Tag Archives: campaign finance

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

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

In Chevron Case, FEC Brings Clarity to the Federal Contractor Ban and Super PACs

The rules on corporate contributions to Super PACs were made clearer today when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released its finding that Chevron Corporation’s $2.5 million contribution in 2012 to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a Super PAC) had not violated the bar on government contractors making contributions in federal elections. Public Citizen and several environmental … Continue Reading

After McCutcheon, Are Limits on Party Committee and PAC Contributions Justifiable?

The Supreme Court’s latest major campaign finance decision, McCutcheon v. FEC, “does not involve” a challenge to current limits on contributions to political party committees and PACs, which the Court “previously upheld as serving the permissible objective of combatting corruption.”  But it nonetheless provides fodder for those who would challenge party and PAC limits. The … Continue Reading

Don’t Hold Your Breath for a Legislative “Fix” to McCutcheon

In his controlling opinion yesterday in McCutcheon v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts struck down the federal aggregate campaign contribution limits.  These limits capped the total amount one individual could give to candidates, party committees, and PACs in a two-year election cycle.  The purpose of the limits was to prevent donors from circumventing the per-candidate … 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

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

D.C. Council Passes Campaign Finance Legislation

After extensive legislative deliberation over the past year, last week the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously approved a campaign finance reform bill which aims to tighten up rules around LLC contributions and promote fundraising transparency.  Notably, the D.C. Council had contemplated inserting pay-to-play restrictions in the campaign finance bill, but ultimately removed any … 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

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

New York City Pay to Play and Other Campaign Finance Violations Haunt Candidate

During the 2012 election cycle, we cautioned that campaign finance problems can haunt candidates long after the election is over.  Case in point:  As the New York Daily News reports, the New York City Campaign Finance Board recently voted to impose $72,402 in penalties for violations of 15 different campaign finance restrictions, including accepting contributions … 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

OPEN Sesame or a Potemkin Village?

Twenty House Democrats yesterday introduced proposed legislation that, if enacted in its current form, would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to: Require corporations and labor unions which “submit[] regular, periodic reports” to their shareholders and members to include certain detailed information concerning their political spending.  That information must also be reported to the … 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

Tenth Circuit Upholds FEC’s Broader Definition of “Express Advocacy”

In a rare move for a federal appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit yesterday released a two-paragraph precedential opinion upholding various federal campaign finance laws and policies by simply adopting the district court’s decision.  The case is captioned Free Speech v. FEC. The most notable part of the district court … Continue Reading

Connecticut Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bill

As expected, earlier this week Governor Malloy signed a bill that changes key provisions of Connecticut’s campaign finance law.  Here are a few highlights of the legislation, which takes effect immediately. Increase in Contribution Limits:  Many contribution limits applicable to individuals are doubled.  For example, the maximum aggregate limit applicable to individuals contributing to various … Continue Reading

Courts Struggle to Draw Constitutional Lines for Disclosure

When the Supreme Court issued Citizens United v. FEC, there was little question that the landscape of campaign finance law shifted.  Much of the aftermath continues to focus on independent spending, contribution limits, and outright contribution bans on corporations and government contractors—restrictions that may have been upended by the notion that Citizens United narrowed the … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Assembly Votes to Permit Corporate Independent Expenditures, Double Contribution Limits

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that would modify Wisconsin’s ban on corporate expenditures  and double the state’s political contribution limits.  In response to Citizens United, the bill lifts Wisconsin’s blanket prohibition on corporate expenditures.  If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill would permit corporate independent expenditures and corporate contributions … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Aggregate Contribution Limit Challenged

A Wisconsin resident has brought a federal lawsuit challenging the state law that restricts individual political contributions to candidates and committees to $10,000 in a calendar year.  As alleged in the complaint in the case, captioned Young v. Vocke, the aggregate limit is so low that if an individual were to make a maximum contribution … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Vacates Federal Contractor Ban Decision on Way to En Banc Review

Earlier today a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Wagner v. FEC, sending the legal challenge brought by three federal contractors back to the start. The contractors had sued the Federal Election Commission back in October 2011, arguing that federal law unconstitutionally prohibits federal contractors … Continue Reading
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