News You Can Use Digest - February 4, 2022 - State and Federal Communications

February 4, 2022  •  

News You Can Use Digest – February 4, 2022


Campaigning to Oversee Elections, While Denying the Last One
Yahoo News – Jennifer Medina, Nick Corasaniti, and Reid Epstein (New York Times) | Published: 1/30/2022

Nearly two dozen Republicans who have publicly questioned or disputed the results of the 2020 election are running for secretary of state across the country, in some cases after being directly encouraged by allies of former President Trump. Their candidacies are alarming watchdog groups, Democrats, and some fellow Republicans, who worry these Trump supporters, if elected to posts that exist largely to safeguard and administer the democratic process, would weaponize those offices to undermine it – whether by subverting an election outright or by sowing doubts about any local, state. or federal elections their party loses.

Critics Say Ginni Thomas’s Activism Is a Supreme Court Conflict. Under Court Rules, Only Her Husband Can Decide If That’s True.
MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 1/31/2022

Ginni Thomas has long been one of the nation’s most outspoken conservatives. During her husband’s time on the U.S. Supreme Court, she has run organizations designed to activate right-wing networks and worked for Republicans in Congress. She also worked closely with the Trump administration and has come under fire over messages praising January 6 crowds before the attack on the Capitol. In a number of instances, her activism has overlapped with cases that have been decided by Justice Clarence Thomas. Each justice can decide whether to recuse, and there is no way to appeal a Supreme Court member’s failure to do so.

Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won with It in 2020.
New York Times – Kenneth Vogel and Shane Goldmacher | Published: 1/29/2022

Democrats have complained – with indignation, frustration, and envy – that Republicans and their allies were spending hundreds of millions of difficult-to-trace dollars to influence politics. “Dark money” became a dirty word, as the left warned of the threat of corruption posed by corporations and billionaires that were spending unlimited sums through loosely regulated nonprofits, which did not disclose their donors’ identities. Then came the 2020 election. Spurred by opposition to then-President Trump, donors and operatives allied with the Democratic Party embraced “dark money,” by some measures surpassing Republicans in 2020 spending.

Democrats’ Election Reform Bill Failed in the Senate. What’s Next for Campaign Finance Reform? – Jimmy Cloutier | Published: 1/27/2022

The fate of campaign finance reform is once again in limbo after Senate Republicans quashed Democrats’ most recent election legislation. The GOP filibustered the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. A measure to then pass the bill with a simple majority was blocked by U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Democrats are shifting to other legislative priorities, like finding a replacement for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. What this means for campaign finance reform, and the role of money-in-politics more broadly, is largely unclear.

Dems Avert Total Redistricting Doomsday – but They’re Not Out of the Woods
Yahoo News – Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick (Politico) | Published: 2/2/2022

The House Democrats’ campaign chief believes his party has at least avoided a redistricting doomsday that would have automatically handed the GOP control of the chamber in January. Republicans still hold an indisputable advantage going into the midterms. But Democrats have seized this year’s redistricting battle with an unexpected ruthlessness, carving out more blue territory than most had expected even just a few months ago, and netting key wins in the courts.

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse Re-Introduces Bill to Ban Lawmakers from Trading Stocks and Becoming Paid Lobbyists After Retiring
MSN – Bryan Metzger (Business Insider) | Published: 2/2/2022

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse is re-introducing a sweeping ethics reform package that includes banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks and ban lawmakers from acting as paid lobbyists after leaving Congress. It would also require the president and vice president to publicly disclose their tax returns. In contrast to Sasse’s previous set of proposals, the bill would also prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to ballot measure campaigns.

Jan. 6 Investigators Subpoena 14 in Probe of False Pro-Trump Electors
MSN – Nicholas Wu, Betsy Woodruff Swan, and Kyle Cheney (Politico) | Published: 1/28/2022

The January 6 select committee subpoenaed central players in the Republican effort to submit illegitimate presidential electors in 2020, a push that became a key component of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat. The panel investigating the Capitol riot is seeking documents and testimony from two pro-Trump electors each from seven battleground states, all won by Joe Biden, in which Republicans sought to deliver their own slate of electors to Congress.

Memo Circulated Among Trump Allies Advocated Using NSA Data in Attempt to Prove Stolen Election
MSN – Josh Dawsey, Rosalind Helderman, Emma Brown, and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 2/3/2022

A memorandum proposed that President Trump should invoke the powers of the National Security Agency and Defense Department to sift through raw electronic communications in an attempt to show foreign powers intervened in the 2020 election to help Joe Biden win. The proposal in some ways mirrors other radical ideas that extremists who denied Biden’s victory were working to sell to Trump between the election and the siege of the U.S. Capitol. But the proposal to seize and analyze “NSA unprocessed raw signals data” raises legal and ethical concerns and distinguishes the memo from other attempts.

Sen. Ben Ray Luján’s Stroke Shows the Fragility of Democrats’ Senate Majority
MSN – Mike DeBonis (Washington Post) | Published: 2/2/2022

For months, Senate Democrats have quietly pondered an improbable but not unthinkable scenario, that their razor-thin majority, secured only by the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Harris, could be suddenly upended by the absence, incapacitation, or death of a single senator. That scenario became reality, with an unexpected twist. In a caucus with 16 senators over 70, including several with documented health issues, it was one of the youngest Democrats, Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who suffered a stroke, leaving the Senate agenda in flux and Democrats pondering the fragility of their governing majority.

Some Records Sent to Jan. 6 Committee Were Torn Up, Taped Back Together – Mirroring a Trump Habit
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Amy Gardner, and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 1/31/2022

When the National Archives and Records Administration handed over a trove of documents to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, some of the Trump White House records had been ripped up and then taped back together. Former President Trump was known for his potentially unlawful habit of tearing presidential records into shreds and tossing them on the floor. The Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, and other written communications related to a president’s official duties, but Trump’s shredding practices apparently continued well into the latter stages of his presidency.

States Moving Fast After Congress Failed to Expand Felon Voting Rights
Yahoo News – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 2/2/2022

Activists are pushing for new state laws that would more quickly and uniformly restore the voting rights of those convicted of felonies, a movement that has found significant success in recent years. Despite state victories, federal action has been elusive. After a January stumble in Washington, 2022 will determine whether the movement still has momentum as it faces key tests in New Mexico, Virginia, and elsewhere. How successful the re-enfranchisement movement is could affect the makeup of the electorate in the midterms and beyond.

Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines
Yahoo News – Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, Michael Schmidt, and Luke Broadwater (New York Times) | Published: 1/31/2022

Former President Trump was more directly involved than previously known in exploring proposals to use his national security agencies to seize voting machines as he grasped unsuccessfully for evidence of fraud that would help him reverse the 2020 election. The new accounts provide insight into how the former president considered and to some degree pushed the plans, which would have taken the country into uncharted territory by using federal authority to seize control of the voting systems run by states on baseless grounds of widespread voting fraud.

Trump’s Latest Claim That Election Could Have Been ‘Overturned’ Looms Over Electoral Count Debate in Congress
MSN – Mike DeBonis (Washington Post) | Published: 2/1/2022

New statements from former President Trump insisting his vice president, Mike Pence, could have “overturned” the 2020 presidential election have jolted a congressional debate over changing the federal law under which Trump and his allies sought to reverse Joe Biden’s victory. A bipartisan group of senators has met to discuss revisions to the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which governs the congressional certification for the election of the president and vice president. Lawmakers of both parties sought to keep the discussions on track even as questions arose about whether Republicans would agree to buck the former president and revise the law.


Canada Critics Call for New Rules for Online Fundraisers After Protest Convoy Takes Anonymous Donations
CBC – Elizabeth Thompson | Published: 1/28/2022

Critics are calling on the federal government in Canada to introduce new rules for online fundraising campaigns after a fundraiser for a protest in Ottawa against vaccine mandates raised millions of dollars, in part from anonymous donors and people using fictitious names. Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May said the GoFundMe fundraiser for the protest convoy raises concerns about whether such campaigns could be used by big businesses or foreign actors to circumvent Canada’s political financing rules.

From the States and Municipalities

Alaska Alaska House Coalition Will Seek to Remove Rep. David Eastman from Legislative Committees Over His Oath Keepers Membership
Yahoo News – James Brooks (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 2/1/2022

The Alaska House took a first step toward removing Rep. David Eastman from legislative committees. The move came in response to Eastman’s membership in the Oath Keepers, a far-right paramilitary organization whose leaders have been charged with seditious conspiracy during the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Trump. Eastman has not been accused of a crime and has denounced the charges as politically motivated. He said he will continue to associate with the group as long as it will have him.

Alaska Without Action from Lawmakers, Triple the Cash Can Flow into Alaska Campaigns This Year
Yahoo News – Nathaniel Herz and Iris Samuels (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 1/30/2022

Candidates in Alaska’s local and state-level elections this year will be able to collect campaign contributions triple the amount allowed in past races, but uncertainty about the rules means those limits could be raised, lowered, or even eliminated before Election Day. State lawmakers and campaign finance regulators are still processing a court ruling that threw out Alaska’s $500-per-person, per-year limit on donations to candidates. For now, the Alaska Public Offices Commission has raised those limits to $1,500 and to $3,000 for political groups, up from $1,000.

Arizona Election Workers Could Be Charged with Crimes for Making Mistakes Under GOP Bills
Arizona Mirror – Jeremy Duda | Published: 1/31/2022

An Arizona Senate committee approved bills that would punish election workers who misplace ballots and penalize contractors who do not meet the terms of their contracts. Senate Bill 1055 states that a contractor who provides election-related services to the state or a county “and that fails to perform its obligations under the terms of the contract” is liable for damages equal to the value of the contract and could face criminal charges. The committee also approved a bill that says any ballots that are not included in election officials’ tallies because they were misplaced cannot be counted, and anyone who misplaces a ballot is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Colorado Colorado School Board Races Are Big-Money Affairs. A New Bill Wants to Reign in Donors with Campaign Finance Limits.
Chalkbeat Colorado – Sandra Fish (Colorado Sun) and Erica Meltzer | Published: 2/1/2022

In the aftermath of big money school board elections around the state, Colorado lawmakers are seeking to cap for the first time how much donors can give to candidates in those races. But a bill that passed a House panel will not affect spending by independent committees that play a significant role in some contests. The bill would limit individual donations in school board races to $2,500 and contributions by small donor committees to $25,000 per candidate. School board candidates are among the few elected offices in Colorado without limits on campaign contributions, and the caps proposed in the bill are higher than those for many other offices.

Connecticut Investigation: Murky ethics issues surround state official firing – Lisa Backus | Published: 2/2/2022

Several officials at the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice told Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. not to hire the daughter of Kostas Diamantis, the deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, to avoid any appearance of a conflict-of-interest, according to an investigation by former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy. But Colangelo moved forward with hiring Anastasia Diamantis even as he continued to press her father for raises for himself and his employees. Gov. Ned Lamont turned over the findings to the Office of State Ethics and Justice Andrew McDonald, chair of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission.

Florida Collier County Deputy Manager Fired for Not Disclosing Work for Lobbying Firm
WBBH – Lydia Nusbaum | Published: 1/27/2022

The Collier County manager fired former Deputy Manager Sean Callahan after learning Callahan did not disclose that he worked a second job, as he was required to do by law. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced on March 3, 2021, that Callahan had become a senior policy advisor for the firm. Records show Callahan as a lobbyist with a list of clients within the past several months.

Florida Florida Education Employee’s Spending Spree Wasn’t Authorized
Miami Herald – Ana Ceballos | Published: 1/28/2022

A Broward County Public Schools employee inappropriately used more than $90,000 in taxpayer money to buy computer equipment and gift cards for himself and colleagues while helping to manage a computer science training project for the Florida Department of Education. Justin Feller resigned his state government job last August while the department’s investigation was ongoing. The Department of Education referred the matter to the Florida Commission on Ethics for possible sanctions.

Florida Florida’s Absentee Ballot Restrictions Under Court Review
Bloomberg Government – Jennifer Kay | Published: 1/31/2022

A federal court is examining whether elderly, disabled, and other voters are improperly burdened by a new voting law in Florida, where casting ballots by mail has broad support. The law limiting access to absentee ballot drop boxes, as well as restrictions on approaching voters lined up to cast their ballots in person, was enacted in response to unsubstantiated claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 general election. Restricting the hours that ballot drop boxes are available and requiring them to be monitored in person creates a “gatekeeper” that will deter voters, said Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Florida Responding to Dark Money Controversy, NextEra Did Internal Investigation into FPL
MSN – Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) | Published: 1/27/2022

Recent revelations about Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) involvement in a “dark money” scheme to siphon votes away from state Senate Democratic candidates prompted its parent company, NextEra Energy, to conduct an internal investigation. FPL’s relationship with two nonprofit political committees has come under recent scrutiny as part of a criminal investigation by the Miami-Dade County state attorney into a ghost candidate scandal. The committees were set up by political consultants working for FPL, and with the consultation of FPL Chief Executive Officer Eric Silagy, according to media reporting.

Florida Tallahassee Commissioners Side with City Attorney, Deny Ethics Board Expansion
Florida Politics – Tristian Wood | Published: 1/27/2022

The Tallahassee City Commission voted to side with the city attorney against a legal interpretation that would have expanded the reach of the city’s independent ethics board. A member of the ethics board requested a legal opinion on whether the panel’s jurisdiction expands to board members and employees of the City of Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency. Commissioners agreed with City Attorney Cassandra Jackson, who argued the CRA and Blueprint fall under the jurisdiction of the state ethics commission.

Georgia Federal Judge to Rule on Governor’s Uncapped Fundraising War Chest
Albany Times Herald – Ross Wiliams (Georgia Recorder) | Published: 2/1/2022

Lawyers for Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue and Gov. Brian Kemp sparred in court over a new state law that allows certain top elected officials to create leadership committees that can raise campaign funds without limits, even when the Legislature is in session. Legislators banned fundraising during the annual session more than 30 years ago, citing a need to root out corruption or the appearance of corruption. Democrats argued the law is an attempt to circumvent that long-standing rule to benefit incumbents. Supporters say the law promotes transparency because it requires disclosure for large donations.

Louisiana For Louisiana Lawmakers, Political Redistricting Comes with Campaign Fundraising
Yahoo News – Julie O’Donoghue (Louisiana Illuminator) | Published: 2/2/2022

As Louisiana lawmakers gather in Baton Rouge for a special legislative session to draw new voting district maps, several will also be raising money for their campaigns. Legislators are generally prohibited from holding fundraisers or accepting campaign donations during regular sessions, but that ban does not apply during special sessions. How much money is raised at these fundraisers and what individuals and businesses donate will not be made public until next year.

Michigan Lee Chatfield Raised Millions, Traveled Often. Michigan Law Kept Much Secret
Bridge Michigan – Simon Schuster (Michigan Campaign Finance Network) and Sergio Martínez-Beltrán | Published: 1/25/2022

In the last few weeks, following allegations from former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield’s sister-in-law of sexual abuse, new revelations have emerged from former colleagues that he had extravagant taste and traveled so frequently he sometimes canceled House votes to catch planes. Records show one nonprofit tied to Chatfield, the Peninsula Fund, spent nearly $500,000 dollars on travel and food in 2020 alone, but IRS rules do not require it to disclose donors or explain how the money was spent. Michigan’s disclosure requirements for elected officials make it impossible to know many details about Chatfield’s travels, expenses, or donors.

Michigan Trump Donations to Michigan Candidates Exceeded Legal Limits – Malachi Barrett | Published: 2/2/2022

Three-quarters of the money former President Trump funneled from his political committee to Michigan candidates exceeded legal limits for donations in the state. Save America PAC donated $45,000 to nine Republican candidates running for state offices. Candidates will likely have to refund excess contributions to the PAC to comply with Michigan law. One check was sent to the wrong account. A $5,000 donation went to an inactive committee Mike Detmer created to run for state House in 2020 instead of his current committee for Michigan’s 31st Senate District.

Missouri Former Lake Ozark Lawmaker’s Attempt to Overturn Missouri’s Revolving Door Ban Rejected by Judge
Yahoo News – Galen Bacharier (Springfield News-Leader) | Published: 1/31/2022

A federal judge ruled Missouri’s two-year ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists after leaving office would not be overturned, rejecting an argument by former state Rep. Rocky Miller that the law violated his freedom of speech. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool said Miller “conflates his right to speak and petition with his desire to receive compensation for doing so” and Miller’s “speech is not directly burdened” by the law.

New Jersey Hoboken Councilwoman Sues City Over New Campaign Finance Law
Newark Star-Ledger – Ron Zeitlinger (Jersey Journal) | Published: 2/2/2022

Hoboken City Councilperson Tiffanie Fisher filed a lawsuit against the city to strike down the campaign finance law she says was illegally approved in December. The ordinance removes the $500 limit on campaign contributions from unions to candidates for elected office in the city and follow the state guideline of $7,200 per candidate. Fisher argued the ordinance was amended so significantly prior to the second reading and final vote that the amended version should have gone back for a new first reading.

New Jersey New Jersey Grand Jury Investigated PACs, Nonprofits Caddle Operated
MSN – Matt Friedman (Politico) | Published: 1/31/2022

New Jersey prosecutors investigated several super PACs and nonprofits run by Sean Caddle, the political consultant who has admitted hiring two men to kill an associate and empaneled a state grand jury that issued related subpoenas to government entities. Some of those groups appeared designed to hide the source of money they channeled into local races around the state. The investigation focused in part on the Elizabeth Board of Education, a major source of political patronage, sources said.

New York As Hochul Smashed Fundraising Record, Donors Enjoyed Access
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg and Rebekah Ward | Published: 1/28/2022

As New York Gov. Kathy Hochul raised nearly $22 million since her inauguration in August, donors have not always gotten the results they sought. But with enough cash to hire a lobbyist and attend a high-dollar fundraiser, many interest groups enjoyed the opportunity to directly speak to state government’s most powerful person. Hochul’s unprecedented numbers relied partly on aggressive tactics employed by her team, such as setting a $250,000 fundraising minimum to secure her attendance at major lobbying firm events. She is also said to navigate follow up personally with some donors and attendees, a longstanding practice in New York.

New York Cannabis Company Seeks to Subpoena Hochul’s Office
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 2/1/2022

The cannabis company MedMen Enterprises filed a notice in state Supreme Court that it intends to subpoena records from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul concerning any communications she or officials with her office and campaign had with another firm, Ascend Wellness Holdings, that donated at least $15,000 to the governor. The Albany Times Union published a story concerning Hochul’s record-breaking $22 million in campaign fundraising, including details about the conflict between Ascend and MedMen.

New York Mayor Adams Granted Waiver to Hire His Brother At $1 Yearly Salary
Gothamist – Brigid Bergin | Published: 1/27/2022

Bernard Adams, the brother of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, was granted a waiver by the Conflicts of Interest Board to serve as senior advisor for mayoral security for the nominal salary of one dollar a year, allowing him to become an official city employee. City Hall walked back its initial plan to pay Adams’ brother a $210,000 salary but instead sought a waiver for him to play an uncompensated role in the administration, in keeping with the precedents set by previous administrations.

Ohio Ohio Ethics Commission Seeks Harsher Penalties for Giving Unlawful Gifts to Lawmakers
WOUB – Jo Ingles (Statehouse News Bureau) | Published: 1/27/2022

The Ohio Ethics Commission is asking state lawmakers to beef up penalties for people convicted of illegally giving money or gifts to legislators or public agency leaders. The allowable amount a donor can give a lawmaker or other leader is between $75 to $500 per year depending on who is getting the gift and how it is given. Exceeding that amount is a misdemeanor.

Oklahoma Oklahoma Budget Process Can Be Mysterious, Even for Many Lawmakers
Yahoo News – Ben Felder (The Oklahoman) | Published: 2/3/2022

Oklahoma’s multi-billion-dollar budget is the pinnacle legislative action each spring that sets the course for how much money state agencies have to spend, impacting everything from the resources available in classrooms to the number of state troopers patrolling the highway. But the process it takes to complete is largely conducted in secret, negotiated among a few lawmakers and high-ranking government officials before the rest of the Legislature has a few days to approve.

Pennsylvania A Pennsylvania Court Overturned the State’s Mail Voting Law, but an Appeal Means It’s Still in Place
MSN – Jonathan Lai and Andrew Seidman (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 1/28/2022

A Pennsylvania court struck down the state’s mail voting law, saying the state constitution requires voters to cast ballots in person unless they meet specific requirements. That almost certainly will not be the final word on the matter, as the state quickly appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, triggering an automatic stay of the decision, and leaving the law in place while the high court considers the case. Democrats believe the Supreme Court, which has a Democratic majority, will uphold the law.

Pennsylvania Councilman Derek Green Is Proposing Philly’s Biggest Ethics and Elections Reforms in Years. Here’s What’s in It.
MSN – Sean Collins Walsh (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 1/28/2022

City Councilmember Derek Green introduced Philadelphia’s most ambitious ethics and election reform package in years. Green’s plan comes in the wake of the conviction of former council member Bobby Henon, who resigned after a jury found him guilty on federal corruption charges. Only one of the planks, a proposal to clarify conflict-of-interest rules and increase disclosures by council members who make money from side jobs, directly relates to the scandal. Other components include making the Office of the Inspector General a permanent and independent agency and establishing a system for public financing of city elections.

Pennsylvania Former Pa. Treasurer Barbara Hafer’s PAC Collected $2.3 Million from Investments, Paid Daughter $500K Since She Left Office
Lancaster Online – Sam Janesch (The Caucus) | Published: 1/27/2022

Barbara Hafer, who was elected four times to statewide office in Pennsylvania, was never again on a ballot after leaving the state treasurer’s office in 2005. Her 2017 guilty plea on charges she lied during a corruption case has barred her from holding public office in the state again. But for nearly two decades, Hafer’s PAC has remained open and thrived. Since she left office, Hafer’s committee has collected $2.3 million – not from donors, but from investments she made with her donors’ money. What it is being used for is a troubling practice benefitting Hafer’s daughter, according to a review of the committee’s reports and interviews with campaign finance experts.

Tennessee Tennessee Senate Expels Sen. Katrina Robinson from Legislature, a First for the Chamber Since at Least the Civil War
MSN – Melissa Brown (Memphis Commercial Appeal) | Published: 2/2/2022

For the first time since at least the Civil War, the Tennessee Senate voted to expel a senator, stripping Sen. Katrina Robinson of her elected position following her federal conviction on federal wire fraud charges. Robinson previously said prosecutors unfairly targeted and pursued her on trumped up charges, which are unrelated to her role in the General Assembly. Sen. Ferrell Haile defended the Senate’s process, noting Robinson served through multiple regular and special sessions while her case moved through the courts.

Virginia Tim Anderson Is Writing Bills That Might Profit His Business. In Virginia, That’s Allowed.
Virginian-Pilot – Ryan McKinnon | Published: 2/1/2022

Virginia Del. Tim Anderson, who owns a gun shop, filed four bills that could ease regulations on gun shops or make it easier for people to buy guns throughout the state. That may seem to be a conflict-of-interest, but Virginia’s ethics rules allow lawmakers to write bills that affect their industry. As long as Anderson’s proposals impact all gun shops in the commonwealth and not just his own, he is in line with the spirit of a citizen Legislature, ethics experts said. He is also not alone; politicians on both sides of the aisle in Virginia write bills that affect their professions.

Virginia Va. Senators Reject Proposals to Cut Off Campaign Cash from Dominion Energy
Daily Progress – Patrick Wilson (Richmond Times Dispatch) | Published: 2/2/2022

Virginia lawmakers voted down proposals that would have ended Dominion Energy’s ability to give massive sums of campaign money to the lawmakers who regulate it. Bills to scale back the utility’s political influence in Richmond are not new, but they took on new life this year after Dominion upset conservatives during last year’s race for governor by pumping more than $250,000 into a PAC that attacked Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin, now governor. But Dominion’s allies in the Capitol remain numerous, and lawmakers have opposed any attempts to limit their campaign donations.

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