FEC Ruling Offers New Way for Wealthy to Become Involved in Elections

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) decided with a 4-1 vote that a consulting firm, Black Rock Group, can act as a vendor for individuals who want to run political advertisements without violating campaign finance law.

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Lobbyists Serving on Advisory Committees – Where’s the Problem?

The new White House policy aimed at ridding federal advisory committees of lobbyists raises more questions than answers, as OMB Watch discusses in an article released yesterday.

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Nonprofits Active in Efforts to Prevent Use of Courts to Discourage Public Participation

Nonprofit organizations have recently been active in efforts to prevent the use of lawsuits designed to discourage public participation. Nonprofits across the country have played a role in the campaign to eliminate Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). These efforts coincide with a pending legislative proposal to combat SLAPP suits on the federal level.

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White House Moves to Limit Lobbyists on Federal Advisory Committees

The White House announced Sept. 23 that it informed executive branch agencies and departments that federally registered lobbyists are not to be appointed to federal agency advisory boards and commissions. This is the latest attempt at removing the influence of federally registered lobbyists within the executive branch.

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Most Bundling Information Remains Undisclosed

After the Federal Election Commission (FEC) formulated a rule on reporting campaign contributions bundled by lobbyists, many were concerned that it was too narrow and would not quite capture very much information. Now, we see those points were not misguided. The situations under which a member of Congress is legally required to disclose a lobbyist's fundraising are limited.

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Let the Mighty Waters Flow, Money That Is!

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in the EMILY’s List case today, striking down Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations that limited donations to nonprofit groups that are used for campaign activity. The regulations are intended to limit how nonprofit organizations raise and spend money for political campaigns.

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Assessing the Impact of the Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is the Obama administration’s major philanthropic effort, with the White House requesting $50 million for the program earlier in 2009. While it is clear that the administration is interested in innovation within the nonprofit sector, organizations are uncertain about how the program will impact their work.

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Supreme Court Rehears Citizens United Case; Decision Could Impact Nonprofits

Citizens United, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, developed and sought to run a film about candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential primary. The group also wanted to promote the film with several ads. The highly critical movie was partially funded by corporate contributions, which the Federal Election Commission (FEC) said was a violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). In a federal lawsuit recently reheard by the U.S. Supreme Court, Citizens United charges that ads for the film should not be subject to donor disclosure and disclaimer requirements and that the BCRA provisions enforced by the FEC are unconstitutional.

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Administration Discloses Ethics Waivers Granted by Federal Agencies

In a blog post, the White House announced the administration has now consolidated and released ten ethics waivers granted by federal agencies. The waivers made the appointees exempt from conflict of interest and revolving door restrictions set forth in the President's Executive Order.

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Anxiously Awaiting Citizens United Arguments

In preparation for the Supreme Court's special session to rehear the Citizens United case, the news media and advocacy groups have provided an abundant amount of reading material.

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