ĎTis the Season for Pay to Play


Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?
-Robert Orben

All people are born alike ó except Republicans and Democrats.
-Groucho Marx

The days are getting shorter, the evenings cooler and the kids are headed to school. Fall is fast approaching, and this year, the presidential electionís fundraising efforts are ramping up. (Donít act like this caught you by surprise.) While the yard signs will multiply, the television spots grow increasingly absurd and you have to block more and more family membersí e-mails, donít check out on the political season altogether until you make sure your firm is compliant with the SECís pay to play rules.

We are all familiar with the bans, but it is worth a moment to think through a few more unique issues now rather than deal with problems later:

  • There are limits on the contributions given to someone who is currently a covered official. This can be confusing when a state official runs for federal office. For example, contributions to the Trump/Pence campaign may fall under the restrictions because Pence is still the governor of Indiana. Note that such contributions would be fine if he left that office.
  • There are a lot of different types of financing vehicles out there. For example, while PACs and Super PACs operate independently of the candidates they support, they have high potential for candidate coordination. Joint Fundraising Committees may allocate money to all participants under an agreed formula, which can pose significant risk. If your covered employees want to contribute to political financing vehicles, appropriate due diligence is crucial.
  • State and local laws are different than federal laws, and may ban something permitted under the federal laws. Make sure you consider both.

There is no better time to prepare than the present! Itís a great time to provide your employees with some training on pay to play issues that may affect them this election season.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or we can be of any assistance. You may contact Laura Rauman at 414-935-6361 or lrauman@vista360llc.com.








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