Compliance Notes - Vol. 4, Issue 19
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
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced the Require the Exposure of AI–Led (REAL) Political Advertisements Act, that would require political groups to include a disclosure statement if they used artificial intelligence to create images or videos in advertisements. Clarke stated campaign finance laws need to keep pace with the innovation of new technologies because the upcoming 2024 election cycle will be the first time in U.S. history that campaigns, parties and Super PACS will use AI-generated content in political ads. Since AI-generated content can deceive people on a large scale, it can have devastating consequences on election security, Clarke said. (Mabinty Quarshie, Washington Examiner)
California: At the Fair Political Practices Commission's (FPPC) upcoming meeting, the Commission will vote on adopting new and amended regulations interpreting and implementing Section 84308 due to the passage of SB 1439 in 2022. Section 84308 would limit certain public officials' ability to take part in licensing, permitting and other use entitlement proceedings when a party or participant in the proceeding has contributed more than $250 to the official. It also would prohibit officials from receiving more than $250 in contributions during such a proceeding and for a defined period after a final decision. SB 1439 would expand the scope of Section 84308 to apply to local elected officials serving in a position directly elected by the voters. It also would extend the period in which contributions of more than $250 are prohibited from 3 months to 12 months after a final decision. Staff recommend the Commission adopt the proposed regulations. (FPPC Meeting: May 2023 Agenda) (Staff Memo: Proposed Adoption of Section 84308 Regulations Implementing SB 1439)
Minnesota:Governor Tim Walz signed a bill that changes the state's election rules, including provisions for automatic voter registration and restricting the spread of misinformation intended to prevent people from voting. The law creates new disclosure requirements for election advertisers and pamphleteers, closing loopholes that allowed them to circumvent reporting obligations if they did not expressly advocate for or against a candidate or ballot question using certain words. The law also prohibits "foreign-influenced" corporations and nonprofits from spending money to influence elections and allows 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. (Andy Monserud, Courthouse News Service)
Pennsylvania: For A Better Philadelphia, a super PAC that supported Jeff Brown's mayoral campaign, requested a judge dismiss the Philadelphia Board of Ethics’ lawsuit accusing the group of illegally coordinating with Brown. The Board alleges Brown was involved in soliciting donations for the super PAC just weeks before he launched his campaign in November. The PAC argues the Board misinterpreted its regulations and candidates should be allowed to coordinate with super PACs until the day they publicly launch their campaigns. If the judge rules in favor of the PAC, it could have significant implications for Philadelphia's political landscape, potentially making it easier for candidates to work with outside spending groups and increasing the amount of money flowing into Philadelphia elections. (Sean Collins Walsh, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Florida: Jurors acquitted Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, on charges of lying to federal investigators, but they could not reach a verdict on conspiracy and fraud charges. The case related to activities from 2016 to 2019 where Gillum and his political mentor were accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and committing wire fraud. Gillum also was charged with making false statements to federal investigators about his dealings while mayor with undercover agents who posed as developers. The judge declared a mistrial on charges Gillum and his political mentor used campaign funds for personal expenses and federal prosecutors announced they intend to pursue a second trial. (Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida)