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Political Law Blog

Welcome to the Holland & Knight Political Law Blog, featuring news and analysis related to federal and state campaign finance, ethics and lobbying disclosure laws, as well as Congressional gift and travel rules. We provide a regular review of happenings at the Federal Election Commission and analysis of a variety of federal and state topics of interest to our readers.

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As control of the U.S. House of Representatives shifts to Democrats during the next Congress and we enter the presidential election cycle, now is a good time for entities that regularly interact with the federal government to assess their government affairs activities – both internal and external – to ensure effectiveness and compliance with federal, state, and local campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics laws.
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The New Hampshire Department of Justice has recently issued critical guidance for any campaign, corporation or individual that engages in political activity in the state. As in many states, New Hampshire's Campaign Finance System bifurcates responsibility between the State's Secretary of State, who is responsible for implementing the state's disclosure system, and the state's Department of Justice, which enforces the underlying campaign finance statutes.
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June 12, 2018
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Recent news about questionable conduct, both pre- and post-election, has resulted in an increased focus on the internal process for Congressional oversight and discipline.
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November 27, 2017
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Last night was an almost unprecedented night for Democrats in Virginia, and a shock to Republicans in the state and nationally. While results remain preliminary, it appears clear that Democrats made a clean sweep of the statewide offices, and, somewhat shockingly, may actually have tied, or taken outright control, of the Virginia House of Delegates.
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November 8, 2017
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With year-end Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings now submitted and the 2018 election season already underway, federal Political Action Committee (PAC) managers now have the opportunity to reassess efforts to ensuring continuing compliance with federal campaign finance laws.
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February 1, 2017
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On November 8, 2016, more than two-thirds of the citizens of Missouri approved passage of the Missouri Campaign Contribution Reform Initiative, also known as Constitutional Amendment 2, which adopts new campaign finance limits for the state. Missouri's previous contributions limits, which were imposed via proposition in 1994, were repealed by the legislature in 2008.
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November 28, 2016
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On October 17, 2016, the Trump Campaign proposed several ethics, lobbying and campaign finance reforms.
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October 19, 2016
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Foreign involvement in U.S. politics and policies has been in the news recently and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been considering tightening FECA's restrictions on foreign national participation in U.S. elections.
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On September 29, 2016, the FEC considered expanding restrictions on foreign national involvement in U.S. elections. This was the second time in one month that the Commission deliberated on this topic. Democrats on the Commission have put forth two proposals.

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October 3, 2016
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As the 2016 election nears, some employers are losing productivity, attention to customer service and worker focus as personnel discuss or advocate their political opinions. However, private employers often can reassert control by recognizing that two commonly held beliefs about "politics in the workplace" are, in fact, misconceptions. Employers who institute carefully crafted and uniformly enforced policies that limit political activities can lower the risk of employee claims while increasing worker productivity.
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On March 31, 2015, a federal court ruled that the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance can no longer enforce the state constitution’s prohibition on corporate contributions.
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April 11, 2016
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With 2015 being a non-federal election year, in which most PACs choose to change their filing frequency to either semi-annual or quarterly, it is important to keep an eye on how special elections that crop up could trigger special filing dates.
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May 5, 2015
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The Federal Election Commission announced that pursuant to the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), as amended, it was adjusting contribution and expenditure thresholds and the lobbyist bundling threshold for federal elections. This biannual process, which occurs in odd-numbered years, is intended to ensure that the contribution limits originally adopted in the Act rise with inflation.
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February 3, 2015
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Recently passed spending legislation dramatically increased the amount that individual donors may give to the National Party Committee accounts used to fund party conventions, construction and legal challenges.
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Earlier this year, while Washington was fixated on former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Lois Lerner and her missing emails, her former employer quietly denied the application for exemption of an organization seeking exemption under Section 501(c)(4) for engaging in too much political activity.
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Last week, the Federal Election Commission did not meet, but released two Advisory Opinion Requests (AORs) and the results of several enforcement actions. Earlier in the month, the Commission’s Office of Inspector General released its semi-annual report on the status of its recommendations to improve the Commission’s operations.
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July 21, 2014
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The week of May 19, the Federal Election Commission met in executive session on May 20, but did not meet in public session or otherwise act on pending administrative matters.
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May 27, 2014
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After nearly three months of consideration, the Federal Election Commission issued an Advisory Opinion in response to Make Your Laws (MYL) PAC's request that it approve a framework within which political committees may accept contributions made in Bitcoins. Still, questions remain over whether Bitcoins should be treated as in-kind or cash contributions and the Commission deadlocked on whether PACs may acquire goods and services with Bitcoins received as contributions.
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May 20, 2014
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Last week the Federal Election Commission met in executive session and held an open audit hearing on the Democratic Party of Illinois as well as an open meeting where it discussed various draft advisory opinions related to Make Your Laws PAC’s request that it approve a framework within which political committees may accept contributions made in bitcoins.
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April 29, 2014
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Last week the Federal Election Commission did not meet, but held a tally vote to approve Advisory Opinion 2014-03 regarding the use of campaign funds to pay for public communications in support of both a federal candidate and state candidates. The Commission also released two draft Advisory Opinions in response to Make Your Laws PAC’s request that it approve a framework within which political committees may accept contributions made in Bitcoins.
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April 21, 2014
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