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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

New Arkansas Campaign Finance, Lobbying, and Ethics Laws Take Immediate Effect

Amid the thrill of victory and agony of defeat this Election Day, Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment that will have a major impact on those involved in the political and legislative process there.  While enacting legislation and regulations may bring some additional clarity to the issues, the amendment is effective immediately and brings the … Continue Reading

New, Strict “Reverse” Revolving Door Restrictions in Pennsylvania?

On October 15, Pennsylvania’s legislature sent House Bill 201 to Governor Tom Corbett for signature.  The legislation would prohibit a government employee from evaluating bids for state contracts submitted by his or her former employer for two years. This legislation is interesting for a few reasons.  First, it is a twist on what are commonly … Continue Reading

New Virginia Ethics Laws Take Effect Tomorrow; More Changes May Come in 2015

Those active in Virginia politics should note that portions of Virginia’s new ethics law take effect tomorrow, July 1, 2014, including the new $250 annual limit on “tangible” gifts from lobbyists and government contractors. Governor Terry McAuliffe has said that this is not the end of ethics reform in Virginia.  Earlier this month, he used … Continue Reading

Florida Clarifies Registration Requirements for Federal and Out-of-state PACs

New guidance from the Florida Bureau of Election Records will be useful to federal PACs and other non-Florida political entities that want to participate in Florida politics but were wary of the state’s registration and reporting requirements.  Under the new guidance, available on page 34 of the Florida Political Committee Handbook: Out-of-state and federal entities … Continue Reading

New York State Regulator Adopts New Ethics Rules

New York State’s lobbying and ethics regulator, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), released a number of new rules, effective this week, including rules on the giving and receiving of gifts, honoraria, and payment for expenses. JCOPE, which was established by the state’s Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, is the first state agency … Continue Reading

Virginia Enacts New Gifts and Ethics Legislation

The Virginia General Assembly passed new ethics legislation on Wednesday to little fanfare.  Legislators voted unanimously to adopt the new law with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s technical amendments.  We previously blogged about the law’s major provisions.  The law supplements the much stricter executive order limiting gifts to the executive branch, signed by Governor McAuliffe in January.  … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Finally Tosses Aside Limits on Contributions to New York Super PACs

Super PACs in the Empire State and in the Big Apple are about to become more “super.”  Today, a New York federal court finally (albeit begrudgingly) struck down a state law that effectively capped contributions to state Super PACs at no more than $150,000.  Prior to today’s ruling, New York had been one of a … Continue Reading

Is Alabama’s Revolving Door Closing?

The Alabama Senate unanimously passed a bill to close Alabama’s revolving door last week.  The legislation bars a legislator from lobbying either chamber of the Alabama legislature for two years.  This bill closes a loophole in Alabama’s current statute, which only prohibits a former legislator from lobbying the chamber he served in. The bill now … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Embraces McCutcheon

Less than twenty-four hours after the McCutcheon decision was issued, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF) announced that it will no longer enforce the state’s $12,500 aggregate limit on the amount that an individual may contribute to all candidates.  But, no decision has been made about the $5,000 aggregate party limit.  In … Continue Reading

Attend It Like Beckham: Celebrity Cleared of Lobbying Violations from Miami “Meet-and-Greets”

Celebrities often use their star power to shine a light on otherwise overlooked issues.  Soccer star David Beckham has inadvertently used his celebrity status to highlight a trap for the famous and non-famous alike — local lobbying regulations.  Last Wednesday, The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust cleared “Becks” of violating the county’s lobbying … Continue Reading

Will States Ignore the Supreme Court’s Coming McCutcheon Decision?

The Supreme Court is expected to rule soon, in McCutcheon v. FEC, on whether the Federal Election Campaign Act’s biennial aggregate limits on individual political contributions are constitutionality permissible.  Many have argued that, if the Supreme Court strikes down the federal limits, aggregate limits imposed by state law will likewise be tossed aside.  That may … Continue Reading

Contractors Handed 4-Year Ban Under New Jersey Township’s Pay-to-Play Law

Medford, New Jersey recently disqualified five would-be city contractors from receiving municipal contracts until 2017 for allegedly making political contributions in violation of the Township’s pay-to-play ordinance. The ordinance, adopted in 2012, imposes an automatic four-year bar on contracting with a company that contributes to candidates or committees in excess of the law’s per-recipient or … Continue Reading

Connecticut Pay-to-Play Law Does Not Bar Giving to a State Party’s Federal Account

Connecticut’s campaign finance regulator, the State Elections Enforcement Commission (“SEEC”) recently released an important advisory opinion that made clear that a state contractor that is otherwise barred from giving to a state political party under Connecticut’s pay-to-play law can give to the party’s federal account, a point SEEC staff had previously addressed.  However, the state … Continue Reading

Record-Setting Enforcement by California’s Campaign Finance Regulator

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is more aggressive than ever and is employing new tactics.  The FPPC’s recently-released end-of-year report detailing enforcement activities in 2013 highlights some interesting statistics that should be on the radar of every company doing business in California. Prosecutions of both “serious campaign cases” and lobbying violations were both “at … Continue Reading

Virginia: New Executive Gift Ban Takes Immediate Effect, with Ethics Reform Moving Through General Assembly

Virginia has often been referred to as the “Wild West” of politics because of its limited campaign finance and ethics laws.  The Commonwealth’s ethics laws are undergoing major changes, however, with more to come during the legislative session. On January 11, in his second act as Governor, Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order Number 2, which … Continue Reading

New York’s “Moreland Commission” Issues Its Preliminary Report

Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo empaneled a so-called “Moreland Commission,” under New York’s Moreland Act, to investigate public corruption.  The Moreland Commission, also known as the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, is led by several state prosecutors.  It recently issued its preliminary report.  That report reflects that the Moreland Commission is using … Continue Reading

Washington State Increases Contribution Limits, Tweaks Lobbying Disclosure

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission raised campaign contribution limits last week.  Effective January 5, 2014, corporations, PACs, and individuals will be able to donate $950 per election to legislative candidates and $1,900 per election to gubernatorial and other statewide candidates.  A primary and general election are considered separate elections for contribution limit purposes.  A … Continue Reading

Effective Today: Alabama Allows Unlimited Corporate Campaign Contributions

Effective today, corporations can now make unlimited campaign contributions directly to candidates in Alabama state and local elections.  The Alabama legislature passed this law to remove the $500 per election cap on corporate contributions in May, but, as we previously covered, there was some ambiguity regarding when the law would take effect. Other provisions of … Continue Reading

FEC Moves to Reconsider Scope of “Spouse” In Light of Supreme Court Decision Striking Down DOMA

As we recently predicted the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act is prompting the FEC to reconsider, and likely revise, its decision in an earlier Advisory Opinion, 2013-02 (“Winslow I”), that the definition of “spouse” under federal election law did not apply to same-sex … Continue Reading

Agreed-Upon Permanent Injunction Releases N.J. Super PACs from Limits

As forecasted, a federal court has entered a permanent injunction that permits Super PACs in New Jersey to raise unlimited funds, pursuant to the parties’ agreement.  This resolves the suit brought by the Fund for Jobs, Growth & Security after the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission advised the Fund in March that it was powerless … Continue Reading
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