News You Can Use Digest - July 1, 2022 - State and Federal Communications

July 1, 2022  •  

News You Can Use Digest – July 1, 2022


Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony Highlights Legal Risks for Trump
Yahoo News – Alan Feuer and Glenn Thrush (New York Times) | Published: 6/29/2022

The extent to which the Justice Department’s expanding criminal inquiry into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is focused on Donald Trump remains unclear. But the revelations in the testimony to the House select committee by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, both provided new evidence about Trump’s activities before the riot and chipped away at any potential defense that he was merely expressing well-founded views about election fraud, legal experts said. A federal judge in a civil suit related to the committee’s work concluded this year that Trump and one of his legal advisers, John Eastman, most likely had committed felonies.

Colorado GOP Rejects Candidates Who Back Trump Election Lie
MSN – Nicholas Riccardi (Associated Press) | Published: 6/29/2022

Colorado Republicans rejected two of the state’s most prominent election deniers, a setback for the movement to install those who echo former President Trump’s lies about mass voter fraud in positions overseeing voting. The twin losses add to mixed record for Trump’s movement. So far, four supporters of his election falsehoods have won Republican primaries for secretary of state. But he has also suffered embarrassing losses. The Colorado decisions came as voters in six other states went to the polls in the first primaries since the Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right of women to obtain abortions.

Democrats Seize on Abortion Ruling in Midterms, as Republicans Tread Carefully
MSN – Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2022

Democrats are seizing on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, with state and federal candidates seeking to turn anger about the decision into support at the ballot box, even as Republicans aim to keep attention on rising prices and crime. Democrats on the front lines of the fight to keep the party’s congressional majorities have cast their campaigns as key parts of a larger battle to restore abortion rights prevent the rollback of other liberties. Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general, and offices at the state level, where abortion laws will now be determined, pledged to put the issue at the forefront of their campaigns.

Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Avoids Prison Time Over Three Felony Convictions
MSN – Chris Marquette (Roll Call) | Published: 6/28/2022

Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was sentenced to two years’ probation for lying to the FBI and concealing information during an investigation into his campaign’s receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in illegal foreign contributions. The sentencing decision went against the prosecution’s request, who asked for Fortenberry to serve six months in federal prison. The judge also said Fortenberry must complete 320 hours of community service and pay a $25,000 fine.

Giuliani Associate Parnas Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison
MSN – Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) | Published: 6/29/2022

Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in former President Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. Parnas, who had helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian figures as part of a campaign to dig up dirt on President Biden’s son, had sought leniency on the grounds that he had helped the congressional probe. Prosecutors asked the judge to focus on a jury’s finding that Parnas used the money of a wealthy Russian to make illegal donations to politicians who might aid the launch of a legal recreational-marijuana business.

Home of Jeffrey Clark, Trump DOJ Official, Searched by Federal Agents
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/23/2022

Federal agents conducted a search at the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in then-President Trump’s efforts to get law enforcement officials to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory. Clark’s conduct in late 2020 and early 2021 was also the focus of a hearing by the House committee probing the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters determined to overturn Biden’s victory. Several former senior Justice Department officials testified about a bizarre effort by Clark to volunteer himself and the department as advocates for Trump’s bogus claims of massive voter fraud during the election.

Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2022

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone after testimony from a former aide identified him as having firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House. The decision followed negotiations between Cipollone and the committee, as well as escalating pressure on him in recent days to testify. Committee members have come to believe he former counsel’s testimony could be critical to their investigation, given his proximity to Donald Trump and presence during key moments before, during, and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Lawyer Who Advised Trump Says Federal Agents Seized Phone
Yahoo News – Eric Tucker (Associated Press) | Published: 6/27/2022

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who aided former President Trump’s efforts to undo the 2020 election results and who has been repeatedly referenced in House hearings on the assault on the Capitol, said in a court filing that federal agents seized his cell phone. The move underscores federal investigators’ interest in the unsuccessful schemes advanced by Trump advisers to help keep the then-president in power in the period between the November 2020 election and the riot at the Capitol two months later, when Trump loyalists stormed the building to halt the certification of the election results.

Ron Johnson Now Says He Helped Coordinate Effort to Pass False Elector Slates to Pence, but His New Explanation Drew a Quick Rebuke
Yahoo Finance – Molly Beck and Lawrence Andrea (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | Published: 6/26/2022

After initially claiming to be “basically unaware” of an effort by his staff to get fake presidential elector documents to Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass along such information and alleged that U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly brought slates of fake electors to his office, a claim that was immediately disputed. Evidence presented by the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol showed Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver the two states’ lists of fake presidential electors for former President Trump to Pence on the morning of the insurrection but was rebuffed by Pence’s aide.

The Supreme Court Has Chipped Away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 Years. This Case Could Be the Next Blow.
Yahoo News – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 6/27/2022

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been whittled away over the last decade by the U.S. Supreme Court and a case set to be heard in the fall could shrink the protections offered by the law to the smallest level yet. The court will hear arguments in the fall about Alabama’s redistricting, in a case targeting the other central piece of the Voting Rights Act: Section 2, which prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race. The result of the case could make it more difficult for minority communities to claim new election laws are discriminatory and raise the bar for what has to happen to get relief from the courts.

Tucker Carlson Just Inadvertently Helped Raise $14,000 for Abortion Rights
MSN – Steven Zeitchik (Washington Post) | Published: 6/27/2022

Hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves to rail against companies that would pay for employees’ abortion-travel costs. But as Carlson was offering his commentary, an image from his show was being put to a different use: raising money for groups that facilitate abortion. Online bidders in the digital space known as web3 were offering thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for a non-fungible token made out of a screen image of Carlson on the show. Jenny Holzer said she will donate the $14,500 she made from the sale to groups including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Violent Threats to Election Workers Are Common. Prosecutions Are Not.
Yahoo News – Michael Wines and Eliza Fawcett (New York Times) | Published: 6/27/2022

Travis Ford pleaded guilty recently to making a threat with a telecommunications device – a felony that can carry up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 – for threatening Jena Griswold, the secretary of state and chief election official of Colorado, on Instagram. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has established the federal Election Threats Task Force, almost no one else has faced punishment. Two other cases are being prosecuted, but Ford’s guilty plea is the only case the task force has successfully concluded out of more than 1,000 it has evaluated.

From the States and Municipalities

Arizona Wendy Rogers Refused to Speak to the Senate Ethics Panel About Her ‘Fed Boy Summer’ Tweet
Arizona Mirror – Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Published: 6/29/2022

State Sen. Wendy Rogers refused to meet with the attorney for the Arizona Senate Ethics Committee, but her lawyer said in a letter to the panel that her tweet dismissing the racially motivated Buffalo grocery store mass shooting was a reference to a 2019 hip hop song and not a nod to white supremacist online culture. The Senate launched an investigation into Rogers for alluding on social media that the shooting in Buffalo was the work of federal law enforcement instead of the white supremacist accused of carrying out the attack.

California Downtown Real Estate Developer Found Guilty in Jose Huizar Bribery Case
Yahoo News – David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/27/2022

Five years ago, real estate developer Dae Yong Lee had a big problem. A labor group with political connections had filed a challenge against his plan for a 20-story tower in downtown Los Angeles. A jury found Lee guilty of paying a $500,000 bribe to ensure city council member Jose Huizar would shepherd his project through the city’s planning process. Lee’s company was also found guilty. It had sought city approval for the residential tower. The verdicts delivered a critical victory to federal prosecutors in the first of three trials encompassing the sprawling corruption case against Huizar.

California Santa Ana Moves to Increase Transparency with Lobbyist Registration Law
Los Angeles Times – Ben Brazil | Published: 6/23/2022

As Anaheim grapples with a corruption scandal, officials from nearby Santa Ana moved forward with a plan to encourage greater transparency by tracking paid lobbyists. The city council gave initial approval to an ordinance that requires lobbyists to register with the city or face penalties. Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said while the lobbyist disclosure law is a step in the right direction, the city needs to do more to prevent the kind of corruption uncovered in Anaheim.

Connecticut As a New Field of Candidates Lines Up for CT Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Grants, a Long-Ignored Elections Complaint Causes Concern About Landmark Reforms
MSN – Edmund Mahoney (Hartford Courant) | Published: 6/27/2022

Former Connecticut Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. was accused in 2014 of breaking a promise to limit his campaign spending to a grant of about $90,000 from the Citizens’ Election Program. Records show his campaign benefitted from almost four times that much because of an amendment to the law. Kennedy and his backers claim it permitted the Democratic State Central Committee to cover “organizational expenditures.” The case has languished in part because of legal disagreements over whether the amendment really does permit campaigns to spend in excess of the public financing caps on “organizational expenditures” with money donated by political committees.

Florida ‘Unsettling,’ ‘Un-American’: FPL consultant obtained personal information, surveillance photo of journalist Nate Monroe
Yahoo News – David Bauerlein (Florida Times-Union) | Published: 6/24/2022

Florida Times-Union columnist Mate Monroe was under surveillance by Matrix, a consulting firm that worked for Florida Power & Light (FPL) during the attempted sale of JEA, the community-owned utility in Jacksonville. The then-chief executive officer of Matrix emailed a background report on Monroe’s personal life to FPL’s vice president of state legislative affairs. Monroe frequently broke news on the potential sale of JEA and wrote columns critical of the sales process. FPL has called the reporting “conspiracy-laden” as it relates to the utility’s bid for JEA.

Hawaii Permitting Worker Who Took Bribes for a Decade Gets Prison Time
Honolulu Civil Beat – Christina Jedra | Published: 6/27/2022

A veteran of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) will go to prison for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to accepting over $63,000 in bribes over the course of a decade. Jennie Javonillo accepted cash from at least 10 individuals and companies who received expedited processing for their projects, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael David Nammar. The former building plans examiner perpetuated a “pay-to-play” culture at DPP in which people who offered bribes got their projects approved in “record time,” while construction stalled for those who refused to pay, Nammar said.

Hawaii Tougher Campaign Finance Laws Top Standards Commission Agenda
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 6/30/2022

A commission to enhance government transparency in Hawaii is weighing a handful of measures aimed at tightening campaign finance laws and reducing the influence of money in politics in a year where several political donors made headlines for alleged bribery. The recent cases led to the creation of the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which plans to come back to the Legislature with proposals on government ethics, elections, and more. The agency in charge of overseeing state campaign finance laws came before the new commission with ideas for eliminating “pay-to-play” schemes.

Idaho Lobbying or Campaigning? Idaho Political Organizations Did Both Before Primary Election
Idaho Capital Sun – Kelcie Moseley-Morris | Published: 6/27/2022

Online ads that attacked Idaho lawmakers were prominent during the last legislative session. They were paid for by Idaho Freedom Action, the 501(c)(4) arm of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Until mid-April, Idaho Freedom Action reported all its activities related to the session as lobbying for specific bills. Between January and March, the group reported buying Facebook ads that totaled $35,708. Although the ads focus on specific lawmakers, Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said if they do not include words to encourage someone to “vote for” or “vote against” that legislator, it is not a reportable independent campaign expenditure.

Illinois GOP Lawmaker Calls Roe Ruling ‘Victory for White Life’ as Trump Rally Cheers
MSN – Jennifer Hassan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2022

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller called the Supreme Court’s decision to Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life,” which was met with cheers at a rally held by former President Trump. Miller’s spokesperson, Isaiah Wartman, said she misread her prepared speech and was supposed to declare the divisive court ruling a victory for the “right to life.” Last year, Miller was forced to apologize after quoting Adolf Hitler at a “Moms for America” event in Washington, D.C.

Illinois Negotiations Underway on Stalled Ethics Reform Package, Lightfoot Says
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 6/23/2022

An effort to overhaul Chicago’s ethics rules designed to finally put an end to the corruption at City Hall will remain stalled for at least another month, even as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has begun negotiating with Ald. Michele Smith. But Lightfoot declined to endorse Smith’s proposal, or detail how the proposal should be changed. Lightfoot and Smith met after Chicago Board of Ethics Chairperson William Conlon said the package of reforms, which has been stalled since April without Lightfoot’s backing, should be “swiftly” passed by the city council and signed into law.

Louisiana Supreme Court Frees Louisiana to Use Congressional Map Drawn by GOP
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2022

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared Louisiana to use a Republican-drawn congressional map this fall that a lower court judge said likely diminishes the electoral power of the state’s Black voters. The justices agreed with a request by Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state to put on hold U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick’s order that the state create a second district where African Americans would have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. An appeals court backed the district court’s decision, but the state Legislature refused to redraw the map.

Maryland Former Hogan Chief of Staff Charged with Additional Count in Corruption Case
MSN – Sam Janesch (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/29/2022

A former chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is facing an additional charge in a two-year-old public corruption case that alleges he collected excessive expenses and arranged for an unprecedented $233,647 severance payment during his time in office. The new federal wire fraud charge against Roy McGrath relates to a memo that outlined the severance payment and included Hogan’s approval but that federal officials say McGrath fabricated.

Maryland Nick Mosby’s Tab for Ocean City Conference in August Is Twice as Much as Baltimore City Council Colleagues’
Yahoo News – Jeff Barker (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/29/2022

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved travel expenses – including three hotel nights – averaging $1,394 total for each of four city council members to attend the Maryland Association of Counties annual conference in Ocean City in mid-August. It approved similar expenses for the Council President Nick Mosby. But his bill was twice as much: $3,008. The board approved the requests of Mosby and the other council members without dissent.

Michigan Supreme Court: Flint water indictments against Rick Snyder, others invalid
Bridge Michigan – Kelly House and Jonathan Oosting | Published: 6/28/2022

A one-judge grand jury had no power to issue indictments stemming from the Flint water crisis, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled. The decision is likely to erase criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and several other former public officials and raises questions about future prosecutions. The Flint crisis was triggered by a drinking water source switch, executed while a state-appointed emergency manager ran the city. The decision caused lead contamination that coincided with two outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease and 12 deaths. Snyder was charged with two misdemeanors for willful neglect of duty.

Missouri Page’s Chief of Staff Resigns After Councilman Asks for Probe of Leaked Sex Video
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Nassim Benchaabane and Joe Holleman | Published: 6/29/2022

Cal Harris, chief of staff for St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, resigned abruptly, a week after county council member Mark Harder asked law enforcement officers to investigate a video of a county employee engaged in a sexual act at the county building. Harder said he received an anonymous video of a male county employee in a sexual act with a woman. The employee, whom Harder did not name, could be identified in the video because he was wearing a county ID badge with his name. A source who had seen the video said Harris’ name on the ID badge could be made out.

New Jersey Bill to Increase N.J. Campaign Contributions and Gut Local Pay-to-Play Rules Falls Off Fast Track
MSN – Matt Arco (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/29/2022

A bill that was getting fast-tracked through the New Jersey Legislature that seeks to double many contribution limits for elections and remove many “pay-to-play” restrictions in the state has stalled. The bill was pulled from consideration in both the Senate and Assembly as lawmakers gathered for a busy voting session before summer break. It was not immediately clear what prompted legislative leaders to pull the Elections Transparency Act after it sailed through committee hearings with bipartisan support in recent days.

New Mexico NM Department Heads, Others Didn’t Disclose Financial Info
Yahoo News – Dan McKay (Albuquerque Journal) | Published: 6/26/2022

Four Cabinet secretaries, a university chancellor, and New Mexico’s chief public defender failed to disclose their income sources and business interests earlier this year as required by state law. The group of non-filers also included the game and fish director, the chief clerk of the Senate, and more than 100 appointees to state boards and commissions. In New Mexico, elected officials, the leaders of state agencies, and certain other appointees are required to file annual disclosures listing their income sources, real estate holdings, and business interests – both for themselves and their spouses – as a condition of employment.

New York Judge Says NYC Can’t Let Noncitizens Vote in City Elections
NBC News – Associated Press | Published: 6/27/2022

New York City cannot let noncitizens vote for mayor and other city officials, a judge ruled, siding with Republicans who challenged the measure as unconstitutional. In January, New York became the first major American city to grant widespread municipal voting rights to noncitizens, though none had cast ballots yet. The law did not affect presidential, congressional, or state elections. The law’s supporters said it gave an electoral voice to many people who have made a home in the city and pay taxes to it but face tough paths to citizenship.

New York New York’s Troubled Ethics Panel Holds Final Meeting
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/28/2022

After 11 tumultuous years, New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) conducted its final meeting. On July 8, the commission will cease to exist. The Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed in the budget passed in April to replace it with a new oversight body, the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. JCOPE was long dogged by accusations its commissioners were too close to the lawmakers who appointed them. The panel’s 14 commissioners were appointed by top state lawmakers, with the governor appointing six.

New York Suffolk County Has Repealed Its Public Campaign Finance Program
WSHU – J.D. Allen | Published: 6/23/2022

Suffolk County has effectively ended its public campaign finance program. Outside of New York City, Suffolk County was the largest county in the state to establish a public campaign finance program. It did not survive a year in operation, without supporting a single campaign, before Republicans took away its funding. County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey said public money is better spent on taxpayers, not candidates. “There is a more immediate need than for campaign finance, and we think that this money could be better spent in other ways,” McCaffrey said.

North Carolina One of NC’s Biggest Political Donors, in Prison for Bribery, Wins New Trial
MSN – Will Doran (Charlotte Observer) | Published: 6/29/2022

A billionaire who had been convicted of attempting to bribe a top state official with the help of the North Carolina Republican Party was not given a fair trial, a federal appeals court ruled. Greg Lindberg was briefly North Carolina’s biggest political donor before his arrest. He is now two years into a seven-year prison sentence but will get a new trial, along with his employee John Gray, who had been sentenced to 30 months in prison as part of the same scandal.

North Dakota North Dakota Lawmakers Ponder Improvements to Harassment Policy After Rep’s Expulsion
Bismarck Tribune – Jack Dura | Published: 6/27/2022

North Dakota legislative leaders see more training for themselves on how to handle complaints as a way to improve the Legislature’s workplace harassment policy after a lawmaker’s expulsion last year. A panel of leaders met to review the policy, nearly 16 months after the Republican-led House expelled then-Rep. Luke Simons for workplace and sexual harassment of women at the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said the panel will wait until September to vote on potential changes to the policy that was adopted in 2018 amid the #MeToo movement but has never been used. The Legislature convenes in January.

Ohio Ohio Supreme Court Declines to Hold Ohio Redistricting Commission in Contempt for Failure to Pass Constitutional Legislative Districts
MSN – Seth Richardson (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 6/29/2022

The state Supreme Court announced it would not hold members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission in contempt after Republicans on the commission missed a May deadline to produce new state legislative maps. The ruling likely brings an end to the redistricting saga for now. Districts are already in place for the August 2 special legislative election and Republicans on the commission have refused to reconvene.

Oklahoma Clean Up Oklahoma Criticized for Not Disclosing Source of Funding
Enid News & Eagle – Janelle Stecklein (CNHI Oklahoma) | Published: 6/27/2022

Armed with mops and buckets and their trademark “Clean It Up Truck,” members of Clean Up Oklahoma admit they make a bit of spectacle as they travel across the state bringing attention to their anti-corruption platform. Their “Anti-Corruption Pledge” requires candidates to promise, among other things, to clean up elections by getting “big money out of politics” and requires officials to be transparent with things such as their tax returns, conflicts-of-interest, and gifts. But Clean Up Oklahoma, which reports spending $30,400 on electioneering efforts since June 9, is not disclosing any of its donors.

Oklahoma Epic Charter Schools Co-Founders Made Political Donations with State Dollars, OSBI Says
The Oklahoman – Nuria Martinez-Kee | Published: 6/25/2022

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation arrested Epic Charter Schools co-founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, along with the group’s chief financial officer, Josh Brock. Investigators allege Harris, Chaney, and Brock illegally pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars, submitted false financial reports to the state, and spent money intended for Epic students on political donations and personal expenses.

Rhode Island Officer Running for State Senate Drops Out After Punching Opponent
MSN – Timothy Bella and James Bikales (Washington Post) | Published: 6/25/2022

A Providence police officer who was running for state office as a Republican dropped out of the race amid a criminal investigation for allegedly punching his Democratic opponent in the face during a protest. Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairperson Jennifer Rourke was among those who spoke outside the statehouse following the Supreme Court’s decision to end the right to abortion. As tensions escalated among protesters and counter-protesters, video posted to social media shows people exchanging punches in a chaotic scene. During the fighting, a man who Rourke says is officer Jeann Lugo is seen punching her in the face.

Texas As They Target South Texas, Republicans Say One Democratic County Isn’t Maintaining Campaign Finance Records
Texas Tribune – Patrick Svitek | Published: 6/28/2022

Republicans are trying to make new inroads in South Texas this election season. The increased attention has spotlighted a concerning issue, according to one GOP group: a lack of publicly available campaign finance reports in Starr County documenting donations and spending for its local elections. Under state law, counties are required to maintain such reports for candidates for local office, including races for county judge, county commissioner, and justice of the peace. But that is apparently not happening in Starr, one of the four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley, according to a recently filed ethics complaint.

Wisconsin Scott Walker-Appointed Natural Resources Board Member Frederick Prehn Can Remain Past His Term, Supreme Court Rules
Yahoo News – Laura Schulte (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | Published: 6/28/2022

Frederick Prehn can remain on the state’s Natural Resources Board beyond the expiration of his term, under a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling.  The decision allows Prehn to remain as a voting member of the board, which sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources, until the state Senate holds a hearing for his replacement. The ruling all but ensures that Republicans who control the Senate will continue to avoid confirming large slates of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointees to key cabinet positions and other state positions.

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