Throughout recent months, we have closely monitored important developments in the courts and on Capitol Hill related to Congress’s power to issue and enforce subpoenas for documents or witness testimony.  As members of the 117th Congress continue to develop legislative and oversight priorities, a number of recent events signal continued uncertainty in congressional subpoena authority and interest in Congress in clarifying and strengthening that authority.  As discussed below, these recent developments hold significant implications for Congress’s ability to compel cooperation with their investigations.

Continue Reading Recent Developments Shed Further Light on Congressional Subpoena Authority

Earlier today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s “Oversight Plan” was published. The Oversight Plan provides a very useful roadmap of the Committee’s investigative priorities and should be seen as a fair warning to the industries and companies identified in the plan.

In a client alert today, we review key portions of the Committee’s Oversight Plan that are likely to have implications for our clients and others in the private sector.

There are few things as seductive in politics today as good data, and few things as challenging for commercial firms as the statutory bar on the use of FEC data for commercial purposes.  That came to a head yesterday, when the FEC was unable to reach a decision on an advisory opinion request on use of the FEC’s donor data to, among other things, confirm the identity and score potential donors in a client’s existing database.  The case highlights the gap between the regulated community and where a majority of FEC Commissioners may soon take the law.

Continue Reading Use of FEC Data – The Vice Chair Says the FEC Has Taken “A Wrong Turn”

It appears increasingly likely that California Governor Gavin Newsom will face a recall election, leading to questions about how to support or oppose his removal.  The “recall” will actually consist of two ballots, voted at the same election—a vote on whether to recall Newsom and a vote for his replacement if the recall passes.  Potential contributors may be surprised to learn that the state’s contribution limits apply differently to groups supporting or opposing the recall vote than to candidates seeking to replace Newsom.

Continue Reading California Recall Contribution Limits Would Vary for Newsom and Replacement Candidates

Even corporations with careful political law compliance practices can be caught off guard when they learn that an employee is running for public office. The corporation may have a good understanding of what the corporation’s obligations and restrictions are in the political arena, but not fully know how to handle the compliance issues stemming from an employee’s personal candidacy. This alert describes three practical steps that corporations should take to ensure they are complying with the relevant campaign finance and ethics rules.

With a growing chorus of support across the progressive landscape, the For the People Act of 2021 has emerged as a key legislative priority for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress.  Envisioned as a “transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package,” the bill would enact sweeping changes to federal election laws along with important changes to federal campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws.  Taken together, these changes would have significant implications for private parties engaged in all manner of political activity.

After House Democrats relied on their slim majority to pass the For the People Act, the bill now faces more uncertain prospects in the evenly divided Senate.  Nonetheless, Democratic leaders are sure to continue to press aggressively to move the bill through the upper chamber.  Likewise, even absent passage of the entire package, Democrats may look for opportunities to pass key elements of the broader bill on a bipartisan basis.

To assist clients in understanding how the For the People Act would affect their existing activity and compliance obligations, this alert is the fourth of several that will provide insights into key elements of the bill and what they mean for our clients.  This alert addresses the bill’s proposed changes to the federal conflict-of-interest and revolving-door provisions.

With a growing chorus of support across the progressive landscape, the For the People Act of 2021 has emerged as a key legislative priority for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress.  Envisioned as a “transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package,” the bill would enact sweeping changes to federal election laws along with important changes to federal campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws.  Taken together, these changes would have significant implications for private parties engaged in all manner of political activity.

After House Democrats relied on their slim majority to pass the For the People Act, the bill now faces more uncertain prospects in the evenly divided Senate.  Nonetheless, Democratic leaders are sure to continue to press aggressively to move the bill through the upper chamber.  Likewise, even absent passage of the entire package, Democrats may look for opportunities to pass key elements of the broader bill on a bipartisan basis.

To assist clients in understanding how the For the People Act would affect their existing activity and compliance obligations, this alert is the third of several that will provide insights into key elements of the bill and what they mean for our clients.  This alert addresses the bill’s proposed changes to the federal rules governing political advertising and other activity on the internet.

With a growing chorus of support across the progressive landscape, the For the People Act of 2021 has emerged as a key legislative priority for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress. Envisioned as a “transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package,” the bill would enact sweeping changes to federal election laws along with important changes to federal campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws. Taken together, these changes would have significant implications for private parties engaged in all manner of political activity.

After House Democrats relied on their slim majority to pass the For the People Act, the bill now faces more uncertain prospects in the evenly divided Senate. Nonetheless, Democratic leaders are sure to continue to press aggressively to move the bill through the upper chamber. Likewise, even absent passage of the entire package, Democrats may look for opportunities to pass key elements of the broader bill on a bipartisan basis.

To assist clients in understanding how the For the People Act would affect their existing activity and compliance obligations, this alert is the second of several that will provide insights into key elements of the bill and what they mean for our clients. This alert addresses the bill’s proposed changes to the Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”), the main federal law regulating lobbyists, and to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), a statute that requires the “agent” of a foreign “principal” to register and disclose certain political, lobbying and public relations activities.

Under the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”), an organization or lobbying firm must register if it employs an individual who meets the definition of a “lobbyist” and if its total expenses or income for lobbying activities meet certain monetary thresholds.  The two non-monetary thresholds determining when an individual becomes a “lobbyist,” discussed below, are usually the main factors driving when an organization or lobbying firm must register.  However, the monetary thresholds, one of which was recently increased from $13,000 to $14,000, may affect the registration obligations of entities engaged in only a de minimis amount of lobbying.

Continue Reading LDA’s Registration Threshold Increases By $1,000