Category Archives: Pay-to-Play

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Pay-to-Play Law Update: Political Activity Can Put Government Contracts at Risk

Overview Pay-to-play laws restrict or prohibit businesses, as well as their owners, officers, and in some cases, their employees, from making political contributions (the “pay”) if they have been awarded or are trying to obtain government contracts (the “play”). These laws, which are found at the federal, state and local levels, are an outgrowth of … Continue Reading

Maryland Pay-to-Play Report Deadline Approaching as New Rules Take Effect

Maryland has had a pay-to-play law for many years, which requires government contractors to register and file reports concerning political contributions to state and local candidates. Since 2015, the law has been in a state of flux as legislators and regulators have written and re-written the requirements, creating a complex reporting system. The law is … Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Vice Presidents: Pay-to-Play and the Running Mates

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For investment advisers and others subject to the pay-to-play rules, that is. Although both vice presidential picks have gubernatorial experience, because Mike Pence is a sitting governor and Tim Kaine is a former governor, there are certain pay-to-play rules that apply to contributions … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Contribution Ban on Government Contractors

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Federal Election Campaign Act’s long-standing ban on contributions from federal government contractors to federal candidates and parties. We have followed the case since the District Court’s decision in 2012. The ban has been in a place since 1940. Pointing to a history … 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

Appeals Court Upholds Hawaii Corporate Disclosure Rules and Pay-to-Play Law

Last week the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld key provisions of Hawaii’s campaign finance laws requiring a for-profit company making campaign contributions and expenditures to register as a political committee, and prohibiting government contractors from contributing to state legislators and candidates. Broad Implications for Companies and Nonprofits Participating in Hawaii Elections Hawaii requires … 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

Oh What a Tangled Web Maryland Weaves: Updates on the Pay-to-Play Disclosure Process Before February 5 Report is Due

As we have discussed, Maryland amended its pay-to-play rules to impose new reporting requirements on entities that do business with state or local governments. The first report under the new system is due on February 5, and if the roundtable hosted yesterday by the State Board of Elections is any indication, confusion abounds regarding the law’s … 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

Procedural Complications Stall Decision by D.C. Circuit on Federal Government Contractor Contribution Ban

A final ruling on the constitutionality of the long-standing ban on contributions by federal government contractors met a significant setback last week when the D.C. Circuit remanded the case to the trial court. In an opinion issued on May 31, 2013, about two weeks after oral arguments, a three judge panel of the D.C. Circuit concluded that … 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

Pay-to-Play: NJ Indictments Offer a Reminder on Compliance

When we talk about pay-to-play, we often think about making sure that executives do not make inadvertent contributions that run afoul of a state’s pay-to-play rules and make the company ineligible for contracts. We might also think about tracking contributions from certain employees so that pay-to-play certifications are truthful and accurate. But a recent criminal … Continue Reading

Maryland Bill Overhauling Campaign Finance Rules Moves Toward Adoption

Significant campaign finance reform legislation cleared the Maryland House of Delegates Thursday, and is now under consideration by a committee of the Maryland Senate. The Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2013 (HB 1499 and SB 1039) responds to recommendations of the recently convened Maryland Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law. The bill addresses many of … Continue Reading

Venable Hosts Webinar on Political Law Basics – February 27

We hope you will join us for a webinar on February 27 at 1:00, called Political Law 101. 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, host site visits and other events, and prepare for the next election … Continue Reading

CFTC Clarifies Pay-to-Play Rules for Swap Dealers

Last week the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) issued a No-Action Letter that helps harmonize the CFTC’s pay-to-play rules for swap dealers (Regulation 23.451) with both the SEC and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) pay-to-play regulations. The Letter also provided guidance regarding the two-year “look back” period, during which time swap dealers may be prohibited … Continue Reading

Government Contractors Face Growing Risks from Laws Regulating Political Contributions

The landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case paved the way for explosive growth in political spending during the 2012 election cycle.  However, for government contractors and their principals, a growing number of “pay-to-play” laws restrict political contributions and fundraising, and can result in severe penalties, including the loss of contracts. Venable has … Continue Reading

Federal Ban on Government Contractor Political Contributions Upheld

On November 2, 2012, the District Court for the District of Columbia, two days after oral argument, upheld the long-standing ban on political contributions from federal government contractors. In Wagner v. Federal Election Commission, three independent contractors with various federal agencies argued that the ban on federal contractor contributions in section 441c of the Federal Election … Continue Reading

Major Wall Street Firm Pays Nearly $12 Million to Settle Pay-to-Play Violations

Prominent Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs will pay almost $12 million to settle charges that one of its investment bankers made undisclosed campaign contributions to a state official responsible for awarding government contracts. The case is the first SEC action for pay-to-play violations based on “in-kind” – meaning, non-cash – contributions to a political campaign. … Continue Reading

SEC Issues National Examination Risk Alert on MSRB “Pay-to-Play” Rules

Last week the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a National Examination Risk Alert for brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers regarding compliance with Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Rule G-37. The Risk Alert noted that recent SEC examiners have observed practices that raise concerns whether firms are adequately complying with all of their … Continue Reading

Illinois Relaxes Contribution Limits to Counter Super PAC Spending; State Contractors Still Barred from Contributing under State Pay-to-Play Law

In the wake of the corruption scandal involving former Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois adopted its first-ever limits on campaign contributions. Individuals could give candidates up to $5,000 per election, and corporations could give candidates up to $10,000. At a signing ceremony for the bill, held on the one-year anniversary of Blagojevich’s arrest, Governor Pat Quinn touted the … Continue Reading
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