Category Archives: Lobbying

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Trump Ethics Order Loosens Hiring Rules, but Tightens Post-Employment Restrictions

On January 28, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order that imposes an extra layer of ethics obligations on presidentially appointed members of the White House and Executive Branch. Overall, President Trump’s Executive Order takes a somewhat different approach than the “Ethics Pledge” issued by the Obama administration, expanding some restrictions and loosening others. In … Continue Reading

An Audit of the Justice Department’s FARA Program: Increased focus on registration likely, but what about criminal prosecutions?

The Department of Justice Inspector General’s (IG) office recently released a highly critical audit of DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA) enforcement program. The audit, combined with recent news stories potentially involving FARA, may foreshadow an increased awareness of this sometimes overlooked registration requirement. But increased attention likely does not mean an increase in prosecutions, … Continue Reading

California Cracking Down on Lobbyist Registrations

The Fair Political Practices Commission – the agency responsible for administering and enforcing California’s campaign finance and lobbying laws – has unanimously approved a rule change intended to force more consultants to register as lobbyists and strengthen the agency’s hand in enforcing state lobbying laws. The rule will take effect September 16, 2016. FPPC chair … 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

A Guide to Supporting the 2016 Presidential Nominating Conventions: From Hosting Events to Writing a Check

Thinking about sponsoring or hosting an event at the presidential nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia?  Or considering giving free items to attendees? Venable’s client alert summarizes recent guidance on convention events from the House and Senate ethics committees, and discusses both new and old ways that the national parties and the host cities are … 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

PAC and Lobbying Deadlines Loom Large in January—and a Chance to Get Organized

January is always a busy month for filing lobbying and campaign finance reports. It is also a good time to think about changes for the upcoming year that might simplify filing obligations. •  State Lobbying Reports. Most states require year-end reports to be filed at some point in January. Many also require re-registration or renewal … Continue Reading

Virginia Tightens the Reins: Major Lobbying and Gift Law Changes to Take Effect in 2016

Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a new bill making significant changes to Virginia’s lobbying and gift laws. The critical changes made by this bill, Senate Bill No. 1424, will become effective on January 1, 2016. Many of the revisions focus on gift reform, but the bill also contains important changes … Continue Reading

Maryland Changes Rules Again on Political Contribution Disclosure by Government Contractors; Lobbyist-Employers Also Affected

Following a major rewrite last year of its “pay-to-play” disclosure rules, Maryland has made further changes that expand the obligations of state and local government contractors to report their political contributions, and those of their subsidiaries, officers, directors, partners, and PACs. Now, in addition to reporting direct contributions to candidates, contractors will also have to disclose … Continue Reading

First Quarter LD-2 Reports Deadline Approaching

First quarter lobbying disclosure reports are due on Monday, April 20. This report, the LD-2, is where organizations report their expenses for federal lobbying efforts. The first quarter of a year is often a good time to evaluate your organization’s recordkeeping and processes for filling out the report and to determine what changes may need … Continue Reading

Please Join Us: WEBINAR – Ramping up for the 2016 Cycle: Make Compliance a Priority for Lobbying and Political Activity

Thursday, March 26, 2015 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET – Webinar The Justice Department recently announced its first criminal prosecution for coordination. States like Virginia are revamping their ethics laws and California recently imposed new restrictions on lobbyists. Although the IRS has yet to issue regulations for 501(c)(4)s, many states have created new disclosure … Continue Reading

Not Homeward Bound: California Lobbyists Barred from Hosting Fundraisers in their Homes

California’s ethics watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, adopted a new rule that prohibits lobbyists from hosting fundraisers in their homes. This rule implements legislation passed after a lobbyist was fined for hosting what the LA Times called “lavish fundraisers” featuring “wine, liquor, and cigars,” in his home. Lobbyists in California are prohibited from making … Continue Reading

Welcoming the Trojan Horse: Arkansas Voters Approve Term Limits, While Banning Corporate Contributions and Lobbyist Gifts

When Arkansas legislators gave voters a chance to approve a constitutional amendment banning corporate contributions and gifts from lobbyists, even the referendum’s sponsor thought it was doomed.  Why?  Because coupled with these reforms was a provision extending legislators’ term limits, a measure so unpopular that voters had previously rejected it by a 40-point margin.  Indeed, … 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 FEC Increases the Lobbyist Bundling Threshold and Coordinated Party Expenditure Limits

Last week the Federal Election Commission increased the reporting threshold for contributions bundled by lobbyists to $17,300 (up from $17,100). Candidates, leadership PACs, and federal party committee must file lobbyist bundling reports if during a six-month reporting period they receive two or more bundled contributions exceeding the $17,300 threshold. We have written here about the reporting … 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

Limiting Lobbying: The DC Circuit says “not so fast.”

One of the ways that President Obama tried to restrict the influence of lobbyists in Washington was to ban all registered lobbyists from serving on federal advisory committees. A group of lobbyists who wanted to serve on some Industry Trade Advisory Committees (“ITAC”), a specific type of federal advisory committee, sued the administration. They argued that … Continue Reading

To Catch a Lobbyist: NYC Ordinance Aims to Catch Those Flouting Registration and Vastly Expands Covered Activities

Last week, New York’s City Council passed an ordinance amending its lobbying laws. While these reforms largely have gone unnoticed, a close look at the changes, some of which go into effect on January 1, reveals some potentially far-reaching implications. First, the definition of “lobbying” has been expanded to include attempts to influence “any determination made … 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

New York Commission to Subpoena Private Parties in Broad Probe of Election and Lobbying Laws

Frustrated with his failure to reach a deal with state legislators on campaign finance reform, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last month the formation of a special commission to investigate public corruption and recommend changes in the state’s campaign finance and lobbying laws.  The 25-member Commission, each of whom has been deputized by the State … Continue Reading
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