Political activity law morning report for Friday, Dec. 3

Good morning.  Here’s the morning report.   Below the morning report are a few links from last night I couldn’t help myself from posting.

Numbers rolling in

The latest campaign finance reports were due yesterday so the numbers are rolling in.  Roll Call has the congressional spending numbers here, along with some debt information. The Hill reports burning through millions.


Haley Barbour’s making moves.

CALM Act and politics

It hasn’t been my experience that political ads are louder than regular programming.  The CALM Act is headed to the President’s desk.

Rangel censured

The Times has an editorial this morning on the Rangel censure and the House Ethics Committee.  Links to coverage appear below.

American Crossroad$

The Post reports on how much the groups raised and spent this year.

Headed to COGEL?

Are you going to attend any of COGEL?  It starts Sunday and features many interesting panels and speakers, including those noted below (excerpted from program).  If there’s free and abundant wi-fi, I hope to do a post or two, and maybe a photo, from the event.


Plenary Session

Welcome to 32nd Annual Conference

M. Nola Western, COGEL 2010 President

Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, Elections British Columbia

Speaker – “Campaign Finance in the Post-Citizens United World”

Spencer Overton, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School and Former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy

10:15 am – 11:45 am Sulgrave

Public Financing and Small Donor Democracy

Moderator: Beth Rotman, Director of Public Campaign Financing, Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission

Panelists: Michael Malbin, Executive Director, Campaign Finance Institute

Amy Loprest, Executive Director, New York City Campaign Finance Board

Todd Lang, Executive Director, Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission

This panel will discuss the recent challenges to public financing laws and the degree of success “under fire” the existing programs offer. And, as public financing programs consider alternatives to “trigger provisions,” ongoing research about small donor democracy becomes all the more important to both full and partial public financing programs.

11:45 am – 1:30 pm Grand Ballroom

Plenary Luncheon

Recognition of 2010 COGEL Award Recipient

John J. Contino, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Ethics Commission

Speaker – “The Impact of the 2010 Midterms on Campaigning, the Media and K Street”

Jeanne Cummings, Assistant Managing Editor, POLITICO

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm Executive Forum

Independent Expenditures and Citizens United: The Federal Aftermath

Moderator: D. Mark Renaud, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP

This panel will discuss the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Court invalidated the federal law banning corporate independent political expenditures, and the impact the decision has had in this year’s federal elections. Panelists will discuss the FEC’s interpretation and implementation of the decision, potential legislative responses to the decision (e.g., the DISCLOSE Act), the use of corporate and union treasury funds by various tax-exempt organizations (e.g., 501(c)(4) organizations) to influence elections, and disclosure (or lack thereof) of corporate and union funds in federal elections.

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm Executive Forum

Campaign Finance Regulation & New Media

Moderator: Scott Thomas, Of Counsel, Dickstein Shapiro LLC

Panelists:  Nicco Mele, Co-Founder & Partner, EchoDitto and Lecturer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Lawrence Noble, Counsel, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP

Eric Waldo, Former Deputy and Assistant Staff Council, Obama for America Campaign

This panel will discuss the use of the Internet and other new media in the electoral arena with a focus on whether and/or how such political activities should be subject to campaign finance regulation. For example, should Google AdWords, which Google limits to 70 characters of text, be subject to the federal law “paid for by” disclaimer requirement? (This question was posed to the FEC this year in Advisory Opinion Request 2010-19.) Such questions regarding the application of existing laws to new technology are inevitable and often challenging. Our panelists will wrestle with this challenge and perhaps make some predictions about the future!


3:30 pm – 4:45 pm Grand Ballroom

Plenary Session Debate

Panel – “Lobbying Regulation in the Nation’s Capital: Too Much? Too Little? Just Enough?”

Moderator: Elizabeth Newlin Carney, Contributing Editor, National Journal

Panelists: Meredith McGehee, Policy Director, Campaign Legal Center

David Wenhold, President, American League of Lobbyists

Panelists will debate the merits of current federal laws and rules regulating lobbying and the conduct of lobbyists attempting to influence federal public officials, as well as possible changes to the law that warrant consideration. Panelists will discuss, for example, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA) three years into its implementation, assessing the degree to which the law is meeting the goals of its sponsors and whether it’s too much, too little, or just enough regulation of DC’s influence industry.


9:15 am – 10:30 am Executive Forum

Independent Expenditures and Citizens United: The State/Local Response

Moderator: Jonathan Becker, Ethics and Accountability Division Administrator, Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

Panelists: Gary Goldsmith, Executive Director, Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Mike Wittenwyler, Attorney, Godfrey & Kahn S.C.

Tara Malloy, Associate Legal Counsel, Campaign Legal Center

Shannon Kief, Legal Program Director, Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission

This panel will discuss the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Court invalidated the federal law banning corporate independent political expenditures, and the impact the decision has had at the state and local level. Additionally, panelists will discuss legislative responses to the Citizens United decision.

10:45 am – 12:00 pm Executive Forum

Loopholes Update: How Campaigns are Getting Around Campaign Finance and Disclosure Laws, and How to Close Them

Moderator: Bob Stern, President, Center for Governmental Studies

Panelists: Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics

Eric Lipton, Washington Bureau Reporter, New York Times

Roman Porter, Executive Director, California Fair Political Practices Commission

Money raised by candidates for their inaugural, office holder, legal defense, legislative caucus, political party and ballot measure committees, and by groups not associated with candidates, is a way to avoid contribution limitation and campaign disclosure laws. This session will look at how contributors, candidates, office holders and outside groups are able to circumvent laws and regulations by funneling money to non-candidate committees and other organizations, such as charities.

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