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|February 24, 2020: Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. Tom Steyer will return to the debate stage after qualifying for the South Carolina debate.
How many candidates were running for president at this point in the 2016 election?
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Last month, we explored state donor disclosure requirements for groups that sponsor electioneering communications. This week, let’s take a closer look at donor disclosure requirements for non-PAC groups making independent expenditures.
An independent expenditure is any money spent on political advertising supporting or opposing a particular candidate for elective office. An independent expenditure originates outside of a candidate’s own election organization and is not coordinated with that candidate’s campaign, authorized candidate committee, or political party committee.
Individuals, political action committees (PACs), super PACs, select nonprofits (such as 501(c)(4) groups), corporations, and labor unions can make independent expenditures. States cannot limit the dollar amounts of independent expenditures. States can, however, impose disclosure requirements on groups making these expenditures.
A total of 33 states require non-PACs making independent expenditures to disclose identifying donor information in required reports. Of these states, 22 require groups to disclose all donors meeting certain contribution amount thresholds, regardless of whether their contributors were earmarked for political spending. These states are shaded in dark green on the map below. The remaining 11 require disclosure only of those donors whose contributions were earmarked for political spending. These states are shaded in light green on the map below.
Remember]: This discussion deals only with disclosures required as part of regular campaign finance reporting. Disclosures made directly on advertisements, known as disclaimers, are a separate matter.
Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 41 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.
On February 11, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker appointed Bill McNamara Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, effective Friday, February 21.
McNamara’s appointment comes after Comptroller Andrew Maylor announced that he was resigning to accept a position as Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Merrimack College. Before his appointment, McNamara most recently served as Assistant Secretary for the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.
In a press release from the governor’s office, Gov. Baker said, “Bill has a depth of experience in several senior leadership roles in the public and private sector that qualify him for this important new post to oversee the Commonwealth’s fiscal policies and operations…His commitment to transparency and reliable governance will be a great benefit to Massachusetts, and I look forward to working with him to ensure continued fiscal accountability and discipline across state government.”
In Massachusetts, the Comptroller of the Commonwealth is a nonpartisan, governor-appointed position responsible for independent oversight of the state’s finances.
The Comptroller of the Commonwealth serves a term coterminous with the governor.
On February 14, 2020, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed Christina Corieri (R) to serve as the Interim Director of Arizona’s Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions. Corieri filled the vacancy created by Keith Schraad’s (R) resignation on February 12, 2020.
Schraad resigned from the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions to take a job in the private sector. Schraad served as the Department of Insurance’s director for two years before his resignation.
The director oversees the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions, the agency charged with enforcing state insurance regulations. The department licenses insurance companies to operate within the state and collects various financial filings and reports from them. It makes specific rules based on regulations passed by the state legislature and, with the cooperation of the attorney general, enforces them. The department also interacts with consumers through its education and outreach initiatives.
Before her appointment to lead the Department of Insurance, Corieri served as a senior policy advisor for Gov. Ducey. She has also served as the health and human services policy advisor for Gov. Ducey, chief of staff for Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, and as a health and policy analyst for the Goldwater Institute.
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On February 19, 2020, Mitch Ostlie (R) was appointed by the North Dakota District 12 Republican Executive Committee to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former State Rep. Jim Grueneich (R). Ostlie will serve for the remainder of Grueneich’s term, set to end at the end of the year.
Grueneich resigned from the North Dakota House on February 11, 2020, after he moved outside of the district. Grueneich is running to represent North Dakota House of Representatives District 28—the district that encompasses his new home—in 2020. Grueneich was first elected tot he North Dakota House of Representatives in 2016.
Oslie’s appointment to the North Dakota House filled the Assembly’s only vacancy. Ostlie has said he will run in the district’s regular elections in 2020. The primary for that race is June 9 and the general election will take place Nov. 3.
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On Feb. 14, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which administers the laws governing federal labor relations, issued a 2-1 decision that will, upon implementation of supporting regulations, permit federal workers to stop paying union dues at any time after their first year of dues-paying membership. Prior to this, federal workers have only been permitted to rescind their union-dues assignments at one-year intervals. (For more information about the FLRA, see below.)
What is at issue? Section 7115(a) of the Federal Service Labor‑Management Relations Statute states, “[If] an agency has received from an employee in an appropriate unit a written assignment which authorizes the agency to deduct from the pay of the employee amounts for the payment of regular and periodic dues of the exclusive representative of the unit, the agency shall honor the assignment and make an appropriate allotment pursuant to the assignment.” The statute states that “any such assignment may not be revoked for a period of [one] year.”
In the past, the FLRA has interpreted the latter portion of the law to mean that dues deduction authorizations can only be revoked in one-year intervals. After the Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME, ruling that public-sector unions could not compel non-members to pay fees, the Office of Personnel Management petitioned the FLRA for guidance on Janus’ applicability to § 7115(a).
How did the FLRA rule? Colleen Duffy Kiko, the FLRA’s chairwoman, wrote the 2-1 decision (James T. Abbott wrote a separate concurring opinion). Kiko rejected earlier FLRA interpretations of § 7115(a): “Although the Authority has stated that the wording in § 7115(a) ‘must be interpreted’ to mean that dues assignments may be revoked only at one‑year intervals following the first year, in fact, the Authority made a policy judgment to impose annual revocation periods after the first year of an assignment. In other words, notwithstanding previous assertions otherwise, § 7115(a) neither compels, nor even supports, the existing policy on annual revocation windows. Because it remains our privilege and responsibility to interpret the Statute in a manner that is consistent with an efficient and effective government, we cannot allow our decisions or statements of policy to merely rubber-stamp what was said in the past.”
Kiko said the FLRA would begin developing regulations to support this reading of the statute: “In our view, it would assure employees the fullest freedom in the exercise of their rights under the Statute if, after the expiration of the initial one‑year period during which an assignment may not be revoked under § 7115(a), an employee had the right to initiate the revocation of a previously authorized dues assignment at any time that the employee chooses. Therefore, in the near future, the Authority intends to commence notice‑and‑comment rulemaking concerning § 7115(a), with the aim of adopting an implementing regulation that hews more closely to the Statute’s text.”
In his dissent, Ernest DuBester wrote, “The majority’s decision today constitutes the sort of judicial activism that is squarely inconsistent with the Authority’s decision-making responsibilities under our Statute. The request for a policy statement ostensibly giving rise to the majority’s decision relies upon a Supreme Court decision that – by its own terms – has nothing to do with federal-sector labor relations. Nevertheless, the majority seizes this fabricated opportunity to reverse the Authority’s well-reasoned precedent concerning § 7115(a) with barely a passing nod to the comments the Authority solicited on this matter.”
How are unions reacting?
More about the Federal Labor Relations Authority: The Federal Labor Relations Authority administers the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, which permits certain non-postal federal employees to unionize and bargain collectively. The FLRA has three full-time members, each of whom is a presidential appointee. Members serve five-year terms.
Kiko and Abbot were both appointed by President Donald Trump (R) in 2017. DuBester was first appointed by President Barack Obama (D) in 2009. DuBester was subsequently re-appointed to second and third terms by Obama and Trump, respectively.
We are currently tracking 85 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.
Michael Bloomberg (D) led presidential candidates in fundraising for January 2020, according to financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday. Bloomberg raised $263.8 million in January, including $263.7 million in self-funding. He was followed by Tom Steyer (D), who raised $65.3 million, including $64.7 million in self-funding. Bernie Sanders ($25.2 million) and Elizabeth Warren ($11.0 million) were the only other candidates to raise more than $10 million
As of the January 31, 2020, reporting cutoff, President Donald Trump (R) had $92.6 million in cash on hand, the most of all presidential candidates. Bloomberg followed with $55.1 million, then Steyer with $17.9 million. Sanders had $16.8 million, and no other candidates had more than $10 million on hand.
President Trump’s $217.7 million raised to date is 27.0% more than the inflation-adjusted $166.0 million President Barack Obama (D) had raised at this point in his 2012 re-election campaign. According to Republican National Committee (RNC) finance reports filed Thursday, Trump and the RNC have raised a combined $810.9 million. At this point in the 2012 campaign cycle, Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $563.9 million.
The eight remaining noteworthy Democratic candidates have collectively raised $1.164 billion this cycle, while the three noteworthy Republicans have collectively raised $233.5 million. The eight Democrats had a combined $110.7 million in cash on hand to the three Republicans’ combined $97.5 million.
Since the start of the election cycle, the top five Democratic fundraisers are Bloomberg ($464.1 million), Steyer ($271.6 million), Sanders ($134.3 million), Warren ($93.0 million), and Pete Buttigieg ($83.0 million). The 11 noteworthy Democratic and Republican candidates have raised a combined $1.398 billion since the start of the election cycle.
Click here to learn more about 2020 Presidential election campaign finance.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for a ninth consecutive month, according to February 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the FEC Thursday. Republican House and Senate committees also outraised their Democratic counterparts.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $10.1 million and spent $4.8 million last month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $8.5 million and spent $7.5 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 8.4% more than the DSCC ($77.7 million to $71.5 million). The NRSC’s 8.4% fundraising advantage is up from 7.3% in January but down from 8.7% in December.
On the House side, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $12.7 million and spent $7.5 million last month, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $12.1 million and spent $7.0 million. This is the first time the NRCC has outraised the DCCC during the 2020 campaign cycle. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 33.4% more than the NRCC ($137.0 million to $97.8 million). The DCCC’s 33.4% fundraising advantage is down from 37.8% in January and 35.5% in December.
At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 25.2% more than the NRSC ($59.8 million to $46.4 million), while the DCCC had raised 18.7% more than the NRCC ($114.8 million to $95.1 million).
Republicans continue to lead in national committee fundraising, with the Republican National Committee (RNC) raising $27.2 million and spending $23.2 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $10.8 million and spent $11.0 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 89.8% more than the DNC ($268.3 million to $102.0 million). The RNC’s 89.8% fundraising advantage is down from 90.2% in January but up from 88.9% in December.
At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 48.2% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($114.8 million to $70.2 million).
So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 35.3% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($443.9 million to $310.5 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is up from 34.1% in January and 34.6% in December.
Click here to learn more about party committee fundraising 2019-2020
As of February 24, 2020, 2,577 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.
So far, 367 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 312—164 Democrats and 148 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
For U.S. House, 2,492 candidates are filed with the FEC to run in 2020. Of those, 2,265—1,077 Democrats and 1,188 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
Thirty-six representatives are not seeking re-election. Of those, 27 are Republican and nine are Democratic. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 232 seats.