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June 9, 2016, Covington Alert
On Friday, three Federal Election Commission (FEC) Commissioners provided a clear description of their understanding of the facts and law that led them to oppose opening an investigation into whether Murray Energy coerced its employees into making political contributions. Statement of Reasons of Chairman Petersen and Commissioners Hunter and Goodman, FEC MUR 6661. While clarity in the law is always to be commended, the standard they use to define when a contribution is coerced is narrow and will certainly allow conduct that many employers now reject as excessive. As with two earlier decisions in which three Commissioners voted not to pursue enforcement actions against employers who compelled employees to attend a candidate’s rally or to waive signs or make calls supporting a candidate, it is clear that the FEC will not be an effective barrier to employers pressuring employees to engage in many kinds of political activity. As Lindsay Burke and I noted in a recent article in Corporate Counsel Magazine, there remain state employment law issues to consider, but the signal from this recent FEC case is unmistakable.
August 25, 2016, Covington Advisory
This month, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an obscure, almost 80-year old, statute has rocketed to national headlines. FARA, a sweeping federal criminal statute, requires certain individuals and companies acting on behalf of foreign principals to register with the Department of Justice and file regular detailed reports of their activities. As we ...
May 23, 2016, Covington Alert
As we move toward the 2016 general election, campaign activity at the federal, state, and local levels continues to heat up. Super PACs again promise to play a prominent role in federal races, while at the same time impacting a wider range of non-federal races further down the ballot.
April 13, 2016, Covington Alert
Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) regulations permit a corporation to communicate with its “restricted” or “solicitable class” on any subject, including electoral advocacy and political fundraising. See 11 C.F.R. § 114.3(a). This includes solicitations of contributions to the corporation’s PAC. We frequently see questions arising about who falls within the ...