How Effective Target Setting Can Impact a Grassroots Campaign

Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC pic
Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC
Image: dmgs.com

Attorney and businessman Martin Milita is graduate of the Temple University School of Law, and served as the chief executive officer of Fiore Group Companies, Inc. from 1996 to 2001. Currently, Martin Milita serves as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC, a company that provides a full range of government relations and public affairs services such as grassroots campaigning.

A grassroots campaign is usually undertaken by an organization seeking to impact pending legislation. Because the main objective of a grassroots campaign is to get legislators to take notice of the campaign’s message, some lobbyists may rely on large numbers and loud voices. However, a reliance on these factors may defeat the overall purpose of the campaign.

One of the things that lobbyists must observe in conducting grassroots campaign is effective target setting. Phone calls and mailing in large numbers may be effective if all supporters can actively participate in the campaign, but that is not always the case. Otherwise, lobbyists should target the quality of the legislator connections, not the quantity. In fact, even a small number of phone calls can create a huge impact of they are targeted to people who maintain close relationships with politicians. As such, lobbyists must build these relationships and eventually put them to good use when the need arises.

Knights of Columbus Breaks Charitable Records 17th Year in a Row

Knights of Columbus pic
Knights of Columbus
Image: kofc.org

Martin Milita has served as a senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies in Trenton, New Jersey, since 2012. A committed philanthropist, Martin Milita supports the charitable faith-based organization Knights of Columbus.

A fraternal benefit society dedicated to helping people who are poor, ill, or disabled, Knights of Columbus maintains more than 1.9 million members worldwide. In a recent press release, the society announced its success in attaining record-breaking charitable efforts for the 17th consecutive year. As with previous years, 2015 witnessed steady gains in both donations and service hours. Last year’s totals reached $175,079,192 in contributions and 73.4 million service hours—up $1.5 million and more than a million hours in 2014. As expounded in the Knights’ Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity, 2015’s most magnanimous jurisdictions included Texas, California, Illinois, Michigan, and Ontario.

For the 2016-2017 fraternal year, Knights hopes to continue to expand its number of financial gifts and volunteer hours.

Knights of Columbus Recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company

Knights of Columbus pic
Knights of Columbus
Image: kofc.org

Since 2012, Martin Milita has served as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) in New Jersey, where he provides public affairs and government relations services. Martin Milita complements his professional endeavors with support for various nonprofit groups and charities, including the fraternal service organization Knights of Columbus.

In a recent press release, the Knight of Columbus announced that it was recognized as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the top groups in the world dedicated to advancing ethical business practices. Ethisphere has named the Knights of Columbus as one the world’s most ethical companies for three consecutive years, and it is one of just two life insurance companies included on the list. According to the CEO of Knights of Columbus, the company applies Catholic values and ethical standards across all of its business activities, from investments to daily operations.

Ethisphere has been identifying ethical companies for a decade based on their ability to foster corporate trust, align ethical standards with action, and model innovative best practices. By upholding ethical standards, Ethisphere explains that companies generate more value for stakeholders and establish a sustainable business advantage.

Martin Milita – Medicaid Fraud Control Units

Medicaid Fraud Control Units pic
Medicaid Fraud Control Units
Image: oig.hhs.gov

With experience in legislative and regulatory lobbying, business development, and law, Martin Milita serves as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC. In this position, Martin Milita has investigated matters related to fracking, environmental permits, and Medicaid fraud throughout the state.

Jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General and by their home states, Medicaid Fraud Control Units prosecute people who violate the Medicaid system. They investigate claims of patient abuse and neglect in healthcare facilities, violations of the Civil False Claims Act that impact Medicaid, and fraud against any part of the Medicaid system. First established in 1977, these organizations consist of lawyers, investigators, and legislators who understand the Medicaid system. Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia all have their own Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers remain a key area of focus for Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Over 60% of the civil settlements and judgments they obtained throughout FY 2013 came from investigations of actions committed by these companies. The same year saw the largest criminal recovery in the program’s history following an investigation into a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Among the conglomerate’s illicit actions were illegal marketing, false statements about safety, and illegal payments made to healthcare practitioners.

What Is the Process of an Internal Investigation?

Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC pic
Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC
Image: dmgs.com

Attorney Martin Milita serves as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC, in Trenton, New Jersey. A member of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, Martin Milita draws on his skills and experience in business law to walk companies through the process of conducting an internal investigation.

A number of events can trigger an internal investigation within a company, including an allegation or suggestion of wrongdoing or misconduct. The allegation or suggestion may come from an outside source, such as a regulatory agency, or an internal party, such as an employee or shareholder.

Once a company deems an internal investigation necessary, the company should first locate and review any documents related to the inquiry. Then, it should conduct interviews with anyone who may be involved or have knowledge relevant to the investigation. Finally, the company should compile all findings and report to company leaders and to those responsible for triggering the investigation.

The process of an internal investigation can be complicated and time consuming, but companies can save time and stress by employing the services of an attorney experienced in business law.

Civil War Trust – Preserving America’s History

Civil War pic
Civil War
Image: civilwar.org

Martin Milita serves as a senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, a firm providing the full spectrum of government relations services, from business development to legislative lobbying. Outside of his work with DMGS, Martin Milita supports nonprofits like the Civil War Trust, which maintains as its primary mission the preservation of Civil War battlegrounds.

Today, much of the land that served as the site of battles during the Civil War has been or is in danger of being destroyed by development. In fact, only 20 percent of battlefields are protected as part of local, state, or national parks, or through the work of nonprofits like the Civil War Trust. As development continues, the trust estimates that the United States is losing important battlegrounds at the rate of one acre per hour.

To combat the loss of these historic sites, the Civil War Trust multiplies donations from both private and public entities to purchase land. In the past years, it has matched every dollar donated by members with outside grants, multiplying private donations by a factor of four. Over the years, the trust has used these funds to preserve over 40,000 acres of historically significant land.

Preservation Efforts for the Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield

Civil War pic
Civil War
Image: civilwar.org

The senior director of Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC, Martin Milita is a public affairs professional based in New Jersey. Outside of his professional life, Martin Milita is a supporter of the Civil War Trust’s Gettysburg preservation efforts.

The Civil War Trust and its partner organizations have devoted time and effort to preserving 927 acres of the land upon which the iconic Battle of Gettysburg was fought. Though large, central sections of the battlefield are protected within the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic site, various additional tracts of historic lands on the outskirts of the main battlefield have been purchased by the Civil War Trust. Upon purchase, the lands are shielded from new development via conservation easements or transfer to the National Park Service or other preservation groups.

Many of the protected sites were once the locations of family farms and antebellum houses, where field hospitals and cavalry staging areas were set up by both armies. To learn more about the history behind the Gettysburg Battlefield and related conservation efforts, visit the Civil War Trust’s website at www.civilwar.org.

NJ bidders may need to submit a gender equity repo

Companies that bid on New Jersey state contracts would have to ensure their gender-based pay equity and job equality standards under a Democrat-backed bill that passed the state Assembly Thursday.

Assembly Bill 883 — as a part of a package of Bills aimed at combating poverty and rebuilding the state’s middle class — would require every government contract bidder to submit a gender equity report to the Division of Purchase and Property in the State Department of the Treasury.

The report would measure the extent to which men and women employees perform the same or comparable work at different rates of pay and the extent to which job titles may be predominately held by members of the same gender, according to the bill’s language.

Introduced in January, the proposed law was previously reviewed by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee and received 46-17-9 approval Thursday.

Under A883, the purchase and property division would develop a system for bidders to measure and remedy gender-based pay gaps and gender-based segregation of job titles, along with uniform reporting instructions and criteria. Bidders would also get technical assistance with the reporting, the bill said.

Bidders for emergency contracts would be exempt from the law, as would contracts paid in whole or in part by federal funds if the application of the rules would impact eligibility to receive the funds, the bill said.

Muoio and Lampitt were joined in their sponsorship by Gabriela M. Mosquera, D- Camden, John F. McKeon, D-Morris, and Mila M. Jasey, D-Essex. Muoio, Lampitt and Mosquera introduced the legislation during the last session in June, but it stalled in the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

The proposal has drawn criticism from the New Jersey Institute for Civil Justice, which described the legislation as a “complex and intrusive legislative scheme.”

The group feels the statistics would defeat the purpose of market wages, which they say provide a measure of a particular job’s worth and encourage people to take jobs for which demand exceeds supply. The reporting requirement itself would create a “treasure trove” of data that could leave employers vulnerable to lawsuits, the group said.

The group further contends that workplace gender equality statistics reflect disparities. Education, profession, experience or hours worked are among the “countless individual, voluntary choices that add up to statistical disparities in the aggregate,” the group said.

“The reality is that the existing anti-discrimination legal framework reflects a strong social consensus against discrimination based on sex,” the NJICJ said in a statement Friday. “The attempt to further regulate employee compensation and expose employers to litigation will succeed primarily in distorting labor markets and increasing the cost and risk of hiring new employees.

Lampitt, who authored legislation requiring employers to post wage discrimination notices in the workplace, countered that the current anti-discrimination statutes aren’t focused enough on women.

“If discrimination [laws are] already on the books, then why is it still happening?” she said.

Lampitt also addressed the statistics that would be provided, noting that citizens can find out information about public entities through the state’s Open Public Records Act. She asked why the private sector’s statistics shouldn’t be publicly available as well.

 

This Week in Congress

This week, both chambers will be in session, kicking off three busy weeks of legislative activity before the next scheduled recess. The Senate will resume consideration of its proposal to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, while the House will be taking up legislation related to the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and two bills related to domestic finance reforms.

The Senate is scheduled to return on Monday and resume consideration of H.R. 636, the vehicle for the FAA reauthorization bill authored by Commerce, Science, Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., and Ranking Member Bill Nelson, D-Fla. Consideration of the bipartisan bill will be interrupted briefly on Monday with a vote expected on the nomination of a federal district judge. The Senate is expected to spend the entire week on the FAA reauthorization bill and consider several amendments.

Final passage of the legislation may be held up over unrelated tax provisions that Senate Democrats are attempting to attach to the bill. Passage of the fiscal year 2015 omnibus spending measure last year included a package of tax credit renewals, including credits for solar and wind power, but the package left out other renewable energy sources, such as biomass, fuel cell and geothermal energy. Clean energy advocates claim the provisions were omitted from the omnibus inadvertently and would like to attach the extension of these tax credits to the must-pass FAA reauthorization bill. While the clean-energy tax credits do have the support of some congressional Republicans, more than two dozen conservative organizations oppose the inclusion of the tax-credit extensions in the FAA bill. In addition, Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is leading the effort to renew the clean-energy credits, is also reportedly seeking to add his bill to reform the federal taxes on beer and hard cider. The timeline to resolve these issues is constrained because the bill will still need consideration in the House, where many members are likely to oppose the tax provisions. The FAA bill itself must be enacted by July 15, when the current authority for the agency expires.

On the other side of the Capitol, the House of Representatives is scheduled to return following its recent two-week recess. The big news is not what will be on the floor, but what will not. Under the Budget Act, a budget is due by April 15. As we have reported previously, sharp disagreements among Republicans over a proposed budget appear to remain unresolved, and the House, whose leaders had hoped to tackle the budget resolution this week, will be considering other matters.

The House returns on Tuesday, with votes expected on four bills under suspension of the rules. Among these is H.R. 2947, a bill sponsored by Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., to undo the orderly liquidation authority for large banks enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. In place of that authority — which Republicans have believed, since Dodd-Frank was being debated, makes the process too political — the bill would allow banks to pursue resolution under judicial supervision through a new provision of the Bankruptcy Code.

On Wednesday, members will vote on six additional bills under suspension of the rules, all reported out of the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees.

On Thursday, the House plans to take up H.R. 3791, legislation that would raise the consolidated assets threshold under the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement. The bill would expand the threshold under which banks can fall under the less onerous requirements of the Fed’s policy statement from the current $1 billion to institutions with assets of less than $5 billion. Consideration of H.R. 3791 will be subject to a rule.

Following consideration of H.R. 3791, the House will take up H.R. 3340, the Financial Stability Oversight Council Reform Act, subject to a rule. The FSOC was established under the Dodd-Frank Act to identify and respond to risks to U.S. financial stability. By statute, the FSOC is authorized to designate nonbank financial companies that could pose a risk to U.S. financial stability (known as “systemically important financial institutions,” or SIFIs) for heightened regulation and supervision by the Federal Reserve Board and to recommend new or heightened standards and safeguards for systemically significant financial activities or practices. Republicans have been critical of the powers granted to this new entity and the lack of transparency in its evaluation and designation processes. H.R. 3340 would give Congress the power to approve the budget for FSOC and the Office of Financial Research (OFR), create quarterly reporting requirements for OFR, and require OFR to provide at least a 90-day public notice and comment period before issuing any report, rule or regulation. Consideration of this bill comes on the heels of a ruling issued March 30 overturning the FSOC’s designation of insurance company MetLife as a SIFI. The FSOC has already filed an appeal of this ruling.

On Friday the House will meet to consider H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation Broadband Internet Act, subject to a rule. This controversial legislation, reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee by a 29-19 vote, would prohibit the FCC from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet access service. Following the FCC’s issuance of newly formulated net neutrality rules last year, Chairman Tom Wheeler promised members of Congress that the agency would not regulate broadband rates in the same manner as other public utilities. Republican sponsors of the bill argue the legislation is necessary to reinforce this promise, but opponents, including Chairman Wheeler and the White House, argue that the bill is too vague and could be interpreted broadly enough to have a negative impact on FCC authority in enforcing the net neutrality rules.

Related to the FCC, on Wednesday the Energy and Commerce Committee will be marking up several pieces of noncontroversial legislation, but one item related to FCC subsidies for phone and Internet services is likely to have heated debate. H.R. 4884 would place an annual cap of $1.5 billion on support provided through the Lifeline program, which offers a discount on phone and Internet service for qualifying low-income consumers. However, the program is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse, and members of Congress have been negotiating with the FCC to make meaningful reforms and provide better oversight. Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee have voiced their opposition to the bill, calling the $1.5 billion cap too low.

Also on the hearing schedule this week are several events related to cybersecurity and technology. The House Judiciary Committee is holding a Wednesday markup of H.R. 699, the E-Mail Privacy Act, legislation that would reform a 1986 statute that was enacted before email became a daily necessity for communication. The legislation, intended to boost privacy and revise the current statute to conform to recent court decisions, would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before accessing the content of email messages stored for longer than 180 days. Current law only requires a warrant for the content of emails less than six months old; those older than six months are deemed business records under the current statute and may be accessed with a subpoena rather than a judicially issued warrant. The bill has more than 300 bipartisan co-sponsors. Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., circulated a substitute amendment on Friday in an effort to address the concerns of law enforcement responsible for the committee’s delay in moving the bill forward.

On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management will hold a hearing regarding the U.S. electric grid’s ability to withstand cyberattacks.

Also on Thursday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet meets to review patent litigation at the International Trade Commission. There has been a substantial rise in the number of infringement claims brought before the ITC in recent years, many of the cases brought by patent-assertion (or nonpracticing) entities.

With the filing deadline for income tax returns approaching this Friday, several tax-related hearings will be occurring throughout the week on both sides of the Capitol. The Senate Finance Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee are hosting hearings regarding cybersecurity and protecting taxpayer information. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and IRS Chief Technology Officer Terence Milholland will be appearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning alongside other officials from the U.S. Treasury and Government Accountability Office to discuss tools and technologies in place to safeguard American taxpayers and their personal information from getting into the wrong hands. Several of these witnesses will also be appearing before the House Science Committee on Thursday morning to discuss the same topic. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy is hosting the second in a series of hearings on member proposals relating to tax reform proposals. This hearing will focus in particular on income tax reform proposals.

The House Natural Resources Committee will meet on Wednesday to review a discussion draft of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, a debt relief package for the island territory. The committee released a draft last week that was subject to sharp criticism from the left and the right; a revised proposal is expected to be circulated by the committee on Monday. The current draft proposes a restructuring of the $72 billion debt and places Puerto Rico’s finances under the oversight of a federally appointed oversight board and authorizes the board to restructure the Commonwealth’s debt, including allowing for bankruptcy-like filings by both municipal corporations (similar to Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code) and by Puerto Rico itself (authority no state enjoys).

The Senate Judiciary Committee continues its review of the Investor Visa, or EB-5 Visa Program, and current abuses during a scheduled Wednesday hearing. The program, designed to allow foreign investors to gain permanent residence in the United States, is currently set to expire on Sept. 30. This hearing is the second the committee has held since an effort to reform the program to eliminate abuses was stopped at the end of last year during closed-door negotiations. The House Judiciary Committee has also held a hearing this year on the subject.

The threat of the Islamic State to homeland security remains the subject of congressional discussion and concern. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets Tuesday to discuss the spread of ISIS. The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will pursue a similar topic on Wednesday with a hearing on the threat of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

With the current stalemate over the FY 2017 budget resolution and spending caps, the House Rules Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House is scheduled to hold a Thursday hearing to examine “proposed reforms to Rule XXI and the modern authorization and appropriations process.” House leadership does not seem to have made any headway over the recess in negotiating an agreement over a topline funding number for FY 2017 and it remains highly likely the chamber will miss the April 15 target date for completion of a budget resolution.

As we have previously reported, the Senate Appropriations Committee is not waiting for the House to take action on a budget resolution and is moving forward with drafting appropriations bills using the $1.07 trillion top-line spending number set by last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act. The full committee meets Thursday to publicly release the 302(b) allocations for individual subcommittees and to mark up the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Inversion Regs Cast Wider Net

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday issued rules to curb tax-motivated inversions, and while much of the immediate attention focused on how they would affect the proposed Pfizer-Allergan merger, the regulations could ensnare other kinds of cross-border deals or even domestic transactions.

The regulations issued Monday formalized notices put out by the Treasury in 2014 and 2015 saying the administration would write rules to make it more difficult for companies to merge with competitors in low-tax jurisdictions. The regulations included new measures not mentioned in the previous announcements, such as a provision to prevent companies from getting around existing inversion rules by acquiring multiple companies over a short time, as Allergan Inc. has done.

The Treasury also issued proposed regulations to combat the practice of earnings stripping, one of the primary ways inverted companies reap tax benefits from inversions and which involves saddling domestic affiliates with debt and taking a U.S. tax deduction on the interest.

The government may have written the rules to target inversions, but the more than 300 pages of regulations touch on so many different sections of the tax code that other transactions could be caught up as well.

Firms may have to take another look at deals going back more than a year and a half to see if they comply with the rules. The regulations implementing the 2014 notice apply to transactions completed on or after Sept. 22, 2014, while the regulations formalizing the 2015 announcement apply to acquisitions completed on or after Nov. 19, 2015. The new measures introduced Monday apply to transactions completed on or after April 4.

The proposed earnings-stripping regulations in particular have a wide scope that goes well beyond inversions and would encompass debt transactions that are commonly used by multinational or domestic groups of related corporations.

Under the proposed rules, the IRS said it would treat as stock certain transactions that would otherwise be considered debt, such as instruments issued by a subsidiary to its foreign parent in a shareholder dividend distribution or instruments issued in connection with some acquisitions of stock or assets from related corporations in transactions economically similar to dividend distributions.

The proposed regulations specifically mention a court case from 1956, Kraft Foods Co. v. Commissioner, in which the Second Circuit considered a domestic corporate subsidiary that issued indebtedness in the form of debentures to its sole shareholder, which was also a domestic corporation, in the payment of a dividend. In the case, the government argued that the transaction may have been a sham and should have been treated as stock, but the court sided with Kraft, saying the debentures should be respected as debt.

In the proposed regulations, the IRS said going forward it would treat a debt instrument issued in fact patterns similar to that in Kraft as stock, thus unsettling well established law.

The breadth of the regulations will have implications well beyond inversions and will affect not only foreign companies and inverted companies but U.S. companies as well, Bazar said.

One of the new provisions in Monday’s regulations would target so-called serial acquirers who purchase multiple U.S. companies in quick succession to get around an existing rule that penalizes inversions in which the former stockholders of the U.S. company retain at least 60 percent ownership in the newly combined foreign company. If the former stockholders retain at least 80 percent ownership of the new company, the transaction is completely disregarded for U.S. tax purposes.

In the regulations, the Treasury said it was concerned that a serial acquirer could subvert the rule by issuing stock with each successive purchase of a U.S. company, thereby increasing its ownership and enabling acquisition of an even greater domestic company without crossing the 60 percent threshold. To that end, the regulations exclude from that ownership calculation stock that is issued by a foreign corporation in connection with the acquisition of U.S. entities in the prior three years.