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 complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleges that the Georgia Republican Party received an illegal, in-kind contribution from True the Vote, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in the form of poll-watching and other grassroots operations. (Grace Panetta, Insider)
FEC records show that the Trump presidential campaign refunded $122 million in contributions at the end of 2020, six times the amount of the Biden campaign. Those refunds are reportedly linked to the Trump campaign’s practice of requiring online contributions to recur by default starting in September. (Shane Goldmacher, The New York Times)
Missouri: A federal judge sentenced former Missouri State Representative Courtney Curtis to 21 months in prison for mail and wire fraud stemming from his use of nearly $50,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including payment of rent and utilities, as well as cash withdrawals. (Robert Patrcik, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
New York: A complaint to the New York State Board of Elections alleges that Governor Andrew Cuomo violated campaign laws by using election funds to promote the sale of his book, on which he profited. (Bernadette Hogan & Bruce Golding, New York Post)
The Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives upheld a $5,000 fine instituted against Representative Louie Gohmert for avoiding a metal detector screening after leaving and then returning to the House floor on February 4th. (Cristina Marcos, The Hill)
Florida: The former mayor of Boca Raton pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to voting on matters where she had a conflict of interest. The plea deal enabled her to avoid a prison sentence as more serious charges, including those related to concealing income and corruption, were dropped. (Marc Freemen & Austen Erblat, Sun Sentinel)
Hawaii: The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted five Honolulu planning department employees on bribery charges stemming from a pay-to-play scheme where some developers are alleged to have paid more than $100,000 to obtain permits. (Christina Jedra, Honolulu Civil Beat)
Illinois: Federal investigators are looking at political contributions tied to cannabis company Green Thumb and whether they may potentially be part of an alleged bribery scheme. (Jay Meisner & Ray Long, Chicago Tribune via MSN)