Compliance Notes - Vol. 3, Issue 18
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
Richard Olson, the former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, has been criminally charged for his role in an alleged undisclosed lobbying campaign for the Qatari government. The Department of Justice charged Olson with making false statements in ethics paperwork and violating laws restricting foreign lobbying by former federal officials. Prosecutors accuse Olson of courting foreign work while in office and using his political influence to promote Qatari interests after leaving office. Court filings show Olson plans to plead guilty. (Lachlan Markay, Axios)
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) unanimously approved Advisory Opinion 2022-02, concluding that under Commission regulations and the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act), it is permissible for Rep. W. Gregory Steube (R-FL) and Steube for Congress to use campaign funds to purchase and install residential security equipment. The county sheriff’s office and the Office of the House Sergeant at Arms recommended the security system. (FEC Press Release, April 28, 2022) (Advisory Opinion 2022-02 (Steube))
The FEC cited five campaign committees for failing to file the April Quarterly Report or the 12-Day Pre-Primary Report for Ohio’s May 3 primary elections. The financial reports are required under the Act. (FEC Press Release, April 29, 2022)
Government Ethics & Transparency
The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal brought by Kentucky businessman and former Democratic Party chief Jerry Lundergan, leaving in place his conviction of illegal campaign contributions. In 2019, Lundergan was convicted of orchestrating a scheme to funnel approximately $200,000 in illegal contributions to his daughter's 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate. (AP News)
Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate fellow North Carolina lawmaker Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) for allegations that Cawthorn may have violated federal insider trading laws based on his cryptocurrency holdings. (Kevin Breuninger, CNBC)
Tennessee: The Tennessee legislature passed HB 1201, the campaign finance and ethics reform bill primarily focused on spotlighting 501(c)(4) organizations spending. The bill requires such organizations to disclose any expenses over $5,000 made within 60 days of an election when using candidate names and images in advertisements. Other provisions include a disclosure requirement for all expenses during a reporting period, including expenses under $100, a prohibition against candidates exceeding $2,000 in un-itemized contributions in a reporting period, and making anyone who personally controls a political action committee's expenditures personally liable for fines levied by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. The bill was sent to Governor Bill Lee for approval. (Adam Friedman, Nashville Tennessean) (Kimberlee Kruesi and Jonathan Mattise, ABC24 Local Memphis)