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Past is Prologue: A New Approach to Cross-Border Application of Dodd-Frank Swaps Provisions

On September 4, 2018, in a speech to the City Guildhall in London, Chairman Giancarlo previewed a new approach to cross-border application of Dodd-Frank swaps provisions, which will be memorialized in a forthcoming white paper. Chairman Giancarlo began his remarks with a historical overview of cross-border swaps regulation, highlighting post Dodd-Frank reforms. He then summarized … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Amendments to Expansive Consumer Privacy Law

Less than three months ago, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). Industry and privacy watch groups alike have scrutinized the law. This summer saw fierce negotiations all in the name of improving the CCPA. Last Friday, on August 31, 2018, the California legislature passed SB 1121 to amend the CCPA. The … Continue Reading

Arizona Fintech Sandbox Begins Accepting Applications

Arizona recently became the first state in the U.S. to create a “regulatory sandbox” program to facilitate the development of innovative financial products and services. Such products would either incorporate new or emerging technology or reimagine uses of existing technology. The program would exempt participants from certain state financial regulations, but not federal requirements. On … Continue Reading

PLI Current Highlights New Wave of FARA Enforcement

As the Foreign Agents Registration Act continues to receive national attention, an article in this quarter’s PLI Current journal describes the Justice Department’s increased focus on the statute.  The article, authored by Covington’s Rob Kelner, Zack Parks, and Alex Langton, discusses the shifting FARA enforcement landscape, analyzes how the statute works, and addresses pending FARA … Continue Reading

The GDPR and Blockchain

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise many industries; it has been said that “blockchain will do to the financial system what the internet did to media”.  Its most famous use is its role as the architecture of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, however it has many other potential uses in the financial sector, for instance in … Continue Reading

IRS Announces Major Change To Nonprofit Donor Disclosure Requirements

In a significant and unexpected development, the U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday that certain nonprofits — including trade associations and 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations — would no longer be required to disclose the names and addresses of their donors on the annual “Form 990” they file with the Internal Revenue Service. Although the IRS already … Continue Reading

Covington Publishes Update on Recent FEC Enforcement Activity

After a surprisingly active 2017, the Federal Election Commission’s enforcement efforts have slowed noticeably in the early months of 2018. In February, former Commission Lee Goodman’s departure from the agency left the Commission with only four members. While the remaining Commissioners can still form a quorum, unanimity is required for all official agency action. Perhaps … Continue Reading

Recent Developments at the USPTO

Change is afoot at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Since Director Andrei Iancu took office in February and declared “creating a new pro-innovation, pro-IP dialogue” a top priority, the agency has experienced a flurry of activity.  Beyond the significant shift in its rhetoric on intellectual property, the USPTO has moved to “increase predictability … Continue Reading

Colorado Campaign Finance Enforcement System Found Unconstitutional

In a case with interesting ramifications, a federal court this week struck down major parts of Colorado’s campaign finance enforcement system as unconstitutional.The system at issue, which was created through a ballot initiative, generally allowed any person who believed there had been a violation of the state’s campaign finance laws to file a written complaint … Continue Reading

Political Law Potpourri—The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018

While the din over a possible government shutdown dominated the headlines, political law played a supporting role in the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 115-141).  The content and omissions of the so-called “Omnibus” spending bill will be of interest to political actors in all sectors, but particularly those operating nonprofit entities engaged … Continue Reading

South Dakota Breach Notification Law Breaks New Ground

Last week, South Dakota became the 49th U.S. state to enact a data breach notification law with the passage of S.B. 62, which sets forth requirements for notifying state residents, the state attorney general, and major consumer reporting agencies in the event of a breach. The law, which will take effect on July 1, 2018, … Continue Reading

New Wave of Trade Lobbying Presents FARA Registration Concerns

Washington is awash with lobbyists seeking to address new steel and aluminum tariffs, and other potential tariffs, on behalf of both foreign and domestic clients.  Lobbying on trade issues in some circumstances may trigger Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) obligations.  The connection between trade lobbying and FARA was the subject of close scrutiny several decades … Continue Reading

A Review of Pending FARA Reform Bills

In recent months, Congress’s efforts to reform dramatically the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) have picked up steam. As we explained in our recent FARA guide, FARA is a complex and broadly worded criminal statute that requires any “agent of a foreign principal” to register with the Department of Justice and file detailed public reports … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts New Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures and Insider Trading

On February 21, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) approved a statement and interpretive guidance that provides the Commission’s views on a public company’s disclosure obligations concerning cybersecurity risks and incidents (the “2018 Commission Guidance”). This guidance reinforces and expands upon previous cybersecurity disclosure guidance issued by the Division of Corporation Finance … Continue Reading

Fight Against Sexual Misconduct Bringing Regulations, Protections for Lobbyists

 As sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and other misconduct have dominated national headlines, state capitols and lobbyists have not escaped scrutiny.  Amidst a spate of allegations and member resignations, some state legislatures and ethics commissions are taking action.  While a variety of measures are being considered, including tightening gift rules, it is apparent that lobbyists and … Continue Reading

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”): A Guide for the Perplexed

 Eighty years ago, Congress enacted the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), requiring “foreign agents” to register with the Attorney General. As amended over the years, it applies broadly to anyone who acts on behalf of a “foreign principal” to, among other things, influence U.S. policy or public opinion. Until recently, it was a backwater of … Continue Reading

DFARS Cyber Rule – What Questions Should Contractors Ask Themselves in the New Year?

Since August 2015, defense contractors have been on notice that they were required to implement the security controls in National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171 no later than December 31, 2017 on covered contractor information systems.  Although the focus has been on meeting this deadline, contractors should add to their … Continue Reading

Grassley Legislation Would (Re)Impose FARA Obligations on Private Sector Entities

With the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the news and public awareness of this formerly obscure statute at an all-time high, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation last week to revise the statute significantly, including reversing a decision Congress made in 1995 to remove most private sector reporting from FARA and place it instead under the companion … Continue Reading

Developments in U.S. Iran Sanctions

Administration Also Revises Russia Sanctions, Terminates Most Sudan Sanctions On October 13, President Trump announced that he would no longer certify to Congress that the suspension of U.S. sanctions against Iran pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) is “appropriate and proportionate” to the steps that Iran has taken to terminate its illicit … Continue Reading

The Top Three Political Law Risks for Hedge Funds, Private Equity Funds, and Investment Firms

Perhaps no industry faces more scrutiny and regulation of its political activities than the financial services industry.   Even though these rules are often not intuitive, failure to comply with them can result in big penalties, loss of business, and debilitating reputational consequences.  In this advisory, we describe three sometimes overlooked political law related risks for hedge funds, … Continue Reading

FEC Increases Contribution Limits to Party Committees, Leaves Candidate Limits the Same

The Federal Election Commission has announced contribution limits for the 2017-2018 election cycle.  The new limits are effective January 1, 2017. The FEC did not change the limit on the amount an individual can contribution to a candidate, leaving the limit at $2700 per election.  Because the primary and general count as separate elections, individuals may … Continue Reading

New Executive Branch Ethics Rules on Gifts and Procedures for New Hires, Appointees, and the Presidential Transition

The start of 2017 brings two changes to the federal Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) rules for executive branch officers and employees. First, important changes to the executive branch gift rules went into effect this week.  We detailed those changes in this alert. Second, OGE’s overhaul of the Executive Branch Ethics Program regulations (5 C.F.R. … Continue Reading
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