Tag Archives: advisory opinion

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

A Curious Advisory Opinion Reinterprets the FARA Exemption for Lawyers (and Resolves a FARA Mystery)

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 … Continue Reading

New Department of Justice FARA Opinion May Narrow the “LDA Exemption”

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 … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Planned Release of FARA Advisory Opinions

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 … 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

The More Things Change: The FEC and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.

On Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on whether Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. could sponsor a Separate Segregated Fund (a corporate “SSF” or “PAC” in common parlance) that solicited contributions from the employees of its dealers and service centers.  The request resulted in an unsurprising deadlock and a surprising discussion about … 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

DOMA Invalidation Will Likely Impact Federal Contribution Limits

The Supreme Court’s decision today invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act will impact campaign finance laws as well, probably nowhere more clearly than in casting doubt on the FEC’s February decision advising a candidate for the special U.S. Senate Primary Election in Massachusetts that he could not treat contributions from a same-sex couple married under … Continue Reading

Super PAC Files Challenge to New Jersey Contribution Limits

A few weeks ago the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission issued an advisory opinion indicating that it would enforce the state’s contribution limits against groups that (i) have a major purpose of influencing New Jersey elections and (ii) do so exclusively by making independent expenditures.  Although the Commission recognized that its position might be … Continue Reading

New Jersey Commission Intends to Enforce Contribution Limits Against State Super PACs

Groups that are planning to run independent expenditures in the New Jersey gubernatorial election this year should be aware of a new advisory opinion issued by the State’s Election Law Enforcement Commission late last week.  Under this latest guidance, groups that support or oppose New Jersey candidates may have to register as political committees and … Continue Reading

How Much Can a Former Candidate’s Campaign Committee Contribute to a Super PAC?

That is the question before the Federal Election Commission on Thursday at its next open meeting.  In a draft Advisory Opinion posted Friday, the preliminary answer is that a former candidate’s campaign committee faces no limits on contributions to a Super PAC. The question is posed by former candidate, Mike Haridopolos.  He dropped out of … Continue Reading

FEC Approves a Less Expensive Path to Larger Text Message Contributions

In June, the FEC approved a process for making text message political contributions limited to $50 per month.  In August, the FEC clarified the compliance responsibilities related to these small, anonymous text message contributions.  Now, just three weeks later, the FEC has approved a process for making text message contributions that exceed $50 per month … Continue Reading

FEC Approves Text Message Political Contributions … Again

The FEC made public today two advisory opinions, AO 2012-26 (m-Qube II) and 2012-28 (CTIA), that clarify the permissibility of political contributions via text message.  Though the FEC gave general approval to text message contributing in AO 2012-17 (m-Qube I), campaigns and service providers sought additional guidance from the FEC to ensure compliance with the … Continue Reading

Putting a Name and Face Behind Text Message Contributions

Last month, the FEC approved a method for contributing to federal political committees by text message (AO 2012-17), but noted that the process described in that AO might not be the only permissible method.  Since that opinion, there have already been additional requests that seek clarification of the Commission’s rules on text message contributions.  On Monday, … Continue Reading

The FEC and Emerging Technology in Campaign Fundraising

Text messaging and donor focused websites in campaign fundraising were among the topics covered at the open meeting last Thursday (audio of meeting).  Two decisions will mark important milestones in the FEC’s regulation of money in cyberspace.  Contributions by text message.  FEC AO 2012-26 (Cooper for Congress, et al.) (draft AO) and 2012-28 (CTIA) (AO … Continue Reading

New FEC Advisory Opinion Request: A Window into the Next Generation of Fundraising?

Does a recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) advisory opinion request point to the next generation of fundraising structure for campaigns, political committees, and issue advocacy groups?  We have already seen Super PACs join together to take advantage of the joint fundraising committee (JFC) structure.  Now, American Future Fund (AFF) and American Future Fund Political Action … Continue Reading