Compliance Notes – Vol. 3, Number 2

RECENT UPDATES ON LOBBYING, ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCING

We read the news, cut the noise, and deliver the ratings to you.

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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Campaign finance

Various candidates for state and federal office are offering non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) as part of their fundraising campaign, including promising donor exclusivity. For example, a Senate candidate in Arizona launched an NFT, offering 99 tokens worth $5,800 each; a House candidate in California is offering 2,022 tokens and a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota has offered two bundles of 25,000 tokens worth $5 each. Additionally, a group of Democratic fundraisers have teamed up to launch politically themed NFTs to raise money for Texas Democrats. Federal regulatory agencies are grappling with the dangers posed by NFTs, including money laundering, tax evasion, and other crimes made possible by offering anonymous cryptocurrencies. To avoid breaking campaign finance rules or getting trapped in money laundering schemes, candidates proposing NFTs spell out campaign finance limits limiting donations to $2,900 from U.S. citizens and use platforms that carry out anti-money laundering checks. (Gopal Ratnam, Call)

pay to play

Delaware: The Delaware County Board has approved an ordinance requiring contractors wishing to do business with the Delaware County government to disclose political contributions made to county officials. The order takes effect in April and applies to any contractor expecting to receive $50,000 or more from a county contract for goods, materials, professional services, or property supplied or leased to the county, among other things. . Failure to disclose contributions could result in termination of the contract and a ban on doing business with the county for three years. (Kathleen E. Carey, The Delaware County Daily)

Ethics and Transparency in Government

New Mexico: State Ethics Commission Calls for Stricter Disclosure Laws for New Mexico Citizen Lawmakers Because Proposed Changes to State Law Would Require More Disclosure of Relationships business and personal sources of income. In addition, the Commission recommends additional transparency requirements for lobbyists, including disclosing the bills they are working on and the provisions they oppose or support. The recommended proposals, taken together, are designed to further illuminate potential conflicts for lawmakers and the role of lobbyists in shaping legislation. (Dan McKay, Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal)

New York: Governor Kathy Hochul has called on the New York Legislature to replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“JCOPE”) with a new ethics enforcement agency to prioritize transparency. Governor Hochul proposes to replace the current selection process for JCOPE board members, where legislative leaders and the governor call for prospective members, with a rotating panel of five members of law school deans selected from fifteen law schools accredited by the State of New York. In addition, Governor Hochul’s proposal seeks to end the special voting system that allows a minority of members to kill an investigation and seeks to require the new ethics agency’s board of directors to take action. majority decisions. Finally, the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act would apply to the new ethics agency, giving the public greater access to meetings. (Tom Precious, The Buffalo News)

Voting measures

South Dakota: Constitutional Amendment D, an initiative amendment to expand Medicaid, qualified to appear on the South Dakota ballot in November. The measure would change the constitution to require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to adults ages 18 to 65 whose income is 133% below the federal poverty level. Additionally, due to the 5% income violation of the Affordable Care Act, if successful, this measure would effectively extend Medicaid to all adults with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty level. federal. (Jackie Mitchell, The central square)

Washington: For the third consecutive year, the Legislative Assembly of Washington meets without any ballot initiative to consider. The last successful signature campaign for an initiative in the legislature was in 2018. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a chilling effect on Washington’s generally robust culture of direct democracy, common issues like a lack of funders deep condemned some initiatives in 2021. Meanwhile, 2018 was the last time a campaign to put an initiative directly on the ballot qualified. (Paul Quary, Washington State Wire)

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