Compliance Notes - Vol. 2, Issue 5
RECENT LOBBYING, ETHICS & CAMPAIGN FINANCE UPDATES
We read the news, cut through the noise and provide you the notes.
Welcome to Compliance Notes from Nossaman’s Government Relations & Regulation Group – a periodic digest of the headlines, statutory and regulatory changes and court cases involving campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law and government ethics issues at the federal, state and local level.
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Campaign Finance & Lobbying Compliance
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has raised limits for individual contributions to candidate committees to $2,900 for the 2022 election cycle. (FEC)
The Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit has a new chief, federal prosecutor Jennifer Kennedy Gellie. (C. Ryan Barber, law.com)
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York filed charges against an individual accused of using social media to suppress the vote in the 2016 elections, falsely claiming to supporters of one of the two major presidential candidates that they could vote by posting online or texting when they could not. (Cristiano Lima, Politico)
California: In 2020, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) reported a record $1.9 million in penalties, including one of the largest penalty payments ever received from a county board of supervisors for misuse of public funds. (Annie Sciacca, Mercury News)
Kansas: Former Sedgwick County Commissioner, Michael O’Donnell, settled allegations of campaign finance violations claiming that he used campaign funds for personal use and filed false campaign finance reports. O’Donnell had faced federal prosecution for the same conduct, although the jury acquitted him, or was unable to reach a verdict, on all counts. (Tom Shine & Deborah Shaar, High Plains Public Radio)
Montana: A bill has been introduced in the Montana legislature that would allow candidates to use campaign funds for childcare. (Bill Track 50, Montana HB221)
South Carolina: The State Ethics Commission released an advisory opinion denying candidates the ability to accept cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, as campaign contributions. (SC Ethics Commission)
Government Ethics & Transparency
With the Biden Administration’s Ethics Pledge in place, watchdog organizations are now focused on which former clients various appointees will disclose in their public filings. (Soo Rin Kim & Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News)
Massachusetts: The Boston City Council is weighing a pair of conflicting legal opinions in its decision of whether and when to hold a special election for mayor, should Mayor Marty Walsh be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Secretary of Labor. (Saraya Wintersmith, WGBH)