Compliance Notes - Vol. 3, Issue 35
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
Puerto Rico: The president and treasurer of the super PAC Salvemos a Puerto Rico was sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to hiding the true identities of donors. Joseph Fuentes Fernández allegedly set up two shell nonprofits that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, funds that were then funneled into the super PAC. Fuentes then reported to the Federal Election Commission that the two nonprofits donated the funds instead of disclosing the sources behind the donations. The super PAC was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine and placed on probation for three years. (AP News) (Press Release, Department of Justice)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Alabama: The Alabama Ethics Commission will not reconsider its decision that it does not have to disclose exculpatory information to targets of investigations because the Alabama Attorney General's Office did not present any new information or arguments for the commission's consideration. The executive director said the commission would only reconsider its decision for "good cause," and the attorney general's office did not present new evidence about the interaction of disclosure with protections given by the Grand Jury Secrecy Act. (Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser)
Georgia: Governor Brian Kemp must testify in the Fulton County probe into the 2020 election, but his testimony is delayed until after his bid for re-election in November. The judge agreed to delay Kemp's testimony so that the district attorney, the governor's opponent nor the governor himself can use the investigation to influence the outcome of the upcoming election. (Emma Hurt, Axios)
Elections & Voting
Mississippi: Mississippi can continue to permanently block people convicted of certain felonies, including forgery, perjury and obtaining money or goods under false pretense, from voting after a federal appeals court upheld a provision of the state constitution. The law was developed during the Jim Crow era and was written with the intention of preventing Black citizens from voting. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mississippi conclusively showed "any taint associated" with the law "has been cured" by amendments made since 1950, dropping burglary and adding murder and rape to the list of felonies. (Herb Scribner, Axios) (Emily Wagster Pettus, AP News)
Wyoming: After a candidate who has denied the result of the 2020 presidential election won the Republican primary to lead Wyoming's Secretary of State's Office, state lawmakers are looking to limit the secretary of state's duties to oversee Wyoming's elections. The state's Republican-dominated Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions approved a motion to draft legislation stripping the office's sole authority to oversee Wyoming's elections and creating an entity governed by all five of the state's top elected officials. (Nick Reynolds, Newsweek)