United States: Sponsoring Events During The Upcoming Democratic And Republican National Conventions

Recently the House and Senate Ethics Committees issued updated guidance for Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and outside groups to follow in conjunction with events being sponsored during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The Guidance reiterates that existing Congressional rules governing the receipt of gifts and travel by federal legislators and staff continue to apply to activities at the national political conventions. The guidance also confirms that the various exceptions to the House and Senate Gift Rules also apply to events sponsored during the national party events.

When planning or sponsoring national party convention events, organizations should be mindful of the following key exceptions to the House and Senate's general prohibition on the acceptance of gifts by Members and staff:

  • Widely-attended events at the invitation of the event sponsor
    This exception applies to events such as breakfasts and luncheons, conferences, forums and panel discussions held during the conventions where, in addition to congressional members and/or staff, at least 25 attendees from a given industry or sector are in attendance. Such events may include meals provided in a group setting. Attendance by Congressional participants should be reasonably related to their official duties. Invitations must be extended to covered officials by the official host of the event, not by a corporation that might simply have bought a table at the event. Purely recreational events, such as a concert or a golf outing, do not fall within the "widely attended event" exception.
  • Gifts provided to Members of Congress and staff by a federal, state or local government entity. This includes the host city.
  • Nominal food and beverages provided outside of a meal setting, such as a cocktail reception with a reasonable amount of food. Such events are not required to meet the standards for a "widely attended event."
  • Free attendance at a charity event at the invitation of the event sponsor. This includes food, refreshments and entertainment that are a part of the event.
  • Free attendance at a political event, such as a fundraiser or other campaign event, that is organized by a candidate's campaign committee, political party or PAC.
  • Nominal gifts, such as a t-shirt or baseball cap of reasonable value, or other non-food items with an aggregate value of $10 or less.
  • Gifts of less than $50 in value ($100 annual gift limit) from entities or individuals other than lobbyists or entities that employ or retain lobbyists

Despite these well-established exceptions, entities organizing or sponsoring convention events in Philadelphia and Cleveland should be aware that House and Senate guidelines place specific restrictions on the manner in which Members of Congress may be recognized during national political party conventions. It is prohibited for a lobbyist, a registered entity employing a lobbyist, or a registered entity retaining a lobbying firm to pay for an event during the dates of the conventions that "honors" a Member of Congress. This prohibition applies to Members of both the House and Senate with some minor differences as follows:

Prohibited Events

  • Convention events honoring members of the House in invitations, promotional materials or publicity materials. It is impermissible for a convention event to honor a House Member by name, personal title, or leadership role, or to reference such a Member as a "special guest" or speaker in any invitations, promotional materials, or convention publicity.
  • Convention events providing House members special benefits or opportunities, including exclusive speaking roles or prominent ceremonial roles. It is impermissible for a convention event to allow participation by Members of the House where they receive, through participation in the event, some special benefit or opportunity that would not be available to other participants. Such special benefits include offering Members an exclusive speaking role, a prominent ceremonial role, or an invited speaker role at such an event.
  • Convention events honoring Senators – It is impermissible for a convention event organizer to honor a Senator or group of Senators, by name or title, in the invitation or program for the gathering. This prohibition does not, however, prevent the hosting of an event where a Senator is a featured speaker, provided he or she is not the only speaker at the event and the event was not designed and billed primarily to recognize the work of the senator.
  • Recreational events sponsored by lobbying organizations that provide Members of Congress and staff with free attendance. However, such an event would be permissible if members and staff were required to pay market value to attend.

Acceptable Events

  • Convention events honoring political groups or groups of members. Members of Congress may typically attend events organized to honor convention delegations and congressional committees and caucuses—so long as they do not name any specific member of a delegation, committee or caucus, or provide any special benefit or opportunity to a particular member.
  • Convention events where members are part of a "honorary host committee" that includes non-elected officials. Members of Congress may attend and be listed on the honorary host committee for events held during the national conventions so long as such host committees also include individuals who are not Members of Congress.
  • Honoring events held immediately prior to or following the days of the convention. Members of Congress are permitted to attend events right before or right after the days of the national conventions, assuming such events comply with standard Congressional rules.

For specific advice and guidance on the ethics rules in regard to sponsorship of events during the upcoming national political conventions, please contact the Dentons' Political Law team. Members of our bipartisan team of election law and government ethics experts are available to help organizations advance their advocacy and relationship-building goals in Philadelphia and Cleveland while remaining fully compliant with federal ethics guidelines.

Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Events from this Firm
24 Oct 2017, Seminar, Washington, DC, United States

The Dentons Forum for Women Executives invites you to join us for a luncheon featuring guest speaker Liza Mundy, journalist and author. Ms. Mundy recently released her latest book, Code Girls, the riveting untold story of more than 10,000 spirited young American women who cracked German and Japanese codes to help win World War II.

27 Oct 2017, Seminar, New York, United States

Please join us for a milestone event, our 10th annual CLE Seminar for In-House Counsel.

1 Nov 2017, Seminar, Washington, DC, United States

Celebrate the 58th anniversary of Dentons' Government Contracts practice

 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.