September 25, 2015 •
On September 24, the North Carolina Legislature passed a bill changing next year’s presidential and state primary election dates. House Bill 373, submitted to Gov. Pat McCrory today, moves the primary dates up from May 3 to March 15, 2016. […]
On September 24, the North Carolina Legislature passed a bill changing next year’s presidential and state primary election dates. House Bill 373, submitted to Gov. Pat McCrory today, moves the primary dates up from May 3 to March 15, 2016. The legislation also makes other changes to election law, including adjusting the filing dates for campaign finance reporting, allowing, if required, a second primary date to be held on May 24, 2016 for the presidential primary and May 3 for the state primary, and permitting the leader of each political party caucus of the House of Representatives and the Senate to establish a separate affiliated party committee to support the election of candidates of that leader’s political party.
Photo of the North Carolina Legislature by Yassie on Wikimedia Commons.
September 25, 2015 •
A special primary election has been scheduled for November 3, 2015, to fill the seats in state House Districts 80 and 82. These seats were previously held by Rep. Cindy Gamrat and Rep. Todd Courser, respectively. Gamrat was expelled by […]
A special primary election has been scheduled for November 3, 2015, to fill the seats in state House Districts 80 and 82.
These seats were previously held by Rep. Cindy Gamrat and Rep. Todd Courser, respectively. Gamrat was expelled by the House on September 11, 2015, and Courser resigned the same day following allegations of misconduct and misuse of taxpayer resources in an attempt to hide their extramarital affair.
Now, despite opposition from the House, both are running in the special election to fill these seats. If either or both of them win, there is speculation the House could refuse to seat them; however, most representatives seem reluctant to commit to such action at this point.
The special general election will be held on March 8, 2016.
September 25, 2015 •
Federal: ‘Lobbying’ Firm Raises More Questions than Answers The Hill – Megan Wilson | Published: 9/24/2015 The DG Group appears to have all the trappings of a Washington lobby firm. Featuring images of the Capitol dome and promises of inside access, its website […]
‘Lobbying’ Firm Raises More Questions than Answers The Hill – Megan Wilson | Published: 9/24/2015
The DG Group appears to have all the trappings of a Washington lobby firm. Featuring images of the Capitol dome and promises of inside access, its website advertises a “scalable lobbying and global advocacy consultancy firm” with a track record of success. But much of the site is phony. It uses text lifted from the BGR Group, the lobbying firm founded by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The DG Group origin statement includes a paragraph from the website of Mercury, a global public relations firm with a Washington office. Photographs of DG Group lobbyists appear to be taken from PR websites and stock-photo archives. One of the people pictured as part of the firm’s leadership is a professor at Duke University’s Divinity School. Another is a comedian based in San Diego.
Political Parties Go after Million-Dollar Donors in Wake of Looser Rules
Washington Post – Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger | Published: 9/19/2015
The Republican National Committee is asking donors for $1.34 million per couple this election cycle. Democratic contributors, meanwhile, are being hit up for even more, about $1.6 million per couple, to support the party’s convention and a separate joint fundraising effort between the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In return, elite donors are being promised perks such as exclusive retreats with top party leaders and VIP treatment at the nominating conventions. Just four years ago, the most a donor could give a national political party was $30,800. The dramatic rise has been driven by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision that did away with a cap on how much a political donor could give in an election cycle, and an expansion of party fundraising tucked into a recent appropriations bill.
Scott Walker’s Demise Shows Limits of ‘Super PAC’ Money Model
New York Times – Nicholas Confessore | Published: 9/22/2015
The super PAC backing Scott Walker was on pace to raise as much as $40 million by the end of the year, but Walker abruptly ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination largely because he was out of cash. His withdrawal from the GOP primary, like that of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, highlights the limitations of the new fundraising model. Super PACs cannot pay rent, phone bills, salaries, or ballot access fees. They are not entitled to the preferential rates on advertising that federal law grants candidates, forcing them to pay far more money than candidates must for the same television and radio time. The fates of Walker and Perry hint at the systemic dangers of the super PAC-driven financial model on which virtually the entire Republican field has staked its chances.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – State Panel Outlaws ‘Dark Money’ in California Political Campaigns
Los Angeles Times – Patrick McGreevy | Published: 9/17/2015
The California Fair Political Practices Commission will now require out-of-state nonprofits to disclose their donors when they oppose or support a ballot measure or candidate through a federal PAC. The move came in the wake of fines levied against two Arizona nonprofits after they refused to reveal their donors behind two campaigns. The commission also voted to improve its program that identifies the top ten contributors to ballot measures on the its website. If one of the top ten donors is a group with a generic name that does not indicate who is behind it, the new rules would require it to disclose its top two contributors.
Colorado – Denver Gives Red light to Inspectors Consulting for Marijuana Industry
Denver Post – Jon Murray | Published: 9/23/2015
City inspectors for marijuana licensing in Denver asked the Board of Ethics for its blessing to work as paid consultants to the cannabis industry elsewhere. The board’s answer was a resounding no. Its advisory opinion cites concerns about potential conflicts-of-interest and bad appearances, saying such work would violate the city’s ethics code. Legislation passed this year soon will bar any work or consulting for the marijuana industry until six months after an employee has left his or her state job. The inspectors’ request reflects some remaining uncertainty as Denver and Colorado traverse the new landscape of legal recreational marijuana.
Florida – Corcoran Lobbies for Lobbyist Rules
Lakeland Ledger – Lloyd Dunkelberger | Published: 9/20/2015
Republicans elected Rep. Richard Corcoran as the next speaker of the Florida House, and he immediately laid out the most ambitious set of lobbying reforms that the state capital has seen in a decade. Corcoran, whose brother, Michael, is a prominent Capitol lobbyist, said the public is fed up with how money and political backscratching is controlling the agenda from Washington to Tallahassee. “The enemy is not the special interests; the enemy is not the press; the enemy is not any of that stuff. The enemy has always been and will always be us,” Corcoran told House members.
Kentucky – GOP State Senator Suing to Overturn Kentucky Laws Limiting Campaign Donations
Lexington Herald-Leader – John Cheves | Published: 9/23/2015
Kentucky Sen. John Schickel and two Libertarian candidates are suing to overturn state laws limiting campaign donations to $1,000 and prohibiting gifts to legislators from lobbyists. They also want the court to strike down rules prohibiting lobbyists from donating money to legislators or legislative candidates and that bar the employers of lobbyists from contributing while the General Assembly is in session. They say the laws violate their constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection by restricting their access to people who want to help them. But state regulators say the laws are meant to prevent bribery at the Capitol. Most were enacted after Operation BOPTROT, an FBI investigation in 1992 that exposed 15 current or former legislators who sold their votes.
Michigan – Kilpatrick Pal Gets 11 Years in City Pension Scandal
Detroit News – Robert Snell | Published: 9/21/2015
Former Detroit Treasurer Jeffrey Beasley was sentenced to 11 years in prison for taking bribes and kickbacks in a scheme that cost the city’s pension funds $97 million in losses. Beasley, who was Kwame Kilpatrick’s fraternity brother and a pension trustee while his friend was mayor, received the third-longest sentence of anyone targeted in the FBI’s decade-long corruption probe that netted 38 convictions. Beasley and Kilpatrick were both trustees to the pension funds. The federal government says the pair accepted lavish gifts – including private jet travel, trips and golf outings – from an investment adviser to the city’s pension funds in exchange for favoritism before the pension board.
Missouri – Missouri Legislators Serve Hors d’Oeuvres, Lobbyists Pass the Envelopes
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kevin McDermott | Published: 9/20/2015
On the eve of the one-day veto session of the Missouri Legislature, and for a few hours on the morning of the session, about 60 of lawmakers hosted or co-hosted 18 separate campaign fundraising events in Jefferson City. The attendees are not charged admission or a per-plate fee. Rather, they hand over checks at their own discretion as they enter. Most are lobbyists representing special interests whose fates the lawmakers can decide with their votes. “At the end of the day, checks are going to come in either way; this is a just a chance that they get to hand it to us instead of putting it in a P.O. Box. Everybody does it,” said Rep. Caleb Rowden.
New York – William Boyland Jr., Ex-New York Assemblyman, Gets 14-Year Sentence for Corruption
New York Times – Nicholas Casey | Published: 9/17/2015
Former New York Assemblyperson William Boyland, Jr. was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $325,000 for using his public post for personal gain. He was arrested in 2011, weeks after being acquitted in an unrelated bribery case, and charged with accepting bribes in exchange for political favors during a five-year period starting in 2007. In one instance, the authorities said at trial, Boyland funneled $200,000 of public money for the elderly to a nonprofit organization that he controlled and used the money to pay for events promoting his campaign, such as a boat cruise and “Team Boyland” T-shirts. He was also convicted of seeking reimbursement for more than $70,000 in false travel expenses.
Ohio – Disclosure Rules for Gifts Vague for Ohio’s Local Politicians
Columbus Dispatch – Lucas Sullivan | Published: 9/21/2015
Ethics has become a top issue in the races for Columbus City Council and mayor. The FBI is investigating the city’s red-light-camera contracts, and Councilperson Michelle Mills stepped down unexpectedly after questions were raised about the trip she and three other council members took with lobbyist John Raphael last year to the Big Ten championship football game. A Columbus Dispatch review found the disclosure rules for Ohio’s elected officials at the municipal level are vague and do not require complete disclosure. For example, unlike at the state level, lobbyists do not have to disclose their financial activity at the municipal level.
Ohio – Ohio Judge Loses Fundraising Challenge
Courthouse News Service – Lorraine Bailey | Published: 9/21/2015
An appeals court ruled the strict limitations that state judges in Ohio face on campaign fundraising do not violate the First Amendment. Colleen O’Toole is a candidate in the 2016 Ohio Supreme Court election. Her campaign claimed the state Code of Judicial Conduct was doing its best to keep her campaign grounded by prohibiting judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions unless they are speaking to a general audience of at least 20 people, and by making candidates legally responsible for the actions of their campaign committees, along with other restrictions. Sitting Ohio Supreme Court judges may have campaign funds left over from a prior judicial race that they can use to support their candidacy at any time, O’Toole said. But the appeals court affirmed the code of conduct, and held the rules are not the cause of the disparity that O’Toole’s campaign committee complains of.
Pennsylvania – Donations by Philly Sheriff’s Top OT Earners Raise Eyebrows
Philadelphia Inquirer – Claudia Vargas | Published: 9/20/2015
Nearly all the top recent earners of overtime in Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams’ office had donated to his campaign fund. Williams said the contributions, typically $100 or $125 a year, reflected employees’ satisfaction with his work. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, records show 21 deputies with salaries anywhere from $58,000 to $76,000 earned enough overtime to boost their pay well into six figures. Most deputies who received little or no overtime in the most recent fiscal year did not donate to the campaign fund. Williams’ chief finance officer, Benjamin Hayllar, said: “There’s no quid pro quo here.”
Pennsylvania – Pa. Supreme Court Suspends Kane’s License
Philadelphia Inquirer – Angela Couloumbis and Craig McCoy | Published: 9/21/2015
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the suspension of the law license of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a step that could set up a Senate vote to remove her as she faces criminal charges. The unanimous order by the court could also prompt a legal challenge from Kane. In the meantime, the order has created the complication of leaving the state’s top law enforcement official, who is in charge of a 750-employee office and a $93 million budget, without the ability to act as a lawyer, at least temporarily. The order came after Montgomery County authorities arrested Kane on accusations she had leaked secret investigative information to a newspaper reporter and then lied about it under oath. She was charged with perjury, obstruction, and other counts.
Washington – State’s Disclosure Commission Names Tacoma Lawyer as New Director
Everett Herald – Jerry Cornfield | Published: 9/23/2015
Evelyn Lopez was chosen as the new executive director of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Lopez, a former assistant state attorney general, will take the helm as the commission looks to upgrade its technology to make it easier for the public to track the flow of money in campaigns through the agency’s online database. Lopez did not reveal any initiatives she wants to launch immediately but said there are a lot of issues out there related to the financing of campaigns. “If you’re a politician and you’re asking people to give you their hard earned money, you’ve got to be honest about how it is used; I am absolutely committed to open government and an informed electorate,” Lopez said.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
September 22, 2015 •
Lobbying Florida: “Corcoran Lobbies for Lobbyist Rules” by Lloyd Dunkelberger for Lakeland Ledger Campaign Finance “Political Parties Go after Million-Dollar Donors in Wake of Looser Rules” by Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger for Washington Post “Pro-Rick Perry Super PACs Give […]
Florida: “Corcoran Lobbies for Lobbyist Rules” by Lloyd Dunkelberger for Lakeland Ledger
“Political Parties Go after Million-Dollar Donors in Wake of Looser Rules” by Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger for Washington Post
“Pro-Rick Perry Super PACs Give Back Millions” by Carrie Levine for Center for Public Integrity
California: “State Panel Outlaws ‘Dark Money’ in California Political Campaigns” by Patrick McGreevy for Los Angeles Times
Missouri: “Missouri Legislators Serve Hors d’Oeuvres, Lobbyists Pass the Envelopes” by Kevin McDermott for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Pennsylvania: “Pennsylvania Senate Proposal Would Out ‘Dark Money’ Political Groups” by Kate Giammarise for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
California: “Political Panel Opposes Bill Easing Disclosure Rules” by Jeff McDonald for San Diego Union-Tribune
Maryland: “O’Malley Won’t Face Ethics Inquiry over Mansion Furniture Purchases” by John Wagner for Washington Post
Ohio: “Disclosure Rules for Gifts Vague for Ohio’s Local Politicians” by Lucas Sullivan for Columbus Dispatch
Pennsylvania: “Pa. Supreme Court Suspends Kane’s License” by Angela Couloumbis and Craig McCoy for Philadelphia Inquirer
South Dakota: “Bipartisan Effort Could Overhaul Campaign, Election Law” by Dana Ferguson for Sioux Falls Argus Leader
“Report: Campaign woes prompt Scott Walker to drop out of race” by Jason Stein, Patrick Marley, and Mary Spicuzza for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
September 17, 2015 •
A special election has been scheduled for November 3, 2015, to fill the vacant House District 23 seat. Candidates had until September 14 to file to be on the ballot. Write-in candidates must file their declarations by September 25. State […]
A special election has been scheduled for November 3, 2015, to fill the vacant House District 23 seat.
Candidates had until September 14 to file to be on the ballot. Write-in candidates must file their declarations by September 25.
State Rep. Michael Shaw, who was in his fourth term, resigned his position because he will be moving out of the district.
September 17, 2015 •
A special election for state House District 5 has been scheduled for November 3, 2015 to coincide with the regular municipal general elections. The seat was held for more than 10 years by Rep. Chuck Soderberg, who resigned to take […]
A special election for state House District 5 has been scheduled for November 3, 2015 to coincide with the regular municipal general elections.
The seat was held for more than 10 years by Rep. Chuck Soderberg, who resigned to take a vice president position with the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.
The Office of the Secretary of State is currently working on setting the deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers.
September 15, 2015 •
Lobbying “Lobbyist Finds a Quiet Place to Work, as a Six-Figure U.S. Government Contractor” by Eric Lipton for New York Times California: “Number of California Lobbyists Grows over Past Decade” by Jim Miller for Sacramento Bee Florida: “Lobbyist Miscues Laid […]
“Lobbyist Finds a Quiet Place to Work, as a Six-Figure U.S. Government Contractor” by Eric Lipton for New York Times
California: “Number of California Lobbyists Grows over Past Decade” by Jim Miller for Sacramento Bee
Florida: “Lobbyist Miscues Laid Out in Legislative Report” by Brandon Larrabee (News Service of Florida) for Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Missouri: “Man Fined for Not Registering as Lobbyist” by Summer Ballentine (Associated Press) for Waynesville Daily Guide
Alabama: “Mike Hubbard Says Alabama Ethics Law He Fought For Is Unconstitutionally Vague” by The Associated Press for AL.com
Illinois: “Jury Finds Lake Station Mayor, Wife Guilty in Federal Trial” by Teresa Auch Schultz for Chicago Tribune
New York: “Who’s Paying Assemblyman’s Auto Bills?” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union
“Perry Suspends Campaign after Hopes for a ‘Second Chance’ Were Dashed” by David Weigel, Philip Rucker, and Dan Balz for Washington Post
“Federal Contractors Tell Obama: Stop picking on us” by Lydia Wheeler for The Hill
“New Political Map-Making Push Gains Ground, Concerns” by Rick Pearson for Chicago Tribune
September 14, 2015 •
Lobbying Hawaii: “Lawsuit Seeks New City Council Votes on Honolulu Rail” by Nick Grube for Honolulu Civil Beat Missouri: “Report: Lobbyist goodies for Missouri lawmakers topped $10M over past decade” by Kevin McDermott for St. Louis Post-Dispatch Campaign Finance California: […]
Hawaii: “Lawsuit Seeks New City Council Votes on Honolulu Rail” by Nick Grube for Honolulu Civil Beat
Missouri: “Report: Lobbyist goodies for Missouri lawmakers topped $10M over past decade” by Kevin McDermott for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
California: “San Jose Commission Will Investigate Nearly the Entire City Council” by Ramona Giwargis for San Jose Mercury News
Montana: “Group Suing over Election Laws Seeks to Avoid Disclosures” by Matt Volz (Associated Press) for The Missoulian
Pennsylvania: “Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski Implicated in FBI Probe” by Emily Opilo and Scott Kraus for Allentown Morning Call
“GOP Consultant Admits Lying to Ethics Investigators” by Paul Singer for USA Today
California: “Carson Mayor under Investigation for Not Filing Disclosure Reports with the State” by Nathan Fenno, Paul Pringle, and Richard Winton for Los Angeles Times
Indiana: “BMV Vendor Fires 2 Employees amid Ethics Probe” by Tony Cook for Indianapolis Star
Michigan: “House Expels Gamrat; Courser Resigns Before Vote” by Chad Livengood for Detroit News
New Mexico: “Impeachment Is ‘As Heavy As It Gets’” by Deborah Baker for Albuquerque Journal
“Boehner’s Future as Speaker in Doubt” by Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan for Politico
September 11, 2015 •
The Oregon Office of the Secretary of State has ruled a recall campaign against state Sen. Floyd Prozanski did not violate election law to collect the signatures it turned in. This ruling means the recall effort will be able to […]
The Oregon Office of the Secretary of State has ruled a recall campaign against state Sen. Floyd Prozanski did not violate election law to collect the signatures it turned in.
This ruling means the recall effort will be able to continue.
The secretary of state has until Monday to check the 10,027 signatures collected. In order for a recall election to be called, there need to be 8,415 valid signatures from voters in the senator’s district.
If there are enough valid signatures, the election would have to be held before October 23.
September 11, 2015 •
National: Data Scientists Create a Tool That Tracks the Influence of Lobbying Groups on Legislation Chicago Inno – Karis Hustad | Published: 9/8/2015 Though it is common practice, it is hard to track how often the language used in laws – […]
Data Scientists Create a Tool That Tracks the Influence of Lobbying Groups on Legislation
Chicago Inno – Karis Hustad | Published: 9/8/2015
Though it is common practice, it is hard to track how often the language used in laws – particularly controversial ones – can come from lobbying groups, given the vast amounts of information that would need to be analyzed across 50 states. Now, the University of Chicago’s Data Science For Social Good created a tool that will launch later this year that can match legislation across state lines, offering journalists, researchers, and watchdogs an efficient way to track lobbyists’ influence. “I don’t think people are aware of when [lawmakers] do this and why,” said Matt Burgess, a doctoral student and one of the fellows on the project. “No one has been able to study at large scale how this copying happens. Legislators … know the process but no one from the outside can look in at how this diffusion happens in states over time.”
Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show
New York Times – Eric Lipton | Published: 9/5/2015
Monsanto executives were worried about attacks on the safety of their genetically modified seeds. So Monsanto and its industry partners retooled their lobbying and public relations strategy to spotlight a rarefied group of advocates: academics, brought in for the gloss of impartiality and weight of authority that come with a professor’s pedigree. Emails obtained by The New York Times provide a rare view into the strategy and tactics of a lobbying campaign that has transformed ivory tower elites into powerful players. The use of third-party scientists, and their supposedly unbiased research, helps explain why the American public is often confused as it processes the conflicting information over genetically modified food.
17 Democrats Ran for President in 1976. Can Today’s GOP Learn Anything from What Happened?
Politico – Julian Zelizer | Published: 9/7/2015
Conservatives worry the unruly competition for the Republican presidential nomination will undermine the capacity of any person to unite the party and win the general election. “What we’ve got is a confederation of a lot of candidates who aren’t standing out,” said one GOP establishment figure. Yet Republicans can find solace in the history the 1976 election, when approximately 17 Democrats, most current and former elected officials, competed to succeed President Gerald Ford. Despite a fractious and crowded primary battle filled with unexpected twists and turns, one candidate was eventually able to unite the party, and the Democrats took the White House in November.
Hillary Clinton Announces Campaign Finance Overhaul Plan
New York Times – Amy Chozick and Nicholas Confessore | Published: 9/8/2015
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign unveiled its campaign finance reform plan, pledging to push for more significant disclosure of political contributions, establish a small-donor matching system for congressional and presidential candidates, and support a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to shareholders. Clinton also said she would sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to fully disclose all political spending. The announcement was hailed by supporters of tighter financial rules for candidates, who have struggled to make political money a burning campaign issue despite surveys showing widespread disgust with current rules. But each proposal has run into resistance from Republicans and business groups.
Talk in G.O.P. Turns to a Stop Donald Trump Campaign
New York Times – Nicholas Confessore | Published: 9/4/2015
Although there is acute anxiety in the GOP about Donald Trump’s rise, no organized effort to undercut him has emerged. Republican strategists and donors have assembled focus groups to test negative messages about Trump. They have amassed dossiers on his previous support for universal health care and higher taxes. They have even discussed the creation of a super PAC to convince conservatives that Trump is not one of them. But the mammoth big-money network assembled by Republicans in recent years is torn about how best to defuse the threat Trump holds for their party, and haunted by the worry that any concerted attack will backfire.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – San Jose Commission Will Investigate Nearly the Entire City Council
San Jose Mercury News – Ramona Giwargis | Published: 9/9/2015
The San Jose Ethics Commission will investigate nearly 40 city council members and candidates who violated the law by failing to properly report late campaign contributions. Council members blamed City Clerk Toni Taber for doling out bad advice that led to confusion about filing deadlines. The commission determined the unprecedented broad investigation was the only way to stop people from filing individual complaints against each violator.
Hawaii – Lawsuit Exposes Blind Spot in Hawaii Lobbyist Law
Honolulu Civil Beat – Ian Lind | Published: 9/9/2015
Hawaii has filed suit against Ciber, accusing it of misrepresenting its capabilities when competing for a contract to design and implement a new accounting system for the Department of Transportation (DOT), and then fraudulently billing the state even as the new system failed test after test, and fell behind schedule. The state is seeking to recover the $8 million it paid Ciber, plus millions more in damages. The lawsuit alleges Ciber hired Capital Consultants and one of its principals, John Radcliffe, to lobby within Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration. The state alleges Ciber’s lobbying succeeded in getting the governor’s office to intervene and insulate the company from DOT’s increasing demands. Hawaii law does not regulate the kind of lobbying alleged in the lawsuit, because it was aimed at influencing the governor’s office and the state administration rather than members of the Legislature.
Maine – Maine Voters Hope To Restore Their Revolutionary Election System
Huffington Post – Paul Blumenthal | Published: 9/4/2015
Maine was the first state to enact a public financing system for statewide elections. This year, it hopes to become the first state to fix the damage inflicted on clean elections by multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Deb Simpson, who served in the state Legislature from 2000 to 2010, was a single mother working as a waitress when she first ran for office using public funds. She said the system gave her “the resources without having to figure out how to ask for money from donors when I really didn’t live in that world.” But after the Supreme Court expanded the ability of corporations and unions to influence elections, participation in Maine’s system dropped as the state was inundated with spending by outside groups and public funding participants were left with no backstop of matching funds.
Missouri – Report: Lobbyist goodies for Missouri lawmakers topped $10M over past decade
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kevin McDermott | Published: 9/9/2015
Progress Missouri analyzed lobbyist-disclosure reports of the state Ethics Commission going back to 2004 and found lawmakers accepted an average of nearly $1 million a year in gifts from lobbyists. The bulk of that spending fell under a provision in the law that allows lobbyists to report their expenditures as going to groups, such as certain committees or caucuses, without specifying which lawmakers were the actual recipients. Among the top recipients was former Sen. Paul LeVota, who recently resigned following sexual harassment allegations from two of his legislative interns.
Missouri – When It Comes to Behavior, Legislators Aren’t Expected to Change When They Return to Jeff City
St. Louis Public Radio – Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin | Published: 9/8/2015
When legislators return to the Missouri capital for their annual veto session, they will also be gathering for the first time since the furor over sexual misconduct allegations involving interns sent two top lawmakers packing. The alcohol will be flowing at J. Pfenny’s sports bar as several lawmakers, or hopefuls, hold simultaneous fundraisers at the popular bar situated just a couple blocks from the Capitol. Sean Nicholson, executive director of watchdog group Progress Missouri recalls someone else’s description of the General Assembly’s ambience that he says rings true: “It’s like freshman year in college: lots of free booze, lots of 19-year-old girls, and nobody’s done their homework.”
New Jersey – United C.E.O. Is Out Amid Inquiry at Port Authority
New York Times – Kate Zernike and Jad Mouawad | Published: 9/8/2015
United ousted Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek and two of his lieutenants while federal investigators probe the airline’s ties to David Samson, the former chairperson of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Smisek’s abrupt exit added a new element to the inquiry into whether Samson got United to restart a money-losing route to his weekend home in South Carolina in exchange for political favors. A longtime ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Samson resigned in the wake of “Bridgegate,” a scandal in which Christie staffers and appointees appeared to collude to create traffic jams, allegedly to hurt the mayor of Fort Lee, who had not endorsed Christie in that year’s gubernatorial campaign. The probe initially centered on the lane closures, but it has expanded into other behavior at the authority.
New York – LLC Loophole Penalty Could Hinder NY Donors
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 9/8/2015
A settlement agreement was reached in a lawsuit filed by the state Board of Elections’ independent enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman targeting the “LLC loophole.” Sugarman filed the suit against former New York Assembly candidate Shirley Patterson and her campaign treasurer. It challenged the idea that coordinated donations to Patterson’s campaign made through various limited liability companies allegedly controlled by the same person count separately under contribution limits. The suit contended several donors exceeded the $4,100 cap for an individual in the race. Patterson’s campaign committee will pay $10,000 to end the lawsuit. Legal experts said the payment and the precedent of the settlement could act as a near-term deterrent to LLC giving.
New York – Serpico, Seeking Seat on Town Board, Sees Corruption and Pledges to Fight It
New York Times – Corey Kilgannon | Published: 9/5/2015
Frank Serpico is running for a seat on the five-member town board in Stuyvesant, New York, a town of about 2,200 people. Serpico’s whistle-blowing as a New York City police officer made him a household name, led to the formation of the Knapp Commission to investigate corruption, and resulted in a best-selling book and critically acclaimed film starring Al Pacino. For Serpico, who is constantly complaining about a lack of integrity among politicians, it is the first time he has stepped into the political arena.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
September 10, 2015 •
A special election for Texas State House District No. 118 will be held on November 3. The winner will serve the remainder of the term for the seat left vacant by Joe Farias who resigned from office on August 10. […]
A special election for Texas State House District No. 118 will be held on November 3. The winner will serve the remainder of the term for the seat left vacant by Joe Farias who resigned from office on August 10. Six candidates are competing the seat. The election was announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on August 25 to join the November uniform election date.
September 10, 2015 •
On September 22, 2015, a special primary election will be held for New Hampshire state representative from Strafford County District No. 1 (Middleton and Milton). The special general election for the seat will be held on November 10, 2015. A […]
On September 22, 2015, a special primary election will be held for New Hampshire state representative from Strafford County District No. 1 (Middleton and Milton). The special general election for the seat will be held on November 10, 2015. A precept for a special election was approved on July 22 by Gov. Margaret Hassan and the Executive Council.
September 10, 2015 •
Lobbying “Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show” by Eric Lipton for New York Times “Akin Gump, Nation’s Largest Lobbying Firm, to Launch New Cuba Practice” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post “Data Scientists Create a Tool […]
“Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show” by Eric Lipton for New York Times
“Akin Gump, Nation’s Largest Lobbying Firm, to Launch New Cuba Practice” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post
“Data Scientists Create a Tool That Tracks the Influence of Lobbying Groups on Legislation” by Karis Hustad for Chicago Inno
Hawaii: “Lawsuit Exposes Blind Spot in Hawaii Lobbyist Law” by Ian Lind for Honolulu Civil Beat
“Why Rich Political Donors Are Wasting a Lot of Money” by Rick Newman for Yahoo Finance
“Hillary Clinton Announces Campaign Finance Overhaul Plan” by Amy Chozick and Nicholas Confessore for New York Times
Arizona: “Arizona Utility Regulators Seek Legal Advice on Dark Money” by Ryan Randazzo for Arizona Republic
Maryland: “Md. Strengthens Disclosure of Political Activity by Contractors” by John Fritze for Baltimore Sun
Missouri: “When It Comes to Behavior, Legislators Aren’t Expected to Change When They Return to Jeff City” by Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin for St. Louis Public Radio
New Jersey: “United C.E.O. Is Out Amid Inquiry at Port Authority” by Kate Zernike and Jad Mouawad for New York Times
New Mexico: “As New Mexico Scandals Grow, Democrats Hope to Tarnish Governor” by Fernanda Santos for New York Times
Oregon: “New John Kitzhaber Emails Show Deeper Cylvia Hayes Influence” by Laura Gunderson for Portland Oregonian
Pennsylvania: “Pennsylvania Welfare Employees Targeted in Crackdown” by Kari Andren for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Washington: “Most States Ban Lawmakers from Holding Two Offices, but Not Washington” by Melissa Santos (Tacoma News Tribune) for The Olympian
“Talk in G.O.P. Turns to a Stop Donald Trump Campaign” by Nicholas Confessore for New York Times
“Serpico, Seeking Seat on Town Board, Sees Corruption and Pledges to Fight It” by Corey Kilgannon for New York Times
“Obama Orders Federal Contractors to Provide Workers Paid Sick Leave” by Peter Baker for New York Times
September 9, 2015 •
Campaign Finance California: “‘Power Search’ Offers New Tool to Follow California Campaign Money” by Jim Miller for Sacramento Bee Florida: “Miami Beach Commissioner Closing Controversial Relentless for Progress PAC” by Joey Flechas for Miami Herald Iowa: “Iowa’s Medicaid Management: A […]
California: “‘Power Search’ Offers New Tool to Follow California Campaign Money” by Jim Miller for Sacramento Bee
Florida: “Miami Beach Commissioner Closing Controversial Relentless for Progress PAC” by Joey Flechas for Miami Herald
Iowa: “Iowa’s Medicaid Management: A game of pay to play?” by Jason Clayworth for Des Moines Register
Maine: “Maine Voters Hope To Restore Their Revolutionary Election System” by Paul Blumenthal for Huffington Post
Montana: “Rules Aimed at Cracking down on Campaign ‘Dark Money’ Come in for Criticism” by Mike Dennison for KPAX
“Sanders to Introduce Bill Targeting High Drug Prices” by Peter Sullivan for The Hill
“Report Finds ‘Reason to Believe’ Rep. Honda’s Campaign Blurred Ethics Lines” by Noah Bierman for Los Angeles Times
California: “California Is Trying Everything to Get More People to Vote” by Alice Ollstein for ThinkProgress
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