Campaign Finance Reform

News & Analysis as of

Post-Election Outlook: A New, Unpredictable World

In a shock to investors and political analysts around the world, Donald J. Trump won the 2016 Presidential election, putting the Republican Party in charge of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. Even...more

$18 Million Fine Levied for Campaign Finance Violation in Washington State

On November 3, 2016, a Thurston County Superior Court judge levied an $18 million penalty against a trade association for violations of Washington campaign finance laws. This is believed to be the largest campaign finance...more

Alabama Ethics Commission Update

The Alabama Ethics Commission (the “Commission”) held a regularly scheduled meeting on October 5, 2016. At the meeting, the Commission formally extended the comment period for two significant advisory opinions affecting...more

Local Campaign Finance Reform: What Local Agencies Can – and Cannot – Do (Part 2)

Last week, PublicCEO ran Part 1 of this article that explored the relationship between free speech and campaign finance laws, Super PACs and their influence on campaign finance, and how the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens...more

Local Campaign Finance Reform: Can Local Agencies Wean the Baby From “Mother’s Milk?” (Part 1)

It is an issue that has been with us since the earliest days of politics: The wealthy tend to have disproportionate influence over our political leaders in contrast to the poor and middle class. In the immortal words of the...more

"Watchdog Group Promises to Inspect Convention Events for Compliance"

According to news reports, the watchdog group Public Citizen will reprise its “bird-dogging” campaign to shed light on whether events held during the 2016 presidential nominating conventions violate applicable laws. As it has...more

New York State Issues Guidance on Prohibited Coordination with Super PACs

After Citizens United and its progeny paved the way for independent expenditure activity and unlimited contributions to Independent Expenditure Only committees (better known as Super PACs), one key question in...more

10 Items of Note From the 2016 South Carolina Legislative Session

The South Carolina General Assembly completed its 2016 regular session on June 2. The following are highlights from that session. 1. Highway Funding and SCDOT Restructuring - Legislation (S.1258) addressing road...more

Campaign IP Violations Part 3 – Huckabee’s Campaign Pays Up

In December, we told you about Mike Huckabee’s campaign getting sued for copyright infringement for using “Eye of the Tiger” without permission at a rally supporting Kim Davis, the Tennessee clerk that refused to issue...more

New York 2016 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The New York state legislature closed out its 2016 legislative session in the early morning hours on Saturday. Although the legislature came up short on a number of big-ticket items, such as comprehensive legislative ethics...more

New York State Announces Broad Set of Ethics and Campaign-Finance Reforms

Late last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and State legislative leaders announced agreement on a broad set of ethics and campaign-finance reforms focused on increased disclosure, transparency, and public trust....more

New Jersey’s 2016 Primary: Potential Pitfalls of Per Election & Pay-to-Play Limits

New Jersey held its 2016 primary election on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. While most of the focus has been on the presidential primary, individuals and entities that contribute in connection with New Jersey state and local...more

Super PACs in Spotlight Once Again During Presidential Primary Season

As in the 2014 mid-term election season, Super PACs once again are attracting a great deal of attention in this Presidential Primary season. Although criticized by many, they are a legal, and many believe effective, way to...more

Miller Canfield Secures Court Order Stopping Enforcement of Law Barring Objectively Neutral Speech by Public Officials

On February 5, 2016, United States District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara issued an Opinion and Order granting a preliminary injunction and blocking enforcement of §57(3) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which barred...more

Rule changes affecting the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act

At the December 15, 2015 meeting, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (Commission) approved several changes to Commission rules interpreting the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign...more

Decision 2016: Is Your Company Ready?

The 2016 election season is fast approaching. As companies begin to plan their political participation for the coming year, government affairs staff and compliance counsel should closely consider whether there are any...more

Minnesota Lobbyist Disbursement Reports — Due January 15, 2016

In accordance with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Act, each lobbyist who registers with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board must periodically disclose the total amount of money...more

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies

This comprehensive round-up includes new legislation that will impact cities, counties, special districts and schools. There were many bills passed by California lawmakers this year that will impact municipalities and...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Legislative Council Meets in Advance of 2016 Second Regular Session - Maine’s Legislative...more

Media and political campaigns: From the era of free air time to that of free online advertising

The increasing influence of mass media in political campaigns has been an issue of concern for campaign finance regulators worldwide during the past decades. The role of media often goes beyond merely informing the citizens...more

Update on Texas Campaign Regulations

So-called dark money groups have sprung up since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United. These groups are generally nonprofit corporations that raise and spend funds on campaign ads, but do so as a...more

Recent Settlements Signal Increased Political Law Enforcement by Government Officials

The U.S. government reached settlements with two federal lobbyist registrants recently in what appears to signal increased enforcement of political activity laws. On August 28, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the...more

DOJ’s first prosecution for campaign finance coordination — a sign of things to come?

With the 2016 presidential campaign in full swing, pundits, reformers and the media are once again shining a light on the role of independent-expenditure-only committees, aka “super PACs,” in the American political process....more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. July State Revenue Over Projection - Due to higher than anticipated revenues generated by...more

Blog: Senate Dems Ask SEC Chair To Act On Petition For Political Spending Disclosure

With election season upon us — after all, the election is only, well, a year and two months away – it’s time to renew the controversy over political spending disclosure. As you may recall, in 2011, a rulemaking petition was...more

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