Archive News


October 15, 2015

Partner Richard Rios in the news regarding FPPC independent expenditure regulation

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP partner, Richard Rios, was recently quoted in several news stories regarding the FPPC's efforts to tighten the rules regulating third party independent spending on behalf of candidates. Ever since California imposed contribution limits on state candidates in 2000, the level of independent expenditures, which are not subject to contribution limits, has increased. Recently the FPPC noticed for adoption new regulations to make certain the third party spending is in fact independent. Rios proposed modifications to the proposed regulations, incorporated into the proposed draft, which clarified how the new rules would work. The FPPC ultimately adopted the new regulations.

october 12, 2015

Sacramento Firm Endorses Long Beach Outpost

With the 2016 election season quickly approaching, Sacramento political law firm Olson Hagel & Fishburn has opened an office in Long Beach to capitalize on an expected spike in demand.

Olson Hagel took over the office of California Political Law Inc. on Oct. 1 and hired its former president, Betty Ann Downing, as a senior attorney.

"We had been planning this for the better part of two years," said Richard Rios, who's now heading up the local office. "But it's not a coincidence that we're opening in October of an odd year. We think there is going to be a historic number of ballot measures on the ballot in 2016. …We're hoping we can get a strong foothold in the Southern California market."

Rios said he'll divide his time between the new office and Sacramento. For now, Downing will be the only attorney based full time in Long Beach. The firm has 11 lawyers, including Downing, but that might soon increase.

"We're going to see how this rolls out going forward," Rios said. "If we're able to achieve the growth like we think we will, then we will be looking to grow the attorney capacity."

Olson Hagel, founded in 1977, advises clients on campaign finance laws, conflicts of interest, ethics and lobbying laws among other political practice areas.

"In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, there are so many jurisdictions and so many elections in all different municipalities," Rios said. "So we thought there was definitely a need for an additional service provider."

July 19, 2015

Senior partner Lance Olson named 2015 Northern California Super Lawyer

Lance Olson, senior partner at Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, has been named by Super Lawyers Magazine a "top" attorney in Northern California, designating Olson as a "Super Lawyer" in his field of Legislative and Government Affairs. Olson, who founded the firm in 1977, has specialized in recent years to drafting legislation, particularly initiatives and ballot measures which routinely appear on California's local and statewide ballots. Olson drafted Proposition 34 at the request of the Legislature, the comprehensive campaign finance reform measure adopted by the voters in November 2000. In 2010 he drafted the successful Proposition 25 promoted by labor unions and the Democratic Party which reduced the Legislative vote requirement to pass a budget in California from 2/3rds to a majority. Olson also drafted Proposition 28, modifying Legislative term limits, adopted by voters in 2012.

july 17, 2015

Senior Partner Lance Olson quoted in article criticizing newly filed Pension Initiative aimed at retirement benefits for public employees

The online publication, Capital and Main, which covers contemporary economic and social issues within California, recently published an article, entitled "Measure of Deception," regarding the newly filed Pension Initiative authored by former Mayors Charles Reed (San Jose) and Carl Demaio (San Diego). The initiative takes aim at the compensation and retirement benefits for public employees. Olson, who represents Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of public employee labor organizations, took issue with the initiative. Olson is quoted in the article regarding the proponents claims the initiative would not affect current government workers: "Either they haven't been truthful about their own initiative or they don't understand their own initiative."

Read Full Article

june 9, 2015

Richard Rios, partner at Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, receives shout out from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, gave the high school commencement address at the Yucaipa High School where OHF partner Richard Rios graduated in 1990. During his speech Superintendent Torlakson noted that Richard, a former Yucaipa graduate, was his first staff person he hired when Torlakson was elected to the State Assembly. Torlakson told the students how Richard went on to become a senior staffer to the Speaker of the Assembly before attending law school and later joining a "prestigious law firm" where he later became a partner.

view speech

may 27, 2015

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn Managing Partner Featured in CSBA Webinar on School Funding Adequacy

The California School Boards Association, a litigation client of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, recently sponsored a webinar on the adequacy of school funding in California. OHF managing partner Deborah Caplan, who serves as lead counsel in CSBA's lawsuit against the State of California challenging the adequacy of public school funding, was featured in the webinar. In the webinar Caplan discusses the theory behind CSBA's constitutional challenge to school funding in a major case known as Robles-Wong v. California. That case is now pending before the First District Court of Appeal.

april 6, 2015

Senior partner, Lance Olson, quoted in LA Times article regarding major Republican donor

The Los Angeles Times has published a comprehensive background article on Republican major donor Charles Munger. The article pointed out that the Democrats have filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging violations of campaign finance rules resulting from Munger's 2014 election expenditures. Olson, Hagel & Fishburn senior partner Lance Olson, who assisted in drafting the complaint, is quoted in the article. An excerpt from the article notes "The scale of Munger's spending has drawn scorn from adversaries. The state Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating Democrats' allegations that Munger skirted donation limits last year by funneling money through the state party to favored candidates. "There's a lot of smoke there," said Lance Olson, a Democratic Party lawyer."

read full article

february 14, 2015

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Sponsors 12th Annual Valentine Run to Support Legal Services of Northern California

Olson Hagel & Fishburn was a proud sponsor of the 12th Annual Valentine Run to raise money for Legal Services of Northern California. In addition to being a Bronze Heart sponsor, the firm sent a team of 11 individuals to run in this year's event. Through special programs and advocacy, Legal Services of Northern California supports over 500,000 under-represented citizens in 23 counties in Northern California, helping the poor achieve justice and stability by challenging the causes and effects of poverty in our communities.

about the lsnc

february 6, 2015

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Article "New Campaign Finance Laws in Place for 2015 Elections" appears in PORAC Law Enforcement News Magazine

Diane Fishburn, former partner and now of-counsel, and associate Emily Andrews recently published an article titled "New Campaign Finance Laws in Place for 2015 Elections" in the January 2015 edition of the Peace Officers Research Association of California ("PORAC") Law News magazine. The article discusses changes to state campaign reporting laws that now require nonprofit organizations, such as law enforcement associations, to follow the same reporting requirements for major donors provided total annual contributions made from the organization's general fund are between $10,000 and $50,000 in a calendar year (and no more than $50,000 in a 12-month period).



NOVEMBER 21, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Successfully Represents Jim Costa in Central Valley 16th Congressional District Vote Tally

Richard Rios, a partner with Olson Hagel & Fishburn's political compliance unit, successfully represented five-term incumbent U.S. House Representative Jim Costa in vote canvassing efforts for the Central Valley's 16th congressional district. Fresno Democrat Jim Costa was initially behind his Republican challenger, Johnny Tacherra, by 741 votes out of more than 80,000 votes counted following the closing of the polls on November 4, 2014. An ensuing two week vote tally process of the remaining absentee and provisional ballots, however, resulted in Costa being declared the winner with 50.7% of the vote.

october 27, 2014

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn Represents Local Democratize Party Members Calling for FPPC Investigation of California Republican Party for Violation of Campaign Finance Laws

Lance Olson, senior partner at Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, assisted local Democratic Party members in filing two Fair Political Practices Commission complaints immediately before the November general election. Both complaints allege that the California Republican Party has illegally funneled money from billionaire businessman and top Republican donor Charles Munger Jr. to Jack Mobley's Merced area Assembly campaign and Andy Vidak's Fresno area Senate campaign. The complaint alleges that by labeling the funds, which total in excess of one million dollars, as "independent expenditures," the California Republican party has skirted campaign contribution limits and hidden Munger Jr. as the true source of the funds.

In several news articles Olson describes the making of independent expenditures by either political party at this amount as "unprecedented in California state politics" and notes that the use of independent expenditures in this manner "provides no transparency for the public and allows donors to skirt contribution limits." Shortly after filing the complaints, the FPPC notified the Republican Party that it was launching an investigation.

october 14, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Defends Benicia Mayor's Right to Participate in Public Discussion of Controversial Valero Rail Terminal Permit

Diane Fishburn, former partner and now of-counsel at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, currently represents Mayor Elizabeth Patterson of the City of Benicia in support of the Mayor's right to engage in public discussion of the controversial Valero rail terminal permit. Valero is seeking permits to build a rail terminal to receive up to 1.4 million gallons of crude oil daily by train. Mayor Patterson hired Fishburn after she was advised by the Benicia City Attorney not to participate in city decisions relating to Valero's pending permit decisions and not engage in public discussion of the matter. Previously, Mayor Patterson has spoken out about crude-by rail, fossil fuels, public safety, and environmental air, water, and habitat hazards arising from "oil train" accidents. Fishburn, in a letter to the city, noted that "[t]he law fully supports the mayor's complete participation in both the public community discussions and her activities in her role as mayor as well as in any decisions which may come before the council on the [Valero] project."

Read Full Article - SACRAMENTO BEE

august 8, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Partner Richard Miadich Elected ABF Fellow

Olson Hagel & Fishburn, LLP announces that Partner Richard C. Miadich has been elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. The Fellows is an honorary organization of attorneys, judges and law professors who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession publicly and professionally. Membership in the Fellows is limited to one third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice law in each jurisdiction in the United States.

Established in 1955, The Fellows encourage and support the research program of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). ABF is the nation's leading research institute for the empirical study of law. An independent, nonprofit organization for more than fifty years, ABF seeks to advance the understanding and improvement of law through research projects on the most pressing issues facing the legal system in the United States and the world.

august 4, 2014

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn Featured in Recent Articles Following Major Court Victory

Two publications have highlighted Olson, Hagel & Fishburn's successful lawsuit to remove a Ventura County anti-pension measure from the November 2014 ballot. The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) September 2014 newsletter ran an article authored by Deborah Caplan, managing partner at the firm, who briefed and argued the matter before the Ventura County Superior Court. The article describes the firm's early involvement in the matter and eventual victory, while noting that "[t]his legal decision should prevent attempts to bring similar pension "reform" initiatives in other counties participating in the County Employees Retirement Law (CERL)." The August 2014 issue of the Public Retirement Journal presented a question and answer session with Caplan. In the interview, Caplan discussed the legal infirmities of the anti-pension measure and made clear the Court's analysis reaffirms unilateral local changes to CERL retirement systems cannot take place without state legislative authorization.

read full article

august 4, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Successfully Challenges the Legality of the Ventura County Pension Initiative

Olson Hagel & Fishburn, on behalf of the Citizens for Retirement Security, has successfully challenged the validity of a proposed Ventura County initiative. The proposed initiative sought to withdraw Ventura County from the statewide County Employees Retirement Law ("CERL"), switch new County employees to a 401k-style plan, eliminate current death and disability benefits, and impose a five year freeze on compensation for most current employees. Ventura County Superior Judge Kent Kellegrew ruled that "allowing this measure to be considered on the November ballot would only result in a waste of public resources" because CERL is a state law and neither an initiative nor the board of supervisors can lawfully withdraw a county from the statewide CERL retirement system without state legislative authorization. The Court's order to remove the proposed initiative from the November ballot was stayed for 10 days to allow parties to seek appellate review, but the proponents have publicly announced that they will not be seeking appellate review.

listen full article

july 17, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn on behalf of OneCalifornia Committee Asks California Secretary of State to Investigate Allegations of Voter Fraud in Six Californias Initiative Signature Gathering Effort

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, on behalf of OneCalifornia, a bipartisan political committee formed in opposition to the Six Californias Initiative, has filed a request with Secretary of State Debra Bowen to investigate allegations of voter fraud during the signature gathering period for the Initiative. The request cited a recent Bay Area Newspaper Group story quoting individuals who said that signature gatherers had misled them about the Initiative by suggesting that the California Attorney General supported the Initiative and the Initiative opposes the division of California. The Six Californias Initiative, sponsored by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, calls for the creation of six new states out of the existing state of California. The Initiative has reportedly gathered 1.3 million signatures and county registrars must now determine if the Initiative has collected 807,000 valid signatures of registered voters needed to get the Initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

read full article

july 16, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Files an Amicus Brief on Behalf of the State Senate in Support of SB 7 Prevailing Wage Law

Richard Miadich, partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, filed an amicus curiae brief in City of El Centro, et. al v. Lanier, et. al. on behalf of the State Senate in defense of the constitutionality of SB 7. The lawsuit in El Centro was brought by several charter cities seeking to invalidate SB 7 which limits state construction money to charter cities that agree to pay state prevailing wages on local construction projects. Amicus argued in its brief that the Legislature's broad authority over state monies and existing "home rule" law permit the use of discretionary state financial assistance to incentivize local government to pursue important statewide interests such as the payment of prevailing wage. A ruling by the San Diego County Superior Court is expected in late August.

july 11, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Represents Betty Yee in Recount for State Controller Primary Race

Richard Rios, a partner with Olson Hagel & Fishburn's political compliance unit, is currently representing Betty Yee, the leading Democratic candidate for State Controller, in a recount of the state Controller's primary race. Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, finished ahead of fellow Democrat, John Perez, by 481 votes in one of the closest elections in state history. John Perez requested a manual recount of specified priority precincts in fifteen counties starting with Kern and Imperial counties on July 6. The declared winner of the primary election will face Republican candidate Ashley Swearengin, the current Mayor of Fresno in the November general election.

Read Full Article

june 19, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn File Lawsuit Challenging Legality of Ventura County Pension Reform Initiative

Deborah B. Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Citizens for Retirement Security challenging the validity of the Ventura County Pension Reform Initiative set for the November 2014 ballot. The Initiative seeks to replace Ventura County’s current pension system with a 401(k) style plan for new county employees. Caplan, along with Ventura County Counsel, argue that the Initiative is preempted by state law and requires state authorization to opt out of the existing county retirement program. The matter captioned Lacey, et al. v. Lunn, et al. will be heard in Ventura County Superior Court on August 4.

may 1, 2014

Diane Fishburn and Associate Emily Andrews Publish Article on Campaign Finance

Diane Fishburn, former partner and now of counsel to Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, and associate Emily Andrews recently published an article in the PORAC Law Enforcement News magazine regarding campaign finance laws. Titled "Election Year Update, Tips and FAQs" the article provides guidance regarding recent changes in campaign finance regulations and laws along with practical tips for keeping political activities lawful. The article also listed several common frequently asked questions with clear answers. PORAC is the largest statewide labor union representing law enforcement throughout California.

april 23, 2014

Senior Partner Lance Olson participates in Senate Ethics Training

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn senior partner Lance Olson helped conducted a recent ethics training program for members of the California State Senate. The program was organized by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a firm client, in the wake of recent criminal prosecutions of sitting members of the State Senate. Olson was one of three panelists who presented real life hypothetical scenarios representing potential ethical issues for public officials.

march 17, 2014

Chris Waddell Authors Chapter for Fiduciary Duty Handbook

Chris Waddell, a senior attorney at Olson Hagel & Fishburn and the head of the firm's Public Retirement Law practice, has authored a chapter in the Cambridge Handbook of Investment and Fiduciary Duty, recently published by the Cambridge Press. The Handbook, which includes 36 chapters contributed from academics and practitioners of fiduciary law, investment management, and pension management and governance from around the world, explores recent changes and future trends in the principles that govern institutional investors and fiduciaries. Mr. Waddell's chapter examines how best practice governance policies can assist pension fund trustees in fulfilling their fiduciary duties.

more info on handbook

march 14, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Successful Effort to Preserve Attorney General's Summary of the “Reed” Initiative

Richard Miadich, partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), the nation's largest trade association representing public pension systems, in Reed, et al. v. Bowen, et al. before the Sacramento Superior Court. Amicus argued the Attorney General's prepared summary for the Initiative titled "The Pension Reform Act of 2014" accurately and fairly describes how the Initiative "[e]liminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including teachers, nurses, and peace officers, for future work performed." Judge Allen Sumner agreed and denied Petitioner's writ of mandate to compel the Attorney General to amend the summary. The ruling determined that the term "vested" and the phrase "eliminates constitutional protections" are not false, misleading or biased; and the Attorney General's use of the phrase "including teachers, nurses, and peace officers" is permissible.

read full article

february 26, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Successful Effort to Keep Sacramento Arena Initiative Off the Ballot

Richard Miadich, partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the Sacramento-Sierra Building & Construction Trades Council, Greater Sacramento Urban League, and Sacramento Area Congregation in Camacho, et al. v. Concolino, et al. before the Sacramento Superior Court. Amici argued the Initiative titled "Voter Approval for Public Funding of Professional Sports Arena Act," is an unlawful attempt to amend the City Charter by ordinance and therefore beyond the power of the voters to adopt. Judge Timothy Frawley agreed. The ruling found that only a duly qualified charter amendment may limit the City Council's existing authority to manage the City's finances. The ruling also determined that the proponents of the initiative failed to substantially comply with procedural requirements to properly qualify the Initiative for the ballot.

read full article

february 11, 2014

Lance Olson Drafts Initiative to Require Nonprofit Donor Disclosure of "Dark Mone"

Senior partner Lance Olson was featured in the Capitol Weekly regarding an initiative he drafted dealing with "dark money" in California elections and the requirement for full disclosure by nonprofit organizations. "This is labor's backup if the Legislature doesn't deal with the problem" Olson is quoted in the story. Currently pending before the Legislature is SB 27 that would require full disclosure by nonprofit organizations spending large sums of money in connection with California elections. Olson helped draft SB 27 with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

read full article

january 24, 2014

Olson Hagel & Fishburn wins legal victory on behalf of the County of Los Angeles

Deborah B. Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, recently appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court to argue on behalf of the County of Los Angeles to prevent placing the AIDS Healthcare Foundation sponsored "Creation of a City of Los Angeles Public Health Department" initiative on the June 2014 ballot. Caplan, along with co-plaintiffs, the City of Los Angeles, argued that the initiative conflicts with state health law and impermissibly interferes with essential government functions. Judge Michael P. Linfield granted the plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and enjoined the Los Angeles County Clerk from placing the Initiative before the voters.

read full article



November 13, 2013

Lance Olson featured presenter at Capital Speakers Series on November 13 at Sacramento's Sutter Club

Senior partner Lance Olson will participate in a discussion of the role of "Dark Money" in financing political campaigns. The presentation is part of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law's Capital Speaker Series. Olson will be presenting along with fellow Pacific McGeorge graduate Chip Nielsen. The discussion will cover the recent imposition of fines by the California Fair Political Practices Commission against out of state nonprofit organizations which illegally funneled $15 million in political contributions in connection with last November's general election. In addition, Olson and Nielsen will address issues resulting from the US Supreme Court's recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC and its anticipated decision this term in McCutcheon v. FEC.

April 15, 2013

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn's Director of Administration accepts award for SVALA

Vicki Robinson, Olson Hagel's Director of Administration, served as President for the Sacramento Valley Chapter of Legal Administrators (SVALA) from April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. Under Ms. Robinson's leadership, the chapter received its first "Presidents' Award of Excellence Silver Level" from the Association of Legal Administrators. The award was presented at the National Conference in Maryland in April 2013.

The Presidents' Award of Excellence, named in honor of ALA's Past Presidents, recognizes chapters for effective day-to-day and ongoing chapter management. The goal of the organization is to educate their members to deliver cutting edge management and leadership services to legal departments.

ALA is a National Organization founded in 1971 with approximately 10,000 members worldwide, representing more than 30 countries. SVALA is part of Region Six which includes Arizona, California and Nevada. There are approximately 75 members in the SVALA Chapter with members from Sacramento, Elk Grove, Walnut Creek, and Modesto.

April 13, 2013

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn Receives Stephen Mather Visionary Award for Work on Measure F

Restore Hetch Hetchy, an environmental organization dedicated to restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley within Yosemite National Park, presented its prestigious Stephen Mather Visionary Award to Olson, Hagel & Fishburn for its pro bono legal work on behalf of Measure F which appeared on the November 2012 San Francisco ballot. Measure F would have called for a restoration study of the "other Yosemite Valley" through removal of the reservoir which currently floods Hetch Hetchy Valley within Yosemite National Park. Partner Diane Fishburn accepted the award before 150 guests at RHH's annual dinner. Diane noted that although not successful, Measure F advanced the cause by bringing national attention to the issue of reversing John Muir's unsuccessful environmental battle to save the valley.

february 9, 2013

Olson Hagel & Fishburn is Sponsor of 10th Annual Valentine Run to Support Legal Services of Northern California

Olson Hagel & Fishburn is a proud sponsor of the 10th Annual Valentine Run to raise money for Legal Services of Northern California. In addition to being a Copper Heart sponsor, the firm sent a team to run in this year's event.

Through special programs and advocacy, Legal Services of Northern California supports over 500,000 under-represented citizens in 23 counties in Northern California, helping the poor achieve justice and stability by challenging the causes and effects of poverty in our communities.



june 5, 2012

Term Limits reform initiative drafted by Lance H. Olson is overwhelmingly adopted by electorate at June 2012 primary

Proposition 28, a measure reforming California's two decade old term limits law, was adopted by voters at California's June election. The initiative, drafted by senior partner Lance H. Olson, was designed to permit Legislatures to serve up to 12 years in either the Senate or the Assembly, in contrast to the prior system of limiting Legislators to three terms in the Assembly (for a maximum of 6 years) and two terms in the Senate (for a maximum of 8 years). The idea behind the initiative was to provide more continuity and experience in each house of the Legislature. The initiative was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, a client of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn. Proposition 28 was approved by 61% of the voters.

april 1, 2012

Olson Hagel & Fishburn wins legal victory on behalf of the California School Boards Association

Olson Hagel & Fishburn represents the California School Boards Association's Education Legal Alliance, the Association of California School Administrators, and Stockton Unified School District in a lawsuit brought against the State Board of Education for its approval of a statewide charter granted to Aspire Public Schools in 2007. (The California Teachers Association was also a petitioner in the litigation but was represented by different counsel.) At a hearing in December 2011, Deborah Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, argued that the grant of the statewide charter violated state law, which favors locally-approved charters. Last month the Alameda County Superior Court agreed and expressed its intent to void the approval of State Board of Education's approval of Aspire's statewide charter.

march 29, 2012

Deborah B. Caplan defends constitutional guarantee to minimum level of education funding

Deborah B. Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, recently appeared in San Francisco Superior Court in an effort to protect education funding guaranteed by the California Constitution under Proposition 98. The lawsuit – brought on behalf of the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, Los Angeles USD, San Francisco USD, and Turlock USD – was filed in September 2011 in response to the enacted 2011-12 state budget, which underfunded schools by more than $2 billion. A decision by the superior court judge is expected within 90 days.



october 3, 2011

LA District Attorney tipped about campaign treasurer fraud with help of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn

The FBI arrested professional campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee last month on bank fraud charges after a number of prominent politicians reported fraudulent transactions and missing campaign funds from committee bank accounts. However, this is not the first time Durkee's name has been linked to fraud and embezzlement of campaign funds. Nearly two years ago, Olson Hagel & Fishburn assisted Senator Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, with drafting a letter to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to formally request an investigation of Durkee's actions in her capacity as Kehoe's campaign treasurer.

Read Full Article

july 1, 2011

Richard Miadich, Vice President of the Sacramento Law Foundation, participates in grant to Domestic Violence Victim's Shelter

Partner Richard Miadich who is Vice President of the Sacramento Law Foundation recently participated in an award of $5,000 to WEAVE, Inc. The SLF is the charitable arm of the Sacramento County Bar Association where Rich also serves on the Board of Directors. WEAVE provides a safe house and crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County. Rich was quoted in the Sacramento County Bar magazine's July issue: "The Sacramento Law Foundation is pleased to award this grant supporting WEAVE's efforts to improve access to justice for victims of domestic violence in the Sacramento community."

june 1, 2011

Lance Olson featured in University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Pacific Law Magazine

Senior partner Lance Olson was recently featured, along with two other UOP McGeorge School of Law alumni, in the law schools law summer issue of its magazine. In an article titled, "They Take the Initiative" Olson was described as one of the "major players in the California initiative process, both on the state and local level." Olson was identified as the author of Propositions 34 (campaign finance reform) and Proposition 25 (majority vote on the state budget) and one of the persons who spearheaded the creation of the California Political Attorneys Association.

march 3, 2011

Richard C. Miadich Becomes Partner

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2011, Richard C. Miadich became a partner in the firm. Prior to becoming a partner, Rich had worked as an associate attorney in the firm's Litigation Practice Group, where he participated in matters involving election and campaign finance law, education law, government and administrative law, and constitutional law. Rich is a graduate of the UC Davis School of Law and received his undergraduate degrees from UCLA. In addition to being a partner in the firm, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Bar Association and of the Sacramento Law Foundation.



december 15, 2010

Lance Olson named one of top 50 Democratic "players in California politics today" by Campaigns and Elections magazine

In an article called "California Influencers" Campaign and Elections magazine identified the top 50 Democratic and top 50 Republican players in California politics today. Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Lance Olson was named as one of the top 50 Democratic players in California. The article noted that Olson has been "advising Democrats about political law for nearly three decades."

November 11, 2010

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn files lawsuit to invalidate Governor's veto of mental health services to students

On behalf of the California School Boards Association, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Olson, Hagel & Fishburn filed an original writ in the 2nd District Court of Appeal challenging Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of funding for mental health services to students in public schools. The lawsuit alleges the veto violates mandate provisions of the State Constitution.

Olson, Hagel partner Deborah Caplan, lead attorney for the petitioners, was quoted in the legal newspaper, The Daily Recorder, stating "The Legislature made a conscious decision to continue the program of county mental health services and the petitioners believe the governor's attempt to overrule the Legislature's determination is unconstitutional."

November 4, 2010

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn attorneys participate in Fresno County vote canvass on behalf of Congressman Jim Costa

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County Elections workers are getting used to having someone looking over their shoulders. This panel of three is verifying, or attempting to verify the signatures on absentee ballots, while observers from election campaigns look on intently.

The workers are comparing signatures on absentee ballots with the signatures on voter registration cards. The County Clerk wouldn't let us show you the signatures, but there were some obvious discrepancies that these workers did their best to sort out.

"It says Alicia or maybe Jesus."

In this panel of three, two must agree whether a signature is valid, or not. If not, it's stamped as "challenged," and placed in a bin, where the Deputy Clerk will try to make a final determination of whether it will be counted or not. Most of those looking on were representing the candidates in the District 20 Congressional race between Democrat Jim Costa and Republican Andy Vidak and they are expected to further challenge some of the results.

November 1, 2010

Lance Olson featured in California Lawyer magazine article highlighting "California's Ballot Bar"

In an article called the "Propositioners: How a small number of legal specialists make their clients' cases to voters." Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Lance Olson is featured as one of a small group of political attorneys involved in drafting ballot measures. The article identifies Olson, Hagel as a firm which represents mostly Democratic and liberal clients and labor unions. Olson is identified as general counsel to the California Democratic Party.

october 7, 2010

Deborah Caplan is keynote speaker at University of Redlands

Deborah Caplan, keynote speaker at the University of Redlands where the focus of the symposium was "Fixing California School Finance" through a lawsuit brought by the California School Boards Association to challenge California's school financing system.

According to Deborah Caplan, a partner with Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, and one of the leading attorneys in the major lawsuit challenging the state's system of school finance now pending in the Alameda Superior Court, "The state has violated its constitutional duty to operate a functioning system of common schools and to keep up and support its schools because the programmatic and funding components of the system are so significantly disconnected and misaligned. As a result many students, and a disproportionate number of disadvantaged students, are denied an opportunity to learn the academic program proscribed by the state."

july 26, 2010

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn wins important Charter School decision

On Monday, July 26, the First District Court of Appeal issued a favorable ruling on behalf of several education organizations and school districts represented by Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP. In a case involving important charter school issues, the appeals court overturned the trial court's decision and held that the State Board of Education used the incorrect legal standard in approving statewide charter applications when it failed to determine whether the proposed program could be provided through locally-approved charter schools. The appellate court also held that the State Board's procedures for approving state charters were subject to review for compliance with California's Administrative Procedure Act, and that a chartering agency's actions or inaction with respect to a charter school could be subject to a writ of mandate under some circumstances. The case, California School Boards Association et al. v. State Board of Education, will return to the trial court for further proceedings.

Deborah B. Caplan, a partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, led the litigation efforts on behalf of the education associations and school districts. Counsel for the California Teachers Association also participated in the case.

july 23, 2010

Diane Fishburn provides training for local unions

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Diane Fishburn recently addressed several local unions at a training hosted by AFSCME Council 57. The training focused on participation in state and local elections while complying with state campaign finance law.

july 9, 2010

Diane Fishburn addresses Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Diane Fishburn recently provided a joint training with the law firm of Adler & Colvin for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The training was attended by local affiliates from around the state and addressed participation in State elections. Fishburn provided training for the affiliates on compliance with state and federal campaign finance laws.

may 22, 2010

Deborah Caplan addresses League of Women Voters

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Deborah Caplan recently addressed the Sacramento Chapter of the League of Women Voters on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission which struck down the federal law prohibiting union and corporate independent expenditures in connection with federal elections. Caplan explained the impact of the decision on campaign finance laws, particularly in California.

may 20, 2010

Major Education Funding Lawsuit Filed by Olson, Hagel & Fishburn

On Thursday, May 20, 2010, a coalition of students, parents, school districts, and education associations brought suit against the State of California alleging that the current education finance system is unconstitutional and that the State is required to establish a system that provides all students an equal educational opportunity. Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP represents the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, the California State PTA and the nine school districts throughout the State.

"California is currently not providing the system of schools required by the constitution because its system for financing education is completely disconnected from the costs of the State's educational program and from the needs of California's children," stated Attorney Deborah Caplan, speaking at a press conference in Sacramento. Caplan, who is a partner with Olson Hagel & Fishburn, also spoke of the daunting odds school districts face, with California ranked virtually at the bottom of all 50 states in terms of the ratios of teachers, counselors, nurses, administrative staff, computers and many other critical education resources.

may 14, 2010

FPPC Revamps Gift Rules

The FPPC has recently made significant regulatory changes regarding what constitutes a gift and how gifts are valued. Many long-standing rules have been significantly amended or eliminated all together. For example, free admission, refreshments and travel provided in connection with a speech, panel or seminar is now a reportable gift subject to limits.

april 28, 2010

Injunction of State Board of Education's Eighth Grade Algebra Requirement Upheld by Court of Appeal

In July 2008, the California State Board of Education adopted a requirement that all students throughout the state take algebra by eighth grade. Members of the education community retained Olson, Hagel & Fishburn to bring a legal challenge to the action. In January 2009, the trial court granted plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction, finding that the meeting was not properly noticed under the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act and that the State Board did not have authority to impose the eighth grade algebra requirement. After an appeal by the State Board, in April 2010, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the injunction in its entirety.

Deborah B. Caplan, a partner at Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, led the litigation efforts on behalf of the California School Boards Association and the Association of California School Administrators.

march 26, 2010

Local Lawyers Join Forces to Collect Food for the Hungry

The Sacramento Business Journal reports that local lawyers are teaming up with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services from April 19 to May 14 to fight hunger in the Sacramento region. The effort is headed up by Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP senior associate Rich Miadich who serves as co-chair. "As lawyers, we have a special public trust to provide service that goes beyond access to the court and some service pro bono," said Miadich. "Food from the Bar resonates with what lawyers can and should be doing." Founded in 1976, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services seeks to assist those in need and move them toward self-sufficiency and financial independence.

january 21, 2010

Judge Removes Strong Mayor Initiative from Ballot

On January 21, 2010 Sacramento Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster ruled that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's Strong Mayor Initiative constituted a revision of the city charter and such revisions cannot be proposed through the initiative process. The judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing the City Clerk from placing the matter before the voters. The lawsuit was brought by Sacramento labor leader Bill Camp who was represented by Lance Olson and Richard Miadich of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn. "The ruling affirms what we have argued all along," said Lance Olson, lead attorney for the plaintiff in the lawsuit. "The voters may revise the city charter, but it must be done lawfully and through an open and inclusive process."

january 21, 2010

Citizens United Case

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in a rare special public session which reflects the gravity of the decision particularly with respect to Federal elections. The major holding in the Citizens United case is that the Court invalidated the Federal law which prohibits corporations from making independent expenditures in Federal campaigns. The practical effect of the decision is that both labor unions and corporations are not prohibited from making independent expenditures in Federal elections, something they were not permitted to do prior to the decision.

Given that it is so recent, it will take some time to fully digest the implications of the decision. However, there is no doubt that the Court's decision will significantly impact Congressional and Presidential campaigns. Given that Senator Boxer is up for re-election in California this year, it may very well be that we will witness the effect of the Citizens United opinion here first-hand.



december 28, 2009

Deborah Caplan certified as Appellate Law Specialist

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Deborah Caplan was recently certified as an appellate law specialist by the California Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization. In order to obtain certification as an appellate specialist, an attorney must demonstrate substantial experience in handling appellate briefs and oral arguments and must pass a challenging written examination. There are less than 300 appellate specialists in the State.

december 17, 2009

"Enhancing Public Retiree Pension Plan Security: Best Practice Policies for Trustees and Pension Systems"

Chris Waddell, head of Olson Hagel & Fishburn's Public Retirement Law practice, has authored a report on public pension fund governance best practices for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), a longstanding client of the firm. The report, entitled: "Enhancing Public Retiree Pension Plan Security: Best Practice Policies for Trustees and Pension Systems," serves as a roadmap for improving public pension plan governance. The report reviews best practice policies and recommends policy language for pension systems to adopt with a focus on trustee responsibilities, education, core competencies and ethical and fiduciary conduct. A copy of the report is available at

december 2, 2009

Union Leaders Sue to Invalidate Sacramento Strong Mayor Initiative

On December 2, 2009 Bill Camp, head of the Sacramento Central Labor Council filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court challenging the constitutionality of the Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's Strong Mayor initiative. The lawsuit alleges the initiative violates the California Constitution which does not permit the revision of a city charter through the initiative process. Speaking at a news conference, Lance Olson, attorney for the union leaders, explained that the Mayor and proponent of the initiative had not followed the correct legal process for revising a city charter. "Any major changes to the Charter such as are proposed by the Strong Mayor Initiative must be done through a deliberative and open process—either by the City Council holding public hearings or through an elected charter commission operating in the open," explained Olson. "The Charter cannot be revised through a process where those with a private agenda and behind closed doors draft a new Charter and then present it directly to the voters. Such a process is not deliberative nor open as required by the State Constitution."



november 11, 2008

Election Day Revisited – One Week Later and Multiple Elections Still Up for Grabs

Most of Santa Barbara County's offices were closed for Veterans' Day. But at only 8:45 a.m. today, the county's election ballot-counting headquarters at the corner of Anacapa and Figueroa streets was bustling.

Three men sat outside with a stack of boxes of ballots, waiting to take them to the second-floor space filled with counting machines, computers, and yet more ballots. Upstairs, County Clerk-Recorder Joe Holland was giving a tour to a school field trip on one side near a handful of workers who were removing vote-by-mail ballots from their green envelopes. On the other side of the warm, stuffy room, one man was running ballots through a counting machine while three workers were duplicating ballots for people who had submitted ballots from overseas. There would be no holiday for these people.

Nor would there be a holiday for a group in the middle of the room - representatives dispatched by both the California Democratic and Republican parties who were ready to resume overseeing signature inspections on vote-by-mail ballots to make sure their candidates for the 19th Senate District, Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson and Republican Tony Strickland, were getting a fair shake. The already tedious process has been considerably slowed by the observers-one team of two election workers verifying signatures had only gotten through four ballots in roughly 30 minutes of work. Two of those were challenged. In fact, dozens of votes have thus far been challenged, Holland said.