Compliance Notes - Vol. 4, Issue 2
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
California: The new campaign contribution and gift limits adopted by the California Fair Political Practices Commission at the end of 2022 took effect on January 1, 2023. Under the new limits, an individual, business entity or PAC may contribute, per election, $36,400 to gubernatorial candidates and $5,500 to candidates for state legislature and local office if there is no locally enacted limit. The new limit for contributions to PACs that contribute to candidates is $9,100. Additionally, the gift limit was increased from $520 to $590 per calendar year. (FPPC State Contribution Limits)
North Carolina: The new year triggered higher campaign contribution limits for North Carolina candidates and political committees, with the cap now set at $6,400, an $800 increase from the limit in place over the last two years. According to the State Board of Elections, the increase in the contribution limit is four times greater than the increase between 2019 and 2021. The limit applies separately to primary and general elections. (Victor Skinner, The Center Square)
Texas: Individuals and certain politicians can spend money in the Texas House speaker race after a federal judge permanently barred the state from enforcing ethics laws prohibiting outside money from being spent in a speaker's race. The plaintiffs argued they wanted to spend personal money on correspondence and other communications to support a candidate for speaker, but state law unconstitutionally infringed on their rights to do so under the First Amendment. (Robert T. Garrett, The Dallas Morning News)
Government Ethics & Transparency
New Mexico: Local and federal authorities are investigating multiple shootings at the homes and offices of elected Democratic officials in New Mexico. Albuquerque police said the first shooting occurred on December 4 at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, and a fifth attack occurred on December 10 at the former campaign office for newly elected New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez. Fortunately, nobody was injured, but the shootings raise concerns about the safety of elected officials. (Herb Scribner, Axios)
Ohio: The Ohio Elections Commission fined former Ohio governor candidate Joe Blystone $105,000 and banned him from running for office for five years for violating state campaign finance laws about accepting and reporting contributions. The Secretary of State's office reported to the commission problems with about 55 contributions worth $82,204, alleging the campaign did not correctly track donations and instead reported them under the broad category of contributions of $25 or less and also reported donations from locations and individuals instead of detailing specific individuals. The commission unanimously approved the penalties but did not refer Blystone for criminal prosecution. (Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati Enquirer & The Columbus Dispatch)
Twitter announced it is relaxing its ban on political and issue-based advertising, reversing the company's long-standing approach to paid political speech. The policy change allows candidates and advocacy groups to spend money to promote their causes on Twitter. (AP News)