2017 News

December 20, 2017

Olson Hagel’s Thomas Howard highlighted at the CPTA 17th meeting

It was November 2008 at the height of the economic crisis and Tom Howard picked possibly the most difficult time in history to leave his stable job in the UK government. His wife, Alyssa, convinced him that life would be better in sunny California rather than rainy overcrowded London, besides he had grown up watching the popular TV show “The OC” and thought that life in California would be all about surfing, big houses and sunshine. Instead, Tom hopped off a plane and ended up in a small apartment in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, just off of International Blvd. Not much surfing to be had. He had a plan and savings, but as the famous adage goes, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. The enemy in this case being the high cost of living in the Bay Area and the boredom of being unemployed. In 2009 Tom saw a job ad on Craigslist, advertising for a Political Reporting Specialist at Nielsen Merksamer. It seemed intriguing, and he thought he could take it while he studied for and completed his CPA exams. Unfortunately, he did not get the job but a couple of months later Cate Castonguay gave him a call out of the blue to see he was available to help out on a special project on a temporary basis. Well, that temporary job turned into six happy years at Nielsen Merksamer where Tom began in the National Compliance Section, then moved to the California Federal team and then back again as a Supervisor on the National Compliance team. Then in October 2015, Tom was lucky enough to be offered the position of Business Operations Manager at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, where he is responsible for managing all aspects of a busy and hugely successful political reporting unit. This challenging position exposed him to many different types of clients and the compliance issues they faced. Looking back, Tom says that he was always lucky to work with the best attorneys and reporting specialists both at Nielsen Merksamer and at Olson Hagel. Special recognition needs to go Chip Nielsen and Lance Olson who have provided him with extraordinary guidance, and have a depth of experience that is legendary. He would also like to thank Richard Rios, Lacey Keys, Darrin Lim, Cate Castonguay, Mia Brumfield and Lindsay Rice for their support, dedication, and most importantly their patience! Last but not least very special recognition should go to Sheila Scally, one of the best managers he ever had, and someone who loves the work so much even retirement cannot stop her!

December 18, 2017

Welcome baby Quinn

Lacey Keys and husband Travis Newton welcomed their baby girl, Quinn Taylor Newton, on December 9. Quinn was born at 1:56 a.m. that morning, weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces and was 21 and a quarter inches tall. She is the first child for the couple. Quinn and Lacey are doing great, and "the family is resting up for an exciting election year in 2018."

November 1, 2017

Partner Richard R. Rios Quoted in Daily Recorder story of the Fair Political Practices Commission’s Decision to Approve Opinion Request Related to Newman Recall

Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, LLP partner, Richard Rios, was recently quoted in a Daily Recorder story regarding the Fair Political Practices Commission's final formal opinion overturning long standing Commission advice related to candidate controlled committees giving unlimited amounts to candidates subject to recall.  Rios represented the California Senate Democratic Caucus which sought the opinion.  "It didn't make sense to us that anyone else could give unlimited contributions, but state candidates could only give $4,400," Rios is quoted as saying. The Commission agreed and reversed its staff's position on the issue. 

October 19, 2017

Governor Signs Assembly Bill 249, Creating New Earmarking and Disclaimer Rules for 2018

On October 7, 2017 the Governor signed legislation (AB 249) that makes two significant changes to state campaign law. The operative provisions of the bill will become effective January 1, 2018.

First, AB 249 imposes new definitions of earmarking related to contributions which are made to support or oppose specific candidates or ballot measures. Second, AB 249 significantly changes the disclaimer rules applicable to campaign communications.

A detailed summary of all of the changes imposed by AB 249 is beyond the scope of this update, however below are some important highlights:

  1. Broader and more specific definitions of earmarked contributions. There is a limited exception which applies to some small donor membership organizations.
  2. Paid for by and top contributor disclaimers imposed on all campaign communications by a PAC. Previously the rules depended on the type of communication and type of PAC, now these rules apply to all PAC communications and all PACs.
  3. Special disclaimer rules apply to political party committees and candidate committees for elective office.
  4. Significant changes to the display of disclaimers (size, location, font, etc.). Some requirements are now more detailed (e.g., mail and TV) while others are now more streamlined (e.g. social media and other electronic communications).

If you have specific questions about these changes as applied to your organization or PAC, please contact Lance Olson (lance@olsonhagel.com) or Lacey Keys (lacey@olsonhagel.com) or call our office at (916) 442-2952 for specific legal advice.

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september 20, 2017

Lance H. Olson Selected One of Daily Journal's Top 100 Lawyers

We are proud to congratulate our founding partner Lance H. Olson on being selected as one of the Daily Journal's Top 100 Lawyers in California for 2017.

Lance has been the firm's leader for 40 years and is admired and respected by clients, peers and elected officials statewide.

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July 27, 2017

Partner Richard R. Rios Quoted in LA Times’ Coverage of the Fair Political Practices Commission’s Decision to Approve Opinion Request Related to Newman Recall

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june 25, 2017

Presentations at the Legal Education Conference of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA)

The head of our Public Retirement Group, Chris Waddell, will be making two presentations at the Legal Education Conference of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA) in Monterey, California. On Tuesday, June 27, Chris will be discussing general fiduciary law principles in a session for new NAPPA members. On Thursday, June 29, he will be a member of a panel addressing the topic of "The Role of the Board in Benefit Design Issues/Reform Legislation." NAPPA provides educational opportunities and informational resources for attorneys who represent public pension funds in the United States.

june 16, 2017

Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP tapped by California Democratic Party to provide independent oversight and counsel to its Compliance Review Commission

The California Democratic Party announced last week that it has retained Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP to independently oversee, advise, and counsel the Party’s Compliance Review Commission as it assesses challenges filed in connection with the 2017 Democratic Party Chair election. The Party retained Olson Hagel at the request of the Commission.

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june 14, 2017

Are voters being tricked? Senator calls for probe into 'misleading' recall effort

Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, is asking state officials to investigate his allegations that the GOP groups leading an effort to recall him are misleading Southern California voters into signing petitions to oust him from office.

Richard Rios, Newman's attorney, claims signature gatherers are telling voters that the petition to recall Newman will stop the $52 billion gas tax recently approved by the Legislature. Rios, who works for the Sacramento firm Olson Hagel and Fishburn, alleges that the actions violate the state Elections Code, which establishes a misdemeanor offense for intentionally making false statements regarding the content of a petition.