February 27, 2013 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

Political Law 101

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Webinar

Political Law 101

Update: This event has already occurred. Please click above to listen to and view the recorded webinar, click here to view presentation materials from the event, and visit our Venable LLP Nonprofit YouTube channel to listen to and view all of our recorded webinars on nonprofit legal topics..


The laws regulating politics and lobbying have changed dramatically in recent years. The Supreme Court in Citizens United upended the rules for political fundraising and spending, and gave rise to a new type of organization known as a Super PAC. Government contractors face a growing and complex array of pay-to-play laws that restrict political contributions by their officers and other principals, and treat sales activity as lobbying. Restrictions on gifts to public officials and employees are ever-changing, affecting many such traditional activities as site visits and invitations to government officials to attend conferences and charitable events. This complimentary webinar will provide an overview of this changing landscape, helping you take stock of your government relations efforts and systems for compliance.

Topics will include:

  • Forming and operating a PAC or Super PAC: Would your organization benefit from establishing a PAC? If you have a PAC, are you making effective use of tools for expanding participation? Are your procedures for approving contributions and handling PAC funds putting your organization at risk? Can you use your PAC to give to state candidates? Are Super PACs the new normal?

  • Lobbying Compliance: Are your procedures for monitoring and reporting lobbying expenses sufficient to withstand a government audit? Are you in compliance with the growing number of state laws that regulate “procurement” and “goodwill” lobbying? Do you have the right controls in place on your outside lobbyists?

  • Gifts to Public Officials and Employees: What are the rules for inviting elected officials to tour your facilities, to be your guest at a charitable fundraiser, or to speak at a conference your organization is sponsoring? What kinds of appearances and events can be combined with political fundraising?

  • Pay-to-Play: What are pay-to-play laws and what risks do they present to companies seeking or doing business with state and local governments?

  • Politics and the Workplace: With companies freer to talk to employees about elections and grassroots lobbying, when does encouragement cross the line into unlawful coercion? Does your company hold fundraisers for candidates? Are you paying and reporting the expenses properly?

  • Corporate Policies: Does your company have policies about corporate political activity and reporting that activity? Have your shareholders or interest groups pushed for policies and disclosure?

  • Tax issues: Do you understand the differences between what is reportable under lobbying disclosure laws and what political and lobbying activities are considered nondeductible business expenses under tax law? Is your government affairs division communicating with your accounting office?