Tag Archives: disclosure

Activist Investors Announce Submission of Political Spending Shareholder Proposals to 48 Companies

A coalition of 60 investors, led by the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, recently announced that they have submitted shareholder proposals seeking additional disclosures regarding political spending and lobbying activities. This announcement reflects a continuing desire among these groups to obtain additional disclosures from public companies regarding lobbying and political spending, and … Continue Reading

Conflicting Signals on Finalizing the Proposed Treasury Regulations for 501(c)(4)s

Earlier today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in his first appearance before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Oversight, stated that final regulations governing political activity by 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations are unlikely to be completed before the November elections. His statement seems to differ from the White House Statement of Administration … 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

Shareholders Try New Tactic in Corporate Political Disclosure Fight

This year has not been a great one for activists seeking to force corporations to increase disclosure of their political activities.  According to the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy, average shareholder support for proposals related to political spending or lobbying declined again this year, from 22 percent to 20 percent for lobbying proposals and … 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 Federal Shutdown and the FEC: The Impact on Federal PACs and Other Political Committees

The federal shutdown has resulted in the furlough of all FEC employees except the Commissioners.  As with most agencies, the greatest impact on the regulated community will appear over time: On-line data will grow stale, advisory opinions will be delayed, enforcement cases will not advance.  The FEC has summarized the process here. For political committees, … 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

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

Lobbying Disclosure and the Intelligence Community

With the National Security Agency in the news, there has been some media attention to who is lobbying whom in the intelligence community, and how much they are spending while doing it.  Often media coverage of lobbying expenditures misinterprets the available federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (“LDA”) data.  The LDA notoriously contains many gaps.  Those who … Continue Reading

Group Sues Treasury and IRS to Amend 501(c)(4) Regulations

All eyes are on the IRS and its regulation of 501(c)(4) organizations these days, with the agency’s mishandling of exemption applications, the release of the Treasury Inspector General’s report, and the lengthy hearings held by the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining the … Continue Reading

Update on Corporate Political Activity Disclosure

A hot topic we’ve been tracking closely this year concerns the regulatory and legal battles over corporate political activity disclosure.  This past week has been notable in two respects. As we’ve previously reported here, in December 2012 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) identified potential rulemakings that it might undertake in 2013.  Among the items … Continue Reading

New Maryland Campaign Finance Law

Last Thursday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a new campaign finance law.  Among other provisions, the law requires disclosure of contributors to independent expenditure and electioneering groups.  The new law, which generally goes into effect in 2015, will require disclosure of the identity of any person contributing $6,000 or more to independent expenditures or independent … Continue Reading

Florida Amends Campaign Finance Law, Increasing Contribution Limits

Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a campaign finance bill into law just hours before a midnight deadline.  The new measure makes a number of changes to Florida’s campaign finance laws, including the following: Contribution limits increased from a uniform $500 limit to $1,000 for legislative and local offices and $3,000 for statewide offices.  New … Continue Reading

New York State Lobbying and Ethics Rules

The Associated Press reports that New York State is poised to loosen lobbying disclosure requirements and tighten gift restrictions.  The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has broad jurisdiction over New York state ethics and lobbying laws, has proposed new rules governing both lobbying disclosure requirements and ethical restrictions on gifts. First, … Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Campaign Finance Enforcement Hearing

This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on “Current Issues in Campaign Finance Law Enforcement.”  The focus of the hearing was what the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service are doing to enforce campaign finance law violations post-Citizens United with respect to contributions to Super PACs and … Continue Reading

Covington Issues Client Advisory Concerning Senate PSI Campaign Finance Investigation

Today we issued a detailed advisory to clients about the anticipated campaign finance investigation by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Senator Levin, who chairs the Subcommittee, recently announced his intention to lead an investigation of “secret money” in US elections.  We are following this very closely for clients, including corporations, trade associations, advocacy groups, … Continue Reading

Utah Corporate Disclosure Bill Signed Into Law

This year’s march of state government campaign finance reforms continues, with the Governor of Utah signing H.B. 43 into law earlier this week. Utah already requires corporations—including nonprofits—to report how much they spend on political expenditures once they reach a $750 threshold for a calendar year.  But the newly enacted law requires these corporations to … Continue Reading

Congressionally Commissioned Report Recommends Shelving Key STOCK Act Provision

With near-unanimous bipartisan majorities, Congress last year passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (“STOCK”) Act in an effort to confront alleged insider trading by federal officials.  A major part of that legislation required that financial information of high-level government employees be disclosed in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable internet database.  Although the officials’ underlying … Continue Reading
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