Compliance Notes - Vol. 5, Issue 4
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
Rumble, the video-sharing platform and cloud services provider (NASDAQ: RUM), announced on January 18, 2024 that it would allow channels affiliated with a candidate running for U.S. federal office to receive “tips”—constituting federal campaign contributions—through Rumble during live events. Tipping is a feature that allows fans to donate to creators during live streams. This feature will be available to all channels affiliated with a candidate for federal office, regardless of political party or status within the government. To facilitate campaigns’ disclosures under federal law, Rumble users must provide their name, mailing address, occupation and employer name. They also will need to certify that the information accompanying the “tip” is true and accurate, that they are a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent residents and that they are not a federal government contractor. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)
Virginia: Under a bill advanced by a House subcommittee on a bipartisan basis, Virginia elected officials would be prohibited from spending their campaign funds on personal expenses such as mortgages, vacations or gym memberships. Currently, lawmakers are only barred from converting campaign funds to personal use once they close out their accounts. A previous Associated Press review of the state’s campaign finance system found some lawmakers frequently using campaign accounts to pay for expensive meals, hotels and personal expenses. The bill that advanced from a House subcommittee Wednesday on an 8-0 vote says candidates cannot convert campaign contributions “to personal use,” which is defined as spending on a “commitment, obligation or expense” that would “exist irrespective of the person’s seeking, holding or maintaining public office.” The measure now goes to the House Appropriations Committee. It would have to clear that committee and both full chambers before going to Gov. Glenn Youngkin. (Sarah Rankin, AP News)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Florida: Members of the Miami-Dade County School Board voted the week of January 14, 2024, to audit their own use of district-issued credit cards in the wake of the stunning arrest of a former school board member who prosecutors say spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on personal expenses. Board members unanimously voted to approve the proposal, just days after former Miami-Dade School Board Member Lubby Navarro was arrested and charged with multiple counts of fraud and grand theft for allegedly using her school district credit cards to run up more than $100,000 in unauthorized purchases. Miami-Dade prosecutors allege that she went undetected by “doctoring” receipts, whiting-out her name and explaining away the purchases to district accounting staff. An attorney for Navarro has maintained that she is “innocent of wrongdoing.” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Jose Dotres and the district’s Chief Auditor Jon Goodman were at pains at the meeting to defend the district’s audit processes — saying MDCPS audits align with national standards and that the district remains committed to vigorous financial oversight. (Kate Payne, WLRN 91.3 FM)
Legislation & Elections
Alaska: The Alaska House Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to advance a bill that would repeal ranked choice voting and open primaries. Homer Republican Rep. Sarah Vance first proposed the bill last year to undo changes to Alaska’s voting laws, which were instituted through a 2020 ballot measure narrowly approved by Alaska voters. Opponents of the changes adopted through the 2020 ballot measure say the new voting laws disadvantage conservative Republicans. Proponents of the new system say it leads to electing politicians who appeal to a broader swath of voters and are more willing to work across party lines. The original bill brought by Vance would have repealed ranked choice voting and open primaries. Vance proposed an amendment Wednesday, January 17, 2024 — adopted in a 5-2 vote along party lines — to repeal the campaign reporting requirements. (Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News)