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Category Archives: Political Law

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Stefan Passantino Quoted in Roll Call

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in Roll Call’s “The Year in Government Ethics | A Question of Ethics” blog post. The Year in Government Ethics | A Question of Ethics “Hands down,” said Stefan Passantino of McKenna, Long & Aldridge. “There’s no competition,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, a public… Continue Reading

Stefan Passantino Quoted in The Hill

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in The Hill‘s article, “Dem lobbyists shell out for super-PACs.” Dem lobbyists shell out for super-PACs Stefan Passantino, the head of McKenna Long & Aldridge’s political law team, who served on Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign, said Democrats are doing whatever is necessary to hold their majority. “To the extent… Continue Reading

Stefan Passantino Quoted in Pensions&Investments and the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in Pensions&Investments and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Pensions&Investments: “Political groups appeal SEC pay-to-play rule” “It is much, much more difficult for candidates to raise money from this community,” said Stefan Passantino, a partner in the Washington law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP who specializes in political law. “Money managers are already… Continue Reading

Stefan Passantino Quoted in The National Law Journal

Posted in Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in The National Law Journal’s article, “Lobbyists Regain Seat At the Table.” The suggested revision is intended to resolve the case, which the lobbyists brought in 2011 alleging the ban infringed their constitutional right to petition the government. Praised by good-government organizations and scorned by the lobbying community, Obama’s directive… Continue Reading

David Fine Article Featured in The Denver Post

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

MLA’s David Fine authored the article, “Citizens United coming to Denver,” featured in The Denver Post.  Citizens United, the organization that brought us “Hillary: The Movie” and the landmark Citizens United campaign finance opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, has announced that it is producing a documentary film “about various Colorado advocacy groups and their… Continue Reading

Randy Nuckolls Co-Authors American Council on Education (ACE) Article

Posted in Political Law

MLA’s Randy Nuckolls co-authored a recent article for the American Council on Education (ACE) focusing on ethics guidance for higher education institutions that invite Members of Congress and senior Executive Branch officials to campus. Ethics Guidance for Inviting Members of Congress and Senior Executive Branch Officials as Commencement Speakers and Presenting Honorary Degrees By Ada Meloy, ACE General Counsel and… Continue Reading

Newly Proposed IRS Rules Could Change the Landscape of Political Engagement for 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By Stefan Passantino, Benjamin Keane, and Jeremy Berry On Tuesday, November 26th, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced the release of proposed regulations that seek to provide guidance to tax-exempt social welfare organizations and entities seeking such status regarding the boundaries of proper political engagement under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(4) and its associated Department… Continue Reading

The Potential Consequences of Paying to Play: Birdsall Services Group

Posted in Political Law

By David Fine and Mason Smith New Jersey engineering firm Birdsall Services Group realized the full consequences of violating state pay-to-play laws on August 30th after a state court judge ordered that the contractor pay $1M in criminal penalties, the maximum allowable by law. Under the state’s pay-to-play law, which many agree requires an overhaul,… Continue Reading

The Lobbying Disclosure Act: A Sleeping Dog Beginning to Show Some Bite

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By Randy Nuckolls The federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) has been around for a long time. It was significantly updated in the 1980’s during the Clinton Administration. Then in 2007, after several lobbyists, most famously Jack Abramoff,  became notorious for excessive gifts and lobbying expenditures, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007… Continue Reading

States Continue to Chart Their Own Paths on Non-Profit Disclosure and Transparency

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

 New York, California, Idaho, Montana, Maine, Maryland and Utah all take Action By Ben Keane Late last year, Politics, Law and Policy blog highlighted for its readers the efforts of several state governments around the country to turn up the pressure on politically-active, non-profit organizations to reveal their financial backers and spending activities. Leading the charge… Continue Reading

Constitutionality of Ban on Government Contractor Campaign Contributions to be Decided by En Banc D.C. Circuit

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By David Fine and Mason Smith An en banc United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will now decide the Wagner v. FEC case, unfortunately delaying an opinion on whether the Federal Election Campaign Act’s ban on political contributions by federal government contractors is unconstitutional. We originally blogged about the Wagner case last… Continue Reading

Political Law Developments to Watch For in 2013

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By Stefan Passantino The Election of 2012 demonstrated in the starkest possible terms how formerly unheralded nuances of federal election and tax law have the capacity to affect the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy in the most direct way possible.  Never before have the nation’s editorial pages and cable news airways been more active with… Continue Reading

Campaign Finance Update: Disclosure by Ad-Running Political Groups Continues to be Hotly Debated

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By Stefan Passantino As the 2012 election season heats up, outside advocacy groups are experiencing considerable influence over federal, state, and local elections. Some say that the collective influence of advocacy by Super PACs and other tax-exempt entities in favor of and against candidates is equal to, or exceeds, that of the candidates and the parties… Continue Reading

Campaign Finance Update: FEC Defends Ban on Contributions from Government Contractors

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

By Mason Smith and David Fine On Monday, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied a motion for preliminary injunction challenging a 70-year old federal ban on campaign contributions from government contractors in Wagner v. FEC, No. 11-cv-1841. Key to the 26-page opinion was the judge’s finding that the three… Continue Reading

The Stock Act: Congress Acts Against ‘Insider Political Trading’…on Capitol Hill

Posted in Government Ethics, Political Law

By Stefan Passantino Proponents of ethics reform and increased political transparency in Washington don’t often see reform proposals pass through Congress by overwhelming margins, and rarely does anyone bemoan an excess of “political intelligence” in Washington. But with Congressional passage of the so-called ‘STOCK Act’ last week, that is exactly what happened. The impetus to act… Continue Reading

State Legislature Reapportionment: Colorado Case Study

Posted in 2012 Elections, Legislatures (State), Political Law

By David Fine The State of Colorado’s recently completed legislative reapportionment is a case study in a difficult political and legal process that gets relatively little attention, but is critical to representation around the country. Just as at the federal level, state reapportionment happens once per decade following the census. Often, as in Colorado, state… Continue Reading

Save Yourself A Lot Of Pain: Double Check Your LD-203 Filing Procedures

Posted in 2012 Elections, Lobbying Compliance, Political Law

By Randy Nuckolls One of the biggest areas of noncompliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) is in the area of failure to file proper LD-203 semiannual contribution reports. Often failure to submit reports is a simple oversight. Nonetheless, such failures to report will lead to notices of noncompliance from the House and Senate or even… Continue Reading

Campaign Finance: States Propose Rule Rewrites

Posted in 2012 Elections, Government Ethics, Political Law

By David Fine The Colorado Secretary of State has proposed a significant rewrite of Colorado’s campaign finance rules. The Secretary has received public comment and my guess is that final rules will be promulgated in the near future. The rules may generate litigation and will require careful study to ensure compliance going into the 2012 elections. Once… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Law Banning Foreign Nationals from Spending to Influence U.S. Elections

Posted in Political Law

By David Fine Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court upheld a federal law that bans foreign nationals from spending to influence U.S. elections. See Bluman v. Federal Election Commission. The Court upheld the decision of a three-judge panel without comment. Congress had strengthened the law in question in 2002 in response to contributions by foreign… Continue Reading