News You Can Use Digest - July 2, 2021 - State and Federal Communications

July 2, 2021  •  

News You Can Use Digest – July 2, 2021


DOJ-Ordered Foreign Agent Registrations Boost China and Russia’s 2020 FARA Spending
Center for Responsive Politics – Anna Massoglia and Maggie Hicks | Published: 6/24/2021

China, Qatar, and Russia dominated the top 10 ranking of countries spending the most on foreign influence, lobbying and propaganda operations targeting the U.S. in 2020, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act records. Much of the spike in reported spending can be attributed to new registrations ordered by the Justice Department. Covington & Burling and Akin Gump were the top grossing U.S. firms paid for foreign lobbying and influence operations last year.

Exxon Lobbyist Concedes Company Fought ‘Against Some of the Science’ in Activist Recording
MSN – Zack Budryk and Rachel Frazen (The Hill) | Published: 6/30/2021

A lobbyist for ExxonMobil conceded the energy giant “aggressively [fought] against some of the science” behind climate change and describes their work against climate efforts with “shadow groups” in undercover footage filmed by an activist group called Unearthed. The footage shows lobbyist Keith McCoy describing the company’s carbon tax stance as simply a “talking point,” adding that he speaks with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s office weekly.

FEC Reviewing Rules on Salaries, Benefits for Candidates
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 6/29/2021

Nabilah Islam, who lost her bid for Congress in 2020, is calling on the FEC to change the rules to allow candidates to secure a minimum salary and health benefits through their campaigns. She also wants the FEC to set a uniform time frame for when candidates may begin drawing compensation. Candidates now cannot pay themselves more than they were making in the year previous to their run for office, which means unemployed people or stay-at-home caregivers are not entitled to a salary. Reform groups support the effort, saying it would make it easier for a more diverse collection of people to seek public office.

House Votes to Create Select Committee for Investigating Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol
MSN – Karoun Demirjian (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2021

The House voted to form a select committee tasked with investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol with nearly all Republicans opposing the legislation, a sign of the political challenges that face Democrats as they attempt to probe why thousands of former President Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol complex. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be able to select eight of the 13 panel members herself, including its chairperson, and maintain the power to overrule Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for picking anyone Democrats consider objectionable.

Inside the ‘Shadow Reality World’ Promoting the Lie That the Presidential Election Was Stolen
MSN – Rosalind Helderman, Emma Brown, Tom Hamburger, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/24/2021

A loosely affiliated network of figures has harnessed right-wing media outlets, podcasts, and the social media platform Telegram to promote the falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged, a belief that is an animating force inside the Republican Party. These falsehoods are now seeping into civic life, spurring citizens in multiple states to demand local officials review the vote. The echo chamber is being sustained by figures such as Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow, who says he has spent $16 million in the effort. Other untold sums have been donated by ordinary Americans to nonprofit groups that say they are focused on “election integrity.”

Overseeing Federal Housing Agency Resigns, Months After Watchdog Report Finds Abuse of Authority
MSN – Rachel Siegel (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2021

The inspector general overseeing the Federal Housing Finance Agency resigned, two months after a watchdog report alleged that she abused her authority, retaliated against employees, and blocked an investigation into her conduct. The report noted years of complaints against Laura Wertheimer and other staff members, and it ultimately concluded “misconduct of this nature warrants consideration of substantial disciplinary action, up to and including removal.”

Rep. Gosar Denies Knowledge of Fundraiser with Group That Promotes White-Nationalist Ideas Despite Invitation for the Event
MSN – Marrianna Sotomayor (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2021

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar denied he plans to attend a fundraiser with a group that promotes white nationalist ideas, despite an invitation for the event circulating online that features the Gosar and Nick Fuentes, a far-right operative who leads America First. The invitation includes contact information for Gosar’s campaign and says it was “paid for by Nicholas Fuentes and authorized by Gosar for Congress Committee.” This would be the second event that Gosar has attended this year with Fuentes, who has previously defended segregation as being “better” for both White and Black Americans and has downplayed the horrors of the Holocaust.

Rudy Giuliani Facing Inquiry into Whether He Lobbied Trump for Turkey
MSN – Christian Berthelsen, Greg Farrell, and Chris Strom (Bloomberg) | Published: 6/29/2021

Rudolph Giuliani is the subject of a Justice Department inquiry into possible foreign lobbying for Turkish interests separate from a criminal probe of his activities in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter. For almost a year, Giuliani has been fielding questions about whether he was acting for Turkey when he pushed the Trump administration in 2017 to drop money-laundering charges against gold trader Reza Zarrab and deport exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Turkey inquiry is not criminal, in contrast to the Ukraine investigation.

The Land Was Worth Millions. A Big Ag Corporation Sold It to Sonny Perdue’s Company for $250,000.
Seattle Times – Desmond Butler (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2021

In February 2017, weeks after then-President Trump selected him to be agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue’s company bought a small grain plant in South Carolina from one of the biggest agricultural corporations in America. The former Georgia governor did not disclose the deal as there was no legal requirement to do so. The Washington Post found Archer-Daniels-Midland sold the land at a small fraction of its estimated value just as it stood to benefit from a friendly secretary of agriculture.

Trump Appointees Allowed Terminated EPA Staffers to Keep Receiving Salaries, Watchdog Report Says
MSN – Amy Wang and Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2021

Two former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials intentionally kept two staffers on the payroll and allowed them to continue receiving their salaries even after they were terminated, according to a report from the agency’s watchdog. The report also found the former officials, both appointed by former President Trump, committed other fraudulent payroll-related activities – including one giving the other an improper pay increase – that cost the EPA more than $130,000.

Trump’s Endorsements: Revenge against enemies, rewards for friends and purveyors of election falsehoods
MSN – Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2021

How aggressively former President Trump should involve himself in the 2022 midterm elections is a question gripping his orbit as he positions himself for a potential run in 2024. His endorsement is the hottest ticket in Republican primary politics in many states, strategists say. But some around him and in senior positions in the GOP want Trump to give them sparingly, fearful losses and a diminished brand could backfire by allowing Democrats to maintain control of the House and Senate and weaken his standing before the next presidential contest.

Undercover GOP Operatives Trained by Former Spies Infiltrated Liberal Groups to Try and Compromise Them from the Inside, Report Says
Yahoo News – Sonam Sheth and Grace Panetta (Business Insider) | Published: 6/25/2021

A wealthy Republican donor and a former British spy spearheaded an effort to train Republican operatives to go undercover and infiltrate liberal organizations, The New York Times reported. The donor, Erik Prince, is a hardline Trump supporter who founded the private military contractor Blackwater, now known as Academi. Prince worked with a former British spy, Richard Seddon, on a conservative operation to “infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns and the offices of Democratic as well as moderate Republican elected officials during the 2020 election cycle,” The Times reported, citing interviews and documents.

Unkept Promise on Elections Overhaul Leaves Democrats Scrambling
MSN – Shawn Zeller (Roll Call) | Published: 6/26/2021

Democrats intended the bill to overhaul elections, campaign finance, and ethics law that stalled in the U.S. Senate as a statement of principle to draw a contrast with Republicans. But the measure’s demise is, thus far, demonstrating more fissures in their own party. It has divided progressives who believe democracy cannot survive without its enactment, a president in Joe Biden who has not used his bully pulpit to promote it as much as they would like, and moderate Democrats who do not think it is worth upending the filibuster to overcome GOP opposition.

From the States and Municipalities

Arizona Arizona’s Maricopa County Will Replace Voting Equipment, Fearful That GOP-Backed Election Review Has Compromised Security
MSN – Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2021

Arizona’s Maricopa County announced it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 presidential election, concerned the process compromised the security of the machines. Officials from Maricopa, the state’s largest county and home to Phoenix, provided no estimates of the costs involved but have previously said the machines cost millions of dollars to acquire. The process being used to recount ballots and examine voting machines has been criticized by election experts as sloppy, insecure, and opaque.

Arizona Legislature Sends Voter Protection Act Change to Ballot
MSN – Bob Christie (Associated Press) | Published: 6/26/2021

Arizona voters will be asked next year to amend the state constitution to give the Legislature more power to change citizen’s initiatives they have approved. The referral approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature would amend the Voter Protection Act. That constitutional provision was approved by the state’s voters in 1998 after lawmakers overturned a 1996 initiative legalizing medical marijuana. The act prevents lawmakers from changing a law passed by initiative unless the change both “furthers the purpose” and obtains a 3/4th vote of the Legislature.

Arizona Supreme Court Says Arizona Limits Don’t Violate Voting Rights Act
MSN – Ariane de Vogue, Fredreka Schouten, and Chandelis Duster (CNN) | Published: 7/1/2021

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a pair of Arizona voting restrictions do not run afoul of federal law, dealing a blow to voting rights advocates. The decision comes as a raft of Republican-crafted voting limits are introduced and passed across the country, with Democrats and civil rights groups turning to courts to argue the new measures threaten to suppress the vote of racial minorities. One Arizona policy at issue in the case requires provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct to be discarded. The second measure makes it illegal for most third parties to deliver ballots for others, a practice critics refer to as “ballot harvesting.”

California Newsom Sues Elections Chief to Call Himself a Democrat on Recall Ballot
Politico – Kevin Yamamura | Published: 6/29/2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is suing his own appointed elections chief to get two words next to his name on the recall ballot: Democratic Party. The governor and his staff overlooked paperwork last year that would have allowed him to state his party preference on a recall ballot, according to a legal filing. Secretary of State Shirley Weber has confirmed that proponents had more than enough signatures to qualify the contest, and several ministerial steps remain before the date is confirmed.

California Online Activism Is Spilling into the Streets of Southern California, Sparking a Post-Trump Movement
MSN – Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2021

For years, social media companies have sought and failed to limit the reach of misinformation and other harmful material spread on their sites. That failure culminated in January when – after months of allowing falsehoods about a stolen election to proliferate – the companies kicked former President Trump, along with tens of thousands of followers, off their platforms for inciting violence during the Capitol insurrection. But six months later, a right-wing movement is reconstituting itself, and once again, it is fueled by social media.

California Supreme Court Nixes California Disclosure Law in Blow to Dark-Money Opponents
MSN – Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro (Roll Call) | Published: 7/1/2021

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of two conservative groups that challenged a California requirement for tax-exempt charities to provide the state the identities of their top financial donors. The ruling could have a political impact, complicating donor-disclosure requirements for groups that often spend large sums in elections but stop short of the “express advocacy” for or against candidates that triggers stricter rules on revealing the sources of donations. Most charities are still required to file lists of donors giving over $5,000 in a year, but the IRS in 2018 dropped the requirement for some politically oriented groups.

Florida Federal Judge Blocks Florida Law That Would Penalize Social Media Companies
MSN – Cat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2021

A federal judge blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician]s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former President Trump. The law was due to go into effect July 1, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle suggested the law would be found unconstitutional. The law laid out fines for tech companies that suspended candidates in the run-up to an election.

Florida No Criminal Charges for Baugh’s Vaccine VIP List. State Judgment on Ethics Comes Next
MSN – Ryan Callahan (Bradenton Herald) | Published: 6/30/2021

A criminal investigation into Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh’s priority list for COVID-19 vaccinations did not yield any charges, but an ethics board will make a separate ruling on the case. The sheriff’s office said it did not believe Baugh’s order to have herself and four friends vaccinated broke state law, but an investigator said that action “may present certain ethical issues.” Baugh faces at least 18 complaints about the directive. Baugh “knowingly and intentionally attempted to obtain a benefit for herself and others,” but the county’s law enforcement agency does not enforce potential ethics violations.

Georgia Biden Administration Sues Georgia Over Its GOP-Enacted Voter Restrictions
MSN – Betsy Woodruff Swan, Zach Montellaro, and Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 6/24/2021

The Justice Department is suing Georgia over its bill altering election practices in the state. Republican state legislators around the country have pushed a host of provisions that would make it more challenging for people to vote, moves that have targeted Democratic-leaning voters and disproportionately impact people of color. While suits under the Voting Rights Act can be brought over election practices simply because they disproportionately impact minorities, federal officials alleged the new provisions in Georgia are intentionally discriminatory – meaning the Justice Department believes it can prove the state Legislature purposefully sought to diminish the voting power of black voters.

Illinois Politics Isn’t Child’s Play, but New Campaign Finance Rule Hopes to Make It More Family Friendly
Chicago Sun-Times – Rachel Hinton | Published: 6/24/2021

What passes for political expenses in Illinois often run the gamut. Politicians have spent campaign cash over the years on legal fees season tickets for the Chicago Bulls, White Sox, and Cubs. Campaign funds even once covered the funeral expenses of a former state legislator. So, why not childcare? That was one question state Sen. Melinda Bush said drove her push to clarify state law pertaining to the use of campaign money. She argues that clarification, which is part of an election bill recently signed into law, could remove a barrier to running for office.

Kentucky Federal Officials Investigate Link Between Former Gov. Matt Bevin Pardon and Fundraiser
MSN – Andrew Wolfson (Louisville Courier-Journal) | Published: 6/29/2021

Two years after then-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned Patrick Baker, a convicted killer whose family hosted a political fundraiser for Bevin, the FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating the executive action. It was reported that Baker’s ex-girlfriend, Dawn Turner, told investigators she believed the purpose of the fundraiser was to influence Bevin to give Patrick Baker a pardon and the donor event was “crucial” in getting it. Bevin has denied he pardoned Baker because of the fundraiser, but the revelations show the former governor still faces possible criminal liability.

Louisiana Louisiana Cap on Lobbying Spending Edges Up Again, to $65
MSN – Associated Press | Published: 6/30/2021

The cap for how much Louisiana’s lobbyists can spend to entertain public edged higher as of July 1. With the start of the new state budget year, the limit lobbyists can spend on food and drink for state lawmakers, other elected officials, and public employees is growing from $63 to $65 per person, per occasion.

Maine Governor Mills Signs a Full Slate of Election, Campaign Finance Reforms into Law
Maine Wire – Katherine Revelo | Published: 6/24/2021

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law several bills that affect campaigns and elections in the state. Legislative Document 916 makes changes to the laws that govern how voter information can be accessed from the state’s central voter registration system while Legislative Document 1363 makes several changes to the use of ranked choice voting and absentee ballots in Maine elections. Legislative Document 1417 bans “segregated fund committees” from accepting individual donations that exceed $5,000 in a calendar year. Legislative Document 1377 makes changes to the laws governing the disclosure of personal sources of income, reporting campaign finance information, and participation in the Maine Clean Election Act.

Massachusetts Here’s How Feds Say Former House Candidate Abhijit Das Paid Off Debts on Yacht, Massachusetts Hotel Business with Illegal Political Donations
MSN – Jackson Cote ( | Published: 6/29/2021

Federal prosecutors arrested former congressional candidate Abhijit Das, alleging he tailored a scheme to illegally obtain political donations, tried to conceal those illicit contributions, and then used hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money on personal expenses, like his struggling hotel business and yacht. Prosecutors said Das devised a scheme to ask friends and associates for contributions were over the then-$2,700 limit on individual donations. Three individuals gave about $125,000 to the campaign and Das structured the donations as personal loans to circumvent FEC reporting requirements and contribution limits.

Missouri Missouri Officials Can’t Charge Fees for Attorney Review of Public Records, Court Says
MSN – Katie Moore (Kansas City Star) | Published: 6/30/2021

Government officials in Missouri cannot charge fees for the time attorneys spend reviewing public records prior to their release, the state Supreme Court ruled. Gov. Mike Parson’s office in 2018 charged Elad Gross, a Democrat who ran for attorney general last year, $3,618 for a cache of records on former Gov. Eric Greitens. Parson argued the Sunshine Law allows research or staff time to be charged. But the high court said attorney review time does not fall under either of those categories and public records may be fulfilled without any attorney review time.

Montana Montana Judge Blocks Portions of Campaign Finance Bill
MSN – Amy Beth Hanson (Associated Press) | Published: 6/29/2021

Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Michael Menahan said he will temporarily block the implementation of two sections of a Montana campaign finance law that was set to take effect July 1. One provision would ban politicking in certain areas of college campuses. The other requires a judge to recuse themselves from a case if their campaigns for office received at least of half of the maximum individual contribution from a lawyer working on the case or involved party during the previous six years.

New Jersey Murphy Intends to Again Veto Mandatory Minimums Bill Over Weaker Penalties for Public Corruption, Officials Say
MSN – Ted Sherman and Amanda Hoover (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/24/2021

A bill that was intended as a landmark criminal justice measure ending minimum mandatory sentences for many nonviolent crimes in New Jersey was amended to include those charged with official misconduct and public corruption/ Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed it in April. A new version of the bill with the same controversial changes left intact passed the Legislature a second time. And the governor plans to kill it once again because it would eliminate mandatory prison time for elected officials who abuse their office for their own benefit, such as those who take bribes.

New York Giuliani’s N.Y. Law License Suspended in Connection with Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election
MSN – Shayna Jacobs, Rosalind Helderman, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/24/2021

New York state suspended Rudolph Giuliani from practicing law after finding he sought to mislead judges, lawmakers, and the public as he helped shepherd former President Trump’s legal challenges to the election results. An appeals court said Giuliani’s actions represented an “immediate threat” to the public and he “directly inflamed” the tensions that led to the Capitol riot. The suspension represents one of the first serious attempts to impose consequences on Trump or his top allies for spreading falsehoods about the election results.

New York New York City Primary Meltdown Deals New Setback to Nation’s Strained Electoral System
MSN – Amy Gardner and David Weigel (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2021

New York City election officials announced they mistakenly included 135,000 test ballots in early tallies of the Democratic primary for mayor, skewing the count. The Board of Elections issued an apology that pinned the blame on “human error that could have been avoided.” The episode called attention to the city’s history of shoddy election administration. It also represents an awkward turn for national Democrats as they try to defend the soundness of the country’s elections while accusing former President Trump and his GOP allies of undermining democracy through their baseless claims that last year’s election was tainted by widespread fraud.

New York State Ethics Panel Votes Down Criminal Probe into Cuomo Leak
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/30/2021

The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted against seeking a criminal investigation into whether someone from within its own ranks leaked confidential information to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, even as new details emerged about the 2019 incident. Six members of the body voted in favor of seeking an investigation, two votes short of the number necessary to formally pursue such an inquiry. Four commissioners, all appointed by Cuomo, voted against making the criminal referral, which the state attorney general would need to pursue the matter. None of the Cuomo-appointed commissioners explained their votes opposing the probe, which would have directly touched a governor already facing multiple, unrelated investigations.

New York Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg Surrenders in Criminal Case Over Company’s Business Dealings
MSN – Shayna Jacobs, David Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell (Washington Post) | Published: 7/1/2021

Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg surrendered to authorities after prosecutors secured grand jury indictments against him and the former president’s family company. People familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives. Weisselberg is the first individual to be charged in connection with a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is now collaborating with New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate Trump’s business practices.

Ohio Feds Asked Frank LaRose for 20 Years of ECOT Campaign Donation Records
Akron Beacon Journal – Laura Bischoff (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 6/26/2021

The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed nearly 20 years of campaign contribution records from the Ohio secretary of state’s office for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), an indication the now-closed online charter school and its key players have come under federal criminal investigation. In August 2017, the Ohio Republican Party returned $76,000 in campaign donations to William Lager, ECOT’s founder, and Melissa Vasil. That refund came after former House Speaker Larry Householder returned $70,000 to the Summit County Republican Party.

South Carolina Judge Orders Powerful Ex-SC Lawmaker to Prison in State House Corruption Investigation
MSN – John Monk and Maayan Schecter (The State) | Published: 6/29/2021

Former South Carolina Rep. Jim Harrison pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for misconduct in office and perjury for lying to a grand jury. Harrison the first former state lawmaker to be sentenced to prison out of five others convicted so far in an investigation of corruption at the General Assembly. The misconduct charge was centered around his illegal acceptance of some $900,000 over 13 years from the now-defunct Richard Quinn & Associates consulting firm. That money, prosecutors said, was then used to illegally influence legislation. Harrison was the former chairperson of the House Judiciary Committee.

South Carolina With Party Facing Ethics Fines, Current and Former Horry County GOP Officials Questioning Why – Jonathan Haynes and Charles Perry | Published: 6/26/2021

The Horry County Republican Party potentially faces thousands of dollars in fines for not filing financial disclosure forms with the South Carolina Ethics Commission over the last four years. But current and former party officials question whether they even needed to submit those records. Local leaders said the commission levied a $1,700 penalty against the group. They also said the ethics panel warned that failing to file the mandatory forms could result in up to $85,000 in penalties. That revelation has led to finger-pointing among the current leaders, who were selected in April and are accusing their predecessors of leaving them in this predicament.

South Dakota South Dakota Governor Sending National Guard to Mexico Border on Mission Funded by GOP Megadonor
MSN – Alex Horton (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2021

Gov. Kristi Noem will use a contribution from a Republican donor to fund a deployment of up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico. The Guard members will deploy in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plea to augment border security with law enforcement resources from other states. Privately funding a military mission is an affront to civilian oversight of the armed forces, said military and oversight experts, describing the move – a Republican governor sending troops to a GOP-led state, paid for by a Republican donor – as likely unprecedented and unethical.

Texas Developer Found Guilty of Bribing Two Former Dallas City Council Members to Help Housing Projects
MSN – Kevin Krause (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 6/30/2021

Developer Ruel Hamilton was found guilty of three bribery counts for making payments to two former Dallas City Council members in exchange for their help with his low-income apartment projects in the city. Hamilton was accused of bribing Dwaine Caraway and Carolyn Davis for their support and while they served on the council. The trial was the latest Dallas City Hall corruption case to land in federal court. The case was notable because it also targeted a white businessperson who paid bribes. Previous corruption trials in Dallas have mainly involved local Black politicians, leading to accusations of racial bias in prosecutorial decision-making.

Virginia Fourth Person Linked to Former Congressman Scott Taylor’s Campaign Is Charged with Election Fraud
MSN – Meagan Flynn (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2021

A fourth person who worked on former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor’s failed 2018 reelection bid has been charged with election fraud. Rob Catron, who worked as a campaign consultant for Taylor, was indicted on 10 counts of making a false statement and election fraud, a felony. The allegations appear tied to a 2018 petition fraud scandal in which Taylor’s campaign sought to get a third-party spoiler candidate on the ballot, purportedly to siphon votes away from Taylor’s Democratic challenger, now-U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria.

Wisconsin GOP Candidate Bankrolled Jan. 6 Riot Trip with Campaign Cash
Yahoo News – Roger Sollenberger (Daily Beast) | Published: 6/25/2021

Two months after congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden lost his race in Wisconsin, he joined the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 and he paid for the trip with money left over from his campaign. Van Orden, who is running again, acknowledged attending the protest but claimed he never entered the Capitol grounds. Social media posts from the riot suggest that is not true. FEC regulations state that travel expenses must be “directly related to the campaign.” Van Orden, who wrote off roughly $4,000 in transportation and hotel costs around January 6 for him, his wife, and a campaign staffer, did not declare his 2022 candidacy until April.

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