Compliance Notes - Vol. 3, Issue 22
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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The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the group responsible for electing GOP candidates to state legislatures and other state offices, is launching a new digital fundraising program, the State Republican Victory Fund, in partnership with state GOP groups. The fund will split the money it raises online among the state groups to help build their in-state online programs and will offset the front-end costs of prospecting for individual donors. The fund will also share its donor file with state Republican Party organizations, legislative campaign committees and affiliated outside groups in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. (Elena Schneider, POLITICO)
Tennessee: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a new campaign finance and ethics bill into law, despite objections from some of the state's most influential advocacy groups who opposed the measure. Those advocacy groups argue that the new law will cause them to disclose their donors. On the other hand, supporters of the law say it will shine a light on expenditures, not donors, as some politically active nonprofits must disclose spending totaling at least $5,000 on communications that contain a state candidate's name or likeness within 60 days of an election. Further, political committee leadership must provide identification. (Kimberlee Kruesi, AP News)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Missouri: Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the appointment of two new members to the Missouri Ethics Commission. The appointments of former state Rep. Kathie Conway of Wentzville and William Villapiano of Houston, Missouri provide enough members for the Commission, which has been without a quorum for over two months, to meet and act on complaints. Both members' appointments are interim, meaning they can start serving immediately and do not have to go through the confirmation process until the legislature reconvenes in January 2023. (Kacen Bayless,The Kansas City Star)
Legislation & Elections
A federal district court rejected Texas officials' bid to toss the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) lawsuit claiming that Texas's election law, S.B. 1, will disenfranchise voters who do not speak English, are older or disabled or live abroad. The court found that the allegations represent valid claims under the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and that the federal government has a "significant stake" in protecting Americans' constitutional right to vote. The court upheld the federal government's authority to sue Texas and the state's top election official, Secretary of State John Scott, because the suit "seeks to vindicate its citizenry's right to vote." (Stephen Paulsen, Courthouse News Service) (Court Opinion)
Senators Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led nine of their colleagues in introducing the Sustaining Our Democracy Act, a push to provide more federal resources to administer local and state elections. The proposal would provide $20 billion in federal funds to help states finance election necessities over the next 10 years, including training poll workers and upgrading voting equipment and registration systems. To receive funds, the proposal requires states and local governments to submit plans describing how they would use the money. Further, Sen. King said the proposal makes clear that it would stop states from using the funds in ways that make it harder for eligible voters to cast their votes. (AP News)