Posts Tagged ‘ethics rules’

The LD-203: Compliance for Campaign Finance Disclosure

Thursday, January 13th, 2011 by Vbhotla

Tuesday, hosted the semi-annual ethics boot camp to prepare you to sign the LD-203 “under penalty of perjury.”  Here are the basic things you will need to know ahead of the January 30 deadline:

  • Every lobbyist must file the LD-203, whether you have contributions or expenditures to report or not.
  • Sole practitioners must file on behalf of the business and as an individual lobbyist.
  • Registrants include both entities that employ lobbyists and every individual listed on an LD-1  or LD-2 form.
  • The report covers July 1-December 31 2010 and must be filed electronically.
  • Contributions of $200 or more from individual registrants or PACs controlled by an individual registrant to federal candidates, leadership PACs, federal party committees AND contributions of $200 or more to presidential inaugural committee or library must be reported as FECA contributions.
  • Payments AND expenditures are subject to reporting
  • Your signature certifies that, beyond just HLOGA rules, you have read both the House and Senate Gift and Ethics rules and exceptions, and have in no way violated them.
  • If an event honors, recognizes covered official, costs are subject to disclosure on LD-203 of sponsor – but not donor unless donor participates in honoring Member

Review filings and supporting documents closely before you sign.  Remember the “perjury trap.”

Turkey Day Tips: A Travel Ethics Crash-Course

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Today is the most traveled day of the year.  Traffic will be a nightmare, airline waits will be treacherous (especially considering the proposed boycott of airport security scanners), and everyone may be a little more uptight.  It may seem like the time to cut corners wherever possible to save time and expense, but beware of the following travel pitfalls, or you could find yourself gobbling for mercy:

  • If you’re a lobbyist and your new staffer girlfriend is coming home to meet the parents for the first time, you can NOT pay for her ticket.  If you’ve been dating awhile or are engaged, there is a “personal friend” or “significant other” (Senate only) exemption.  You will still need to get pre-approval from ethics committee if the trip will cost over $250.  The pre-approval is confidential, but very essential.
  • The new girlfriend can, however, partake in the Thanksgiving feast — as long as you have a relatively large family — because the holiday meal is a widely-attended event.
  • Make sure that any gift you give her while gone is filed on the LD-203!  (Unless of course you get engaged over the holiday, in which case fiancees are permitted to give gifts without disclosure.)
  • If using the personal friendship exemption for anything, you must be able to prove a history of gift exchange between you, not give any gifts related to any official duties, not submit any expenses for reimbursement by your employer, not count the gifts as an exemption.

Tuesday Ethics Tip: Travel Rules at a Glance

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Today’s ethics tips is a refresher on Congressional travel rules. Below is a listing of when individuals (who may or may not be lobbyists) may pay for Congressional travel.

Before you fly... check the rules!

If you are a…
Lobbyist, lobbying firm

The rule is…
None. Zilch. Zero. Never… unless an individual lobbyist is also:
• A relative
• A personal friend
• A significant other

If you are a…
Organization, association, corporation, labor union or other  entity employing or retaining a lobbyist to lobby only for the  organization’s interests
The rule is…
• One-day attendance at conference or meeting; pre-approval required
• Second day possible if approved
• Local transportation (including in Washington, D.C.) for “widely attended event”
• Local transportation attendant to site visit
• Submit for pre-approval (14 days in advance for the House; 30 days in advance for the Senate)
• Must have pre-approval in order to pay for travel
• Local transportation for site visitor widely attended event does not require pre-approval on the travel forms

If you are a…
Organization, association, corporation, labor union or other entity not employing or retaining a lobbyist or lobbying firm
The rule is…
• Three-day domestic trip
• Seven-day foreign trip
• No lobbyist participation allowed

• Four-day continental United States
• Seven-day trip outside continental United States
• No lobbyist may accompany Member/staffer on any segment

For House and Senate:
• Submit for pre-approval (14 days in advance for House; 30 days in advance for Senate)
• Must have pre-approval in order to pay for travel
• Maximum stay extended for extraordinary reason only
• Extension of trip at personal expense of Member/staffer must be approved by ethics committee