Compliance Notes - Vol. 5, Issue 19

Nossaman eAlert

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 Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued an advisory opinion the week of April 28, 2024, allowing candidates to raise unlimited money for issue-advocacy groups working on ballot measures in elections in which those candidates are on the ballot. The opinion, issued in response to a request from a Nevada-based abortion rights group, could significantly alter the landscape in the fall election cycle of 2024 in terms of the capacity that candidates aligned with these groups have to help them raise money. The decision applies to all federal candidates, but with the 2024 presidential election in six months, significant attention will fall on that race. The advisory opinion means that President Biden and former President Trump can raise money for outside groups pushing ballot measures. (Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Election Law Blog & FEC Record: Advisory Opinions)

Government Ethics & Transparency

Kentucky: Former Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has been cleared of ethics charges against her related to her access and sharing of voter data. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Monday against charges brought against Grimes by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission (commission). The commission previously fined Grimes $10,000 and reprimanded her for ordering the downloading and distribution of voter registration data from her public office while she was secretary of state. Shepherd’s ruling reversed the charges, meaning Grimes will not have to pay the fine. (Austin Horn, Lexington Herald-Leader) (subscription required)

North Dakota: A jury convicted a North Dakota lawmaker of a misdemeanor in connection with a state-leased building to which he has ownership ties. Rep. Jason Dockter (R-Bismarck) was charged in December 2023 with speculating or wagering on official action. The criminal complaint alleged as a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives, Dockter voted “on legislative bills appropriating money to pay for property he had acquired a pecuniary interest in,” against the law and legislative rules. The charge has a maximum penalty of 360 days in jail or a $3,000 fine. Dockter declined to comment on the verdict but said he would consider an appeal. (Jack Dura, AP News)

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