Compliance Notes - Vol. 3, Issue 42
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
A federal judge dismissed a case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to force Steve Wynn to register as a foreign agent for his efforts to help secure the return of a Chinese national who sought asylum in the United States. The DOJ argued that the Foreign Agents Registration Act required Wynn to acknowledge his efforts; however, the federal judge ruled that the government has no power to require foreign agents to register retroactively after the purported foreign relationship has ended. (Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Politico)
Colorado: Colorado’s Secretary of State settled allegations and accepted a fine of $16,277 with ProgressNow Colorado for failing to fully disclose required information on a primary “voter guide” flyer. Consolidated complaints alleged that the flyers did not contain the required disclaimers, which must include the name of the committee and its registered agent. The Elections Division concluded that the flyers identified the committee but not the registered agent. This complaint was the second one the organization has settled with the Elections Division in the past 18 months. (Marianne Goodland, The Colorado Springs Gazette)
Illinois: A federal judge blocked two recent changes to the Illinois Election Code from going into effect for the state’s 2022 judicial election. The first reform, enacted in November 2021, prohibits donations from non-Illinois residents to state judicial candidates. The second reform, enacted in May 2022, prevents individual donors from giving more than $500,000 to independent expenditure committees involved in state judicial elections. As a result of the judge’s ruling, the two reforms will not impact the upcoming general elections on November 8. (Dave Byrnes, Courthouse News Service)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Wyoming: The Wyoming Legislature’s Management Council is taking steps to pave the way for lawmakers to enact ethics reforms in 2024. The council will review Joint Rule 22, which encompasses ethics complaint rules for misconduct involving legislative duties, bribes, violence or disorderly conduct. After hearing concerns about the process for handling ethics complaints, members of the Select Committee on Legislative Facilities, Technology and Process made the review recommendation to the council. (Jasmine Hall, Wyoming Tribune Eagle)
Elections & Voting
Ohio: The Columbus City Council enacted an ordinance to protect poll workers by establishing a mandatory three-day jail sentence for people convicted of interference or harassment of election workers, their immediate family or members of their household. While Secretary of State Frank LaRose claimed the ordinance is unnecessary because existing state law provides poll workers with adequate protections, election officials say the new legislation serves as a reminder of best practices at the polls. (Bryant Somerville, WBNS-10TV)