General News

temp-post-image

Key Takeaways

  • A political contribution can be more than cash or a check.

  • Individuals have limited ability to contribute to federal candidates.

  • Corporations are prohibited from giving to a federal candidate.

  • Corporations can contribute unlimited amounts to independent expenditures.

  • Volunteerism is regulated based on whether or not it is paid, and by whom.


Introduction

Corporations and employees have a right to engage in the political process. At a minimum, companies should maintain written policies or guidelines regarding political activities. Failure to comply with the rules, even if inadvertently, could result in legal or reputational risk. (For the purposes of this informational article, “corporation” refers to an organization structured as a S- or C-Corp. These guidelines do not include companies such as limited liability companies (LLCs) or limited liability partnerships (LLPs), which may have separate guidelines for political contributions.)

As the United States moves ever closer to the Presidential election in 2016, it is best practice to review and unde...

Read more

temp-post-image

  • Political activities compliance is a separate entity from the larger sphere of corporate compliance as a whole.

  • Individuals may make some glaring mistakes when filing disclosure reports.

  • Retaining or hiring a political activities compliance professional is crucial in an industry where laws vary so widely from municipal to state to federal levels.

  • Laws are in place to prevent individuals or companies from contribution funds in order to secure votes or contracts with government entities (“pay-to-play”).

  • Violating any of the political activities compliance rules and regulations may be punishable by up to $250,000 in fines or years in prison.

There is not much glam or glitz when it comes to political activities compliance work. Some company compliance functions may not be necessarily focused on political activities, but if government officials are engaged on policy matters, there may be requirements to be mindful of. So, what exactly is political activities compliance? Generally, the category covers political contributions, meals, and entertainment given to government officials as well as legislative and procurement lobbying. Numerous federal and state regulations govern these activities, which anyone could inadvertently violate. A list of typical political activities compliance violations is below. Whether inadvertent or not, non-compliance is breaking the law. These offen...

Read more

temp-post-image Attempts to influence government contracting and purchasing decisions may constitute procurement lobbying.

We would like to highlight current legislation in California State that we believe could be important to your lobbying efforts. CA AB 1200 is seeking to amend the current California State Political Reform Act of 1974 by adding procurement lobbying to the registration and reporting requirements. The current legislation defines legislative lobbying with no specific mention of procurement. (As a reminder, procurement lobbying is defined as attempts to influence government contracting and/or purchasing.)

The general outline of proposed additions includes procurement lobbyists working on a contract, “for which the total estimated ...

Read more

temp-post-image “In the past, it has often taken months after lobbyist disclosure documents were completed and filed before they were posted on the Department’s website. Timely internet publication of all lobbying documents is an important part of improving transparency in state government.”

The Pennsylvania Senate recently approved SB 695, which increases access to political activity reports via the Commonwealth’s Lobbying Disclosure site. The proposed legislation will require registered lobbyists and employers to file electronically with the Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS), and require the DOS to make all lobbying filings available online within one week of receipt.

The Act would amend the current state law, Title 65 by...

Read more

late; time; tardy; fair; polite; professional

“I am the first to admit that I have sometimes made the mistake of not having the appropriate courtesy to forewarn of a potential tardiness, but I have learned over the years to do my very best, particularly when I am not in control of the current appointment in progress.”

It is probably safe to say that we live in a busy society — always on the go. Our professional and personal lives seem to be busier than ever, or at least that is the perception often we read or hear about.

Many probably have days that sometimes seem like everything is a total blur from sitting down at the desk in the morning until the moment you get up and leave the office to go home.

Business meetings can run long, and many of the delays are out of...

Read more

As I near my 45th birthday this November, I find myself looking back upon the nearly 30 years I’ve been in the workforce. I started working at the tender age of 15 because my family did not come from money. As a single mother, my mom did her very best to ensure there was food on the table and a roof over our heads, and that I graduated high school.

temp-post-image

Read more

temp-post-image

“I began working with Patrick when I started my role with Elmendorf Ryan in February, 2013. I was extremely unfamiliar with the reporting process and had never worked with Lobbying Disclosure reports before. Patrick has been incredibly helpful – he was able to teach me about the rules and regulations of both contributions and disclosure, and is always available to help with any questions I have for him (even on the weekends!).” Elizabeth Kearney, Manager, Elmendorf Ryan Strategies
Read more

temp-post-image

There is not much glam or glitz in political activities compliance work. What exactly is it, anyway? We track campaign finance & gift law legislation, and file lobbying disclosure reports. There is a long list of rules and regulations surrounding the lobbying process, thus there are many ways anyone involved in trying to influence legislative policy can inadvertently break the law.

Read more

During the last two weeks of August we conducted an informal poll asking voters to indicate whether there is a difference between ethics and compliance. The results are in.

Stay tuned….we have something to say…

temp-post-image

Read more

temp-post-image

As I cringed reading a story today about a CEO caught on an elevator surveillance camera harming a dog, I became outraged and wanted to join the social media uproar calling for the CEO’s dismissal. Then I paused for a moment to place myself in the position of the company’s management team and Board of Directors. Any professional organization that takes its responsibilities seriously will conduct an appropriate investigation and gather the facts. The Board of Directors, to whom a CEO ultimately reports, will conduct the appropriate due diligence, but must also weigh the legal consequences if existing company policy or the CEO’s contract does not provide for appropriate recourse. What next?

We know that ethics is general...

Read more