Category Archives: Compliance

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When the Convention Parties Are Over: How Public Charities Can Be Involved in the 2016 Elections and Talk about the Issues

Many issues important to public charities are addressed in the platforms adopted by the political parties. As Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties wrap up their conventions and the Green Party meets this week, charities are asking how they can talk about the issues raised in the platforms. Charities can advance their position on the issues … Continue Reading

Revisions to the Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance: What These Changes Mean for You

The Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance (Guidance) issued by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate was updated on June 15. The updates clarify currently existing provisions of the LDA, add additional examples, replace references to the LDA with hyperlinked citations to the U.S. Code, and remove references to Line … Continue Reading

Clean Slate in the New Year: New York Offering Amnesty Program for Lobbyists and Lobbying Clients

For those who have placed lobbying registration at the top of their New Year’s resolution list, New York State and New York City have made it easier to take the plunge. Starting on January 1, lobbyists and organizations that employ or retain lobbyists that have failed to register with either the state and/or city may … Continue Reading

Watch Our New Compliance Webinar

We recently hosted a webinar on political compliance in the new election cycle. With the first criminal prosecution of a coordination case, changes in state ethics laws, and new disclosure requirements, we provided information you need to engage in political activities while staying compliant. The slides are also available, and the following publications may be … Continue Reading

Other LD-203 Categories

Yesterday, we focused on the honoring and recognizing categories of expenses that have to be reported. There are also three other categories that have to be disclosed on the LD-203 report. Political Contributions: Contributions made by registered lobbyists, the connected PAC of a registrant, or a PAC controlled by a lobbyist must be disclosed on … Continue Reading

Honoring and Recognizing

The LD-203 requires registrants and lobbyists to disclose a variety of payments made for the purpose of honoring and recognizing covered officials. Guidance issued by the House and Senate includes some very helpful examples. Payments that need to be disclosed fall in four different categories. The cost of an event to honor or recognize a … Continue Reading

Reporting the Amount Spent on the LD-2

For what seems like such a simple question, many organizations have a very hard time calculating the amount they spend on lobbying activities. A few reminders might help: Include any payments to outside lobbying firms in this figure. Even if it seems like double counting (since those firms will report the amount they receive from … Continue Reading

Lobbying Disclosure Season

Second quarter federal lobbying disclosure reports are due on July 21 and LD-203 expenditure reports are due on July 30. In addition, many states have mid-year lobbying reports due this month. We’ll have a series of posts on things to remember when preparing these reports in the next few days.  … Continue Reading

The “Ministry of Truth” Goes to Court

Like 15 other states, Ohio has a law that prohibits false statements made during a campaign. The law allows virtually anyone to file a complaint alleging that an ad is false and allows the Ohio Elections Commission to make the initial determination as to whether it is truthful or not. The problem is that once … Continue Reading

You Can Still Tune-Up on Government Affairs Compliance

        In case you missed our webinar last week on government affairs compliance, you can click here for the recording and here for the presentation materials. We covered topics including: Creative ways to be involved in the political process;  Operating a compliant PAC; Federal and state lobbying compliance; Pay-to-play laws that affect … Continue Reading

Venable Hosts Webinar on Government Affairs Compliance – January 16

Please join us for a webinar on January 16, 2014, at 1:00pm EST, which will provide a tune-up on government affairs compliance and examine recent trends. We will cover all the major topics you need to be thinking about as you ramp up for lobbying the new Congress and state legislatures and prepare for the mid-term elections: Forming and operating … Continue Reading

North Carolina Voter Law Also Targets Lobbyist Fundraising

Buried in the recently‐enacted and controversial North Carolina Voter ID law is an additional restriction on political activity by lobbyists. North Carolina already prohibited lobbyists from making personal political contributions at any time, and from collecting and transferring contributions from multiple donors (known as bundling). Starting October 1, lobbyists will be prohibited from collecting and … Continue Reading

Crossed Lines: Email Exposes Perils for Congressional Offices, Campaign Staff, and Advocacy Groups

A leaked email written by a senior Congressional aide became fodder for the politics section of the Washington Post last week, painting a picture of secret industry collusion with candidate campaigns on independent expenditures. The aide’s email, reportedly written to several of his boss’s campaign officials, explained that a prominent industry trade association was committed … Continue Reading

Two Organizations in One? Candidate Using Assets from Prior State Race to Support Run for U.S. Senate Can Avoid Issues Through Arms-Length Arrangements

Sitting state office holders often run for federal office. As a recent decision from the FEC reminds us, it is important that resources from the state campaign not be used in the federal campaign, unless the federal campaign pays fair-market-value for those resources. Indeed, this same principle applies when other types of related organizations seek … Continue Reading

Even the Appearance of Corruption: Caution When Fundraising Around Major Legislation

It seems like it has been a while since Congress has passed major, substantive legislation. With gun control, immigration, and tax reform all on the front pages, it appears that legislation might be on the move. Thus, as legislation grinds through the process, it is worth remembering the need to keep legislative issues separate from … Continue Reading

Public Policy and Politics: Compliance Tips for Your Nonprofit’s Advocacy and Electoral Efforts

On April 16, Ron Jacobs, Larry Norton, and Janice Ryan will host a program for nonprofits covering campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and gift rule issues for trade associations, social welfare organizations, and charities. Perfect for those who have already seen our Political Law 101 session and want to learn answers to more advanced questions like: How … Continue Reading

Learning More About Political Law

In case you missed our Political Law 101 webinar, you can listen to the recording and watch the presentation here. On April 16 we will host Public Policy and Politics: Compliance Tips for Your Nonprofit's Advocacy and Electoral Efforts as both a lunch seminar and webinar. Click here to register.… Continue Reading

State Grassroots Lobbying: Community Organizing or Regulated Lobbying?

A federal appeals court last week rejected a challenge to a Washington State law that requires a person or entity to register and file reports as a lobbyist for grassroots lobbying. Registration is triggered by receiving or spending just $500 in any 30-day period (or $1,000 in any 90-day period) to influence legislation. The U.S. Court of … Continue Reading

Candidates and Super PACs: A Complicated Relationship

In the wake of the 2012 elections, questions linger about what kinds of relationships are permissible between a candidate and an independent-expenditure only group (i.e., a Super PAC). In planning their activities, Super PACs may consider using a photo of the candidate from a campaign ad or website, or even approaching candidates and current officeholders … Continue Reading

The FEC Increases the Lobbyist Bundling Threshold

Last week the FEC increased the reporting threshold for contributions bundled by lobbyists to $17,100 (up from $16,700). These bundling reports are required of authorized federal candidate committees, leadership PACs, and political party committees if the “reporting committee” receives two or more bundled contributions that exceed the $17,100 threshold. A bundled contribution is any contribution … Continue Reading
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