June 24, 2022 •
Lawmakers convened the special session called by Gov. Tony Evers on June 22 and immediately adjourned without considering Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban. Evers called the special session for lawmakers to consider legislation to repeal the abortion ban enacted in 1849. The […]
Lawmakers convened the special session called by Gov. Tony Evers on June 22 and immediately adjourned without considering Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban.
Evers called the special session for lawmakers to consider legislation to repeal the abortion ban enacted in 1849.
The ban on contributions while lawmakers are in special session ended when the special session adjourned.
June 24, 2022 •
National/Federal 2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022 Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps […]
2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries
CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022
Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps the most closely watched race was the Alabama Republican U.S. Senate runoff for retiring Sen. Richard Shelby’s seat, which pitted U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks against Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff. The two candidates shared the unusual distinction having both had, at one point, the sought-after endorsement of former President Trump. Brooks, who was a longtime Trump ally, won his first endorsement, but Trump withdrew it just before the primary election on May 24, when polls showed Brooks sliding in the polls.
American Influence Has a New Address on State Street
Yahoo News – Hailey Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 6/22/2022
According to a new report from OpenSecrets, total spending on state lobbying increased across 19 states from which it has collected data dating back to 2015. Interest groups spent a record $1.8 billion on state lobbying in 2021. As partisan divides ensnare congressional lawmakers in stalemates, many lobbying firms find it faster to take their efforts to governors and state Legislatures. State leaders have become as influential as they have ever been and are now shaping the national conversation on issues as diverse as energy policy and abortion rights.
Caught in the Culture Wars, Teachers Are Being Forced from Their Jobs
MSN – Hannah Natanson and Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
More than 160 educators were either fired or resigned their jobs in the past two academic years due to the culture wars that are roiling many of the nation’s schools, according to a Washington Post analysis. On average, slightly more than two teachers lost their jobs for every week that school remained in session. The teachers included in the analysis all lost their employment when hot-button cultural, racial, political, or pandemic issues intersected with their ability to teach, either because the teacher sought to address controversial topics in the classroom or administrators took issue with the teacher’s views as expressed inside or outside the classroom.
‘First-Degree Puppetry’: Stephen Colbert defends ‘Late Show’ staffers after arrest at Capitol
Yahoo News – Naledi Ushe (USA Today) | Published: 6/21/2022
Stephen Colbert addressed the arrest of his production crew by U.S. Capitol Police and joked they were guilty of “puppetry in the first degree.” Seven members of the “Late Night” team were arrested in the Longworth House Office Building and charged with unlawful entry. CBS said the crew was recording a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and had filmed authorized and pre-arranged interviews with members of Congress. Colbert called it “shameful and grotesque” that his staff’s behavior had been compared in the media to the insurrection on January 6, 2021.
GOP Spends Millions on Election Volunteers to Search for Fraud
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2022
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is spending millions of dollars this year in 16 critical states on an unprecedented push to recruit thousands of poll workers and watchers, adding firepower to a growing effort on the right to find election irregularities that could be used to challenge results. The RNC was until recently barred from bringing its substantial resources to bear on field operations at polling sites because of a decades-old court order. Now, the party apparatus is mobilizing volunteers to scrutinize voting locations for suspected fraud.
Jan. 6 Committee Reveals New Details About Pence’s Terrifying Day
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol disclosed new details of Mike Pence’s terrifying day on January 6, 2021, as it sought to explain how easily democracy could have fallen if the then-vice president had not resisted an unrelenting campaign from Trump to ignore legal advisers and his own conscience and use his role to give Trump a second term. Pence announced he did not believe the Constitution allowed him to follow Trump’s wishes. The committee demonstrated the crowd’s immediate reaction using video clips of rioters taken that day.
Justice Dept. Expands Jan. 6 Probe with Fresh Subpoenas
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The Justice Department’s investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol ratcheted up as federal agents issued subpoenas on people in at least two states, in what appeared to be a widening probe of how political activists supporting then-President Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. FBI officials confirmed that agents conducted court authorized law enforcement activity at the address of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector, and another the home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.
Liberal Groups Devote Millions to Blocking GOP Election Deniers
MSN – Michael Scherer (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
Pouring liberal donors’ money into the midterms to elect Democrats is hardly novel. What is different about a new strategy is a large portion of the 2022 efforts are aimed at 2024 –attempting to block Republican 2020 election deniers from gaining power and potentially upending valid results in a presidential election year. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation’s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom to sound an alarm about the coming elections. “MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group.
Sen. Ron Johnson Under Fire Over Fake-Electors Disclosure at Hearing
MSN – Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The House committee investigating January 6 Capitol riot revealed that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence a slate of fake electors backing then-president Trump, raising questions about Johnson’s role in a deliberate and coordinated plan to block Joe Biden’s win and give Trump the presidency. The disclosure also underscores the extent of Johnson’s role as one of Congress’s most prominent election deniers and January 6 apologists.
Supreme Court Justices Don’t Have a Code of Ethics. Hundreds of Judges Say That’s a Problem
Yahoo – Tami Abdollah (USA Today) | Published: 6/22/2022
Hundreds of judges said U.S. Supreme Court justices should be bound by a code of ethics, and many said they were shocked to find out that was not already the case. The National Judicial College surveyed judges across the nation on whether the Supreme Court should be held to a higher standard. The survey came amid a contentious and high-profile calendar that has involved questions of bias, as well as investigations into Justice Clarence Thomas’ family ties to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump’s Pressure Drew Violence, Threats to Local Officials, Committee Shows
Anchorage Daily News – Rosalind Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2022
In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump engaged in an unrelenting campaign targeting state and local officials – many of them fellow Republicans – riling up his supporters and putting in physical danger officials who refused to help overturn his election loss, according to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. At its fourth public hearing, the committee laid out how menace and violence trailed Trump’s election falsehoods, afflicting everyone who resisted, from high-level elected officials to ordinary election workers.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – Campaign Finance Regulators Withdraw $56,600 Fine Levied Against Anchorage Rep. Tuck
Yahoo News – Nathaniel Herz (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 6/18/2022
The Alaska Public Offices Commission withdrew a $56,500 fine it had imposed on state Rep. Chris Tuck, saying he showed the 2020 campaign contribution the agency alleged was late reported past the deadline was actually made outside of a required reporting window. Tuck has announced he was not seeking reelection.
California – Anaheim City Council Deadlocks on Campaign Finance Reform Following FBI Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Spencer Custodio | Published: 6/22/2022
Anaheim City Council members deadlocked on a campaign finance reform proposal to lessen special interests’ influence on policy decisions, which has come under intense scrutiny since revelations of an FBI corruption probe into City Hall. The ordinance would have required a 72-hour reporting window for all campaign contributions of $250 or more, along with mandatory recusal periods for council members. Residents have been calling for the council to limit the influence that special interests like the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Angels, and Disney-funded PACs have on City Hall. Many of those same interest groups funded a majority of the council members’ election campaigns.
California – Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act
MSN – Seth Rosenfeld (San Francisco Public Press) | Published: 6/20/2022
An appeals court ruled the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the state’s Public Records Act. The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.
California – State Attorney General Bonta Gives Mark Ridley-Thomas Backers a Chance to Fight His Removal from LA City Council
Los Angeles Daly News – Elizabeth Chou | Published: 6/22/2022
The state attorney general gave plaintiffs the go-ahead to challenge the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to appoint former council member Herb Wesson to a seat vacated by Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended by his colleagues after being indicted on federal corruption charges. The plaintiffs’ attorneys contend Wesson is ineligible to be a temporary replacement because the appointment violates city charter rules for term limits and appointments to vacant seats. They had also challenged the suspension of Ridley-Thomas by the city council and sought his reinstatement.
Colorado – Colorado Guilty Plea a First for US Election Task Force
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 6/20/2022
A Nebraska man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Colorado’s top elections official in a what officials say is the first such plea obtained by a federal task force devoted to protecting elections workers across the U.S. who have been subject to increasing threats since the 2020 presidential election. Travis Ford admitted sending threats to Secretary of State Jena Griswold on social media. Griswold is a national advocate for elections security who has received thousands of threats over her insistence that the 2020 election was secure and that former President Trump’s claims it was stolen from him are false.
Connecticut – It’s Official: CT candidates can start spending campaign money on child care
CT Insider – Julia Bergman | Published: 6/19/2022
Candidates for elected office in Connecticut can now spend public campaign money on childcare while they are campaigning. The new election rule was finalized recently and follows a years-long fight by a Fairfield mother and former state House candidate that gained national attention. When she first ran for office in 2018, Caitlin Clarkson Pereira often had her daughter, Parker, who was three years old at the time, in tow
Florida – Federal Judge Blows Up Florida’s Law Limiting Contributions for Ballot Initiatives
MSN – Jim Saunders (News Service of Florida) | Published: 6/16/2022
A federal judge struck down a Florida law limiting contributions to people or political committees championing ballot initiatives, ruling it violates the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor issued a permanent injunction against the law that limited such donations to $3,000. The Florida Elections Commission had argued the law limited the potential for fraud and corruption. “But those concerns don’t legally justify the restriction at issue,” Winsor said.
Florida – Former Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum Indicted on Federal Charges
Politico – Matt Dixon and Arek Sarkissian | Published: 6/22/2022
Andrew Gillum, a former Tallahassee mayor who was the Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018, was indicted on charges he illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in return for the financial support. The indictment outlines a series of interactions with two undercover FBI agents who posed as developers seeking contracts in Tallahassee. Gillum’s adviser, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, also faces 19 counts, including allegations that some of those contributions were funneled to a separate company she operates.
Hawaii – Hu Honua Lobbyist Hosted Fundraiser for Senators Who Were Key to Energy Bill
Honolulu Civil Beat – Stewart Yerton and Chad Blair | Published: 6/20/2022
As far as the public could tell from official disclosures, a recent campaign fundraiser was paid for by the candidate committees of four Hawaii senators: Donovan Dela Cruz, Glenn Wakai, Michelle Kidani, and Bennette Misalucha. But undisclosed in public filings required for such events was a behind-the-scenes host: Joanne Hamm, an energy industry lobbyist. Hamm’s client Hu Honua Bioenergy had just scored big wins in the state Legislature, thanks in part to Wakai and Misalucha, who are the chair and vice chair of the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee; and Kidani and Dela Cruz, who sit on the Ways and Means Committee, which Dela Cruz chairs.
Illinois – Ex-State Sen. Thomas Cullerton Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison in Ghost Payrolling Case
MSN – Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Illinois Sen. Thomas Cullerton was sentenced to a year in prison for pocketing more than $250,000 in salary and benefits from the Teamsters union despite doing little or no work. In rejecting a defense request for probation, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman said people are tired of the “depressing” amount of public corruption and he had to send a message to other elected officials that breaching the public trust will not be tolerated. Former Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. said he hired Cullerton to his do-nothing position “as a favor to Senator A.” The two ignored complaints from supervisors when Cullerton failed to even show up for work.
Maine – Paul LePage’s Campaign Fined $3K for Late Finance Report
Bangor Daily News – Caitlin Andrews | Published: 6/22/2022
Maine’s ethics commission hit former Gov. Paul LePage’s 2022 campaign with a $3,000 fine on for filing a campaign finance report a few hours late. The total amount of money raised had been released to the media on May 3, but campaign staffer Joe Turcotte said he had fallen asleep due to illness while submitting the report. He did not wake up until four a.m. the next day to finish filing the report, which was after the deadline.
Maryland – Judge’s Donation to Baltimore State’s Attorney Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Raises Ethical Questions
MSN – Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/17/2022
Maryland District Court Judge Flynn Owens is listed as having donated $100 to Thiru Vignarajah’s campaign for Baltimore State’s Attorney. Owens’ listed employer and occupation, a requirement for donors, is “State of MD” and “Legal.” It is a violation of the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct for any sitting judge to make a political contribution to any candidate, let alone a someone running for a political office that the judge is involved with. As a District Court judge overseeing Baltimore, Owens oversees cases brought by the state’s attorney’s office.
Massachusetts – Mass. High Court to Hear Arguments in DiMasi Lobbying Case
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/21/2022
The Supreme Judicial Court will take up a lobbying case involving former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. At issue is whether those found guilty of federal corruption charges should be barred from lobbying state lawmakers, the governor, and other officials for 10 years after their conviction, even if their crimes are not directly cited in the state law. While DiMasi is at the center of the case, he will not be impacted by any ruling as the 10-year ban on him expired in 2021. The court reasoned the legal issue at the case’s core is still of “great public importance and is likely to recur.”
Massachusetts – MassHealth Director Fined $6,000 for Receiving Free Red Sox Tickets
Boston.com – Susannah Sudborough | Published: 6/16/2022
A former MassHealth official paid a $6,000 penalty for breaking the state’s conflict-of-interest law by receiving free Boston Red Sox tickets from the contractor administering the agency’s dental program. Stacia Castro, while serving as director of the MassHealth Specialty Provider Network, asked DentaQuest’s regional director if the company had access to the Red Sox tickets. It then gave Castro four free tickets valued at $120 apiece, a tour of Fenway Park, and a $500 voucher for dinner at Fenway Park’s EMC Club.
Michigan – How One Firm in a ‘Wild West’ Industry Upended the Michigan GOP Governor Race
Bridge Michigan – Yue Stella Yu, Mike Wilkinson, and Joel Kurth | Published: 6/16/2022
Some say signature gathering for candidates to qualify for the ballot is the “Wild West” side of politics. A now-inactive website for the signature-gathering firm First Choice Contracting claimed it was “your best chance at getting on the ballot.” Instead, it was anything but. Fraudulent signatures disqualified five of 10 Republican gubernatorial candidates in Michigan from the race, and a Bridge Michigan investigation found First Choice Contracting worked for all five campaigns. Elections officials have submitted their findings of fraud to state Attorney General Dana Nessel for a criminal investigation.
Missouri – Eric Greitens Ad Touts ‘Hunting Permit’ for GOP Rivals in Missouri U.S Senate Race
Missouri Independent – Rudi Keller | Published: 6/20/2022
In a video of a fake no-knock home raid, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens ––flanked by extras in body armor, using flash grenades and carrying firearms – promoted a fundraising program offering a “RINO Hunting Permit” to supporters of his U.S. Senate campaign. RINO stands for “Republican in Name Only.” Within a few hours of posting, the video was hidden behind a warning message but remained visible on Twitter to those who wish to see it. The video was removed from Facebook. Violent imagery has been a part of Greitens political persona since he began running for office.
Missouri – Missouri Supreme Court Asks Eric Schmitt to Stop Using Judge Photo in Campaign Mailers
KSHB – David Medina | Published: 6/17/2022
The Missouri Supreme Court asked state Attorney General Eric Schmitt to stop using photos of the court’s judges for campaign mailers used for his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The mailer shows Schmitt along with three of the justices. The photo was taken by a member of Schmitt’s staff during Missouri’s bicentennial celebration last August. The judges were there in official capacities and were not aware the photo would be used in such a context.
Montana – Convention of States Group Violated Campaign Law
Montana Free Press – Alex Sakariassen | Published: 6/20/2022
An out-of-state super PAC that spent $126,752 supporting a trio of Republican legislative primary candidates in Montana violated state campaign finance laws, according to Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan. A complaint filed against the Convention of States Political Fund said the organization failed to adequately disclose its spending on mailers and radio ads. Mangan also said the group did not meet the state’s definition of a nonresident political committee because it had failed to file its activity in its home state.
New Mexico – New Mexico County Certifies Election Results, Bowing to Court Order
MSN – Annie Gowan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2022
Commissioners in New Mexico’s Otero County voted two-to-one to comply with a state Supreme Court order and certify primary-election results, reversing an earlier rejection of vote totals over unfounded claims that voting machines were insecure. Commissioner Couy Griffin refused to back down from assertions the machines were not secure or apologize for leading a charge against a normally straightforward procedural vote that caused a week-long uproar. “My vote to remain a no isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,” Griffin said.
New York – Corporate PACs Fail to Disclose Cash Behind Attacks in Primary Races
New York Focus – Sam Mellins | Published: 6/22/2022
With days to go before New York’s primary election, two real estate-backed groups likely spending millions of dollars to boost moderate Democrats may be violating campaign finance law by failing to disclose where they are getting their money and how they are spending it. Common Sense New Yorkers and Voters of New York are independent expenditure committees, which can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections but cannot coordinate with candidates. New York law mandates that such committees file reports detailing their spending and fundraising 32 and 11 days before a primary, which neither group has done.
New York – Law School Deans Unveil New York’s New Ethics System
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 6/15/2022
The deans of New York’s accredited law schools announced a rigorous vetting process to select nominees for the state’s new 11-member Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, which was created this year to overhaul the existing state ethics panel, which has for years faced criticism for some of its members’ apparent allegiance to the lawmakers who appointed them. Unlike the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, whose members were generally appointed with little vetting, the new rules will enable a nominating committee comprised of the law school deans to reject someone not found to have “undisputed honesty, integrity and character.”
New York – Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner Resigns After Being Accused of an Ethics Violation
MSN – Steve Lieberman (The Journal News) | Published: 6/22/2022
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner resigned from the bench rather than contest claims he engaged in prohibited political activity as a jurist. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct alleged that in September 2015 and November 2017, Berliner accompanied and/or introduced two candidates to three gatherings of community and political leaders in Orange and Rockland counties. “Prohibiting [judges’] involvement in campaigns, except when running for judicial office themselves, is essential to public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,” said commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian.
North Dakota – North Dakota Ethics Panel Adopts Disclosure Rules for Powerful State Boards
Bismarck Tribune – Jack Dura | Published: 6/22/2022
The North Dakota Ethics Commission adopted rules for how certain state officials should handle potential bias arising from campaign contributions. The new rules take effect immediately and apply to the Public Service Commission and governor-led Industrial Commission, which make decisions usually involving companies in the energy and utility industries. Both boards have their own ethics policies.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Fired Its CEO Amid Bribery Scandal but Let Him Keep Millions, Documents Show
Ohio Capital Journal – Jake Zuckerman | Published: 6/23/2022
As its starring role in a political bribery scandal became clearer and two alleged conspirators pleaded guilty, FirstEnergy fired its chief executive officer, Charles Jones, who was later outed as an architect of the operation. But documents show FirstEnergy’s board of directors declined to invoke a provision in Jones’ contract that would have allowed the company to claw back some of the tens of millions it had paid him during a “pay-to-play” operation the company has admitted to. Between 2017 and 2020, roughly the time frame of the alleged conspiracy, Jones earned more than $51 million.
Ohio – Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Campaign Finance Violations
WVIZ – Matthew Richmond | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins was sentenced to 30 days in jail for campaign finance violations. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg issued the sentence despite the prosecutor’s recommendation of five years’ probation and no jail time. “I’m surprised quite frankly that the state of Ohio doesn’t recognize the seriousness of the violation of a public official violating the public trust,” Synenberg said. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections found 651 instances where Elkins used money donated for his campaigns on expenses like bar and restaurants tabs and haircuts, totaling more than $130,000.
Ohio – P.G. Sittenfeld Trial May Expose How Fundraising, Developer Deals at City Hall Really Got Done
WCPO – Paula Christian | Published: 6/20/2022
Former Cincinnati City Councilperson P.G. Sittenfeld’s federal trial on corruption charges is underway. But the trial is not just about Sittenfeld, and whether he traded “official acts” to help a city project in exchange for $40,000 in donations to his PAC. Experts say the trial is really about the murky, sometimes seedy side of campaign fundraising. The trial will likely expose how business at City Hall got done during one of the most explosive periods of development in recent memory. “This is not a case strictly about him and a couple of developer deals, this is a case about the way American politics works,” said University of Cincinnati professor David Niven.
Pennsylvania – Pa. House Eyes Expanding Who Can Bring Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Lawmakers
Spotlight PA – Stephen Caruso | Published: 6/17/2022
Pennsylvania House leaders are negotiating a deal to close a loophole in the chamber’s rules that protects lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct from facing institutional sanctions. The talks center around a bipartisan resolution that would forbid lawmakers from engaging in sexual harassment “while performing House-related services or duties or in or on any House owned or leased property or facilities.” Consequences could range from censure to expulsion, depending on the outcome of an internal investigation.
South Dakota – South Dakota AG Convicted on 2 Impeachment Charges, Removed
ABC News – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 6/21/2022
The South Dakota Senate convicted state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg of two impeachment charges stemming from a 2020 fatal automobile crash, removing and barring him from future office in a rebuke that showed most senators did not believe his account of the accident. Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher the night of the crash that he might have struck a deer or other large animal and has said he did not know he struck Joseph Boever until he returned to the scene the next morning. Criminal investigators said they did not believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements, and several senators made clear they did not either.
Texas – At Texas GOP Convention, Loyalists Embrace Far Right, Anti-Gay Rhetoric
MSN – Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 6/19/2022
Thousands of Republican activists meeting in Houston for the state’s party convention agreed to a resolution that rejects the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and refers to Joe Biden as an illegitimate president. The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Separately, a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” The platform also advocates for children to learn in school about “the humanity of the preborn child,” promoting new messaging after the state has taken steps to vastly restrict abortion when knocking on constituents’ doors.
West Virginia – Former West Virginia Lawmaker Who Livestreamed Jan. 6 Riot Gets 3 Months in Prison
MSN – Alanna Durkin Richer (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/22/2022
Former West Virginia lawmaker who livestreamed himself on Facebook storming the U.S. Capitol and cheering on what he described as a “revolution” was sentenced to three months in prison. Derrick Evans was sworn in as a member of the state’s House of Delegates just weeks before the riot that left more than 100 police officers injured. Evans was arrested two days after the insurrection and resigned a month before the start of the legislative session.
June 23, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Liberal Groups Devote Millions to Blocking GOP Election Deniers” by Michael Scherer (Washington Post) for MSN California: “Anaheim City Council Deadlocks on Campaign Finance Reform Following FBI Corruption Probe” by Spencer Custodio for Voice of OC Florida: […]
National: “Liberal Groups Devote Millions to Blocking GOP Election Deniers” by Michael Scherer (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “Anaheim City Council Deadlocks on Campaign Finance Reform Following FBI Corruption Probe” by Spencer Custodio for Voice of OC
Florida: “Former Democratic Candidate for Florida Governor Indicted” by Steven Lemongello and Jeffery Schweers (Orlando Sentinel) for MSN
Maine: “Paul LePage’s Campaign Fined $3K for Late Finance Report” by Caitlin Andrews for Bangor Daily News
National: “Justice Dept. Expands Jan. 6 Probe with Fresh Subpoenas” by Spencer Hsu, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner Resigns After Being Accused of an Ethics Violation” by Steve Lieberman (The Journal News) for MSN
South Dakota: “South Dakota AG Convicted on 2 Impeachment Charges, Removed” by Stephen Groves (Associated Press) for ABC News
National: “American Influence Has a New Address on State Street” by Hailey Fuchs (Politico) for Yahoo News
Massachusetts: “Mass. High Court to Hear Arguments in DiMasi Lobbying Case” by Matt Stout (Boston Globe) for MSN
June 22, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Montana: “Convention of States Group Violated Campaign Law” by Alex Sakariassen for Montana Free Press Elections National: “Trump’s Pressure Drew Violence, Threats to Local Officials, Committee Shows” by Rosalind Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for Anchorage Daily […]
Montana: “Convention of States Group Violated Campaign Law” by Alex Sakariassen for Montana Free Press
National: “Trump’s Pressure Drew Violence, Threats to Local Officials, Committee Shows” by Rosalind Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for Anchorage Daily News
National: “2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries” by Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro for CBS News
Missouri: “Eric Greitens Ad Touts ‘Hunting Permit’ for GOP Rivals in Missouri U.S Senate Race” by Rudi Keller for Missouri Independent
National: “‘First-Degree Puppetry’: Stephen Colbert defends ‘Late Show’ staffers after arrest at Capitol” by Naledi Ushe (USA Today) for Yahoo News
California: “Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act” by Seth Rosenfeld (San Francisco Public Press) for MSN
Colorado: “Colorado Guilty Plea a First for US Election Task Force” by Associated Press for Yahoo News
Illinois: “Ex-State Sen. Thomas Cullerton Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison in Ghost Payrolling Case” by Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) for MSN
June 21, 2022 •
A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the influence of foreign actors was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. House Bill 8106, the Fighting Foreign Influence Act, was introduced by Democratic U.S. Representatives Jared Golden and Katie Porter together with […]
A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the influence of foreign actors was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. House Bill 8106, the Fighting Foreign Influence Act, was introduced by Democratic U.S. Representatives Jared Golden and Katie Porter together with Republican U.S. Representative Paul Gosar.
The bill itself contains three separate Acts.
The Think Tank and Non-Profit Foreign Influence Disclosure Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require tax exempt organizations, including think tanks, to disclose when a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party makes aggregate contributions and gifts of more than $50,000, which would then become publicly available in a searchable database.
The Congressional and Executive Foreign Lobbying Ban Act would amend The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 to prohibit former members of Congress, senior political appointees, and general or flag officers of the armed forces from ever registering as the agent of a foreign principal.
The Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require political campaigns to verify that anyone making an online contribution has a valid address (using a credit card’s three-digit CVV code) before making a campaign contribution and prohibit foreign agents from fundraising for political campaigns.
The bill, introduced into the U.S. House on June 16, has been referred to the House Administration, the Ways and Means, and the Judiciary committees.
June 21, 2022 •
On June 21, Jean-François Routhier, the Commissioner of Lobbying with Lobbyisme Québec, officially deployed the first phase of Carrefour Lobby Quebec, the new online disclosure regime of lobbying activities for the province. The current registry of lobbyists will be replaced […]
On June 21, Jean-François Routhier, the Commissioner of Lobbying with Lobbyisme Québec, officially deployed the first phase of Carrefour Lobby Quebec, the new online disclosure regime of lobbying activities for the province.
The current registry of lobbyists will be replaced by Carrefour Lobby Québec, which will be administered by Lobbyisme Québec. The official and complete launch of Carrefour Lobby Québec is anticipated to take place in the fall of 2022. At that time, the current lobbyists’ registry will close.
Beginning June 21, the most senior executives of companies and organizations carrying out lobbying activities and their authorized representatives, as well as consultant lobbyists, will begin to be invited to proceed with the creation of their individual account and their businesses or organizations on the new website. Lobbyisme Québec plans to help support registered lobbyists efficiently transition to the new website during the second and final phase of the platform’s deployment.
According to the Office of Lobbyisme’s press release, the Lobbyists Commissioner has recommended that the government, as provided for in Bill 13, adopt the decree setting the entry into force of the new platform on October 13, 2022.
In the works since the summer of 2019, the updated web platform aims to replace the “technological obsolescence” of the current site with a modern system, to improve the user experience, and to be in line with Quebec’s 2019-2023 digital transformation strategy.
June 21, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Alaska: “Campaign Finance Regulators Withdraw $56,600 Fine Levied Against Anchorage Rep. Tuck” by Nathaniel Herz (Anchorage Daily News) for Yahoo News Connecticut: “It’s Official: CT candidates can start spending campaign money on child care” by Julia Bergman for […]
Alaska: “Campaign Finance Regulators Withdraw $56,600 Fine Levied Against Anchorage Rep. Tuck” by Nathaniel Herz (Anchorage Daily News) for Yahoo News
Connecticut: “It’s Official: CT candidates can start spending campaign money on child care” by Julia Bergman for CT Insider
Hawaii: “Hu Honua Lobbyist Hosted Fundraiser for Senators Who Were Key to Energy Bill” by Stewart Yerton and Chad Blair for Honolulu Civil Beat
Ohio: “P.G. Sittenfeld Trial May Expose How Fundraising, Developer Deals at City Hall Really Got Done” by Paula Christian for WCPO
Michigan: “How One Firm in a ‘Wild West’ Industry Upended the Michigan GOP Governor Race” by Yue Stella Yu, Mike Wilkinson, and Joel Kurth for Bridge Michigan
New Mexico: “New Mexico County Certifies Election Results, Bowing to Court Order” by Annie Gowan (Washington Post) for MSN
Texas: “At Texas GOP Convention, Loyalists Embrace Far Right, Anti-Gay Rhetoric” by Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “Law School Deans Unveil New York’s New Ethics System” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union
June 20, 2022 •
A commission created to review the current government structure in Portland, Oregon has voted to put a comprehensive governmental restructuring proposition on the ballot this November. Voters will get to decide on expanding the number of City Council members to […]
A commission created to review the current government structure in Portland, Oregon has voted to put a comprehensive governmental restructuring proposition on the ballot this November.
Voters will get to decide on expanding the number of City Council members to 12, implement ranked-choice voting for council members, and hire a professional city administrator.
These changes come on the heels of mass-dissatisfaction among the Portland residents.
Increases in crime, homelessness, and housing costs have all been blamed for the amplified scrutiny of the current government.
June 20, 2022 •
A federal judge rejected a Florida law limiting contributions to political committees that support ballot initiatives. U.S. District Judge Winsor has issued a permanent injunction against Senate Bill 1890 and House Bill 921. These bills placed a $3,000 contribution limit […]
A federal judge rejected a Florida law limiting contributions to political committees that support ballot initiatives.
U.S. District Judge Winsor has issued a permanent injunction against Senate Bill 1890 and House Bill 921.
These bills placed a $3,000 contribution limit on donors to political committees sponsoring or opposing ballot initiatives.
Senate Bill 1890 was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2021, and House Bill 921’s effective date was July 1, 2022, but neither bill will take effect following the ruling.
June 20, 2022 •
On January 1, 1863, slavery was legally ended in the rebelling states following the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. In practice, however, due to the technology at the time, as well as the ongoing Civil War, […]
On January 1, 1863, slavery was legally ended in the rebelling states following the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. In practice, however, due to the technology at the time, as well as the ongoing Civil War, slavery did not end in the United States until June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, where he announced that both the Civil War and slavery ended.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the
Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of
personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the
connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired
labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages.
They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will
not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Even after this announcement, though, many of the 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas remained enslaved. This includes at least 150,000 slaves who had been brought over to Texas following the capture of New Orleans in 1862.
The first celebration of Juneteenth was held on June 19, 1866 in Texas. This celebration largely consisted of community-centric events, like parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, and musical performances. At many of these events, former slaves would speak about their time in enslavement. A number of these communities would even purchase land for Juneteenth celebrations, with examples including Emancipation Park in Houston and Emancipation Park in Austin.
Many of these celebrations continued into the early 20th century, with African Americans treating the day like the Fourth of July. Overtime, the celebration of Juneteenth spread to other parts of the country as African Americans migrated out of Texas. By the Second World War, however, many of these celebrations began to decline. While celebrations for Juneteenth began to wane during the 1950s to the 1970s, in 1980, Texas became the first state in the country to make Juneteenth a state holiday, with most states soon making state holidays for Juneteenth as well. With the signing of S.475, Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, by President Biden on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday as well.
For more information on Juneteenth, check out these resources:
S.475 – Juneteenth National Independence Day Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/475/text
JUNETEENTH AND GENERAL ORDER NO. 3 https://www.galvestonhistory.org/news/juneteenth-and-general-order-no-3
Juneteenth: US to add federal holiday marking end of slavery https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57493282
Juneteenth: Fact Sheet https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44865.pdf
June 20, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Florida: “Federal Judge Blows Up Florida’s Law Limiting Contributions for Ballot Initiatives” by Jim Saunders (News Service of Florida) for MSN Maryland: “Judge’s Donation to Baltimore State’s Attorney Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Raises Ethical Questions” by Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore […]
Florida: “Federal Judge Blows Up Florida’s Law Limiting Contributions for Ballot Initiatives” by Jim Saunders (News Service of Florida) for MSN
Maryland: “Judge’s Donation to Baltimore State’s Attorney Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Raises Ethical Questions” by Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore Sun) for MSN
National: “GOP Spends Millions on Election Volunteers to Search for Fraud” by Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) for MSN
Missouri: “Missouri Supreme Court Asks Eric Schmitt to Stop Using Judge Photo in Campaign Mailers” by David Medina for KSHB
National: “Caught in the Culture Wars, Teachers Are Being Forced from Their Jobs” by Hannah Natanson and Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Jan. 6 Committee Reveals New Details About Pence’s Terrifying Day” by Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) for MSN
Massachusetts: “MassHealth Director Fined $6,000 for Receiving Free Red Sox Tickets” by Susannah Sudborough for Boston.com
Pennsylvania: “Pa. House Eyes Expanding Who Can Bring Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Lawmakers” by Stephen Caruso for Spotlight PA
June 17, 2022 •
National/Federal Bipartisan Bill Aims to Curb Foreign Influence in U.S. Democracy MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022 A House bill seeks to curb foreign influence in the U.S. by imposing a lifetime ban on members of Congress, senior […]
Bipartisan Bill Aims to Curb Foreign Influence in U.S. Democracy
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
A House bill seeks to curb foreign influence in the U.S. by imposing a lifetime ban on members of Congress, senior military leaders, and senior executive branch officials from lobbying for a foreign government or political party, among other measures. The legislation would also compel tax-exempt groups, including think tanks, to disclose high-dollar donations and gifts from foreign powers and require campaigns to verify that donors have a valid U.S. address, using the three-digit code on the back of credit cards.
Deceptive Mailings, False Billboards: Voting disinformation is not just online
Yahoo News – Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) | Published: 6/14/2022
When it comes to elections, disinformation is not just a problem online. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin argue in a new report that disinformation targeting communities of color in three battleground states circulated as often through traditional sources of information, complicating efforts to fight it. The misleading information was included in mailings and campaign advertisements in newspapers, radio, television, and even billboards. Those efforts are more likely to reach voters in those communities than targeted disinformation campaigns on the internet.
Ginni Thomas Corresponded with John Eastman, Sources in Jan. 6 House Investigation Say
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Emma Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2022
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol obtained email correspondence between Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. The emails show Virginia Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, sources said. The committee’s members and staffers are discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring her role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.
House Jan. 6 Panel Revelation on Pardons Raises Questions
MSN – Michael Macagnone (Roll Call) | Published: 6/10/2022
A House select committee revealed “multiple” Republican members of Congress requested pardons from former President Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol but named only one of them. Committee Vice Chairperson Liz Cheney opened up speculation about which of her fellow Republicans might have thought their actions backing Trump’s efforts to overturn that election had crossed a criminal line. Experts said Cheney’s accusation raises complicated questions about pardons and how laws and ethical rules will apply to House members in the wake of the panel’s investigation.
Jan. 6 Panel Makes Case Election Fraud Claims Were Trump vs. ‘Team Normal’
Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu (Politico) | Published: 6/13/2022
The January 6 committee’s case that former President Trump stoked a violent insurrection rests on a fundamental premise: Trump was told, over and over, his claims of election fraud were false, and he amplified them anyway. The panel unloaded a stream of evidence, most of it videotaped interviews, that showed Trump’s own top advisers repeatedly told him his elections claims were wrong. No matter what detailed corroboration they provided, advisers testified Trump responded with derision, ultimately pushing those aides aside in favor of the fringe lawyers willing to echo the false allegations.
Loudermilk Tour Group Taking Basement Photos ‘Raises Concerns’ for Jan. 6 Panel
MSN – Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney (Politico) | Published: 6/15/2022
People who joined U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk for a Capitol complex tour on January 5, 2021, photographed and recorded places “not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,” according to the House committee investigating the insurrection. The video footage underscored lawmaker concerns that surfaced after the attack – that large tour groups appeared to surveil areas a day before a mob smashed its way inside the Capitol. The committee has evidence at least one member of Loudermilk’s group returned to the Capitol the following day and recorded an ominous message aimed at Democratic lawmakers.
Maker of Uvalde Massacre Gun Broke Campaign Finance Law, Complaint Says
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2022
Shortly after the 2020 election, a super PAC called the Gun Owners Action Fund was formed. On January 6, 2021, the gun manufacturer, Daniel Defense contributed $100,000 to the super PAC. Daniel Defense recently came under a spotlight when one of its rifles was used in the massacre of 21 people at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A complaint from the Campaign Legal Center says Daniel Defense violated federal law when it gave the money to the Gun Owners Action Fund because federal contractors are barred from making contributions to federal candidates or committees.
More Than 100 GOP Primary Winners Back Trump’s False Fraud Claims
MSN – Amy Gardner and Isaac Arnsdorf (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2022
Primary voters have nominated scores of Republican candidates for state and federal office who say the 2020 election was rigged, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. The analysis offers a portrait of the extent to which embracing Trump’s false claims has become part of a winning formula in this year’s GOP contests, and what it means for the immediate future of American democracy. The majority of the election-denying candidates who have secured their nominations are running in districts or states that lean Republican, meaning they are likely to win the offices they are seeking.
Retired General Resigns as Head of Brookings Amid Federal Probe
MSN – Reis Thebault, Caroline Kitchener, and Alex Horton (Washington Post) | Published: 6/12/2022
Retired Marine Gen. John Allen resigned as president of the Brookings Institution, one of the most renowned think tanks in the world, after he was placed on administrative leave amid a federal investigation into his suspected lobbying on behalf of the government of Qatar years ago. The inquiry is focused on whether Allen secretly urged the Trump administration to tone down its criticism of Qatar in 2017, when neighbors in the Persian Gulf imposed economic sanctions on the country, accusing it of supporting Islamist extremism. U.S. law requires anyone who lobbies on behalf of other governments to be registered with the Justice Department.
State Supreme Courts: Bottom of the ballot but top concern if Roe falls
Yahoo News – Megan Messerly (Politico) | Published: 6/13/2022
State courts are likely to be flooded with litigation that could require them to rule on access to abortion, or even contraception and fertility treatments, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks. The possible end to federal abortion protections is spotlighting down-ballot races in the upcoming midterm elections, particularly for state Supreme Court judges who could soon be asked to decide whether their state constitution protects a person’s right to end a pregnancy. Organizations on both sides of the abortion debate are planning to spend big to tip the scales in their favor.
Trump Raised Millions to Fight Election Fraud Before Jan. 6. Here’s How That Money Was Spent.
MSN – Erin Mansfield (USA Today) | Published: 6/16/2022
A fundraising committee affiliated with former President Trump sent out an urgent message to supporters on election night 2020 saying Trump had activated an “Official Election Defense Fund” to protect the integrity of the election. Throughout November and December, the committee sent out dozens more similar emails soliciting money. But the fund did not exist. Most of the money went to a leadership fund that in turn gave money to organizations where Trump allies work, contributed to dozens of candidates who supported Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, and paid former White House officials after Trump left office.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Ginni Thomas Pressed 29 Ariz. Lawmakers to Help Overturn Trump’s Defeat, Emails Show
MSN – Emma Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 6/10/2022
Virginia Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed 29 Republican state lawmakers in Arizona – 27 more than previously known – to set aside Joe Biden’s popular vote victory and “choose” presidential electors. The Washington Post reported in May that Virginia Thomas sent emails to two Arizona House members urging them to help overturn Biden’s win by selecting presidential electors. She sent the messages using FreeRoots, an online platform intended to make it easy to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials.
California – A 20-Story Tower. A Liquor Box with $100 Bills. The First Trial in the Huizar Case Begins
Yahoo News – David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/14/2022
George Esparza told prosecutors he once took a Don Julio tequila box packed with $100 bills to the home of his boss, then-Los Angeles City Councilperson Jose Huizar. Esparza said Huizar initially told him to hide the cash and later hounded him for the money. Now, the businessperson accused of providing that cash is facing his day in court, in the first of three trials that make up the sprawling bribery and racketeering case against Huizar. Lawyers delivered opening statements in the case against Dae Yong Lee, who is accused of paying $500,000 to ensure Huizar would clear the way for a 20-story residential tower.
California – He Was Part of a ‘Cabal’ That Steered Anaheim City Hall. Now He Has Agreed to Plead Guilty
Yahoo News – Nathan Fenno, Adam Elmahrek, and Gabriel San Román (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/9/2022
Todd Ament, the former head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, agreed to a plea bargain in connection with a wide-ranging Orange County political corruption scandal. According to a court filing, Ament will plead guilty to submitting a false tax return, lying to a mortgage lender, and two counts of wire fraud. The agreement requires Ament to fully cooperate with the government, including testifying before grand juries and at trials, and pay almost $250,000 in back taxes. The affidavit in support of the complaint contained a host of other allegations, including Ament’s participation in a “cabal” that steered Anaheim’s government.
California – LA Ethics Commission Issue s $8,750 0n Ethics, Lobbying Fines
MSN – Staff | Published: 6/15/2022
The Los Angeles Ethics Commission approved a total of $8,750 in fines for ethics and lobbying violations. One case concerned a law prohibiting city employees from misusing their official positions and city resources. The commission also found a violation of the lobbying law, which requires persons who qualify as lobbying entities to register and report their activities.
California – Topsy-Turvy Top-Two: Is California primary system keeping its promises?
CalMatters – Ben Christopher | Published: 6/13/2022
Under California’s unusual top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot and only the first- and second-place winners move on to the November general election. Approved by voters in 2010 and rolled out for the first time statewide two years later, the system has changed state politics in many of the ways its proponents promised at the time, and a few ways they did not.
Colorado – John Kellner, Candidate for Colorado Attorney General, Returns $500 Contribution Flagged as Potential Campaign Finance Violation
Denver Post – Ryan Biller | Published: 6/10/2022
A report of a potential campaign finance violation led Colorado attorney general candidate John Kellner to return a $500 contribution from a lobbyist, although the lobbyist has since been free to give the money back to the campaign. A complaint alleged Kellner accepted a $500 contribution from lobbyist Michael Fields on January 27. Because the contribution came while the General Assembly was in session, the act was a violation of state campaign finance laws, the complaint alleged.
Florida – Former Keys Commissioner Arrested, Accused of Using Campaign Funds to Pay for Netflix
MSN – David Ovalle (Miami Herald) | Published: 6/15/2022
Former Florida Keys County Commissioner Eddie Martinez surrendered to face allegations he failed to report campaign expenditures and used campaign money to pay for personal expenses with CVS, U-Haul, and Netflix. According to an arrest warrant, Martinez failed to report numerous transactions on state-required campaign finance reports, including withdrawing campaign cash from ATMs and spending campaign money through a debit card.
Idaho – 31 Tied to Hate Group Charged with Planning Riot Near LGBTQ Event in Idaho
MSN – Nick Parker and Bryan Pietsch (Washington Post) | Published: 6/11/2022
Police in Idaho arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white-supremacist insignia, shields, and an “operations plan” to riot near an LGBTQ Pride event. Police said they were affiliated with Patriot Front, a white supremacist group whose founder was among those arrested. The Patriot Front rebranded after one of its members plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens.
Illinois – Cook County Official Sued by Ethics Board for ‘Flagrantly’ Defying Nepotism Ban Fires Her Cousin as Chief of Staff, He Says
Yahoo News – Alice Yin (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/10/2022
Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Tammy Wendt’s cousin is no longer employed as her chief of staff, following a monthslong feud between Wendt and the county ethics board that recently spilled into the courts. Firing Todd Thielmann was one of the demands the Cook County Board of Ethics laid on Wendt when it sued her. The board also seeks payment of the $2,000 fine it imposed when it originally found she “flagrantly” violated the nepotism ban.
Illinois – Pass Effort to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules Immediately, Ethics Board Chair Says
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 6/13/2022
The chair of the Chicago Board of Ethics called for Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city council to immediately pass a proposal to overhaul ethics rules designed to finally put an end to the deluge of corruption at City Hall. William Conlon said the package of reforms, which has been stalled since April without Lightfoot’s backing, should be “swiftly” passed and signed into law. The measure’s prospects for approval appear uncertain after Lightfoot instructed her allies on the council to use a parliamentary maneuver to prevent a hearing on the proposal in June.
Illinois – Proposal Calls for ComEd to Pay $38 Million Back to Ratepayers for Scandal Tied to Michael Madigan Indictment
MSN – Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/14/2022
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) electricity customers would get more than $38 million in refunds tied to the federal bribery scandal that led to former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s indictment under a proposal being considered by state regulators. ComEd has acknowledged it sought to curry favor with Madigan by placing his political cronies into jobs requiring little or no work. Though ComEd’s Springfield lobbying efforts have been a major focus of the scandal, the company said actual lobbying costs were not included in the refunds because those costs are not calculated into customer rates.
Illinois – ‘We’ve Gotta Kill It. Period.’ New Details on ComEd Bribery Probe Emerge in Latest Unsealed Search Warrants
MSN – Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/10/2022
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan approved efforts to kill his own daughter’s legislation as he pressed Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to give jobs to two political allies. At the time, the legislation, aimed at helping low-income electricity customers, was making its way to the floor of a House chamber controlled by Madigan. One of its primary opponents was ComEd, the state’s largest electric utility. Madigan was indicted on racketeering charges alleging his elected office and political operation were a criminal enterprise that provided personal financial rewards for him and his associates.
Maryland – Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby Files Legal Challenge to Ethics Ruling Alleging He Broke City Law
MSN – Emily Opilo and Christine Condon (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/13/2022
Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby is challenging a Board of Ethics order that called on him to cease fundraising for a legal-defense fund and turn over a list of donors one month after he said publicly that he would comply with the order. The board said Mosby violated the law by indirectly soliciting for the fund that took donations from at least two city contractors. Baltimore’s ethics ordinance allows the subjects of investigations to seek a judicial review if they are “aggrieved” by a decision of the board.
Maryland – Sheila Dixon Helps a Trash hauler – and Olszewski Contributor – Win a $300,000 Fee Reduction
Baltimore Brew – Mark Reutter | Published: 6/14/2022
Among the crowd at a fundraiser for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski last June, one person stood out. Sheila Dixon appeared at the cookout not as a mayor who was forced to resign after a theft conviction, but as a political luminary feted by, among others, Willie Goode, head of several waste management companies. A few weeks earlier, the Olszewski administration renegotiated the “tipping fee” his companies paid for trash transfers that would save Goode $300,000 over the life of the contract. D’Andrea Walker, acting director of Pubic Works and Transportation, reduced the fee following conversations with Dixon and Stacy Rodgers, the county administrator.
Michigan – Mich. Gubernatorial Candidate Arrested on Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Charge
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Aaron Davis, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/9/2022
Ryan Kelley, a contender in Michigan’s crowded August 2 Republican gubernatorial primary, was arrested on charges of participating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He faces four counts punishable by up to a year in prison, including committing an act of violence against a person or property on restricted grounds. Kelley is the latest of more than a half-dozen Republican officeholders, candidates, or local party leaders to be charged in the Capitol breach, with several pleading guilty or being convicted at trial.
Michigan – Sixth Circuit Hears Campaign Finance Case Against Michigan Governor
Courthouse News Service – Kevin Koeninger | Published: 6/9/2022
An account with more than $3.7 million for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, over 95 percent of which was later given to the Michigan Democratic Party, was amassed in violation of state campaign finance laws, the Michigan GOP argued. The fundraising sum was the result of large contributions by various wealthy donors made in response to recall efforts against Whitmer throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Only one of the efforts required the creation of a recall committee, but Whitmer used the opportunity to raise a significant amount of campaign capital.
Missouri – Grant Program for North St. Louis and ‘Aldermanic Courtesy’ Raise New Questions After Indictments
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Jacob Barker | Published: 6/13/2022
St. Louis launched a new grant program designed to pump $37 million into businesses and nonprofits along many of north St. Louis’s main thoroughfares. The program handed administrative duties to the St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm. But it contained one provision that, at the time, gave some officials pause: all grants need approval from the area’s alderman. The provision codified the “aldermanic courtesy” that has long been tradition in St. Louis. But that tradition is under new scrutiny following the indictments against three members of the Board of Aldermen.
Nebraska – Nebraska Cops Probe Shady Tactics by Voter ID Campaign’s Foot Soldiers
Yahoo News – Francisco Alvarado (Daily Beast) | Published: 6/14/2022
Some Nebraskans have reported strange encounters with petition circulators to the elections watchdog group Civic Nebraska and Secretary of State Robert Evnen over the past month, reports which have now sparked a police investigation. The complaints describe and cell phone video clips show unknown operatives of Citizens For Voter ID engaging in what appear to be misleading tactics and saying just about anything except what the proposed ballot measure actually does in an effort to secure the necessary signatures from registered voters.
New Mexico – Ethics Commission Wants NM Disclosure Law Enforced
Albuquerque Journal – Dan McKay | Published: 6/10/2022
More than 20 percent of the individuals required to file annual disclosures about their income sources and property, a group that includes public officials and candidates in New Mexico, have not done so, according to the State Ethics Commission. The ethics agency authorized its staff to issue demand letters to about 155 people who have not filed the mandatory disclosures and to go to court if necessary to enforce the law.
New Mexico – New Mexico’s Supreme Court Orders County Commission to Certify Vote
MSN – Annie Gowan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2022
New Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered commissioners in Otero County to certify election results from the June 7 primary after they refused, citing unsubstantiated concerns about fraud. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said the office was pursuing a criminal referral, which could result in the county commissioners being charged with contempt of court or removed from office if they do not follow the court’s instructions. The commissioners’ refusal thrust the small county into the national spotlight at a time of rising concern over the long-term damage from former President Trump’s claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
New York – In Lobbying Probe, Ethics Commission Critic Faces $4M Threat
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/12/2022
Lobbying groups in New York typically must disclose donors providing more than $2,500 under a state law meant to reveal those who are seeking to influence government. In a filing submitted last July, Don’t Bankrupt New York, which spent more than $850,000 on television ads that opposed tax increases, disclosed little about its spending and indicated it took in no contribution over $2,500. The person responsible for that paperwork was David Grandeau, the state’s former top lobbying regulator. Grandeau has touted his ability to obscure the sources behind clients’ lobbying spending, tweaking the state’s regulators for allegedly failing to keep pace with him.
New York – New York High Court Nixes Trump Appeal, Clearing Way for Testimony
CNBC – Associated Press | Published: 6/14/2022
New York’s highest court rejected former President Trump’s last-ditch effort to avoid testifying in the state attorney general’s civil investigation into his business practices, clearing the way for his deposition in July. The state’s Court of Appeals said there was no “substantial constitutional question” that would warrant its intervention in the matter following an intermediate appellate court’s ruling enforcing a subpoena for Trump’s testimony.
Ohio – Campaign Watchdogs Sue Vance Campaign, Super PAC Over Alleged Covert Website Scheme
Ohio Capital Journal – Nick Evans | Published: 6/10/2022
A super PAC illegally provided resources to J.D. Vance’s U.S. Senate campaign in Ohio to propel him to victory in the GOP primary, a new complaint filed with the FEC alleges. The Campaign Legal Center and End Citizens United claim that Protect Ohio Values used a covert website to circumvent rules that prevent coordination between super PACs and campaigns. The super PAC posted numerous campaign research, polling, and strategy documents to the site. The watchdog groups argue the Vance campaign making use of that information amounts to accepting an illegal in-kind contribution.
Ohio – Ohio State Board of Education Selected Steve Dackin as State Education Chief Eight Days After Learning an Ethics Inquiry Was Likely Coming, Letter Shows
MSN – Laurie Hancock (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 6/13/2022
The Ohio State Board of Education learned in a May 2 letter from the state Ethics Commission that an inquiry into one of its finalists for superintendent of public instruction was likely. Yet on May 10, the board selected that candidate, Steve Dackin, as the state’s education chief, a position that leads the Ohio Department of Education, designs model curriculum, and administers the testing of 1.7 million children. Dackin lasted 11 days before resigning over ethics questions. Dackin was the former Board of Education vice president who led the search for a new state superintendent as the board decided to forgo hiring an outside search firm.
Vermont – Becca Balint Has Denounced Super PACs. Is Her Campaign Winking at Them Anyway?
VTDigger.org – Lola Duffort | Published: 6/13/2022
Asked by Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, likely her closest competitor in the Democratic primary for Vermont’s sole U.S. House seat, if she would reject super PAC spending on her behalf, state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint said she would. Federal campaign law imposes a cap on how much individual donors or corporations can give to political candidates. But those rules don’t apply to super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against candidates. Campaigns have found a deceptively simple work-around to the prohibition against coordination: redboxing.
Washington – Aide Who Blew Whistle on Mistreatment of Staff Fired from Washington Office of Insurance Commissioner
OPB – Austin Jenkins (Northwest Newws Network) | Published: 6/15/2022
The office of Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler fired a top aide who in February formally complained that Kreidler had bullied him, used crass language, and was increasingly “antagonizing staff.” The firing of Jon Noski, Kreidler’s legislative liaison, followed a wave of criticism in recent months from current, former, and potential Office of Insurance Commissioner employees who said Kreider verbally mistreated staff and also, at times, used racially offensive language.
Washington DC – Giuliani Hit with Ethics Charges by Washington D.C. Authorities Over False Election Claims
Reuters – Sara Lynch | Published: 6/11/2022
The District of Columbia office that polices attorneys for ethical misconduct filed charges on against President Trump’s former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, over baseless claims Giuliani made in federal court alleging the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The charges came a day after the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol had its first hearing in which it outlined evidence that Trump and his allies sought to overturn the 2020 election and incite throngs of his supporters to block Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory.
Wisconsin – Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman Should Face Discipline After ‘Misogynistic’ Comments, Judge Orders
Yahoo News – Molly Beck (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | Published: 6/14/2022
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman could face discipline from officials who oversee the conduct of attorneys after he berated a judge and a female attorney while refusing to answer their questions about his handling of public records requests. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington fined Gableman $2,000 per day until he proves to the court and attorneys representing American Oversight that he has produced all records the group has requested related to his taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 election. Gableman was hired by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to investigate Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in the state.
Wyoming – There Could Be a Path for Crypto Campaign Contributions in Wyoming
Wyoming Tribune Eagle – Jonathan Make | Published: 6/14/2022
There could be a pathway for Wyoming politicians to be formally cleared to accept campaign contributions in the form of virtual currency, at least possibly if state officials go along with this suggestion. During a Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation hearing, state Sens. Chris Rothfuss and Tara Nethercott noted that one approach could be for the value of a cryptocurrency political contribution to be pegged to the worth of the crypto at the time of the donation.
June 16, 2022 •
On June 14, I had the privilege of joining Finance Administrative Assistant Emone Smith and her parents, Stewart and Ethel Satterwhite at a meeting with the Summit Metro Parks at the Himelright Lodge on Cuyahoga Street in Akron. This was […]
On June 14, I had the privilege of joining Finance Administrative Assistant Emone Smith and her parents, Stewart and Ethel Satterwhite at a meeting with the Summit Metro Parks at the Himelright Lodge on Cuyahoga Street in Akron. This was an amazing moment of connection, family history, and a glimpse into an important part of Akron’s history.
It all began on April 21, when Emone attended the Akron Roundtable presentation “Summit Metro Parks: Embarking on Our Second Century” by Lisa King, Executive Director, Summit Metro Parks.
Lisa King talked about an important archaeological find on the grounds of the Cascade Valley Metro Park. They found the remains of a house that George C. and Willie Mae Prather built on Honeywell Drive, an unpaved street off Cuyahoga Street. It was one of the homes making up a forgotten, but historically important neighborhood of African Americans in Akron. Eventually, the neighborhood was taken over by a golf course and then by the Metro Parks.
The Cultural Resources Group, made up of archaeologists and historians gathered basic facts and material culture about the neighborhood, but knew very little about the residents’ lives: “We have the dates they were born, when they were married and when they died. George passed away in 1975 and Willie Mae followed in 1983. We know that George worked for Goodyear and at one point Willie Mae worked as a maid. Beyond that, however, we know next to nothing about their lives.” wrote Charlotte Gintert in The Devil Strip 2018.
This is where Emone entered the story. At the Roundtable, she recognized her great aunt Willie Mae’s obituary being shown in the presentation and saw her own address listed! Emone confirmed with her mom that this was in fact her own family and spoke to Lisa King, which led to a set of interviews with Ethel Satterwhite, Emone’s mom.
Ethel and Stewart were able to tell the amazing story of George and Willie Mae Prather, about their lives, their neighborhood, and their church. This was exactly what the park’s archaeological team needed to fill out the story. They couldn’t have gotten this information anywhere else and it is all thanks to Emone attending Akron Roundtable.
During the event at Himelright Lodge, Ethel, Stewart, and Emone had the chance to see some of the 6000 archaeological artifacts, including foundation stones, nails, bed springs, cooking pans, even bits of a phonograph LP! They rode golf carts deep into the park, where the Honeywell Drive neighborhood used to be and saw the archaeological dig at the foundation of Uncle George and Aunt Willie Mae’s house. Ethel Satterwhite teared up when she saw it and said she was grateful to see the place again.
View some photos from this amazing afternoon in the carousel below:
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June 16, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Donald Trump Is Unlikely to Get Nailed with Fraud Charges Over His Campaign Soliciting Donations for a Non-Existent ‘Official Election Defense Fund,’ Experts Say” by Brent Griffiths and Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) for Yahoo News Ohio: “Campaign […]
National: “Donald Trump Is Unlikely to Get Nailed with Fraud Charges Over His Campaign Soliciting Donations for a Non-Existent ‘Official Election Defense Fund,’ Experts Say” by Brent Griffiths and Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) for Yahoo News
Ohio: “Campaign Watchdogs Sue Vance Campaign, Super PAC Over Alleged Covert Website Scheme” by Nick Evans for Ohio Capital Journal
Wyoming: “There Could Be a Path for Crypto Campaign Contributions in Wyoming” by Jonathan Make for Wyoming Tribune Eagle
New Mexico: “GOP Commission Refuses to Certify New Mexico Primary Vote” by Morgan Lee (Associated Press) for MSN
Wisconsin: “Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman Should Face Discipline After ‘Misogynistic’ Comments, Judge Orders” by Molly Beck (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) for Yahoo News
California: “A 20-Story Tower. A Liquor Box with $100 Bills. The First Trial in the Huizar Case Begins” by David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) for Yahoo News
Illinois: “Proposal Calls for ComEd to Pay $38 Million Back to Ratepayers for Scandal Tied to Michael Madigan Indictment” by Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) for MSN
New York: “New York High Court Nixes Trump Appeal, Clearing Way for Testimony” by Associated Press for CNBC
Maryland: “Sheila Dixon Helps a Trash hauler – and Olszewski Contributor – Win a $300,000 Fee Reduction” by Mark Reutter for Baltimore Brew
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