VT SoS Launches Electronic Disclosure Systems for Campaigns, Lobbying, Pushes Tighter Laws

Montpelier Bridge; “Secretary of State Jim “Condos explained ‘the new system not only makes lobbyist registration and disclosure simple and intuitive to use for anyone – from lobbying firms to local small businesses and nonprofits – that needs to register their activities with our office, it also provides the public with immediate access to more consistent and accurate information through a variety of search options.”

The Lobbyist Disclosure System is the second system in the new Elections Platform to go live. It follows the new Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS) that went live in August and becomes mandatory for all campaign finance reporting this month. CFIS allows candidates, PACs, and political parties to enter financial transactions (contributions and expenditures) and file reports on the relevant filing deadlines. The system also tracks Mass Media expenditures. Information contained in any reports filed by candidates, PACs, and political parties is immediately searchable using the database search functions.”

Condos in an interview with Burlington Free Press: “My office implemented an on-line Campaign Finance Information System in July 2014. As of January 2015, all candidates, political action committees and parties are required to utilize this new on-line system which will provide real time access to accurate and consistent campaign finance reports.”

“Here are some of the relatively easy steps we could take to make our lobbying more transparent that I will propose to the Legislature: more frequent disclosure — monthly during the legislative session; mass media intended to influence legislation should be reported within 24 hours; and the value and summary of any contracts those entities have with legislators”

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NJ City Repeals Rule Limiting Contracts Campaign Contributors

Press of Atlantic City (1/4): “In a unanimous vote, Wildwood City Commission on Wednesday scrapped its 2-year-old campaign financing ordinance.”

“”The vote repeals an ordinance approved in October 2012, which prevented those contributing to political campaigns of those seeking city or county office for accepting municipal contracts.

“No one from the public commented on the ordinance at the morning meeting. Commission members didn’t discuss it.
Often referred to as pay-to-play rules, the Wildwood ordinance and others approved in Cape May County prevented those holding professional services contracts from contributing to the elections of those who would decide those contracts.”

NJ State Senator Pushes Plan to Limit Contributions from Contractors, Local Parties

Politicker NJ: “Senator Tom Kean, R-21, has announced that pursuant to Senate Rule 12:6, he has filed a 24-hour notice to remove Senate Bill 287, which would limit campaign contributions by contractors and political parties, from the State Government Committee for a vote in the full Senate.”

“S-287 restricts contributions from public contractors, and county and municipal political party committees.”

Investigator from 2011 DE Scandal Calls for Stricter Limits, More Disclosure, Ban on Gifts

This piece is worth a read for its recounting of the scandal as well, which involved employee contributions reimbursed by the employer.

Delawareonline: “Our recommendation is a simple and clean one – ban all direct contributions by entities to individual candidates.”

“Second, there is the need for legislation requiring disclosure of a contributor’s employer and occupation.”

“Third – and I think most important – gifts to public officers should be stopped.”

MA Editorial Joins Gov’s Call for Capping Contributions by Campaign, Calls for Further Limits on Money

Enterprise News: “There’s a reason Massachusetts campaigns begin 14 months before Election Day. Unlike federal laws, which limit donations by election cycle, state law goes by the calendar year. That encourages campaigns to get donors to give the maximum amount the year before the election, then go after them again the next year. It also means that, for incumbents especially, the pursuit of campaign contributions goes on year in and year out.

“Baker has proposed removing the incentive to squeeze campaign donors early and often. He has called for capping individual contributions at $1,000 for the primary campaign and $1,000 for the general election.”

Editorial also supports Baker’s proposal to change the primary calendar and calls for changing municipal election days to the general election.