Brendan Parets

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Avoiding Straw Donor Issues

While federal campaign finance enforcement priorities can and do shift, prosecutions of “conduit contributions” or “straw donors” have remained steady over the years.  Unlike most of federal campaign finance law, the law around straw donors is stable and well developed, and straw donor prosecutions tend to be straightforward.  The recent media coverage surrounding allegations that … Continue Reading

Requesting Congressional Outreach: Key Compliance Considerations

Assistance from congressional offices can be invaluable to an organization with interests before executive branch agencies.  But it also can pose legal and optics risks to both the organization requesting the assistance and the congressional office and Member of Congress doing the outreach.  A number of high-profile scandals, including the Keating Five matter in which … Continue Reading

Illinois Governor Signs Executive Order on Ethics

Companies and individuals doing business in Illinois should be aware of an executive order – Executive Order 15-09 – signed this week by Governor Bruce Rauner that, among other things, imposes new limitations on the acceptance of gifts by state employees.  Illinois state employees are generally prohibited by statute from accepting any gift from a “prohibited … Continue Reading

Ethics Rules and Transition Teams: Maryland Weighs In

A recent advisory letter by the Maryland State Ethics Commission should remind those asked to serve on transition teams to be aware of the various state laws that might be triggered by their service.  In the advisory letter, written to a government contractor, the State Ethics Commission concluded that members of the Maryland Governor-Elect’s Transition … Continue Reading

FEC Dismisses Challenge to Use of Trade Association Dues for Independent Expenditures

An FEC enforcement action recently made public may be of interest to organizations that use members’ dues for political activities.  In a complaint to the FEC, a Massachusetts realtor claimed the National Association of Realtors and its state and local affiliates were forcing her into paying for their political activities.   The realtor’s local affiliate required … Continue Reading

After McCutcheon, Are Limits on Party Committee and PAC Contributions Justifiable?

The Supreme Court’s latest major campaign finance decision, McCutcheon v. FEC, “does not involve” a challenge to current limits on contributions to political party committees and PACs, which the Court “previously upheld as serving the permissible objective of combatting corruption.”  But it nonetheless provides fodder for those who would challenge party and PAC limits. The … Continue Reading
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