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Senate Democrats Propose CONSENT Act

On April 10, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced new privacy legislation titled the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act.  In a statement published on his website, Senator Markey referred to the legislation as a “privacy bill of rights” and explained that “[t]he avalanche of privacy violations by … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for April

Today a three-week work period begins for Members of Congress arriving back in Washington, where President Trump has remained active (including via his Twitter account). The President has announced initiatives to address a host of topics, from immigration reform to international trade, as well as personnel changes within his Cabinet and White House staff. With the … 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

CLOUD Act Creates New Framework for Cross-Border Data Access

On March 23, 2018, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (“CLOUD”) Act, which creates a new framework for government access to data held by technology companies worldwide.The CLOUD Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, has two components.Part I:  Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Orders … 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

Giving The Middle Class Credit: With Latest Bill, Congress Is Taking A Step In The Right Direction

Bank-fintech partnerships are good for consumers and banks, as I recently explained in testimony to Congress during a hearing on the opportunities and challenges in the fintech marketplace. Consumers benefit because banks are able to use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower cost and more convenient financial products and services to consumers over the … 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

The Congressional Agenda for January

The Republican-led Congress and President Trump secured their first significant legislative victory with the December passage of tax reform legislation. Following that success, the GOP passed another temporary funding bill to avert a government shutdown before adjourning for the Christmas-New Year break. As a result, congressional leaders have again put off a resolution of a … Continue Reading

House Tax Bill Opens Door to Expanded Political Activity By Charities

There is one very important political law provision to watch as the tax bill moves to a final vote in the Senate, and potentially a conference committee reconciles the House and Senate versions.  This amendment will remove the ban on partisan political activities by charitable entities, churches, educational institutions and all other organizations exempt from … 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 Congressional Agenda for October

In contrast to the September work period, when a number of must-pass measures and a last-ditch (and eventually unsuccessful) effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act topped the congressional agenda, the three-week October session is likely to see Republican leaders in the House and Senate try to advance one of their central policy goals: comprehensive … Continue Reading

Framework for Tax Reform

This morning, the Unified Framework on Tax Reform was released by Republican members of the House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and the Trump Administration.  Some high level summaries and observations follow. Individual Rates Doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for a married couple filing jointly and $12,000 for a single individual, thus … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for September

For the first months of united Republican governance in Washington, the new administration and Congress accomplished little: confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, repeal of some late Obama-era regulations, and reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite seven years of promises lingers as … Continue Reading

FY17 Reconciliation Instructions Expire September 30.

Procedural questions over when a budget resolution’s reconciliation instructions become stale have swirled for years.  There were three options: the end of a fiscal year; until the next budget resolution overtakes it (and next budget resolution could certainly affirmatively preserve it); or  the end of a Congress.  The huge news out of the Senate today … Continue Reading

U.S. House Considering Major Change to Trade Association PAC Fundraising Rules

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations is considering a major change to the way trade associations are allowed to raise money into their political action committees (PACs).  Currently, if a trade association wants to solicit money from its member companies’ employees, it must first get advance approval from the company, and each company can authorize … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Dismisses Major Case Concerning Attorney-Client Privilege in Congressional Investigations

The long saga of the legal challenge by Carl Ferrer, CEO of Backpage, to a subpoena issued by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (“PSI”) appears to have reached a conclusion.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week dismissed the case as moot and additionally vacated a series of … Continue Reading
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