RECENT LOBBYING, ETHICS & CAMPAIGN FINANCE UPDATES

We read the news, cut through the noise and provide you the notes.

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

The Senate Rules and Administration panel approved Dara Lindenbaum’s nomination to the Federal Election Commission, sending her nomination to the Senate floor. Lindenbaum would fill the seat of Commissioner Steven Walther. (Kate Ackley, Roll Call)

Ohio: On May 26, a limited ban on developer campaign donations to Cincinnati City Council members and the mayor will take effect. Last year, the previous council passed the “solicitation ban,” and interim City Manager John Curp recently approved regulations for the ban. The solicitation ban prohibits sitting council members and the mayor from accepting or soliciting campaign donations from a person with active business at the council, starting the day the ordinance is filed with the council clerk. (Becca Costello, 91.7 WVXU)

Texas: City auditors in Austin reported to the City Council’s Audit & Finance Committee that there is a significant gap in lobbyist reporting requirements, particularly for virtual meetings. Even though city auditors concluded that Austin’s registered lobbyists largely comply with city regulations, such as the reporting requirement for in-person meetings, the auditors reported that there is no requirement to disclose virtual meetings. Even though Austin’s code does not require the lobbyist or person being lobbied to keep a record of the virtual meeting, the auditors concluded that the city also does not have an overall strategy for tracking virtual meetings with lobbyists. (Jo Clifton, Austin Monitor)

Elections

Florida: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a district court decision that struck down various provisions in Florida’s 2021 election law, allowing them to go into effect while a lawsuit moves through the courts. In March, District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker ruled that the legislature intentionally discriminated against Black voters in drafting the 2021 election law and ordered the state to obtain the district court’s approval before making any future changes to the election law. However, the 11th Circuit ruled that the district court’s injunction applies to an election that is too imminent to make such changes; therefore, the state has a compelling interest in preserving the integrity of its election process. As a result, the 11th Circuit’s ruling reinstates the sections of the 2021 election law that restricted drop boxes, created new requirements for voter applications, banned interactions with voters in line and removed Florida from federal preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. (Sam Sachs, WFLA News Channel 8)

Georgia: Despite claims by a group of voters that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene engaged in insurrection, Georgia Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot issued a decision finding the group of voters failed to produce sufficient evidence to support the allegations. On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accepted the judge’s findings and said Rep. Greene is qualified to run for reelection. (Kate Brumback, AP News)