Compliance Notes - Vol. 4, Issue 24
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
Oregon: The Democratic Party of Oregon said it will send a $500,000 donation from a former FTX executive to the U.S. Marshals Service to conform with an April 13 request from the U.S. Department of Justice. Last fall, the party received the donation from Nishad Singh, who in February pleaded guilty to federal criminal fraud charges, including one count of conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws. Although the party said Singh had lied about who the donor was, Oregon elections officials fined the party $15,000 for wrongly reporting the source of the campaign donation. (Andrew Selsky, AP News)
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives approved legislation that would require candidates for a state office to file their campaign finance reports electronically instead of on paper. Sponsors argued that moving to an entirely electronic model would reduce costs, inefficiencies and errors associated with paper filings. Additionally, the measure would remove the requirement of filing with the county board of elections and would allow for remaining campaign funds to be donated to nonprofits. The measure also would increase the late filing fees for missing deadlines to $20 per day for the first six days late and $100 per day for day seven and each day after, with a maximum penalty of $500. (AP News)
Rhode Island: Legislation introduced in the Rhode Island House of Representatives would double the amount of money an individual donor could give to a political candidate each year and double the contribution amount that a candidate could receive without reporting the donor’s name. The bill would raise the $1,000 annual individual contribution limit to $2,000 and would increase the donor disclosure threshold to $200 in the aggregate. The bill would also allow primary candidates for statewide office to qualify for public matching funds, limit candidates’ ability to list services they have received as “accounts payable” without reporting them as expenditures or contributions and define “fair market value” for campaign items. (Patrick Anderson, The Providence Journal)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Nevada: The Nevada Commission on Ethics alleges Gov. Joe Lombardo committed multiple ethics violations by using his sheriff’s badge and uniform during his campaign for governor. In a 456-page motion before the commission, the Executive Director argued Lombardo used governmental time, property or equipment to benefit his personal or pecuniary interests and asked the commission to order Lombardo to pay a civil penalty of about $1.67 million. The commission will hold a public meeting to consider motions in the case. (Jessica Hill, Pahrump Valley Times)
Elections & Voting
New York: New York voters could cast ballots early through the mail under a proposal heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk for approval. Currently, New York voters must provide a reason for why they need an absentee ballot to vote, such as being out of the county or having an illness or disability. Legislation passed by the State Assembly would expand early voting options to include no-excuse vote-by-mail options and an early vote-by-mail choice for all New Yorkers. The measure would take effect starting in 2024 if signed into law. (Síle Moloney, Norwood News)