May 18, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Massachusetts: “SJC Upholds AG’s Ruling Striking Ballot Question” by Christian Wade for The Eagle-Tribune National: “How to Raise $89 Million in Small Donations – and Make It Disappear” by David Fahrenthold and Tiff Fehr (New York Times) for Seattle Times Oklahoma: “Ethics Commission […]
May 17, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance New Hampshire: “Bill to Boost Political Finance Transparency Heads to Sununu’s Desk” by Ethan DeWitt for New Hampshire Bulletin New York: “Eric Adams’ Transition Fined Nearly $20K by Campaign Finance Board” by Katie Honan for The City Ethics California: “Developer Fined $4 Million […]
New Hampshire: “Bill to Boost Political Finance Transparency Heads to Sununu’s Desk” by Ethan DeWitt for New Hampshire Bulletin
New York: “Eric Adams’ Transition Fined Nearly $20K by Campaign Finance Board” by Katie Honan for The City
California: “Developer Fined $4 Million for Bribing Former L.A. Councilmember Jose Huizar” by Michael Finnegan (Los Angeles Times) for MSN
National: “Durham Finds Fault with F.B.I. Over Russia Inquiry” by Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner (New York Times) for DNyuz
Illinois: “Exelon Is Paying the Legal Tab for Two Former Executives Convicted in ComEd Bribery Scheme” by Doug McKinney for WBEZ
National: “Supreme Court to Review House Oversight Lawsuit from 2017” by Michael Macagnone and Ryan Tarinelli (Roll Call) for MSN
Virginia: “How Redistricting Reform Is Launching the Virginia General Assembly into a New Era” by Graham Moomaw for Virginia Mercury
New York: “‘Lobbying Loophole’ Bill After LaSalle Fight Advances Through Senate” by Joshua Solomon for Albany Times Union
May 16, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance National: “Former Hawaii Executives Plead Guilty to Sending Illegal Donations to US Sen. Susan Collins” by Nick Grube for Honolulu Civil Beat Oregon: “State Election Officials Fine Democratic Party of Oregon for Cryptocurrency Donation Flap” by Lauren Dake for Oregon Public Broadcasting […]
May 15, 2023 •
Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Washington: “Before Rule Change, AG Bob Ferguson Moves $1.2M ‘Surplus’ to Campaign” by Jim Brunner for Seattle Times Elections National: “CNN Leadership Under Fire After ‘Disastrous’ Trump Town Hall” by Paul Farhi and Jeremy Barr (Washington Post) for MSN Ohio: “Ohio Lawmakers Vote […]
May 12, 2023 •
Ask the Experts – Paying lobbyists a bonus or success fee
Q: Can we pay our lobbyists a bonus or success fee? A: In most states, no. An overwhelming majority of states have banned payments to lobbyists as a result of, or based on some way upon, the lobbyist’s success in […]
Q: Can we pay our lobbyists a bonus or success fee?
A: In most states, no. An overwhelming majority of states have banned payments to lobbyists as a result of, or based on some way upon, the lobbyist’s success in achieving a specific governmental action. Thus, as a practice, it is best to pay your lobbyists a straight salary or simple monthly retainer. However, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have not enacted contingency fee bans.
An important aspect of contingency fee bans to consider is their effect on staff selling to state governments. Many states require those selling to the state to register as lobbyists in some circumstances. Should registration as a lobbyist be required, they will then be subject to those same contingency fee bans, which can be problematic given most salespeople are paid commissions on successfully completed sales. Thankfully, many states have recognized this reality and have carved out an exception for bona fide commissioned salespeople, either allowing them to avoid the registration requirement or, if they do register, the ban on receiving commissions. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the rules regarding lobbyist registration and contingency fees as applied to salespeople so you can plan accordingly.
More information about contingency fees as applied to lobbyists can be found in the Contingency Lobbying section of the Lobbying Compliance Guidebook on the State and Federal Communications website. Information about registration requirements for procurement lobbying and contingency fee information specific to salespeople can be found in the Procurement Lobbying Compliance Guidebook.
May 12, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – May 12, 2023
National/Federal Tanked Biden FCC Pick Shows Influence of Dark Money on US Politics ABC News – Trenton Daniel (Associated Press) | Published: 5/8/2023 When Gigi Sohn was nominated to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, she found herself the target of an […]
Tanked Biden FCC Pick Shows Influence of Dark Money on US Politics
ABC News – Trenton Daniel (Associated Press) | Published: 5/8/2023
When Gigi Sohn was nominated to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, she found herself the target of an aggressive campaign funded by a conservative group that does not have to disclose its donors. The American Accountability Foundation called Sohn too partisan, anti-police, and soft on sex trafficking. The attacks landed to the point that even some Democrats abandoned her and Sohn withdrew her nomination. The battle over the nomination is the latest example of how organizations with political and financial agendas have been able to sway public opinion by deploying donations that are impossible to trace.
George Santos Pleads Not Guilty to Duping Donors, Stealing Campaign Cash to Burnish Wealthy Image
Associated Press News – Jake Offenhartz and Michael Sisak | Published: 5/10/2023
U.S. Rep. George Santos, infamous for fabricating his life story, pleaded not guilty to charges he duped donors, stole from his campaign, and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, all while cheating to collect unemployment benefits that he did not deserve. The thirteen-count indictment was a reckoning for a web of fraud and deceit that prosecutors say overlapped with his fantastical public image as a wealthy businessperson, a fictional biography that began to unravel after he won election last fall.
Jan. 6 Rioter Gets 14 Years for Police Attacks, Longest Sentence Yet in Inquiry
DNyuz – Alan Feurer and Zach Montague (New York Times) | Published: 5/6/2023
A Pennsylvania welder who attacked police officers at the Capitol with a chair and then chemical spray was sentenced to slightly more than 14 years in prison, the most severe penalty handed down so far in connection with the events of January 6, 2021. Peter Schwartz joined a growing list of people charged with assaulting the police on that day who have received stiff sentences.
Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio, 3 Others Guilty of Jan. 6 Seditious Conspiracy
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman (Washington Post) | Published: 5/4/2023
Former Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and three other members of the extremist group were found guilty of seditious conspiracy in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The result was another victory for the Justice Department in the latest of three seditious conspiracy trials held after what it called a historic act of domestic terrorism to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election.
Senate Panel Asks Crow for Full Accounting of Gifts to Thomas, Other Justices
MSN – Liz Goodwin and Marianne LeVine (Washington Post) | Published: 5/8/2023
The Senate Judiciary Committee asked billionaire Harlan Crow to provide a full accounting of the free travel and other gifts he has made to Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas or any other justice, marking an escalation of the committee’s efforts to convince the court to adopt stricter ethical standards for itself. The committee is the second Senate panel to target Crow after ProPublica reported he invited Thomas on expensive vacations, bought his mother’s house, and provided Thomas’s grandnephew with private school tuition, most of which were not disclosed by the justice.
Feinstein Returning to Washington After Health-Related Absence
MSN – Amy Wang and Liz Goodwin (Washington Post) | Published: 5/9/2023
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will return to U.S. Capitol after a health-related absence that lasted more than two months. Her absence has stalled confirmations of some of President Biden’s judicial nominees, given that only judges with some Republican support can move to the floor without her tiebreaking vote on the committee. Her vote could also be crucial in negotiations over lifting the debt ceiling.
New White House Rules: Reporters can be kicked out if not ‘professional.’
MSN – Paul Farhi (Washington Post) | Published: 5/9/2023
The White House proposed new rules to determine who qualifies for access to its press briefing room on a regular basis and who can be thrown out for behavior officials determine is not “professional.” The rules represent the Biden White House’s attempt to establish a code of conduct to avoid the legal jeopardy the Trump administration ran into when it banished CNN reporter Jim Acosta and journalist Brian Karem from the White House complex. Courts later ruled officials violated the journalists’ due-process rights because they had acted without a set of written standards.
In Some GOP-Dominated Statehouses, Black and Trans Lawmakers Punished
MSN – Patrick Marley and Kimberly Kindy (Washington Post) | Published: 5/9/2023
In more than a dozen red states, Republican lawmakers passed bills to ban transgender health care and restrict access to abortions while ignoring calls for gun control measures. The fierce but futile opposition has often been led by a new generation of liberal lawmakers, some of them Black or transgender, who have represented their constituents by pushing the debate into places that have angered Republicans. GOP lawmakers have said Democrats are welcome to dissent but must follow rules of decorum, including acting civilly and not interrupting floor sessions. In some states, Republicans have voted to punish those lawmakers.
Under the Radar, Right-Wing Push to Tighten Voting Laws Persists
Seattle Times – Nick Corasaniti and Alexandra Berzon (New York Times) | Published: 5/8/2023
The first recent wave of legislation tightening voting laws came in 2021, when Donald. Trump’s false claims of voter fraud spurred Republican lawmakers to act over objections from Democrats. Two years later, a second wave is steadily moving ahead, but largely under the radar. Republican-led Legislatures have continued to pass restrictions on access to the ballot. Behind the efforts is a network of advocacy groups that has formed a new hub of election advocacy within the GOP, rallying state activists, and drafting model legislation.
Clarence Thomas’ Wife Ginni Was Paid Nearly $100,000 for ‘Consulting’ by a Nonprofit That Ended Up Filing an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court: Report
Yahoo News – Erin Snodgrass and Matthew Loh (Business Insider) | Published: 5/4/2023
Leonard Leo, a conservative judicial activist, helped Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, secure consulting work that yielded her nearly $100,000 while asking that her name was left off financial paperwork, according to The Washington Post. Leo told then-pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit he advised, Judicial Education Project, and give that money to Ginni Thomas in January 2012. That year, Leo’s nonprofit filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in a key voting rights case in which a majority that included Thomas ultimately opted to strike down a component of the Voting Rights Act.
New Twitter Rules Expose Election Offices to Spoof Accounts
Yahoo News – Ali Swenson (Associated Press) | Published: 5/6/2023
Impostor accounts on social media are among many concerns that election security experts have heading into next year’s presidential election. Experts have warned that foreign adversaries or others may try to influence the election, either through online disinformation campaigns or by hacking into election infrastructure. Election administrators have struggled to figure out the best way to respond after Twitter owner Elon Musk threw the platform’s verification service into disarray, given that Twitter has been among their most effective tools for communicating with the public.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Tucson Lawmaker Who Hid Bibles Says Ethics Complaint Lacks Merit
Arizona Daily Star – Howard Fischer (Capitol News Services) | Published: 5/8/2023
Arizona Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton is asking for the dismissal of an ethics complaint filed against her. Attorneys for Hamilton said her actions to move and hide Bibles in the House lounge was a “peaceful protest regarding the separation of church and state.” The complaint accuses her of theft, saying she was controlling the property of someone else by hiding it, even if only for a short period of time.
California – How Free Trips for California Legislators Lead to Bills
MSN – Jeremia Kimelman and Alexei Koseff (CalMatters) | Published: 5/4/2023
The California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy for the past four decades has been taking legislators and other state officials on free trips to learn about policy issues – trips funded and attended by representatives of companies and interest groups with business before the state. The trips serve as an influential tool for shaping policymaking at the state Capitol, with lawmakers returning from their travels with new perspectives and ideas on energy, the environment, water, transportation, and housing.
California – Former Top City Attorney Gets 9 Months of Home Detention in DWP Corruption Case
MSN – Dakota Smith (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 5/9/2023
A former high-level lawyer in the Los Angeles city attorney’s office was sentenced to nine months of home detention for taking part in an extortion scheme tied to the Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) 2013 billing scandal. Thomas Peters also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for his role in the corruption case. The sentence was far more lenient than the 18 months in prison sought by federal prosecutors. Peters admitted he threatened to fire one of the city’s outside lawyers unless that person paid off someone who was threatening to reveal damaging information about city lawyers’ handling of the DWP’s billing mess.
Colorado – Colorado Law Prohibits Utilities from Spending Ratepayer Money on Politics
Energy and Policy Institute – Joe Smyth | Published: 5/8/2023
A new law in Colorado prohibits investor-owned utility companies from using ratepayer money to fund trade associations, promotional advertising, certain kinds of lobbying, and other political influence activities. Currently, investor-owned utilities in Colorado charge ratepayers for most of their payments to trade associations, and only charge shareholders for a relatively small portion of the dues the trade associations determine were used for lobbying.
Florida – How Gov. Ron DeSantis Deploys State Police to Enforce Political Agenda
MSN – Beth Reinhard (Washington Post) | Published: 5/5/2023
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) on-the-ground involvement in a plan to fly migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard speaks to how Gov. Ron DeSantis has increasingly deployed FDLE outside its traditional portfolio and in support of his own political agenda, according to a Washington Post investigation. Former FDLE officials say the governor is taking a dangerous risk by politicizing a statewide police force with a $300 million budget, almost 2,000 employees, and the broad power to launch criminal investigations and make arrests.
Florida – Andrew Gillum Not Guilty of Lying to FBI, Jury Deadlocks on Other Charges
Yahoo News – Jeff Burlew (Tallahassee Democrat) | Published: 5/4/2023
Jurors found former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum not guilty of lying to the FBI about a “Hamilton” ticket and other gifts he received from undercover FBI agents in New York. They deadlocked on the most serious charges against Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor, and his co-defendant, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, involving the misuse of campaign funds. The jury was unable to reach consensus on one count of conspiracy and 17 counts of wire fraud against both defendants. The judge declared a mistrial on the counts that ended with no verdict reached.
Florida – Miami’s Mayor Attends Pricey Heat Playoff Games and Glam Grand Prix Parties. Who Pays?
Yahoo News – Sarah Blaskey and Camellia Burris (Miami Herald) | Published: 5/5/2023
Last year, Mayor Francis Suarez attended both the Miami Heat playoffs and Formula One events but was cagey about who picked up the tab. While state ethics laws require elected officials to report any gifts over $100, and records show Suarez eventually disclosed his playoff ticket as a five-figure gift, thousands of dollars of F1-related entertainment remain unaccounted for. Mayors are allowed to accept expensive gifts from non-family members so long as those gifts are reported and do not come from prohibited donors like lobbyists or city vendors, according to Caroline Klancke, executive director of the Florida Ethics Institute.
Florida – Accused ‘Ghost’ Candidate in Osceola County Commission Race Arrested
Yahoo News – Natalia Jaramillo (Orlando Sentinel) | Published: 5/8/2023
A former Kissimmee city commissioner accused of being a “ghost” candidate in the 2022 District 4 race for Osceola County Commission is facing 14 criminal charges for campaign finance reporting violations. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began its investigation after Jackie Espinosa, a candidate in the same race, filed a complaint, accusing Carlos Irizarry of being paid to enter the commission election, which she lost to the incumbent. Irizarry was charged with eight counts of willful certification of false or incomplete campaign treasure’s reports and six counts of deliberate failure to report campaign expenditures.
Georgia – 8 False Trump Electors Have Accepted Immunity Deals, Lawyer Says
MSN – Kyle Cheney (Politico) | Published: 5/4/2023
Eight Republican activists who falsely claimed to be legitimate presidential electors for Donald Trump have accepted immunity deals from Fani Willis, the Atlanta-area district attorney investigating Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election. It is the latest indication of Willis’s advancing investigation, which she recently revealed could result in charges, possibly against Trump himself and a slew of high-profile allies as soon as July.
Georgia – Kemp Signs Bill That Allows Ouster of Local Georgia Prosecutors
MSN – John Wagner and Matthew Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 5/5/2023
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation that would create a commission with the power to remove local prosecutors from office, a move Democrats in the state have decried as a power grab that usurps the will of local voters. The bill, which Democrats have vowed to challenge in court, would create an oversight panel that could recall any of the state’s elected district attorneys or solicitors general for several reasons, including “willful misconduct” or “persistent failure to perform his or her duties.”
Georgia – Watchdog Urges FEC to Probe Herschel Walker Campaign Over $535,200 Payment
Yahoo News – Jared Gans (The Hill) | Published: 5/5/2023
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) urged the FEC to investigate former U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s campaign over a payment that Walker allegedly solicited for his company last year. CREW said Walker and his company, HR Talent, violated federal election law in accepting $535,200 a donor believed was being directed to Walker’s campaign. Dennis Washington believed all of the $600,000 he transferred following a solicitation from Walker was for campaign funding. But only $64,800 went to Walker’s campaign fundraising committee, while the rest went to HR Talent.
Illinois – Reformer Quinn Joins Discussion Over Illinois Ethics Laws
MSN – John O’Connor (Associated Press) | Published: 5/9/2023
Four political insiders were recently convicted in a wide-ranging bribery case involving Commonwealth Edison’s bribery of the once-powerful speaker of the Illinois House. While a key House Democrat confirmed discussions about a package of ethics reforms were underway, former Gov. Pat Quinn delivered a letter to legislative leaders seeking a special session to adopt more than a half-dozen reforms.
Illinois – A Former Illinois State Senator Convicted in Corruption Scheme Gets a New Job – State Lobbyist
WBEZ – Dan Mihalopoulos | Published: 5/9/2023
Eleven days after completing a prison term for corruption, former Illinois Sen. Thomas Cullerton registered as a state government lobbyist in April. Cullerton pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a labor union and was sentenced to more than a year in prison. Now, records show Cullerton registered as a lobbyist with Strategia Consulting, a public relations and government affairs firm. On its website, Cullerton is described as the firm’s chief public affairs officer.
Minnesota – Minnesota Passes Sweeping Election Reforms
Courthouse News Service – Andy Monserud | Published: 5/5/2023
Minnesota’s governor signed a number of changes to the state’s election rules into law, including provisions for automatic voting registration and a crackdown on the spread of misinformation intended to stop people from voting. The law is the largest expansion of the state’s electorate since it adopted same-day registration in 1974. Legislation also creates new disclosure requirements for would-be election advertisers and pamphleteers, and bars “foreign influenced” corporations and nonprofits from spending money to influence elections.
Missouri – ‘It Dilutes Their Vote’: Plan to restrict MO ballot measures could face legal trouble
Yahoo News – Jonathan Shorman and Kacen Bayless (Kansas City Star) | Published: 5/8/2023
Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly are intent on approving restrictions that make it more difficult for voters to change the state constitution. But a major first-in-the-nation proposal under consideration could violate the U.S. Constitution, some legal experts and lawmakers say. While the GOP-controlled Legislature has flirted with tightening requirements on the state’s initiative petition process for years, a measure that lawmakers are weighing would give rural residents more power in statewide votes on constitutional amendments.
Montana – One Family Has Spearheaded Montana’s Unflinching Conservatism
Yahoo News – Mike Baker and Jacey Fortin (New York Times) | Published: 5/4/2023
Montana Rep. Keith Regier has emerged as the patriarch of a new family political dynasty that has injected fresh conservative intensity into debates over abortion, diversity training, and transgender rights. Regier chairs the Senate’s powerful judiciary committee, while his daughter, Amy, leads its counterpart in the House. Regier’s son, Matt, is speaker of the House. The trio of legislators, each wielding a similar brand of conservatism, were among the most powerful proponents of a set of bills that took aim at the rights of transgender people.
New York – A Jury Finds Trump Liable for Battery and Defamation in E. Jean Carroll Trial
NPR – Becky Sullivan | Published: 5/9/2023
A jury found Donald Trump liable for battery and defamation in the lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who says he raped her in a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. The jurors, who deliberated for barely three hours before reaching their unanimous conclusion, did not find that Trump raped Carroll. But they agreed he “sexually abused” her and he defamed her when he refuted her story. Carroll was awarded $5 million in total damages for both claims.
New York – Top New York City Hall Aide Worked Quietly with State Super PAC
Yahoo News – Joe Anuta (Politico) | Published: 5/10/2023
An independent expenditure committee supporting a suite of moderate state Assembly candidates last year received assistance from a previously unknown source – Ingrid Lewis-Martin, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ chief advisor. Lewis-Martin made phone calls to solicit support for the Committee for a Fair New York and helped select the candidates who would benefit from its largesse. Under state law, New York City officials are allowed to raise money for political causes – except their own candidacy – provided they do it after hours and do not explicitly trade favors.
Pennsylvania – The Super PAC Backing Jeff Brown’s Mayoral Campaign Is Asking a Judge to Toss the City Ethics Board’s Lawsuit
MSN – Sean Collins Walsh (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 5/5/2023
The super PAC that supported Jeff Brown’s mayoral campaign is asking a judge to throw out the Philadelphia Board of Ethics’ lawsuit accusing it of illegally coordinating with Brown, arguing Brown’s work with the group cannot be viewed as coordination because it occurred before he launched his campaign. If the judge agrees, the case could lead to a dramatic change in Philadelphia’s political landscape by making it easier for moneyed interests to work with their preferred candidates as they plan out their campaigns.
Tennessee – House Speaker Indicates Staff, Subcommittee Spent Money in Harassment Case
Tennessee Lookout – Sam Stockard | Published: 5/9/2023
Speaker Cameron Sexton is pointing at the Office of Legislative Administration and a Tennessee House ethics subcommittee in the disbursement of $9,000 in the case of a 19-year-old intern harassed by former Rep. Scotty Campbell. Yet an anonymous member of the panel was not aware the subcommittee had the authority to spend money or hand out punishment. The conflicting responses display the vagueness of the Legislature’s Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy, showing how it can be manipulated to cover up wrongdoing.
Texas – Facing Expulsion Vote Over Sexual Misconduct, GOP Lawmaker Resigns in Texas
MSN – Kyle Melnick and Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 5/8/2023
State Rep. Bryan Slaton resigned from his seat one day before his colleagues were slated to vote on whether to expel him from the Texas House after a committee unanimously recommended his dismissal over sexual misconduct with a 19-year-old aide. Slaton’s resignation is effective immediately. The General Investigation Committee accused Slaton in an investigative report of engaging in disorderly conduct – including harassment, serving alcohol to someone underage, and abusing his position.
Virginia – Lobbyists, Corporations Doused Environmental Bills in Virginia’s Legislative Session
Richmond Times-Dispatch – Luca Powell | Published: 5/7/2023
Despite the climate crisis, bills designed to curb pollution and emissions find fierce opposition in the growing, well-financed lobbies that have put down roots in Virginia. Money is the big differentiator between the environmental and industrial lobbies. Most of the former are nonprofits, for which it is illegal to make political donations. Trade groups, law firms, and big companies like Dominion Energy have no such restrictions.
May 11, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance New York: “Top New York City Hall Aide Worked Quietly with State Super PAC” by Joe Anuta (Politico) for Yahoo News Elections National: “Under the Radar, Right-Wing Push to Tighten Voting Laws Persists” by Nick Corasaniti and Alexandra Berzon (New York Times) […]
New York: “Top New York City Hall Aide Worked Quietly with State Super PAC” by Joe Anuta (Politico) for Yahoo News
National: “Under the Radar, Right-Wing Push to Tighten Voting Laws Persists” by Nick Corasaniti and Alexandra Berzon (New York Times) for Seattle Times
California: “Former Top City Attorney Gets 9 Months of Home Detention in DWP Corruption Case” by Dakota Smith (Los Angeles Times) for MSN
National: “New White House Rules: Reporters can be kicked out if not ‘professional.'” by Paul Farhi (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “George Santos Pleads Not Guilty to Duping Donors, Stealing Campaign Cash to Burnish Wealthy Image” by Jake Offenhartz and Michael Sisak for Associated Press News
Illinois: “Reformer Quinn Joins Discussion Over Illinois Ethics Laws” by John O’Connor (Associated Press) for MSN
Tennessee: “House Speaker Indicates Staff, Subcommittee Spent Money in Harassment Case” by Sam Stockard for Tennessee Lookout
Illinois: “A Former Illinois State Senator Convicted in Corruption Scheme Gets a New Job – State Lobbyist” by Dan Mihalopoulos for WBEZ
May 10, 2023 •
Georgia Commission Gets Old Name Back
Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill changing the name of the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission back to the State Ethics Commission. The much longer commission name was the product of a major ethics overhaul in 2010. In addition […]
Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill changing the name of the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission back to the State Ethics Commission.
The much longer commission name was the product of a major ethics overhaul in 2010.
In addition to the name change, House Bill 572 also clarifies rules for late contribution reporting.
A contribution designated for a general election given close to a primary election date does not need reported within two days.
The new law will take effect on July 1.
May 10, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Florida: “Accused ‘Ghost’ Candidate in Osceola County Commission Race Arrested” by Natalia Jaramillo (Orlando Sentinel) for Yahoo News Elections Georgia: “8 False Trump Electors Have Accepted Immunity Deals, Lawyer Says” by Kyle Cheney (Politico) for MSN Ethics Arizona: “Tucson Lawmaker Who Hid Bibles […]
May 9, 2023 •
Oregon’s Secretary of State Resigns
Oregon’s Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced her resignation on May 3, after reports revealed Fagan has been working a side job as a consultant for a failing marijuana dispensary chain. The Office of the Secretary of State is currently […]
Oregon’s Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced her resignation on May 3, after reports revealed Fagan has been working a side job as a consultant for a failing marijuana dispensary chain.
The Office of the Secretary of State is currently undergoing a statewide audit of the marijuana industry.
Deputy Secretary of State, Cheryl Myers, will step in as acting secretary next Monday.
Gov. Kate Brown will then appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the current term, which expires at the end of 2024.
May 9, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Georgia: “Watchdog Urges FEC to Probe Herschel Walker Campaign Over $535,200 Payment” by Jared Gans (The Hill) for Yahoo News Elections Missouri: “‘It Dilutes Their Vote’: Plan to restrict MO ballot measures could face legal trouble” by Jonathan Shorman and Kacen Bayless […]
May 8, 2023 •
Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Pennsylvania: “The Super PAC Backing Jeff Brown’s Mayoral Campaign Is Asking a Judge to Toss the City Ethics Board’s Lawsuit” by Sean Collins Walsh (Philadelphia Inquirer) for MSN Elections Minnesota: “Minnesota Passes Sweeping Election Reforms” by Andy Monserud for Courthouse News Service […]
May 5, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – May 5, 2023
National/Federal Top Republicans Balk at WinRed’s Plan to Charge More for Online Donations DNyuz – Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) | Published: 4/28/2023 A battle over a threatened price increase has exposed growing tensions between top Republican Party officials and the company […]
Top Republicans Balk at WinRed’s Plan to Charge More for Online Donations
DNyuz – Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) | Published: 4/28/2023
A battle over a threatened price increase has exposed growing tensions between top Republican Party officials and the company with a virtual monopoly on processing GOP campaign contributions online. Party leaders have risen up in opposition to the proposed price increase, which would siphon millions of dollars from campaigns less than 20 months after the company, WinRed, had said its finances were robust enough to forego an extra fee on every transaction.
Democratic AGs Are Using the Courts to Win on Abortion, Gun Control
MSN – Scott Wilson (Washington Post) | Published: 4/30/2023
Several Democratic attorneys general are moving aggressively on key social policy issues to blunt Republican initiatives across the country designed to loosen gun restrictions, outlaw abortion, and curtail the rights of transgender residents. The Democratic effort is creating what amounts to a series of state sanctuaries for those threatened by Republican laws. It also reflects a sense among the Democratic state attorneys general that a divided Congress is too deadlocked to pass any significant social policy legislation or impose civil rights protections.
Bill Would Require Disclosure of AI-Generated Content in Political Ads
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 5/2/2023
As AI image generators and other tools have proliferated, the technology has become an instrument of political messaging, mischief, and misinformation. U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke introduced legislation that would amend federal campaign finance law to require that political ads include a statement disclosing any use of AI-generated imagery. The FEC tightened rules about sponsorship disclaimers for digital ads, making clear the requirement to disclose who paid for ads promoted on websites also apply to advertising on other platforms, such as social media and streaming sites.
Fugees Rapper Pras Michél Guilty in Sprawling Corruption Trial
MSN – Paul Duggan (Washington Post) | Published: 4/26/2023
Pras Michel, a rapper and producer best known as a member of the hip-hop group the Fugees, was convicted on 10 felony counts for his role in a tangle of conspiracies involving money laundering, campaign finance violations, illegal lobbying, and witness tampering. He was accused of accepting $865,000 from Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and giving that money to straw donors who used it to donate to former President Obama. Michel was also accused of trying to convince the Trump administration and the Justice Department to drop investigations into Low and assisting China in its efforts to have a dissident brought back to the country.
Pence Appears Before Jan. 6 Grand Jury in Trump Special Counsel Probe
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 4/27/2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence testified before a grand jury that has been investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol and alleged efforts by Donald Trump and others to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Pence has said he is not asserting executive privilege, which could span other discussions, including his conversations with Trump and other top White House advisers, and matters not directly related to his constitutionally mandated Senate role. Attorneys for Trump challenged the Pence subpoena on executive privilege grounds to preserve the confidentiality of presidential decision-making.
Deep Divide at Supreme Court Ethics Hearing, Despite Some GOP Calls for Action
MSN – Ann Marimow and Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 5/2/2023
A U.S. Senate hearing on Supreme Court ethics was dominated by partisan clashes, even as some Republican senators suggested the justices should be paying attention to public calls for a more robust and clear code of conduct. Judiciary Committee Chairperson Richard Durbin called the hearing after recent revelations about unreported lavish travel and real estate deals involving Justice Clarence Thomas and a billionaire Republican donor. He and other leading Democrats, along with advocates for court transparency, have grown increasingly frustrated with the justices’ refusal to set stronger rules for reporting and acting on potential conflicts.
Clarence Thomas Had a Child in Private School. Harlan Crow Paid the Tuition.
ProPublica – Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski | Published: 5/4/2023
In 2008, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decided to send his teenage grandnephew to Hidden Lake Academy, a private boarding school in Georgia. Thomas had taken legal custody of Mark Martin when he was six years old. Tuition at the boarding school ran more than $6,000 a month. But Thomas did not cover the bill. A bank statement shows the source of Martin’s tuition payment for one year at the school was the company of billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow. Thomas did not report the tuition payments from Crow on his annual financial disclosures.
Carlson’s Text That Alarmed Fox Leaders: ‘It’s not how white men fight’
Yahoo News – Jeremy Peters, Michael Schmidt, and Jim Rutenberg (New York Times) | Published: 5/2/2023
A text message sent by Tucker Carlson that set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox on the eve of its billion-dollar defamation trial showed its most popular host sharing his private, inflammatory views about violence and race. The discovery of the message contributed to a chain of events that ultimately led to Carlson’s firing. For years, Carlson espoused views on his show that amplified the ideology of white nationalism. But the text message revealed more about his views on racial superiority.
From the States and Municipalities
Canada – Council Approves Lobbyist Registry for Barrie
Barrie Today – Bob Bruton | Published: 5/4/2023
The city council approved creating a lobbyist registry for Barrie. The registry will take effect January 1, 2024, and Suzanne Craig, the city’s integrity commissioner, will be appointed as interim registrar. Lobbyists will be required to register and report their activities no later than 10 days after a meeting has taken place with a public officeholder. Those who are registering as a lobbyist must have their profile approved by the registrar. The city will develop an online tool for submissions.
Arizona – Group Wants to Keep Dark Money Out of Politics
KAWC – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 4/30/2023
The group that convinced Arizona voters last year to expose “dark money” contributions to political campaigns wants a federal judge to toss a bid by a conservative advocacy group to kill the new law. In court filings, attorneys for Voters’ Right to Know said there is nothing inherently unconstitutional about ensuring that voters know the true source of funds being spent to influence their decisions on candidates and ballot measures. Hanging in the balance is Proposition 211.
California – Cooling Off Bill Heats Up Capitol Controversy, Gets Shelved
Capitol Weekly – Lisa Renner | Published: 4/27/2023
A bill to slow the “revolving door” of legislative staffers to lobbyist firms in California was shelved after sexual harassment victims’ advocates expressed opposition. Senate Bill 573 would have set the waiting period at one year and would be applied to staff on an issue-specific basis. Members of We Said Enough, a harassment victims’ group, said the waiting period could prevent victims from pursuing “natural career pathways” if they have to leave their Capitol jobs to flee sexual abuse or bullying.
California – Cupertino Lobbyist Rules Likely to Weather Constitutional Challenge
Courthouse News Service – Natalie Hanson | Published: 5/1/2023
The League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale filed a lawsuit against the city of Cupertino in 2022, claiming the ordinance that requires lobbyists to register and file disclosure reports is an overbroad regulation. The complaint contends the requirements have chilled members’ ability to exercise their protected rights to assemble, engage in free speech, and petition the government. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the case, finding the ordinance does not directly regulate who can speak or what they can say.
California – FPPC Opens Investigation into Chula Vista Official Over Public Disclosure Laws
MSN – Tammy Murga (San Diego Union Tribune) | Published: 5/3/2023
The California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating allegations that Chula Vista Councilmember Andrea Cardenas violated conflict-of-interest and economic-interest disclosure laws. Laura Wilkinson Sinton, who lodged the complaint, is a local cannabis business owner who sued the city in 2020 over a permit application for her business Caligrown. She asserts Cardenas has not publicly disclosed in her statements of economic interest the cannabis companies represented by Grassroots Resources, the political consulting firm that employs Cardenas.
California – S.F. Corruption Scandal: Here’s the latest prominent figure to plead guilty
MSN – Mallory Moench (San Francisco Chronicle) | Published: 5/2/2023
John Porter, a former executive at the Recology trash-hauling company, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit fraud, admitting he paid more than $55,000 in bribes to disgraced former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, who was at the center of a web of corruption in multimillion-dollar contracts for city services and now faces seven years in prison. The charge against Nuru for fraud in January 2020 started a domino effect of criminal actions against other city employees and contractors.
California – El Monte Will Require Lobbyists to Register, Limit Gifts to City Officials to $50 a Month
MSN – Jason Henry (Pasadena Star-News) | Published: 4/28/2023
Starting May 18, lobbyists in El Monte will need to register with the city, publicly disclose their clients, and adhere to a $50 monthly gift limit. The ordinance requires lobbyists to register within 15 days of any lobbying in the city and to identify their clients when presenting at council meetings if they are not already registered. After the initial registration, lobbyists are required to submit reports on their activities twice a year.
Colorado – Colorado GOP Chair Dave Williams’ Day Job as a Legislative Aide Raises Some Concerns at the Capitol
Colorado Public Radio – Bente Birkeland | Published: 4/27/2023
Dave Williams, the new head of the Colorado Republican Party, is also working full time as a state legislative aide, an unusual arrangement that has some questioning how he can fulfill the responsibilities of both positions without running afoul of legislative rules. It is not unheard of for a GOP chairperson to have a day job and historically it was a volunteer role. Legislative rules say aides should be impartial and free of conflicts-of-interest while performing their duties, being sure to “maintain objectivity,” and not let outside biases impact their work.
Connecticut – Do Bridgeport Officials’ Free Concert Tickets Break Ethics Rules?
Stamford Advocate – Brian Lockhart | Published: 4/30/2023
Candidates challenging Joe Ganim’s mayoral re-election agreed that average residents should be granted better access to the 25-seat suite the city of Bridgeport maintains at its new concert amphitheater. City Attorney Mark Anastasi argued the use of the suite by Bridgeport officials does not violate sections of the municipal code forbidding financial gains and preferential treatment. Records for 2022 showed the two-tickets-per-person limit was not always enforced and many of the city employees who attended shows were not average rank-and-file workers but higher-level staffers or those with close ties to Ganim or the local Democratic Party.
Florida – In Blow to DeSantis, Florida Bills to Limit Press Protections Are Shelved
DNyuz – Ken Bensinger (New York Times) | Published: 5/3/2023
Legislation that would have sharply curbed press protections in Florida will not face a vote this year, a rare example of forces on the right thwarting a piece of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s agenda. The bills proposed sweeping changes to laws that shield media outlets from liability in defamation cases and sought to make it easier for private citizens to file libel suits. In addition to opposition from news outlets and free-speech groups, the legislation faced resistance from his allies, including right-wing media.
Florida – Appeals Court Upholds Florida Voting Restrictions Approved by GOP Lawmakers
MSN – Bruce Ritchie and Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 4/27/2023
A federal appeals court sided with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when it overturned a lower court’s decision on a controversial voting law. That law placed restrictions on the use of drop boxes and set new requirements for voter registration groups, among other things. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker had ruled the law was discriminatory against minorities and placed unconstitutional burdens on voters. Walker ordered the state to get court approval for a decade before it enacts changes in three areas of election law.
Florida – The First Arrests from DeSantis’s Election Police Take Extensive Toll
MSN – Lori Rozsa (Washington Post) | Published: 5/1/2023
Many of the initial 20 arrests announced by the Office of Election Crimes and Security in Florida have stumbled in court. Six cases have been dismissed and five other defendants accepted plea deals that resulted in no jail time. Only one case has gone to trial, resulting in a split verdict. The others are pending. Critics say the low numbers point to the overall strength of Florida’s electoral system and a lack of sufficient evidence to pursue further charges. DeSantis pushed through a bill ensuring the statewide prosecutor has jurisdiction over election crime cases, an attempt to resolve an issue several judges have raised in dismissing cases.
Illinois – Defendants Found Guilty on All Counts in ‘ComEd Four’ Trial; Juror Says Panel Wanted ‘Politics to Run in a Correct Manner’
MSN – Jason Meisner, Ray Long, and Megan Crepeau (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 5/2/2023
A jury convicted all four defendants of bribery conspiracy at their trial in Chicago that provided an inside look at “pay-to-play” politics in Illinois that prosecutors said involved the state’s largest electric utility and, at the time, one of its most powerful politicians. Federal prosecutors presented evidence to show two former Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) executives, a former utility consultant, and a longtime government insider arranged contracts, jobs, and money for associates of then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, once one of the nation’s most powerful legislators, to ensure proposed bills boosting ComEd profits became law.
Illinois – Illinois Set to Become First State to End Book Bans
Politico – Shia Kapos | Published: 5/3/2023
Illinois is poised to become the first state to punish public institutions that ban books. Gov. JB Pritzker has said he supports a House bill that would withhold state funding from any of the state’s 1,600 public or school libraries that remove books from their shelves. The impetus for the legislation came from Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, whose office oversees library systems and their funding. Giannoulias said he could not fathom that book banning is happening in 2023.
Illinois – Judge Rules Niles Cannot Have an Elected Ethics Board; Voters Won’t Learn Results of April 4 Election
Yahoo News – Caroline Kubzansky (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 4/26/2023
Voters in Niles, Illinois, will probably never know the results of an April 4 election after a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled that village ordinance and structure does not allow for the creation of an elected ethics board. The ruling appears to end the effort by some citizens to initiate an elected ethics panel and Mayor George Alpogianis indicated the village’s appointed ethics board would be reconstituted.
Iowa – Iowa Legislature Passes Bill Restricting State Auditor’s Access to Records
MSN – Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 4/27/2023
Republican lawmakers in Iowa passed a bill that would limit the state auditor’s access to certain records, a move the auditor says is intended to hamstring the office of the only statewide elected Democrat and could put $12 billion of federal funding at risk. The bill would prohibit the auditor from accessing a wide variety of records unless the agency being audited “agrees that the information is necessary for the purposes of the audit.” It would set up a three-person arbitration board in the case of any disputes about whether a state agency should provide documents to the auditor’s office.
Kentucky – Louisville Councilman Anthony Piagentini Sues Ethics Commission Investigating Him
MSN – Lucas Aulbach (Louisville Courier-Journal) | Published: 5/4/2023
Louisville Metro Council member Anthony Piagentini is pushing back against an ethics complaint filed against him. Piagentini filed a lawsuit alleging the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission disclosed confidential records in the case to the media and to the person who filed the complaint against him, and the city has failed to comply with its open meetings laws.
Maine – Portland City Council Establishes Clean Elections Program
Yahoo News – Rachel Ohm (Portland Press Herald) | Published: 5/1/2023
Portland city councilors approved creating a municipal clean elections program that will provide campaign funding to candidates in local races, starting with the November election. Candidates for mayor, city council, and school board will all be eligible for the funds staring June 1. Those interested in participating can register with the city clerk and begin collecting qualifying contributions of five dollars from voters to be eligible for the municipal funds.
Maryland – Ex-Legislative Black Caucus Chair Sees Lobbying Opportunities for People of Color
Maryland Daily Record – Jack Hogan | Published: 4/27/2023
Former Maryland Del. Darryl Barnes, the previous chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, said he hopes his transition into lobbying will open the door for more Black people to join the profession. Barnes recently joined Evans & Associates, an Annapolis lobbying firm. Barnes plans to establish a Black lobbying association in the state to recruit and mentor future lobbyists and focus on policies affecting the African American community.
Michigan – Will Michigan’s Financial Disclosure Law Reveal Politicians’ Long-Hidden Perks? It’s Up to Them.
MLive – Simon Schuster | Published: 5/1/2023
Last November, Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring state elected officials to disclose information about their personal finances for the first time. Proposal 1 provides some broad disclosure requirements such as descriptions of assets and debts, sources of earned and unearned income, and memberships in organizations without much more detail. The proposal required legislators to pass a law implementing the financial disclosure system by the end of this year. It means the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will have a lot of latitude to choose precisely how much transparency voters see.
Montana – Son Asked Montana Governor to Veto Anti-Trans Bill. It Didn’t Work.
MSN – Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff (Washington Post) | Published: 4/28/2023
Few expected a lobbying effort from the Montana governor’s son. Gov. Greg Gianforte had heard from other queer activists for weeks as the state Legislature advanced anti-transgender bills. But his son caught the attention of queer and trans people across the state and country for trying to persuade his father not to sign the bills. David Gianforte, who came out publicly as nonbinary very recently and uses he and they pronouns. Despite his son’s attempts, the governor signed a bill restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, joining 14 states that have passed similar laws since January.
Montana – Judge Rejects Zooey Zephyr Bid to Return to Montana House
Yahoo News – Amy Beth Hanson and Matthew Brown (Associated Press) | Published: 5/2/2023
State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the transgender lawmaker silenced after telling Republicans they would have blood on their hands for opposing gender-affirming health care for children, was barred from returning to the Montana House floor in a court ruling that came just hours before the Legislature wrapped up its biennial session. District Court Judge Mike Menahan said it was outside his authority to overrule lawmakers who voted to exclude Zephyr from the floor and debates. He cited the importance of preserving the Constitution’s separation of powers.
Nebraska – Complaint Dismissed Against State Capitol Bible Study, Leader Says He’s Being More Careful
Nebraska Examiner – Paul Hammel | Published: 4/27/2023
A formal complaint that Arin Hess, the leader of a State Capitol Bible study group, needed to register as a lobbyist has been dismissed by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Hess organizes a weekly Bible study with about a dozen state senators and offers a similar meeting for legislative staffers. He also provides pastoral support and counsel at least three days a week at the Capitol. Hess said he has become more watchful that the studies do not stray into legislative matters.
Nebraska – Lawmakers Denounce Complaint Against Megan Hunt Alleging Conflict of Interest in Trans Bill
Omaha World Herald – Chris Dunker (Lincoln Journal-Star) | Published: 4/26/2023
Several Nebraska lawmakers denounced a complaint filed against state Sen. Megan Hunt, who is mother to a trans child, alleging she could benefit financially if a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors fails in the Legislature. Senators from both sides of the political aisle condemned a complaint submitted to the Accountability and Disclosure Commission as “frivolous” and “malicious.” Others called it a deliberate attempt to intimidate and harass a lawmaker and her family.
New Jersey – N.J. Campaign Manager Charged with Election Fraud in 2021 Primary for Governor
MSN – S.P. Sullivan (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 5/2/2023
A longtime New Jersey political operative faces criminal election fraud charges after authorities say he filed a petition with nearly 2,000 bogus signatures on behalf of his romantic partner, a frequent candidate for office. Jim Devine faces third-degree charges of election fraud and records tampering stemming from a petition for Lisa McCormick’s failed 2021 bid for governor. The charges against Devine are the latest in a string of political controversies involving the couple.
New York – State Launches Investigation of Assembly’s Unregistered Day Care Center
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 4/28/2023
The New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) confirmed it will investigate an unlicensed childcare center that state Assembly leaders have been operating for several months in the Legislative Office Building. The complimentary childcare service, which has been staffed by two legislative aides, has provided day care services for a handful of Democratic Assembly members. Although Speaker Carl Heastie’s office has used the term “drop-in center” to describe the day care room, OCFS generally defines those centers as serving homeless and runaway youth.
North Carolina – North Carolina Court, with New Partisan Mix, Reverses Itself on a Key Voting Case
Yahoo News – Michael Wines (New York Times) | Published: 4/28/2023
The North Carolina Supreme Court, with a new Republican majority, threw out a previous ruling against gerrymandered voting maps and upheld a photo voter identification law that colleagues had struck down as racially biased. The practical effect is to enable the GOP-controlled Legislature to scrap the court-ordered district boundaries that were used in elections last November, and draw new maps skewed in their favor for elections in 2024. Overturning such a recent ruling by the court was a highly unusual move, particularly on a pivotal constitutional issue in which none of the facts had changed.
Ohio – Can Cincinnati Recover from ‘Culture of Corruption’ Reputation While Bribery Cases Linger in Court System?
WCPO – Paula Christian | Published: 4/26/2023
Cincinnati drew national attention in 2020 when the FBI arrested three city council members on public corruption charges. Now, as two of those cases still linger in federal court, experts say the city cannot move past the embarrassment or reputational damage until they finally end. Former prosecutor and ex-council member Steve Goodin said out-of-town investors, particularly ones in commercial real estate, are still hesitant to develop in Cincinnati despite its hot market.
Ohio – Shammas Malik Wins Akron Mayoral Primary, in Line to Be the First Person of Color as Mayor
WOSU – Anna Huntsman, Abbey Marshall, and Abigail Bottar (Ideastream Public Media) | Published: 5/2/2023
City council member Shammas Malik will likely be Akron’s next mayor after winning the Democratic primary. A former assistant law director for Akron, Malik is expected to win the general election in November since there is no Republican or independent challenger on the ballot. Malik would be the first person of color to serve as mayor.
Oregon – Shemia Fagan Resigns as Oregon Secretary of State Following Cannabis Consulting Scandal
Oregon Public Broadcasting – Dirk VanderHart and Lauren Dake | Published: 5/2/2023
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan will resign May 8 in reaction to a scandal over her decision to accept lucrative side work as a cannabis consultant. Fagan’s announcement followed days of escalating fallout over revelations she signed a $10,000-per-month contract with the owners of an Oregon cannabis chain at the same time her office audited state regulations on marijuana businesses. The owners are also high-profile Democratic campaign donors.
South Carolina – Final Sentences Issued in SC Statehouse Ethics Scandal Cases
Charleston Post and Courier – Jessica Holdman | Published: 4/27/2023
A judge sentenced two former South Carolina lawmakers, bringing an end to proceedings in an eight-year corruption probe that ensnared six politicians and a leading political operative. Former Sen. John Courson was sentenced to a year of probation with 100 hours of community service. Former Rep. Tracy Edge paid a fine of $500 in lieu of six months in prison six months. Both former lawmakers saw reduced sentences for cooperating with prosecutors.
Vermont – Vermont Democratic Party Files Complaint Against True North Radio, Alleging Failure to Disclose Lobbying Activity
VTDigger.org – Sarah Mearhoff | Published: 4/28/2023
The Vermont Democratic Party filed a complaint against the conservative broadcasting company True North Radio for failing to disclose alleged lobbying activity. In February, True North Radio purchased dozens of spots from WCAX to air advertisements that appear to oppose the Affordable Heat Act just as lawmakers began hashing out details of the bill. Vermont’s lobbying disclosure laws require that an advertisement “intended, designed, or calculated to influence legislative action or to solicit others to influence legislative action” be disclosed within 48 hours of purchase if the ad costs more than $1,000.
Washington – Early WA Governor’s Race Skirmish? Campaign Finance Loophole Scrutinized
Seattle Times – Jim Brunner | Published: 4/28/2023
The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) is considering whether to close a loophole that could give Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson a big campaign money advantage if he runs for governor next year. The debate revolves around so-called surplus accounts where state politicians are allowed to park unspent campaign donations for use in future campaigns. Under current rules, Ferguson could transfer it to a gubernatorial campaign, and then ask donors for new contributions. Ferguson’s potential opponent asked the PDC to close the loophole, saying it allows an end-run around the state’s contribution limits.
May 4, 2023 •
Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act Introduced in U.S. Senate
On April 27, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). Senate Bill 1364, the Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act, would provide the Attorney General with greater […]
On April 27, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA).
Senate Bill 1364, the Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancement Act, would provide the Attorney General with greater authority to promote enforcement of disclosure requirements for agents of foreign principals and increases penalties for noncompliance.
The bill also “improves FARA advisory opinion transparency and requires the Government Accountability Office to study whether and to what extent the Lobbying Disclosure Act exemption is being abused to conceal foreign lobbying activity,” according to the press release of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, the lead Republican sponsor of the bill.
Identical legislation had been introduced in 2019 but did not pass.
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