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Campaign Finance Enforcement Trends: The Use of Public Resources and Other Hot Topics

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: January 27, 2020
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  • Use of Public Resources in State and Local Elections
  • "Pay to Play" Provisions for Government Contractors
  • Independent Expenditures, Electioneering and Dark Money
  • Personal Use of Candidate Funds
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: January 27, 2020


This panel will focus on areas of relative certainty and common interest by campaign finance regulators, including the use of public resources in campaigns, the growth of independent expenditures, the efforts to shed light on "dark money" and efforts to address "pay to play" by government contractors.

This program was recorded on January 27th, 2020

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Amber Maltbie

Nossaman LLP

Amber Maltbie is a campaign finance and election law attorney, providing strategic counsel to individuals, nonprofits, agencies, and organizations engaged in political and lobbying activity. She has advised clients at the federal, state, and local levels and across all 50 states. Amber’s practice includes advising on campaign rules, government ethics, lobbying compliance, and all aspects of nonprofit entity formation. Additionally, she leverages the resources of Nossaman’s other practice groups to provide campaign organizations and nonprofit entities with assistance for their related employment law, tax law, and insurance needs. Amber has been recognized as an expert witness on campaign finance in both civil and administrative proceedings. She also is a frequent speaker and panelist on trending issues nationally.

In addition to her legal practice, Amber serves the community in a variety of capacities. In 2016, she was elected to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC), which helps shape the Los Angeles City Council’s agenda to reflect the priorities of the City’s neighborhoods. In 2019, Amber chaired the DLANC Election Committee, exercising oversight on such decisions as polling location, preparation of voter information guides, and voter outreach to ensure a high turnout election. For the past six years, Amber has served on the board of Emerge California, an organization that has trained over 500 women to run for office in California. She chaired the board during the 2018 election, which saw a record number of women run and win in California and across the country. Amber is currently on the board of APIs Mobilize, a 501c.3 nonprofit that encourage young Asian and Pacific Islander leaders to step into civic roles at all levels of government. Finally, Amber teaches Election Law at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Prior to her legal career, Amber spent more than a decade working in politics. She served as Communications Director to a member of the California State Legislature and Campaign Manager and Political Director for a Member of Congress. For two election cycles, Amber worked in targeted congressional districts developing and implementing voter engagement programs around the country.

Amber’s background as a seasoned political and communications professional, combined with her leadership positions within nonprofit organizations, positions her to truly partner with clients to achieve their advocacy goals.

Amber also excels in matters at the intersection between U.S. and international election law, gender issues, and women's political participation. She has been widely recognized as a leading expert in gender and elections. Her work on women's voting rights in emerging democracies has been cited in United Nations Development Programme reports and published by international NGOs. In addition to her scholarly work on women's voting rights, Amber has worked with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in North Mitrovica, Kosovo during Kosovo’s first Parliamentary elections in 2010.

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Megan Engelhardt

Assistant Executive Director
Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Megan Engelhardt is an Assistant Executive Director at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

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Steve Berlin

Executive Director
Chicago Board of Ethics

Steve Berlin was appointed as the Executive Director of the Board of Ethics by then-Mayor Rich Daley and confirmed by the City Council for this position in December 2008. Before that appointment, he served as the Board’s Acting Executive Director, from October 2006, and began his City career in September 1993 as the Board’s Deputy Director. In his years with the City, he has implemented several changes to the City’s ethics and campaign financing laws, including a major overhaul, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and further revisions under Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and has advised tens of thousands of City employees, officials, lobbyists and contractors on complying with the letter and spirit of the City’s ethics laws.

Steve is the current President of COGEL (the Council on Government Ethics Laws, an international organization with more than 500 members, most of which are ethics, campaign financing, lobbying, election administration, and FOIA regulating agencies and personnel throughout the U.S. and Canada at the federal, state/provincial, and municipal levels), serving a one-year term. He appears regularly at conferences and panels as an expert on ethics in government, has authored several articles. In June 2012, he served as a State Department Legislative Fellow in the Republic of Georgia, advising officials there on establishing and maintaining government ethics institutions, and also served as an adviser to the Lt. Governor's committee to rewrite the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association's Government Lawyer Committee, and an adjunct member of the American Law Institute's Principles of Government Ethics project.

He received his J.D. in 1984 from Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law, and received his B.A. in history, cum laude, from Amherst College in 1980. In 1991, he earned an M.A. in Ethics from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. He began his legal career with Altheimer & Gray in 1984, then worked for Rudnick & Wolfe (now DLA Piper), both in Chicago. He also worked as Research Attorney for the American Judicature Society, and was a Fellow with the Park Ridge Center for Health, Faith and Ethics. From 1991-2013, he taught Business Ethics and the Arts as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia College Chicago. He is the proud father of two daughters, and is both a Cubs and White Sox fan, living proof that this is indeed possible.

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Jason Kaune

Neilsen Merksamer

Jason Kaune leads the firm’s political law section. His practice focuses on government ethics, including the election, lobbying disclosure, conflict of interest, gift and gratuity, and campaign finance laws of federal, state and local governments. He additionally has administrative oversight of the firm’s San Francisco Bay Area office.

Mr. Kaune advises clients on the complex government regulation of the political intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States. For twenty years, he has pioneered the firm’s national compliance practice, building client-oriented resources and innovative systems with his political law colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community. As a recognized expert on corporate political compliance, his clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies.

He represents clients in regard to their dealings with federal, state and local government ethics agencies across the country, associating with local counsel as necessary. His expertise includes “pay to play” restrictions on government contractors, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and similar laws at every level of government.

He is one of the leading political attorneys in California, advising individuals, entities and government agencies on complex election law and conflict of interest matters. He serves as counsel and treasurer political action committees, advocacy groups, social welfare organizations, independent expenditure committees and ballot measures on topics ranging from land use restrictions to government reform.

He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association and member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and other professional associations. He co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s widely regarded annual conference on Corporate Political Activities and has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Election Law for the American Bar Association. He serves as an elected trustee of a California public school district.

Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors, as a speechwriter in Washington, D.C., on a presidential campaign, and as an extern for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge and for the California Law Revision Commission. He received his degrees from Yale University, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

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