification. (Bryan Schott, Salt Lake City Grandstand)


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