RECENT UPDATES ON LOBBYING, ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCING
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welcome to Compliance Ratings from Nossaman Government Relations and Regulatory Group – a periodic summary of headlines, legislative and regulatory changes, and court cases regarding campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law, and government ethics issues at the federal, state, and local levels.
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The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the group charged with electing GOP candidates to state legislatures and other state offices, is launching a new digital fundraising program, the State Republican Victory Fund, in partnership with state GOP groups. The fund will distribute the money it raises online among state groups to help build their online programs in the state and offset initial prospecting costs for individual donors. The fund will also share its donor roster with state Republican Party organizations, legislative campaign committees and affiliated outside groups in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. (Elena Schneider, POLITICS)
Tennessee: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed into law a new campaign finance and ethics bill, despite objections from some of the state’s most influential advocacy groups who opposed the measure. These advocacy groups argue that the new law will require them to disclose their donors. On the other hand, supporters of the law say it will shine a light on expenses, not donors, because some politically active nonprofits must disclose expenses totaling at least $5,000 for communications containing the name. or image of a candidate within 60 days of an election. In addition, the leadership of the political committee must provide identification. (Kimberlee Kruesi, PA News)
Ethics and Transparency in Government
Missouri: Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the appointment of two new members to the Missouri Ethics Commission. The nominations of former State Representative Kathie Conway of Wentzville and William Villapiano of Houston, Missouri provide enough members for the Commission, which has not had a quorum for more than two months, to meet and give following complaints. Both members’ appointments are interim, meaning they can begin serving immediately and do not have to go through the confirmation process until the legislature resumes in January 2023. (Kacen Bayless,The Kansas City Star)
Legislation and elections
A federal district court has dismissed Texas officials’ attempt to launch the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit, saying Texas election law, SB 1, will disenfranchise voters who don’t speak English, are elderly or disabled or live abroad. The court found that the allegations represented valid claims under the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and that the federal government had a “substantial interest” in protecting Americans’ constitutional right to vote. The court upheld the power of the federal government to sue Texas and the state’s top election official, Secretary of State John Scott, because the lawsuit “aims to assert the right to vote of its citizens.” (Stephen Paulson, Courthouse News Service) (Court opinion)
Senators Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led nine of their colleagues to introduce the Keeping Our Democracy Act, an effort to provide more federal resources to administer local and state elections. . The proposal would provide $20 billion in federal funds to help states fund election necessities over the next 10 years, including training poll workers and upgrading voting equipment and registration systems. To receive funds, the proposal requires states and local governments to submit plans outlining how they would use the money. Additionally, Senator King said the proposal made it clear that it would prevent states from using the funds in a way that would make it harder for eligible voters to vote. (PA News)