Compliance Notes - Vol. 4, Issue 14
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
Former president Trump's campaign raised more than $5 million in the first 48 hours after reports broke that he had been indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan–receiving more than $4 million in the first 24 hours and more than $1 million in the second 24 hours. The Trump campaign said contributions came from all 50 states and that more than 25% of the initial donations came from first-time donors to him. (Mike Allen, Axios)
During opening arguments in the criminal campaign finance and foreign agent case against Fugees rapper Prakazrel Michel, prosecutors claimed Michel illegally took tens of millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of a Malaysian financier and the Chinese government. Michel faces 11 criminal counts, including various conspiracy charges for what prosecutors called three separate lobbying schemes to influence the administrations of former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Michel's lawyers are expected to argue that he did not know he was acting as a foreign agent and believed he was furthering American interests. (Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters)
Hawaii: Gov. Josh Green signed into law several bills relating to campaign finance and lobbyist's gifts, including capping campaign contributions to $100 per person for each election. Under the new restrictions, lobbyists could face a fine for offering lawmakers banned gifts. Beginning in January 2025, lobbyists will have to report the amount spent campaigning for legislation. (Kim Jarrett, The Center Square)
New Jersey: The legislature passed a sweeping overhaul of the state's campaign finance laws, sending the measure to Gov. Phil Murphy for signature. The Elections Transparency Act increases spending and contribution limits, overhauls individual towns' pay-to-play laws and retroactively shortens the statute of limitations for the state's election watchdog commission to investigate violations. (Mike Catalini, AP News)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Maryland: The Baltimore Board of Ethics released a redacted list of donors to a legal-defense fund established to benefit the President of the Baltimore City Council. The list was expected to provide a public accounting of who donated to the fund. However, the public donor list concealed each donor's name, email and address. The visible information detailed the donation amount, each donor's bank or financial institution and zip code. City ethics officials explained since names constitute "information about the finances of an individual," they were redacted to comply with state law protecting portions of a record containing information about an individual's finances. (Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun)
Tennessee: Tennessee House Republicans voted to strip three Democratic representatives of their committee assignments after they joined protests against gun violence in the capitol. The representatives now face expulsion from the legislature. (Lauren Sforza, The Hill)