Did you ever watch the 1966 movie Stop the World I Want
to Get Off? Here is the synopsis, which I picked up from
"The show, set against a
circus backdrop, focuses on Littlechap from the moment of his birth
until his death. Each time something unsatisfactory happens,
he calls out 'Stop the world!' and addresses the audience."
It's the parts when Littlechap addresses the audience, which
are the funniest. And, that is where I am going with this
column. For about that past 20 years, I have had a
television remote nearby and so many times, I just want to
pick it up and pause whatever is going on around me.
Today, and for a while now, it is the NOISE. It is
everywhere. On television with the political season
underway, everything is breaking news. The
impeachment trial has a lot of NOISE associated with the US
Senators and the news media reporting updates. I am in
Washington, DC often, and there is a lot of noise there.
And, don't get me started on the coronavirus and my box of
masks that I wear now on an airplane.
I love the news. Don't get me wrong. I always
the newspaper growing up and still subscribe to multiple
newspapers-even though they are online. And, a lot of it is
very exciting when we are discussing our future but
sometimes the NOISE is too much.
So, what can we do? In NE Ohio, we are fortunate that WKSU
is HD and has four stations-current on the radio, folk
music, classical, and news. Sometimes I just have to change
I also like quiet more than I thought I would. I always
listened to music and news, and now-especially on travel-I
can hook up my computer and write, work, catch up with
friends, and not have anything on...And, at home, I don't have
to go far to ask Alexa to play anything. I am surprised I
keep it off.
It is a busy year. We are all going to be running 110 miles
per hour and putting in 110% of our time at work. So, what
are the best ways to unwind?
I like Yoga Nidra. You should check it out because I am
on the floor the whole time-legs aren't going in one
direction with my head somewhere else. For me it is 45
minutes, one day a week to focus on breathing.
And, speaking of breathing...I love that my Apple Watch
reminds me to stand and to breath.
Stay calm this year...Easier said than done, but hopefully
we can get past all of the NOISE.
Until next month, B R E A T H E.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Chicago Board of Ethics Clarifies New Ethics
Ordinance Affecting Nonprofit Lobbyists
Chicago Board of Ethics issued a press release and three
advisory opinions to clarify what does and does not constitute
lobbying activity by nonprofit organizations following questions
and concerns regarding amendments to the city’s ethics
Ethics Ordinance 2019-5305
Last summer, the City Council passed Ethics Ordinance 2019-5305,
extending lobbying registration requirements to many previously
exempt lobbyists representing nonprofits. The ordinance expands
the definition of lobbyist to include persons paid to
lobby on behalf of a nonprofit and those undertaking lobbying
efforts as a matter of professional engagement, regardless of
pay or compensation. The ordinance does include three exceptions
to registration requirements for persons who undertake
nonpartisan research; provide technical advice; or examine broad
social, economic, and similar problems.
Nonprofit Community Concerns
Concerns about the amendments include the lack of a minimum
threshold triggering registration; quarterly reporting
requirements for advocacy involving no contributions or
expenditures; increased penalties of up to $1,000 per day for
noncompliance, especially considering registration is required
within five days of engaging in lobbying activity; and the
amount of discretion given to regulators for waivers of fees and
In consideration of these concerns, Mayor Lightfoot announced a
three-month delay in the effective date of the ordinance from
January 20 to April 20.
Board of Ethics Response
To clarify requirements, the three
advisory opinions of the Board of Ethics include a total of 44
scenarios and hypothetical situations. Regarding
procurement lobbying, ongoing contract negotiations with the
city by a nonprofit do not constitute lobbying. On the other
hand, attempting to persuade city officials to consider issuing
a request for proposal (RFP) or request for qualifications (RFQ)
would constitute lobbying.
Nonprofit staff conducting standard end of contract
renegotiation with the city will not constitute lobbying if the
original contract provides for renegotiation. However, if the
original contract does not contemplate a process for extending
the contract, then approaching the city to consider and then
negotiate a new successor contract would constitute lobbying
because it is an attempt to influence city administrative
The Board of Ethics will also be releasing, for public comment
and formalization, draft rules and regulations.
Elections Canada has published the federal contribution limits
for the 2020 calendar year. Individuals may contribute up to
$1,625 to independent candidates, leadership candidates,
registered parties, and in total to all registered associations,
nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party.
The limits also apply to any unpaid balance of loans made during
a contribution period and the amount of any loan guarantees made
during a contribution period. The limits increase annually by
$25 on January 1.
The Bureau of Elections posted the Lobby Registration Act 2020
reporting thresholds, which change every year in January to
reflect the change in the consumer price index for Detroit. The
registration threshold for a lobbyist agent or a lobbyist’s
expenditure on one public official during a 12-month period has
increased from $625 to $650. The threshold for a lobbyist
compensating a lobbyist agent or other employee increased from
$2,500 to $2,525 for any 12-month period. The financial
transaction threshold between a registered lobbyist or lobbyist
agent and a public official increased from $1,250 to $1,275.
Food and beverage expenditures for a public official increased
from $62 in any month and $375 in any year to $63 and $400
respectively. The general gift threshold also increased from $62
to $63. Travel and lodging reimbursements, employee
reimbursements, exempt expenditures, and late filing fees remain
the same as last year.
The new State Ethics Commission opened on January 2. The
commission was created by a constitutional amendment passed in
November 2018 and its seven member-structure was specified in a
bill signed last March by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Former
Judge William F. Lang was appointed by Grisham to be the
commission’s first chairman. The commission will issue advisory
opinions regarding campaign finance, government contracts, and
lobbying disclosure law and will investigate complaints of
potential violations. The commission has the authority to impose
civil penalties and can recommend disciplinary action, including
finance overhaul unveiled last month by the Campaign Finance
Reform Commission is now law. This happened automatically when
the Legislature missed a December 22 deadline to convene and
vote to block or amend the proposal. The changes include steep
drops in state contribution limits, stricter ballot
qualification criteria, the creation of a new regulatory agency
called the Public Campaign Finance Board, and public financing
of elections. Many of the new rules become effective at the
start of the new year, though the public financing will not kick
in until 2026.
Commission adjusted the contribution limit individuals may give
to 2020 candidate committees from $2,700 to $2,800 per election.
However, candidate committees created for elections prior to
2020 keep the same contribution limit of $2,700.
If your government affairs activities reach the local level,
delivers the most up to date compliance laws information
for 300+ municipalities.
Give us a call for more information.
At any given time,
more than 1,000 legislative bills, which can affect how you do
business as a government affairs professional, are being
discussed in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. These
bills are summarized in State and Federal Communications'
digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the
client portion of our website.
Summaries of major
bills are also included in monthly email updates sent to all
clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are
tracking in regarding lobbying laws, political contributions,
and procurement lobbying.
Every month subscribers to the State and Federal
Communications website receive the Summary of
Changes, which is a list of all the changes and
additions made to the website in the course of the
prior month. In all publications, a year’s worth of
Summary of Changes can be accessed by clicking on
the "Summary of Changes" link on the left-hand side
of the entry’s website page. Below the link is a
convenient chart entitled “Year End Summary” to
provide a review of the highlights and major changes
State and Federal Communications’ Experts
Here is your chance
to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Send your questions to
email@example.com. (Of course, we have
always been available to answer questions from clients that are
specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call
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My company is required to file a
campaign finance report. Does our contribution also need
to be reported on my lobbyist report?
Generally, when a
contribution is reported on a separate campaign finance
report, it does not need to also be reported on an
individual lobbyist report. However, there are states
such as California, where, under certain circumstances,
it does. There is no across-the-board answer to this
question. Every state that you are registered in has a
unique take on whether campaign contributions are
reportable lobbying expenditures, and if they are, how
they must be reported. Let’s look at a few examples...
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The staff of State and Federal Communications
chose to donate to Akron's Snow Angel project.
We collected gloves, mittens, shirts, sweats,
toothbrushes, combs, and socks to help out
Shapiro, Summit County Executive, kindly visited
Elizabeth during our Holiday gathering at The
Trailhead in Akron. We always enjoy seeing
Recently Akron's Mayor Dan Horrigan had four
distinguised sculptures installed at
the furthest corners of the city. This piece
of art reflects each sculpture on metallic paper
plus a cut metal "Akron" sign. The staff
presented this to Elizabeth over the holidays.
We support PROJECT PATRIOT through the Annunciation
Philoptochos Ladies Auxilliary. Recently, they
worked on a project to raise money for The Harry
Donovan, Jr. Valor Home
[a transitional residence for homeless male veterans
in Akron, OH. ]
Photo: Elizabeth Z. Bartz and Zoe McClish,
Frank Abagnale is an American security consultant
for his career as a
Abagnale is currently a
lecturer for the
academy and field offices.
He also runs Abagnale & Associates, a financial
fraud consultancy company.
Photo: Elizabeth Z. Bartz and Frank Abagnale at
the 2019 SGAC LPC
Plan to say hello
at future events where State and
Federal Communications, Inc.
attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.
PAC Advocacy Conference,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Greater Akron Chamber--Don
Legacy of Leadership, Akron, OH
Women in Government
Relations Governors Reception, Washington, DC
National Governors Association
Winter Meeting, Washington, DC
State of the Schools with
Superintendent David James, Akron, OH
Our Voices OHIO, Columbus, OH
Akron Canton Foodbank--Harvest for
Hunger Campaign, Akron, OH
Akron State of the City Address,
National PAC Conference, South
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