October 2, 2012 


Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, MSRB
Regulators urged to crack down on donations to bond measures

Sept. 21, 2012 | By Will Evans| www.baycitizen.org 

EXCERPT: Critics of political donations to school bond campaigns from companies that profit from the bonds are urging federal regulators to take bolder steps against what they call a "pay to play" practice.

     The California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors, as well as some financial firms, called on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board this month to consider banning donations from bond underwriters to bond campaigns.

     The federal board had solicited feedback, much of which came in just before the Monday deadline, on a more cautious proposal to expand public disclosure of such donations. The board stated that enhanced transparency would help it decide whether more regulations - including a ban on the donations - would be necessary.

     A financial industry trade association pushed back on some of the proposed regulations, and a conservative legal organization, the Center for Competitive Politics, argued that a ban would be unconstitutional.

     An earlier story by California Watch, sister site of The Bay Citizen, found that leading bond underwriters gave $1.8 million over the last five years to successful school bond measures in California, and in almost every case, school districts gave underwriting contracts to those same firms. ...

     ... Two California companies that serve as financial advisers to local governments on bond issues, Magis Advisors and Government Financial Strategies, also pushed for more public disclosure - requiring more timely and searchable reporting of campaign contributions. Some financial advisers also make contributions to bond measures.

      "Government Financial Strategies is concerned about the lack of transparency in how school bond campaigns are funded, frequently by interested parties and in significant amounts, and how this leads to corruption," according to the Sacramento firm's statement [PDF] (excerpt below) to the board. ... 

To read the complete article please visit: 
Government Financial Strategies (GFS) Comments to the
Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board  (see article above) 

Sept. 17, 2012 | www.gfsi.com  

To read the complete letter visit:  www.msrb.org/RFC/2012-43/gfs.pdf  

To Check Suspect Campaign Contributions

 - Look at the campaign contributions (forms 460). Most district campaigns are filed through your local county elections office. 

 -  If you have trouble obtaining documentation from your district, you may do a request under the California State Public Records Act, Gov. Code 6250. They must respond within 10 days and may charge for copies.

Where to look up rules and report suspected illegal activities:  

 - Bond underwriters must register with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) , the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and comply with G.37. See: www.msrb.org/Rules-and-Interpretations/MSRB-Rules/General/Rule-G-37.aspx 

For questions or to file a complaint: www.msrb.org -  www.sec.gov  

 - Financial advisers are registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and must comply with SEC pay to play rules, Rule 206(4)-5. See: www.sec.gov/rules/final/2010/ia-3043.pdf    

In This Issue
Federal board reviews contributions
Government Financial Strategies Comment to MSRB
How to Check Suspect Campaign Donations
Archived Newsletters

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November 9, 2012 

10 am -  3 pm

Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, One Capital Mall, Sacramento, CA

Topics: 2013 Legislation
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