This July 2016 edition of the Guide to Political and Lobbying Activities includes updates to the section on compliance with federal, state and local pay-to-play laws applicable to government contractors as well as investment advisers, placement agents, swap dealers (including securities swap dealers) and - new this year - municipal securities advisors. See new Section I-D.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has still not issued regulations to implement the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, so in the absence of updated guidance, practitioners are left to crossout sections of FEC regulations inapplicable to the current legal landscape. While Super PACs are becoming more popular, the rules in their operation, e.g., the degree of independence required, are still being developed.
The FEC’s inaction is juxtaposed with continued heightened attention from the Department of Justice on lobbying registration and campaign finance issues. Already this year, DOJ has been busy handing down sizeable fines to lobbying firms for skirting registration requirements. Corporations, trade associations, and other tax exempt organizations need to remain careful in their interactions with candidates, their campaigns, and elected officials. A prominent federal contractor was also recently singled out by the press for failing to register a top lobbyist.