Archives: Campaign Finance

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California Recall Contribution Limits Would Vary for Newsom and Replacement Candidates

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 … Continue Reading

Employees Running for Public Office: Political Law Compliance Considerations

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 … Continue Reading

Understanding H.R. 1 (Part 3): Political 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 … Continue Reading

Understanding H.R. 1 (Part 1): Corporate & Trade Association Campaign Activity

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 … Continue Reading

FEC Provides Short Webinar Training for Candidate Committees

The Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) is offering a 90-minute online training session on Wednesday, April 7th, for campaign committees that use FECFile to file their disclosure reports.  The purpose of this training is to address common filing problems and to provide answers to questions committees may have prior to their quarterly FEC filing.  FEC staff … Continue Reading

California Increases Campaign Contribution Limits, Applies Limits to Local Elections

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has published contribution limits for 2021-2022.  The new “per election” limits are effective for the 2021-2022 election cycle, and the calendar year limits are effective January 1, 2021.  Note in particular that this year, for the first time, the state has imposed limits on contributions in city and … Continue Reading

FEC Provides Corporate PAC Virtual Training

For many of us, the New Year brings new resolutions, both professionally and personally.  For those of us that are involved with Corporate PAC’s, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) makes it simple to quickly check one of these goals—to cultivate a better understanding of the FEC regulations that govern Corporate PACs—off our list.  On March … Continue Reading

FEC Increases Contribution Limits for 2021-2022

The Federal Election Commission has announced contribution limits for 2021-2022.  The new “per election” limits are effective for the 2021-2022 election cycle (November 4, 2020 – November 8, 2022), and the calendar year limits are effective January 1, 2021. The FEC increased the amount an individual can contribute to a candidate to $2,900 per election, up from $2,800.  … Continue Reading

FEC Reconvenes: What We Learned from the First Meeting of the New FEC

With a full complement of six commissioners for the first time since early 2017, the FEC met in open session yesterday.  Led by FEC Chair Shana M. Broussard and Vice Chair Allen Dickerson, the first meeting addressed a number of non-controversial matters that lent themselves to consensus.  That said, there were several interesting features to … Continue Reading

Guidelines for Interacting with the Biden-Harris Transition and the Biden Inaugural Committee

With the election over, attention now turns to the transition and the upcoming inauguration of the new Biden-Harris Administration. In this alert, which will be of interest to chief compliance officers and many others across the country, Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice Group provides insight into what promises to be a transition and inauguration … Continue Reading

Guidance Regarding Contributions to Recount and Election Dispute Funds

As both presidential and down-ticket candidates gear up for post-election recounts and related litigation in several states, they and their political parties will be raising new funds to finance these efforts. As with campaign contributions made before the election, there are a variety of rules that apply to contributions to support post-election disputes. The Federal … Continue Reading

How Can Corporations Support the Voting Process?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, voting in the 2020 general election is likely to look different than we have seen in recent times. Election officials across the country are working through in-person voting and vote-by-mail procedures and individual voters are deciding how best to cast their ballots. At the same time, many corporations … Continue Reading

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

The FEC Appears to be Exercising its Powers Without a Quorum

Over the past 10 days, the FEC has been quietly exercising authority reserved for when at least four Commissioners vote in favor of an action.  Since July 3, however, the FEC has only had three Commissioners.  This activity raises consequential questions about the FEC’s ability to act without a quorum, and presents important concerns about … Continue Reading

Increased Enforcement Risk for Criminal Campaign Finance Violations

Every four years, prosecutors at the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) train their sights on money spent to influence the outcome of the presidential election—and those who spend it.  While the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has exclusive jurisdiction to penalize and enforce civil violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 52 U.S.C. § 30101 et … Continue Reading

Washington Becomes Latest State to Pass Law Prohibiting Foreign Involvement in Campaign Finance Activity

Effective tomorrow, June 11, 2020, a new law in Washington state prohibits involvement of “foreign nationals” in state campaign finance activity.  The law also requires corporations and other entities to certify their compliance with the new law whenever they make a contribution in the state.  This new law reinforces Washington’s reputation as one of the … Continue Reading

Reopening the FEC

In a 49-43 vote along party lines, the Senate confirmed Texas attorney James “Trey” Trainor to the Federal Election Commission today.  This gives the FEC a quorum for the first time since August 31, 2019, when former Commissioner Matt Petersen stepped down to enter private practice.  What effect will this have on the FEC and … Continue Reading

State Lobbyist and Campaign Finance Filing Changes Related to COVID-19

As states grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, many have opted to make changes to campaign finance and lobbying reporting due dates and filing procedures. Covington has published a client alert containing a chart of changes to state campaign finance and lobbying filing schedules that states have announced as of last week. State … Continue Reading

Campaign Finance Violation for Unregistered Political Committee Upheld in Washington State, but $18 Million Penalty Must Still Pass Excessive Fine Test

In one of the most watched campaign finance disclosure enforcement cases, last week, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a trial court’s finding that a trade association intentionally failed to register and report contributions and expenditures in opposition to a ballot initiative that would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.  In … Continue Reading

Interacting with the Government During the Pandemic: Compliance Blind Spots for Corporations and Executives

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are reverberating in every sector of the global economy, from life sciences to transportation, retail to manufacturing, financial services to sports and entertainment. As federal, state, and local governments attempt to blunt the pandemic’s public health and economic effects, many companies are frantically working with government to seek the … Continue Reading
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