Compliance Notes - Vol. 3, Issue 10
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
Alaska: The Alaska Public Offices Commission eliminated caps on donations to candidates for governor, state legislative representatives and in municipal races. The commission lifted the limits in response to a federal court ruling invalidating the state’s $500 individual contribution limit to candidates as too low. However, the court did not set new restrictions, leaving the state legislature and commission responsible for establishing new limitations. The commission’s staff recommended raising the limit to $1,500; however, the recommendation did not receive the requisite four votes. As a result, unless and until the state legislature imposes new limitations, there are no longer any contribution limits on individual-to-candidate donations. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News
New York: Following a recent cybersecurity attack on its web application server, the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) announced it anticipates that the lobbying reporting and financial disclosure systems will be accessible by March 11. The system has been down since February 21, when JCOPE first discovered suspicious activity. Filings due during the outage have been granted an automatic 21-day extension, and the March 15 lobbying bi-monthly report deadline is extended to March 31. Before the system is back online, JCOPE will distribute additional guidance to lobbying filers. (JCOPE)
Government Ethics & Transparency
The House Committee on Administration has scheduled a hearing on March 16 to debate the merits of banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks. The hearing accelerates the bipartisan effort to combat conflicts of interest in Congress and strengthen enforcement rules. The committee’s announcement did not include a list of witnesses. However, the committee is seeking testimony from anti-corruption organizations like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, as well as from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research institute. (Kimberly Leonard, Business Insider)
Illinois: A federal grand jury returned a 22-count indictment charging former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan with federal racketeering charges for numerous bribery and extortion schemes aimed at using the power of his office for personal financial gain. The indictment alleges that Madigan’s elected office and political operation amounted to a criminal enterprise that provided financial rewards for him and for his associates. The indictment also alleges Madigan illegally solicited business for his private property tax law firm during discussions about converting state-owned land into a commercial development. Madigan is scheduled to be arraigned on March 9 before U.S. District Judge Robert Blakey. (Jason Meisner and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune)
North Carolina: U.S. District Judge Richard Myers issued a preliminary injunction blocking an effort to disqualify North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn from seeking reelection. Judge Myers ruled that the state’s candidate challenge process did not apply to the 14th Amendment’s “disqualification clause,” designed to prevent insurrectionists from holding federal office. The ruling means North Carolina’s State Board of Elections cannot pursue a formal review of Rep. Cawthorn’s qualifications based on voters’ arguments. (Gary Robertson, Associated Press)