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”

Last week, the Department of Justice’s FARA Unit released a curious advisory opinion.  The new opinion stated that it replaced an advisory opinion released by the Department in December 2019, and it revised the Department’s guidance on the scope of the lawyers’ exemption to FARA.  As far as we can tell, this is the first

The Department of Justice’s FARA Unit appears to have signaled a significant narrowing in the scope of a major FARA exemption that is especially important to private sector companies, including U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations.  The apparent narrowing of FARA’s exemption for those who register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) appeared in an advisory

The Department of Justice has begun informing persons who obtained Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) advisory opinions that it will “soon” publish on its website copies of advisory opinions issued since January 1, 2010.  The opinions apparently will be redacted to remove the identities of the requesters and their clients.  For years, the Department has

Last week the Federal Election Commission (FEC) took incremental steps toward defining the rules for those considering becoming a candidate and how candidates interact with Super PACs. FEC AO 2015-09 (Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC).  As expected, the agency could not reach consensus on most of the legal issues raised, but it did

That the FEC often deadlocks is noteworthy but no longer newsworthy.  How parties who are regulated by the FEC deal with this logjam, however, remains hotly debated and timely.

The prospect of 3-3 votes on advisory opinion requests, in particular, is often the subject of much handwringing.  How should a party deal with a deadlock

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