Our goal is to host an annual event which helps clarify ethics laws and practices while also enhancing relationships among the various and unique constituencies involved in our profession. Due to the success of last year’s 2-day event, we are once again dividing the Institute into 2 separate sessions – with one day focused on PAC and campaign related compliance and one day centered on lobby law issues and related topics. Thanks to everyone who attended the September PAC & Campaign event and the November Lobby Law Compliance event. Look for our participant survey coming soon. If you have any questions click here to contact us.

PAC & Campaign Compliance

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
AT&T Conference Center
9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Opening Remarks at 8:45 a.m.
Link to Agenda

Whether you have a PAC, are thinking of creating one, or have questions about recent court decisions impacting independent expenditures, dark money issues, corporate involvement in measure elections or Super PACs, we have you covered. The PAC and campaign session will address administrative issues involved with setting up and maintaining a PAC in Texas, as well as general compliance challenges. The institute will also discuss reporting challenges and the newest direction in enforcement from the Texas Ethics Commission.

September 17, 2014
  • 9:00 am - 10:15 amYesterday All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away: What's going on at the Commission that impacts your life…todayThe latest Commission activity in rules, opinions and fines, as well as an update on the new TEC software system.
    From the new campaign reporting software scheduled to be implemented the first of the year to the impact of court decisions on regular PAC activities, it's been a busy year for the Texas Ethics Commission. The overview will include a review of complaints and resolutions on Title 15 actions as well as a discussion of the ethical implications facing practitioners as you give advice to your employer and clients.
    Jack Gullahorn President and General Counsel, Professional Advocacy Association of Texas
    Natalia Luna Ashley Texas Ethics Commission
    Erik Dietz Project Manager, RFD & Associates, Inc.
    Jessie Hoag Director of Computer Services, Texas Ethics Commission
  • 10:20 am - 10:40 amWhat a Wonderful World: To disclose or not to disclose, that is the questionTexas Ethics Commission Chairman Jim Clancy will share his thoughts on the importance of the issues surrounding the recently proposed "dark money" rules and court decisions on the ethical environment for all of us, as well as the Commission's efforts to increase enforcement and compliance.
    Jim Clancy Chairman, Texas Ethics Commission
  • 10:45 am - 11:45 amImagine All the People Living Life in Peace: Texas PACs and Corporate/Association Political Involvement 3.0Citizens United and Independent Expenditures
    If you stay awake at night wondering about the difference between "a principal purpose" and "the principal purpose" and why the wrong answer may be a job killer, this panel is for you. The latest updates on current Commission status of the pending "Empower Texans" complaint and the broader questions it raises as well as a discussion from the experts on what's ahead for the law in Texas will be a part of this primer on how to avoid trouble.
    Ed Shack Attorney at Law
    Tim Sorrells Attorney, Tuggey Calvoz LLP
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pmI Walk the Line: Why can’t we figure this stuff out?Review of key PAC and campaign related administrative and compliance issues that keep us all up at night.
    Predictability and certainty are not words used in discussions about campaign finance and reporting in our world. This panel will explore the most common areas of complaints, problems, and questions faced by those active in the complex world of political and campaign activity, with advice on reporting, local measure elections and connected PAC activity.
    Natalia Luna Ashley Executive Director, Texas Ethics Commission
    Andrew Cates Associate Counsel, Texas Association of Realtors
    Ross Fischer Attorney, Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde & Zech, P.C.
    Gardner Pate Attorney, Locke Lord LLP
  • 1:05 pm - 1:55 pmTomorrow, Tomorrow: The quickly changing world of PAC and campaign technologyThe blitzkrieg speed of the advance of technology creates both possibilities and obstacles for the average candidate and PAC, as targeting for fundraising and campaign messaging becomes increasingly more specialized. Whats coming? How can you plan for it?
    Seth Samuels, Civis Analytics
    Phil Kregel and Chris Asmar
, NationBuilder
    Moderated by Elyse Yates, Founder, CEO, Influence Opinions

Lobby Law Compliance

November 19, 2014
Radisson Hotel Austin Downtown
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Opening Remarks at 8:45 a.m.
Link to Agenda

Whether you are a lobbyist, a government affairs professional or just want to better understand (or help your company or client understand) the Texas lobby laws, you will benefit from this session. Topics covered will include an overview of the latest Commission activities surrounding registration requirements and exceptions, and probable upcoming legislative initiatives, as well as an overview of new legislative administrative processes and procedures and an examination of effective lobby tools and technologies.

November 19, 2014
  • 9:00 am - 10:10 amMama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.Commission Update and 2015 Session Ethics Legislation Discussion
    An overview of what has happened and what is currently before the Commission since the last Institute, including adopted rules and advisory opinions and enforcement decisions which have taken place. Discussion will also include a review of possible ethics legislative proposals during the 2015 session as well as an overview of the new lobby reporting software which is scheduled to be implemented next year.
    Jack Gullahorn President and General Counsel, Professional Advocacy Association of Texas
    Natalia Luna Ashley Executive Director, Texas Ethics Commission
    John Moore Director of Enforcement, Texas Ethics Commission
  • 10:10 am - 10:30 amThere’s no crying in baseball!Ethics Compliance and Enforcement
    A discussion about the current and future ethics environment in Texas, including a review of Commission enforcement policies and procedures.
    Natalia Luna Ashley Executive Director, Texas Ethics Commission
    John Moore Director of Enforcement, Texas Ethics Commission
  • 10:40 am - 11:40 amJust the facts, ma’am, just the facts.Key Lobby Ethics Compliance Scenarios
    A review of key lobby ethics compliance issues and questions and what you need to know once the election is over and the 2015 Legislative Session is on the horizon.
    Gardner Pate Attorney at Law, Locke Lord, LLP
    Tim Sorrells Attorney at Law
    Jack Gullahorn President and General Counsel, Professional Advocacy Association of Texas
  • 12:00 pm - 12:50 pmWelcome to the 90’s Mr. Banks.Technology and Parliamentary Procedure
    An update on new legislative administrative procedures, rules and technologies, including a review of the new electronic bill filing system and its impact on the legislative process in terms of rule changes, committees, etc.
    Chris Griesel Parliamentarian, Texas House of Representatives
    Robert Haney Chief Clerk, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1:00 pm - 1:50 pmWhat we’ve got here is failure to communicate.The First Amendment Gives You the Right to….What????
    Discussion with Michael Quinn Sullivan attorney Joe Nixon about what he believes is wrong with the Texas lobby law, including what is arguably unconstitutional, and why he feels the current law doesn’t always require registration.
    Joe Nixon Attorney at Law, Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP