Tag Archives: contractors

Survey of the Pay-to-Play Laws of the United States

Companies doing business with state and local governments or operating in regulated industries are subject to a dizzying array of “pay-to-play” rules.  These rules effectively prohibit company executives and employees (and in some cases, their family members) from making certain personal political contributions.  Even inadvertent violations can be dangerous:  a single political contribution can, for example, … Continue Reading

Enforcement, Clarity Delayed for FINRA Pay-to-Play and Third Party Solicitation Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that it will allow further comment on a pay-to-play rule proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). As we discussed previously, if the SEC approves FINRA’s pay-to-play rule, it would clarify that investment advisers are allowed to hire third party solicitors if they are subject to FINRA … Continue Reading

Expanded March 30 Filing Enhances Pay-to-Play Disclosure, Highlights Penalties for New Jersey Government Contractors

New Jersey is well-known for having strict, comprehensive, and complex pay-to-play laws.  Two new changes to an annual pay-to-play filing required of some government contractors will only enhance that reputation. State law requires a company that receives $50,000 annually through government contracts in New Jersey to file a report by March 30 of the following … Continue Reading

Highlights from Wagner; D.C. Circuit Upholds Contributions Restrictions But Limits Ruling

The Wagner case, decided today by the D.C. Circuit, is important because of its analysis of the constitutionality of federal campaign contribution restrictions and, by extension, of pay-to-play laws generally. Covington has been monitoring this case since the district court decision in 2012, to the argument before the D.C. Circuit in 2013, and the decision … Continue Reading

The SEC & Big Data

In our discussion of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s (SEC) actions over the past year, we described how the SEC is ramping up enforcement of its pay-to-play restrictions.  We also pointed out an acknowledgment by an agency enforcement official that the agency is “actively looking” for violations and that the agency does its own “surveillance.” What kind … 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

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

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

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

Challenge to Federal Contractor Contribution Ban Awaits D.C. Circuit Decision

On Thursday,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrapped up its 2012–2013 Term by hearing argument in Wagner v. FEC, a case that challenges the Federal Election Campaign Act provision prohibiting federal contractors from making political contributions in connection with federal elections.  The court typically issues opinions argued during a term by … Continue Reading

Lessons from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Pay to Play Scandal

We can learn two important lessons from the recent Pennsylvania Turnpike pay to play scandal.  The first of these lessons is straightforward, but important:  beware of providing benefits to public officials who can influence contracting or regulatory decisions impacting your company.  The second—and less intuitive—lesson, which has been lost amidst the furor over the scandal, … Continue Reading

Federal Court Upholds Ban On Federal Political Contributions By Government Contractors

Last Friday, a district court upheld a long-standing ban on federal political contributions made by federal contractors.  In practice, the universe of those directly affected by this ban, and the opinion upholding it, is relatively small.  Corporations are already prohibited from contributing to candidates and parties.  The prohibition therefore generally applies only when the federal … Continue Reading
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