Compliance Notes – Vol. 3, number 30 | Nossaman LLP
RECENT UPDATES ON LOBBYING, ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCING
We read the news, cut the noise, and deliver the ratings to you.
welcome to Compliance Ratings from Nossaman Government Relations and Regulatory Group – a periodic summary of headlines, legislative and regulatory changes, and court cases regarding campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law, and government ethics issues at the federal, state, and local levels.
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Campaign Finance and Lobbying Compliance
Alabama: Federal organizations contributing to state campaigns must register as state political action committees (PACs) and file regular campaign finance reports, under new direction from the Office of the Secretary of State of Alabama. The new guidelines, which are not retroactive, come after years of controversy over the scope and enforcement of Alabama’s ban on money transfers between PACs. (Brian Lyman, Advertiser Montgomery)
California: Candidates in state and local offices in California will be able to accept cryptocurrency campaign donations, as the Fair Political Practices Commission has approved new rules allowing candidates to receive such contributions if they immediately convert the US dollar digital currency. Applicants must use a registered cryptocurrency processor to manage the transaction which will collect each contributor’s name, address, occupation and employer. The new rules will take effect within sixty days of July 22, 2022. (AP News) (nossaman.com)
California: The City of Cupertino’s Lobbyists Ordinance treats nonprofit employees and ordinary citizens as lobbyists, according to a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters. The law, requiring registration with the city and payment of annual dues, is unconstitutional, hopelessly overbroad and anti-nonprofit, according to the lawsuit. Even though the order provides exemptions, including for nonprofit board members or employees, nonprofits may still be subject to the law if they received monetary compensation for lobbying for a “specific project, problem or person”. The League of Women Voters says the city treats any organization that lobbies at council meetings or directly with council members as paid lobbyists, violating free speech protections and preventing citizens from “petitioning the government by making civic participation conditional on the payment of a fee.” (Grace Hase, news from mercury)
Ethics and Transparency in Government
Illinois: The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to increase the maximum fine for violating the city’s ethics ordinance from $5,000 to $20,000. Significant overhaul of Chicago’s government ethics ordinance comes after months of negotiations and includes a requirement that the ethics committee notify elected officials at least ten days before the ethics committee can find probable cause that the official violated the law. Other changes brought about by the new Ethics Act include an increase in the number of companies doing business with the city that would be limited to a contribution of $1,500 per year to include companies doing business with all sister agencies in the city, including the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Housing Authority. (Heather Cherone, WTTW)
A bipartisan group of sixteen senators introduced legislation to reform the Voter Count Act of 1887, including clarifying the ceremonial role of the vice president in certifying presidential elections and creating penalties to intimidate election workers, voters and the candidates. The legislation also provides guidelines for the transfer of power between Election Day and inauguration, and raises the threshold for objection to a state’s voter certification, requiring at least one-fifth of House members and of the Senate rather than one member from each house. In the coming weeks, the Senate Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the reform of the law on the electoral count. (Sophia Cai and Andrew Solender, Axios)