Archives: Political Law

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Congressional Pandemic Oversight Bodies Begin to Take Shape

As we reported in our prior client advisory on the wave of investigations to follow the pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act established three new bodies to conduct oversight and investigations on pandemic-related issues. Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a special committee to conduct additional pandemic-related oversight. In recent weeks, … Continue Reading

House Leaders Push Ahead with Proposal for Virtual Oversight

Last month, we highlighted congressional efforts to ensure that Congress is able to continue conducting the business of the American people during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. After weeks of halting progress, those efforts took an important step forward this morning with the release of a proposed resolution that would temporarily modify the House rules to enable remote … Continue Reading

GAO Set To Launch Flurry of COVID-19 Related Audits

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), often referred to as Congress’ watchdog, is ramping up its oversight activities in preparation for an influx of investigations into fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of funds distributed in Congress’s $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The GAO recently signaled its intent to investigate a … Continue Reading

Compliance Considerations for Companies and Individuals Donating Funds, Goods, or Services to Domestic Government Entities

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country, many corporations, organizations, and individuals are looking for ways they can help fight back. This often includes donating money, goods, or services to federal, state, or local government entities. These well-intentioned donations can generate compliance problems if not handled appropriately from the start. While the situation will … Continue Reading

House COVID 3.0 Legislation Would Ban Federal Lobbying and Impose Permanent Corporate Political Spending Disclosure Requirements for Aid Recipients

The countless lobbyists urging Congress to include relief for their clients in the third coronavirus legislative package (“COVID 3.0”) currently pending in Congress may soon be unemployed, at least if the House version becomes law. The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives on Monday … Continue Reading

New Online Political Advertising Rules Coming to California January 1

Amid ongoing focus on how social media and other companies approach online advertising, California’s latest effort to require disclosure of online advertising will take effect January 1.  We blogged on these revisions to the California DISCLOSE Act, sometimes called the Social Media DISCLOSE Act, when they passed back in 2018.  Absent federal action, we expect … Continue Reading

New Jersey, Colorado Join Growing List of States Regulating “Dark Money”

So-called “dark money” — political contributions and spending by groups that do not have to disclose their donors — continues to draw the attention of state legislators, with Colorado and New Jersey recently adopting laws that attempt to force some donor disclosure from the groups.  They join other states, including Washington and California, that have … Continue Reading

The Top 10 Political Law Red Flags for M&A Deals

During the diligence process that precedes a merger or acquisition, investment firms and corporations should pay careful attention to political law risks.  Political laws are notoriously complex, are often not intuitive, and even seemingly minor or technical violations of these rules can result in significant penalties and reputational harm.  These risks are especially acute when … Continue Reading

Investment Adviser Hit With $100K SEC Fine, a Reminder that Public Universities are Covered by Pay-to-Play Rule

In December, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) fined an investment adviser $100,000 for violating the SEC’s pay-to-play rule.  The SEC’s rule effectively prohibits investment adviser executives and other “covered associates” of an investment adviser from making political contributions in excess of de minimis amounts ($350 per election if the contributor is eligible to vote … Continue Reading

Colorado Campaign Finance Enforcement System Found Unconstitutional

In a case with interesting ramifications, a federal court this week struck down major parts of Colorado’s campaign finance enforcement system as unconstitutional. The system at issue, which was created through a ballot initiative, generally allowed any person who believed there had been a violation of the state’s campaign finance laws to file a written … Continue Reading
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