On September 14, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA), which amends the House and Senate Ethics Rules and the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). In addition to making broad changes to the ethics rules for officeholders and candidates, the HLOGA also introduces new disclosure requirements for certain committees that receive bundled contributions from lobbyists and committees established or controlled by any lobbyist and new rules relating to travel on private jets.
The provisions of HLOGA that amend the FECA are briefly summarized below. The Commission will initiate rulemakings in the coming months to promulgate regulations to implement these statutory changes.
Disclosure of bundled contributions
The new law requires candidates' authorized committees, leadership PACs and party committees to disclose the name, address, employer of, and the bundled contribution amount credited to, each lobbyist (or lobbyist's committee) who has provided the committee with bundled contributions aggregating over $15,000 during specified time periods. The report discloses the fundraising activities of registered lobbyists, individuals listed on current lobbying reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and political committees established or controlled by such individuals.
"Bundled" contributions include both contributions physically forwarded by a lobbyist and contributions for which a lobbyist receives credit by the candidate recipient through record, designation or some other form of recognition.
For example, if a lobbyist were to receive an honorary title within the recipient's committee or gain access to an event reserved exclusively for those who generate a certain amount of contributions, he or she might be considered to have received "credit" for the bundled contributions. The provision applies to fundraising for a candidate's principal campaign committee, any Leadership PAC established, maintained, financed or controlled by a candidate or a federal officeholder and any party committee. This reporting obligation is in addition to the Commission's existing rules for disclosing earmarked contributions forwarded to a candidate's authorized committee through a "conduit." See 11 CFR 110.6(b) and 102.8. The new reporting requirement will take effect 90 days after the FEC promulgates final regulations implementing these provisions of §204.
Travel on private jets
HLOGA amends the FECA to prohibit Senate and Presidential candidates, and their authorized committees, from spending campaign funds for travel on non-commercial aircraft, unless they pay the charter rate. House candidates, and their authorized committees and Leadership PACs, are prohibited from spending any campaign funds for travel on private, non-commercial aircraft. Thus, candidates will no longer be permitted to pay the first-class or coach airfare, as appropriate, for travel on a private plane. 1 See 11 CFR 100.93(c)). This provision took effect on September 14, 2007. §601.
For additional information, see the FEC Press Release, dated September 24, 2007, at https://www.fec.gov/updates/fec-announces-plans-to-issue-new-regulations-to-implement-the-honest-leadership-and-open-government-act-of-2007-new-travel-rules-effective-immediately/.
HLOGA also makes a number of changes to laws other than the FECA, and to House and Senate rules, that affect the way that federal candidates conduct their campaigns. The complete text of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 is available on the FEC web site at http://transition.fec.gov/law/feca/s1legislation.pdf.