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
A federal circuit court overturned a trial judge’s decision to throw out a jury’s guilty verdict against Bijan Rafiekian, an associate of Michael Flynn, for failing to file as a foreign agent on behalf of the Turkish government. (Josh Gerstein, Politico)
Arkansas: A proposed bill in the state legislature would allow campaign funds to be used to pay childcare expenses, which would codify the Ethics Commission’s advice on the issue (also see Hawaii below). (Arkansas State Legislature Website)
California: Governor Gavin Newsom will now prohibit any of his political or campaign consultants – regardless of whether or not they are paid – from directly lobbying his administration. (Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle)
Connecticut: Former 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate, Steve Obsitnik, agreed to settle allegations that he illegally coordinated with FixCT, an outside Super PAC supporting his candidacy. (Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror)
Hawaii: A bill that allows candidates to use campaign funds for childcare expenses has moved forward in the legislature. As currently drafted, campaign funds could be used for childcare beginning January 1 of the year of an election through the day after the election. (Sophie Cocke, Star Advertiser)
Maryland: A federal grand jury is allegedly investigating Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, and her husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, for campaign finance violations. (Bruce C.T. Wright, NewsOne)
Massachusetts: A superior court judge has sealed a hearing over whether Michael Sullivan, the head of the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance, overreached in an investigation of state Senator Ryan Fattman. (Todd Wallak, WBUR)
Nevada: The governor signed a bill that eliminates the requirement that a lobbyist appear in person at the Capitol or other government building in order to be considered a lobbyist subject to registration requirements. Now, lobbyists who virtually participate in a legislative session or have other virtual interactions are required to register. (Ben Margiott, My News 4)
Government Ethics & Transparency
Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Second Congressional District, Rita Hart, is asking the U.S. House of Representatives’ House Administration Committee to review and potentially overturn the results of a race that was decided by six votes. (Susan Davis, NPR)
South Dakota: The governor signed a bill that would bar any public agency from requiring a tax-exempt nonprofit from providing certain donor information to that agency or from the agency disclosing information already in its possession. (Ballotpedia News)
Texas: The Austin City Ethics Review Commission censured Voices of Austin, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization, for spending more than $500 on communications that opposed Proposition A in 2020 without registering as a political committee or disclosing its donors. Although complainants had sought to have the Commission force the organization to reveal its donors, the only remedy within its power is a reprimand. (Jonathan Lee, Austin Monitor)
Virginia: The governor signed an executive order that would restore voting rights to 69,000 former felons. The General Assembly has the opportunity to make that change permanent by putting a constitutional amendment in front of voters via a referendum in 2022. (Ivana Saric, Axios)