Compliance Notes - Vol. 4, Issue 20
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
The treasurer for the presidential campaign of “Ye”, also known as Kanye West, has resigned citing an allegedly “unlawful” campaign transaction by campaign advisor Milo Yiannopoulos. The treasurer’s resignation letter cited an expense for a digital asset where Yiannopoulos allegedly sought reimbursement from both the Kanye 2020 campaign and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s campaign. Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show the Kanye 2020 campaign reported paying Yiannopoulos $40,000 in December 2022 for “campaign wrap up services” as well as nearly $10,000 a month prior for a “domain transfer.” According to FEC filings, there have been no direct payments from Greene to Yiannopoulos from the relevant time. Ye, who previously ran for president in 2020, has not formally filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC for another election. (Jessica Piper, POLITICO)
California: The Long Beach Ethics Commission continues to discuss recommendations that would tighten the city’s lobbying laws, considering a proposal that would eliminate rules that exempted nonprofits from the city’s 2010 lobbying ordinance. Nonprofits continue to argue they should remain exempt from registering as lobbyists to avoid a chilling effect on their advocacy. However, the proposal under consideration includes “advocacy” as a form of lobbying, and the commission’s report indicated some nonprofits would have to register their contacts with city officials. (Jason Ruiz, Long Beach Post)
Government Ethics & Transparency
U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) pleaded not guilty to charges that he misled donors, stole from his campaign, lied to Congress about being a millionaire and collected unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. Santos, who could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, said he would not drop his reelection bid and defied calls to resign from Congress. (Jake Offenhartz & Michael R. Sisak, AP NEWS)
Legislation & Ballot Measures
Missouri: The Missouri House passed legislation by a vote of 107-55 that would make it harder for Missouri voters to approve amendments to the state constitution. The amendment would increase the votes required for a constitutional amendment to pass on the ballot from more than 50% to at least 57%. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. If passed, it would have to be approved by voters in the November 2024 election. (Kacen Bayless, Kansas City Star)