Compliance Notes - Vol. 5, Issue 25

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

Following Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ contribution of $1 million each in Bitcoin to a Donald Trump joint fundraising committee, the Trump 47 Committee, the committee refunded the portion that exceeded the maximum individual contribution limit of $844,600 that the joint committee could legally accept under federal law. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, founders of cryptocurrency company Gemini, each announced bitcoin donations of $1 million in posts on the social media site X (formerly Twitter) in late June, 2024. It is unclear whether the Trump 47 Committee, which received the Bitcoin donation, refunded the amount in cryptocurrency or its cash equivalent. (Stephanie Lai & Bill Allison, Bloomberg)

North Carolina: Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina’s House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a public masking bill that included an unrelated campaign finance provision. The bill would change state campaign finance laws to create loopholes around North Carolina’s ban on making unlimited or anonymous financial contributions to political candidates. In his veto statement, Cooper said the legislation “created a gaping loophole for secret, unlimited campaign money” that could cause problems during an election year. If the override votes pass the Senate, which they are expected to do since Republicans control a veto-proof supermajority of 60% of the seats, the bill will become law. (Will Doran, WRAL)

Government Ethics & Transparency

The Supreme Court overturned the bribery conviction of a former Indiana mayor, the latest in a series of decisions narrowing the scope of federal public corruption law. The high court sided with James Snyder, a Republican who was convicted of taking $13,000 from a trucking company after prosecutors said he steered about $1 million worth of city contracts to the company. The high court’s 6-3 opinion along ideological lines found that the law criminalizes bribes given before an official act, not rewards handed out afterward. “Some gratuities can be problematic. Others are commonplace and might be innocuous,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote. “The lines are not always clear, especially since many state and local officials have other jobs,” he said. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, writing in dissent joined by her liberal colleagues, said the distinction between bribes and gratuities ignores the wording of the law aimed at rooting out public corruption. (Lindsay Whitehurst, AP News)

Louisiana: Gov. Jeff Landry vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal to deceive voters with false impersonations or depictions of a political candidate through audio or video manipulation techniques called “deepfakes.” House Bill 154, sponsored by Rep. Mandie Landry (D-New Orleans) was one among 31 bills the governor vetoed from the 2024 regular session. In his letter explaining the reasons for his veto, the governor said he believes the legislation could have infringed on the free speech rights of artificial intelligence companies. Gov. Landry also vetoed a bill that would have required anyone making a deepfake video to label it as such with a watermark or similar flag or graphic. (Wesley Muller, Louisiana Illuminator)

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