July 7, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Missouri: “New Missouri Law Shields Nonprofit Donor Identities, Allows LLCs to Give to Candidates” by Tessa Weinberg for Missouri Independent Texas: “These Dallas Judges Owe Thousands in Fines for Not Reporting Campaign Donors” by Krista Torralva (Dallas Morning […]
Missouri: “New Missouri Law Shields Nonprofit Donor Identities, Allows LLCs to Give to Candidates” by Tessa Weinberg for Missouri Independent
Texas: “These Dallas Judges Owe Thousands in Fines for Not Reporting Campaign Donors” by Krista Torralva (Dallas Morning News) for MSN
Arizona: “Justice Dept. Sues Arizona Over Requiring Proof of Citizenship to Vote” by David Nakamura and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “7 Trump Allies Subpoenaed in Georgia Criminal Investigation” by Danny Hakim (New York Times) for Seattle Times
National: “Supreme Court Marshal Presses Md., Va. Leaders to Stop Home Protests” by Jasmine Hilton and Ann Marimow (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Jan. 6 Panel Secures Deal for Cipollone to Be Interviewed” by Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater (New York Times) for MSN
Connecticut: “Consultant on New London Pier Project Fined $10,000 by State Ethics Office” by Keith Phaneuf (CT Mirror) for MSN
Hawaii: “Former State Lawmaker English Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Federal Prison” by Blaze Lovell for Honolulu Civil Beat
Oregon: “A Measure to Curb Legislative Walkouts Has Qualified for Oregon’s November Ballot” by Dirk VanderHart for OPB
Canada: “Democracy Watch and Other Groups Rally Support for Campaign Against ‘Unethical’ Lobbying Changes” by Cloe Logan (National Observer) for Yahoo News
July 6, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Idaho: “People’s Pen Publication Under Investigation by Idaho AG for Alleged Sunshine Law Violation” by Kelcie Moseley-Morris for Idaho Capital Sun Ohio: “Citing Inflation, Akron Proposes Increasing Campaign Contribution Limits” by Abbey Marshall (Report for America) for Yahoo […]
Idaho: “People’s Pen Publication Under Investigation by Idaho AG for Alleged Sunshine Law Violation” by Kelcie Moseley-Morris for Idaho Capital Sun
Ohio: “Citing Inflation, Akron Proposes Increasing Campaign Contribution Limits” by Abbey Marshall (Report for America) for Yahoo Finance
National: “Despite Rebukes, Trump’s Legal Brigade Is Thriving” by Heidi Pryzbyla (Politico) for Yahoo News
Delaware: “Jury Returns Verdict in Delaware Auditor Kathy McGuiness Criminal Corruption Case” by Xerxes Wilson (Delaware News Journal) for Yahoo News
Florida: “Upgrade: Miami-Dade mayor’s free Qatar trip was pricier than first disclosed” by Douglas Hanks (Miami Herald) for MSN
New York: “Office of NYC Comptroller Brad Lander Approves More Than $500M in Contracts to Non-Profits with Ties to Wife’s Group” by Michael Gartland (New York Daily News) for MSN
National: “Republican States Are Trying to Use Federal Covid Aid to Cut Taxes” by Tony Romm (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Members of Congress Call for an Investigation of Intuit’s Lobbying Practices Amid Mounting TurboTax Controversies” by Anna Massoglia for OpenSecrets
July 1, 2022 •
National/Federal Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony Highlights Legal Risks for Trump Yahoo News – Alan Feuer and Glenn Thrush (New York Times) | Published: 6/29/2022 The extent to which the Justice Department’s expanding criminal inquiry into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is […]
Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony Highlights Legal Risks for Trump
Yahoo News – Alan Feuer and Glenn Thrush (New York Times) | Published: 6/29/2022
The extent to which the Justice Department’s expanding criminal inquiry into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is focused on Donald Trump remains unclear. But the revelations in the testimony to the House select committee by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, both provided new evidence about Trump’s activities before the riot and chipped away at any potential defense that he was merely expressing well-founded views about election fraud, legal experts said. A federal judge in a civil suit related to the committee’s work concluded this year that Trump and one of his legal advisers, John Eastman, most likely had committed felonies.
Colorado GOP Rejects Candidates Who Back Trump Election Lie
MSN – Nicholas Riccardi (Associated Press) | Published: 6/29/2022
Colorado Republicans rejected two of the state’s most prominent election deniers, a setback for the movement to install those who echo former President Trump’s lies about mass voter fraud in positions overseeing voting. The twin losses add to mixed record for Trump’s movement. So far, four supporters of his election falsehoods have won Republican primaries for secretary of state. But he has also suffered embarrassing losses. The Colorado decisions came as voters in six other states went to the polls in the first primaries since the Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right of women to obtain abortions.
Democrats Seize on Abortion Ruling in Midterms, as Republicans Tread Carefully
MSN – Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2022
Democrats are seizing on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, with state and federal candidates seeking to turn anger about the decision into support at the ballot box, even as Republicans aim to keep attention on rising prices and crime. Democrats on the front lines of the fight to keep the party’s congressional majorities have cast their campaigns as key parts of a larger battle to restore abortion rights prevent the rollback of other liberties. Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general, and offices at the state level, where abortion laws will now be determined, pledged to put the issue at the forefront of their campaigns.
Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Avoids Prison Time Over Three Felony Convictions
MSN – Chris Marquette (Roll Call) | Published: 6/28/2022
Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was sentenced to two years’ probation for lying to the FBI and concealing information during an investigation into his campaign’s receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in illegal foreign contributions. The sentencing decision went against the prosecution’s request, who asked for Fortenberry to serve six months in federal prison. The judge also said Fortenberry must complete 320 hours of community service and pay a $25,000 fine.
Giuliani Associate Parnas Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison
MSN – Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) | Published: 6/29/2022
Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in former President Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. Parnas, who had helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian figures as part of a campaign to dig up dirt on President Biden’s son, had sought leniency on the grounds that he had helped the congressional probe. Prosecutors asked the judge to focus on a jury’s finding that Parnas used the money of a wealthy Russian to make illegal donations to politicians who might aid the launch of a legal recreational-marijuana business.
Home of Jeffrey Clark, Trump DOJ Official, Searched by Federal Agents
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/23/2022
Federal agents conducted a search at the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in then-President Trump’s efforts to get law enforcement officials to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory. Clark’s conduct in late 2020 and early 2021 was also the focus of a hearing by the House committee probing the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters determined to overturn Biden’s victory. Several former senior Justice Department officials testified about a bizarre effort by Clark to volunteer himself and the department as advocates for Trump’s bogus claims of massive voter fraud during the election.
Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2022
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone after testimony from a former aide identified him as having firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House. The decision followed negotiations between Cipollone and the committee, as well as escalating pressure on him in recent days to testify. Committee members have come to believe he former counsel’s testimony could be critical to their investigation, given his proximity to Donald Trump and presence during key moments before, during, and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Lawyer Who Advised Trump Says Federal Agents Seized Phone
Yahoo News – Eric Tucker (Associated Press) | Published: 6/27/2022
John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who aided former President Trump’s efforts to undo the 2020 election results and who has been repeatedly referenced in House hearings on the assault on the Capitol, said in a court filing that federal agents seized his cell phone. The move underscores federal investigators’ interest in the unsuccessful schemes advanced by Trump advisers to help keep the then-president in power in the period between the November 2020 election and the riot at the Capitol two months later, when Trump loyalists stormed the building to halt the certification of the election results.
Ron Johnson Now Says He Helped Coordinate Effort to Pass False Elector Slates to Pence, but His New Explanation Drew a Quick Rebuke
Yahoo Finance – Molly Beck and Lawrence Andrea (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | Published: 6/26/2022
After initially claiming to be “basically unaware” of an effort by his staff to get fake presidential elector documents to Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said he coordinated with a Wisconsin attorney to pass along such information and alleged that U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly brought slates of fake electors to his office, a claim that was immediately disputed. Evidence presented by the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol showed Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver the two states’ lists of fake presidential electors for former President Trump to Pence on the morning of the insurrection but was rebuffed by Pence’s aide.
The Supreme Court Has Chipped Away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 Years. This Case Could Be the Next Blow.
Yahoo News – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 6/27/2022
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been whittled away over the last decade by the U.S. Supreme Court and a case set to be heard in the fall could shrink the protections offered by the law to the smallest level yet. The court will hear arguments in the fall about Alabama’s redistricting, in a case targeting the other central piece of the Voting Rights Act: Section 2, which prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race. The result of the case could make it more difficult for minority communities to claim new election laws are discriminatory and raise the bar for what has to happen to get relief from the courts.
Tucker Carlson Just Inadvertently Helped Raise $14,000 for Abortion Rights
MSN – Steven Zeitchik (Washington Post) | Published: 6/27/2022
Hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves to rail against companies that would pay for employees’ abortion-travel costs. But as Carlson was offering his commentary, an image from his show was being put to a different use: raising money for groups that facilitate abortion. Online bidders in the digital space known as web3 were offering thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for a non-fungible token made out of a screen image of Carlson on the show. Jenny Holzer said she will donate the $14,500 she made from the sale to groups including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Violent Threats to Election Workers Are Common. Prosecutions Are Not.
Yahoo News – Michael Wines and Eliza Fawcett (New York Times) | Published: 6/27/2022
Travis Ford pleaded guilty recently to making a threat with a telecommunications device – a felony that can carry up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 – for threatening Jena Griswold, the secretary of state and chief election official of Colorado, on Instagram. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has established the federal Election Threats Task Force, almost no one else has faced punishment. Two other cases are being prosecuted, but Ford’s guilty plea is the only case the task force has successfully concluded out of more than 1,000 it has evaluated.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Wendy Rogers Refused to Speak to the Senate Ethics Panel About Her ‘Fed Boy Summer’ Tweet
Arizona Mirror – Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Published: 6/29/2022
State Sen. Wendy Rogers refused to meet with the attorney for the Arizona Senate Ethics Committee, but her lawyer said in a letter to the panel that her tweet dismissing the racially motivated Buffalo grocery store mass shooting was a reference to a 2019 hip hop song and not a nod to white supremacist online culture. The Senate launched an investigation into Rogers for alluding on social media that the shooting in Buffalo was the work of federal law enforcement instead of the white supremacist accused of carrying out the attack.
California – Downtown Real Estate Developer Found Guilty in Jose Huizar Bribery Case
Yahoo News – David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/27/2022
Five years ago, real estate developer Dae Yong Lee had a big problem. A labor group with political connections had filed a challenge against his plan for a 20-story tower in downtown Los Angeles. A jury found Lee guilty of paying a $500,000 bribe to ensure city council member Jose Huizar would shepherd his project through the city’s planning process. Lee’s company was also found guilty. It had sought city approval for the residential tower. The verdicts delivered a critical victory to federal prosecutors in the first of three trials encompassing the sprawling corruption case against Huizar.
California – Santa Ana Moves to Increase Transparency with Lobbyist Registration Law
Los Angeles Times – Ben Brazil | Published: 6/23/2022
As Anaheim grapples with a corruption scandal, officials from nearby Santa Ana moved forward with a plan to encourage greater transparency by tracking paid lobbyists. The city council gave initial approval to an ordinance that requires lobbyists to register with the city or face penalties. Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said while the lobbyist disclosure law is a step in the right direction, the city needs to do more to prevent the kind of corruption uncovered in Anaheim.
Connecticut – As a New Field of Candidates Lines Up for CT Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Grants, a Long-Ignored Elections Complaint Causes Concern About Landmark Reforms
MSN – Edmund Mahoney (Hartford Courant) | Published: 6/27/2022
Former Connecticut Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. was accused in 2014 of breaking a promise to limit his campaign spending to a grant of about $90,000 from the Citizens’ Election Program. Records show his campaign benefitted from almost four times that much because of an amendment to the law. Kennedy and his backers claim it permitted the Democratic State Central Committee to cover “organizational expenditures.” The case has languished in part because of legal disagreements over whether the amendment really does permit campaigns to spend in excess of the public financing caps on “organizational expenditures” with money donated by political committees.
Florida – ‘Unsettling,’ ‘Un-American’: FPL consultant obtained personal information, surveillance photo of journalist Nate Monroe
Yahoo News – David Bauerlein (Florida Times-Union) | Published: 6/24/2022
Florida Times-Union columnist Mate Monroe was under surveillance by Matrix, a consulting firm that worked for Florida Power & Light (FPL) during the attempted sale of JEA, the community-owned utility in Jacksonville. The then-chief executive officer of Matrix emailed a background report on Monroe’s personal life to FPL’s vice president of state legislative affairs. Monroe frequently broke news on the potential sale of JEA and wrote columns critical of the sales process. FPL has called the reporting “conspiracy-laden” as it relates to the utility’s bid for JEA.
Hawaii – Permitting Worker Who Took Bribes for a Decade Gets Prison Time
Honolulu Civil Beat – Christina Jedra | Published: 6/27/2022
A veteran of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) will go to prison for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to accepting over $63,000 in bribes over the course of a decade. Jennie Javonillo accepted cash from at least 10 individuals and companies who received expedited processing for their projects, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael David Nammar. The former building plans examiner perpetuated a “pay-to-play” culture at DPP in which people who offered bribes got their projects approved in “record time,” while construction stalled for those who refused to pay, Nammar said.
Hawaii – Tougher Campaign Finance Laws Top Standards Commission Agenda
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 6/30/2022
A commission to enhance government transparency in Hawaii is weighing a handful of measures aimed at tightening campaign finance laws and reducing the influence of money in politics in a year where several political donors made headlines for alleged bribery. The recent cases led to the creation of the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which plans to come back to the Legislature with proposals on government ethics, elections, and more. The agency in charge of overseeing state campaign finance laws came before the new commission with ideas for eliminating “pay-to-play” schemes.
Idaho – Lobbying or Campaigning? Idaho Political Organizations Did Both Before Primary Election
Idaho Capital Sun – Kelcie Moseley-Morris | Published: 6/27/2022
Online ads that attacked Idaho lawmakers were prominent during the last legislative session. They were paid for by Idaho Freedom Action, the 501(c)(4) arm of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Until mid-April, Idaho Freedom Action reported all its activities related to the session as lobbying for specific bills. Between January and March, the group reported buying Facebook ads that totaled $35,708. Although the ads focus on specific lawmakers, Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said if they do not include words to encourage someone to “vote for” or “vote against” that legislator, it is not a reportable independent campaign expenditure.
Illinois – GOP Lawmaker Calls Roe Ruling ‘Victory for White Life’ as Trump Rally Cheers
MSN – Jennifer Hassan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2022
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller called the Supreme Court’s decision to Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life,” which was met with cheers at a rally held by former President Trump. Miller’s spokesperson, Isaiah Wartman, said she misread her prepared speech and was supposed to declare the divisive court ruling a victory for the “right to life.” Last year, Miller was forced to apologize after quoting Adolf Hitler at a “Moms for America” event in Washington, D.C.
Illinois – Negotiations Underway on Stalled Ethics Reform Package, Lightfoot Says
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 6/23/2022
An effort to overhaul Chicago’s ethics rules designed to finally put an end to the corruption at City Hall will remain stalled for at least another month, even as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has begun negotiating with Ald. Michele Smith. But Lightfoot declined to endorse Smith’s proposal, or detail how the proposal should be changed. Lightfoot and Smith met after Chicago Board of Ethics Chairperson William Conlon said the package of reforms, which has been stalled since April without Lightfoot’s backing, should be “swiftly” passed by the city council and signed into law.
Louisiana – Supreme Court Frees Louisiana to Use Congressional Map Drawn by GOP
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared Louisiana to use a Republican-drawn congressional map this fall that a lower court judge said likely diminishes the electoral power of the state’s Black voters. The justices agreed with a request by Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state to put on hold U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick’s order that the state create a second district where African Americans would have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. An appeals court backed the district court’s decision, but the state Legislature refused to redraw the map.
Maryland – Former Hogan Chief of Staff Charged with Additional Count in Corruption Case
MSN – Sam Janesch (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/29/2022
A former chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is facing an additional charge in a two-year-old public corruption case that alleges he collected excessive expenses and arranged for an unprecedented $233,647 severance payment during his time in office. The new federal wire fraud charge against Roy McGrath relates to a memo that outlined the severance payment and included Hogan’s approval but that federal officials say McGrath fabricated.
Maryland – Nick Mosby’s Tab for Ocean City Conference in August Is Twice as Much as Baltimore City Council Colleagues’
Yahoo News – Jeff Barker (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/29/2022
The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved travel expenses – including three hotel nights – averaging $1,394 total for each of four city council members to attend the Maryland Association of Counties annual conference in Ocean City in mid-August. It approved similar expenses for the Council President Nick Mosby. But his bill was twice as much: $3,008. The board approved the requests of Mosby and the other council members without dissent.
Michigan – Supreme Court: Flint water indictments against Rick Snyder, others invalid
Bridge Michigan – Kelly House and Jonathan Oosting | Published: 6/28/2022
A one-judge grand jury had no power to issue indictments stemming from the Flint water crisis, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled. The decision is likely to erase criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and several other former public officials and raises questions about future prosecutions. The Flint crisis was triggered by a drinking water source switch, executed while a state-appointed emergency manager ran the city. The decision caused lead contamination that coincided with two outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease and 12 deaths. Snyder was charged with two misdemeanors for willful neglect of duty.
Missouri – Page’s Chief of Staff Resigns After Councilman Asks for Probe of Leaked Sex Video
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Nassim Benchaabane and Joe Holleman | Published: 6/29/2022
Cal Harris, chief of staff for St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, resigned abruptly, a week after county council member Mark Harder asked law enforcement officers to investigate a video of a county employee engaged in a sexual act at the county building. Harder said he received an anonymous video of a male county employee in a sexual act with a woman. The employee, whom Harder did not name, could be identified in the video because he was wearing a county ID badge with his name. A source who had seen the video said Harris’ name on the ID badge could be made out.
New Jersey – Bill to Increase N.J. Campaign Contributions and Gut Local Pay-to-Play Rules Falls Off Fast Track
MSN – Matt Arco (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/29/2022
A bill that was getting fast-tracked through the New Jersey Legislature that seeks to double many contribution limits for elections and remove many “pay-to-play” restrictions in the state has stalled. The bill was pulled from consideration in both the Senate and Assembly as lawmakers gathered for a busy voting session before summer break. It was not immediately clear what prompted legislative leaders to pull the Elections Transparency Act after it sailed through committee hearings with bipartisan support in recent days.
New Mexico – NM Department Heads, Others Didn’t Disclose Financial Info
Yahoo News – Dan McKay (Albuquerque Journal) | Published: 6/26/2022
Four Cabinet secretaries, a university chancellor, and New Mexico’s chief public defender failed to disclose their income sources and business interests earlier this year as required by state law. The group of non-filers also included the game and fish director, the chief clerk of the Senate, and more than 100 appointees to state boards and commissions. In New Mexico, elected officials, the leaders of state agencies, and certain other appointees are required to file annual disclosures listing their income sources, real estate holdings, and business interests – both for themselves and their spouses – as a condition of employment.
New York – Judge Says NYC Can’t Let Noncitizens Vote in City Elections
NBC News – Associated Press | Published: 6/27/2022
New York City cannot let noncitizens vote for mayor and other city officials, a judge ruled, siding with Republicans who challenged the measure as unconstitutional. In January, New York became the first major American city to grant widespread municipal voting rights to noncitizens, though none had cast ballots yet. The law did not affect presidential, congressional, or state elections. The law’s supporters said it gave an electoral voice to many people who have made a home in the city and pay taxes to it but face tough paths to citizenship.
New York – New York’s Troubled Ethics Panel Holds Final Meeting
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/28/2022
After 11 tumultuous years, New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) conducted its final meeting. On July 8, the commission will cease to exist. The Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed in the budget passed in April to replace it with a new oversight body, the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. JCOPE was long dogged by accusations its commissioners were too close to the lawmakers who appointed them. The panel’s 14 commissioners were appointed by top state lawmakers, with the governor appointing six.
New York – Suffolk County Has Repealed Its Public Campaign Finance Program
WSHU – J.D. Allen | Published: 6/23/2022
Suffolk County has effectively ended its public campaign finance program. Outside of New York City, Suffolk County was the largest county in the state to establish a public campaign finance program. It did not survive a year in operation, without supporting a single campaign, before Republicans took away its funding. County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey said public money is better spent on taxpayers, not candidates. “There is a more immediate need than for campaign finance, and we think that this money could be better spent in other ways,” McCaffrey said.
North Carolina – One of NC’s Biggest Political Donors, in Prison for Bribery, Wins New Trial
MSN – Will Doran (Charlotte Observer) | Published: 6/29/2022
A billionaire who had been convicted of attempting to bribe a top state official with the help of the North Carolina Republican Party was not given a fair trial, a federal appeals court ruled. Greg Lindberg was briefly North Carolina’s biggest political donor before his arrest. He is now two years into a seven-year prison sentence but will get a new trial, along with his employee John Gray, who had been sentenced to 30 months in prison as part of the same scandal.
North Dakota – North Dakota Lawmakers Ponder Improvements to Harassment Policy After Rep’s Expulsion
Bismarck Tribune – Jack Dura | Published: 6/27/2022
North Dakota legislative leaders see more training for themselves on how to handle complaints as a way to improve the Legislature’s workplace harassment policy after a lawmaker’s expulsion last year. A panel of leaders met to review the policy, nearly 16 months after the Republican-led House expelled then-Rep. Luke Simons for workplace and sexual harassment of women at the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said the panel will wait until September to vote on potential changes to the policy that was adopted in 2018 amid the #MeToo movement but has never been used. The Legislature convenes in January.
Ohio – Ohio Supreme Court Declines to Hold Ohio Redistricting Commission in Contempt for Failure to Pass Constitutional Legislative Districts
MSN – Seth Richardson (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 6/29/2022
The state Supreme Court announced it would not hold members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission in contempt after Republicans on the commission missed a May deadline to produce new state legislative maps. The ruling likely brings an end to the redistricting saga for now. Districts are already in place for the August 2 special legislative election and Republicans on the commission have refused to reconvene.
Oklahoma – Clean Up Oklahoma Criticized for Not Disclosing Source of Funding
Enid News & Eagle – Janelle Stecklein (CNHI Oklahoma) | Published: 6/27/2022
Armed with mops and buckets and their trademark “Clean It Up Truck,” members of Clean Up Oklahoma admit they make a bit of spectacle as they travel across the state bringing attention to their anti-corruption platform. Their “Anti-Corruption Pledge” requires candidates to promise, among other things, to clean up elections by getting “big money out of politics” and requires officials to be transparent with things such as their tax returns, conflicts-of-interest, and gifts. But Clean Up Oklahoma, which reports spending $30,400 on electioneering efforts since June 9, is not disclosing any of its donors.
Oklahoma – Epic Charter Schools Co-Founders Made Political Donations with State Dollars, OSBI Says
The Oklahoman – Nuria Martinez-Kee | Published: 6/25/2022
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation arrested Epic Charter Schools co-founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, along with the group’s chief financial officer, Josh Brock. Investigators allege Harris, Chaney, and Brock illegally pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars, submitted false financial reports to the state, and spent money intended for Epic students on political donations and personal expenses.
Rhode Island – Officer Running for State Senate Drops Out After Punching Opponent
MSN – Timothy Bella and James Bikales (Washington Post) | Published: 6/25/2022
A Providence police officer who was running for state office as a Republican dropped out of the race amid a criminal investigation for allegedly punching his Democratic opponent in the face during a protest. Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairperson Jennifer Rourke was among those who spoke outside the statehouse following the Supreme Court’s decision to end the right to abortion. As tensions escalated among protesters and counter-protesters, video posted to social media shows people exchanging punches in a chaotic scene. During the fighting, a man who Rourke says is officer Jeann Lugo is seen punching her in the face.
Texas – As They Target South Texas, Republicans Say One Democratic County Isn’t Maintaining Campaign Finance Records
Texas Tribune – Patrick Svitek | Published: 6/28/2022
Republicans are trying to make new inroads in South Texas this election season. The increased attention has spotlighted a concerning issue, according to one GOP group: a lack of publicly available campaign finance reports in Starr County documenting donations and spending for its local elections. Under state law, counties are required to maintain such reports for candidates for local office, including races for county judge, county commissioner, and justice of the peace. But that is apparently not happening in Starr, one of the four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley, according to a recently filed ethics complaint.
Wisconsin – Scott Walker-Appointed Natural Resources Board Member Frederick Prehn Can Remain Past His Term, Supreme Court Rules
Yahoo News – Laura Schulte (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | Published: 6/28/2022
Frederick Prehn can remain on the state’s Natural Resources Board beyond the expiration of his term, under a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. The decision allows Prehn to remain as a voting member of the board, which sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources, until the state Senate holds a hearing for his replacement. The ruling all but ensures that Republicans who control the Senate will continue to avoid confirming large slates of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointees to key cabinet positions and other state positions.
June 24, 2022 •
National/Federal 2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022 Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps […]
2022 Primary Results: Alabama Senate runoff, D.C. and Virginia primaries
CBS News – Fin Gómez and Aaron Navarro | Published: 6/21/2022
Virginia and the District of Columbia held primaries on June 21 and Georgia also held runoff elections, but perhaps the most closely watched race was the Alabama Republican U.S. Senate runoff for retiring Sen. Richard Shelby’s seat, which pitted U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks against Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff. The two candidates shared the unusual distinction having both had, at one point, the sought-after endorsement of former President Trump. Brooks, who was a longtime Trump ally, won his first endorsement, but Trump withdrew it just before the primary election on May 24, when polls showed Brooks sliding in the polls.
American Influence Has a New Address on State Street
Yahoo News – Hailey Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 6/22/2022
According to a new report from OpenSecrets, total spending on state lobbying increased across 19 states from which it has collected data dating back to 2015. Interest groups spent a record $1.8 billion on state lobbying in 2021. As partisan divides ensnare congressional lawmakers in stalemates, many lobbying firms find it faster to take their efforts to governors and state Legislatures. State leaders have become as influential as they have ever been and are now shaping the national conversation on issues as diverse as energy policy and abortion rights.
Caught in the Culture Wars, Teachers Are Being Forced from Their Jobs
MSN – Hannah Natanson and Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
More than 160 educators were either fired or resigned their jobs in the past two academic years due to the culture wars that are roiling many of the nation’s schools, according to a Washington Post analysis. On average, slightly more than two teachers lost their jobs for every week that school remained in session. The teachers included in the analysis all lost their employment when hot-button cultural, racial, political, or pandemic issues intersected with their ability to teach, either because the teacher sought to address controversial topics in the classroom or administrators took issue with the teacher’s views as expressed inside or outside the classroom.
‘First-Degree Puppetry’: Stephen Colbert defends ‘Late Show’ staffers after arrest at Capitol
Yahoo News – Naledi Ushe (USA Today) | Published: 6/21/2022
Stephen Colbert addressed the arrest of his production crew by U.S. Capitol Police and joked they were guilty of “puppetry in the first degree.” Seven members of the “Late Night” team were arrested in the Longworth House Office Building and charged with unlawful entry. CBS said the crew was recording a segment featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and had filmed authorized and pre-arranged interviews with members of Congress. Colbert called it “shameful and grotesque” that his staff’s behavior had been compared in the media to the insurrection on January 6, 2021.
GOP Spends Millions on Election Volunteers to Search for Fraud
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2022
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is spending millions of dollars this year in 16 critical states on an unprecedented push to recruit thousands of poll workers and watchers, adding firepower to a growing effort on the right to find election irregularities that could be used to challenge results. The RNC was until recently barred from bringing its substantial resources to bear on field operations at polling sites because of a decades-old court order. Now, the party apparatus is mobilizing volunteers to scrutinize voting locations for suspected fraud.
Jan. 6 Committee Reveals New Details About Pence’s Terrifying Day
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/16/2022
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol disclosed new details of Mike Pence’s terrifying day on January 6, 2021, as it sought to explain how easily democracy could have fallen if the then-vice president had not resisted an unrelenting campaign from Trump to ignore legal advisers and his own conscience and use his role to give Trump a second term. Pence announced he did not believe the Constitution allowed him to follow Trump’s wishes. The committee demonstrated the crowd’s immediate reaction using video clips of rioters taken that day.
Justice Dept. Expands Jan. 6 Probe with Fresh Subpoenas
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The Justice Department’s investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol ratcheted up as federal agents issued subpoenas on people in at least two states, in what appeared to be a widening probe of how political activists supporting then-President Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. FBI officials confirmed that agents conducted court authorized law enforcement activity at the address of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector, and another the home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.
Liberal Groups Devote Millions to Blocking GOP Election Deniers
MSN – Michael Scherer (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
Pouring liberal donors’ money into the midterms to elect Democrats is hardly novel. What is different about a new strategy is a large portion of the 2022 efforts are aimed at 2024 –attempting to block Republican 2020 election deniers from gaining power and potentially upending valid results in a presidential election year. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation’s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom to sound an alarm about the coming elections. “MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group.
Sen. Ron Johnson Under Fire Over Fake-Electors Disclosure at Hearing
MSN – Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2022
The House committee investigating January 6 Capitol riot revealed that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence a slate of fake electors backing then-president Trump, raising questions about Johnson’s role in a deliberate and coordinated plan to block Joe Biden’s win and give Trump the presidency. The disclosure also underscores the extent of Johnson’s role as one of Congress’s most prominent election deniers and January 6 apologists.
Supreme Court Justices Don’t Have a Code of Ethics. Hundreds of Judges Say That’s a Problem
Yahoo – Tami Abdollah (USA Today) | Published: 6/22/2022
Hundreds of judges said U.S. Supreme Court justices should be bound by a code of ethics, and many said they were shocked to find out that was not already the case. The National Judicial College surveyed judges across the nation on whether the Supreme Court should be held to a higher standard. The survey came amid a contentious and high-profile calendar that has involved questions of bias, as well as investigations into Justice Clarence Thomas’ family ties to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump’s Pressure Drew Violence, Threats to Local Officials, Committee Shows
Anchorage Daily News – Rosalind Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2022
In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump engaged in an unrelenting campaign targeting state and local officials – many of them fellow Republicans – riling up his supporters and putting in physical danger officials who refused to help overturn his election loss, according to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. At its fourth public hearing, the committee laid out how menace and violence trailed Trump’s election falsehoods, afflicting everyone who resisted, from high-level elected officials to ordinary election workers.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – Campaign Finance Regulators Withdraw $56,600 Fine Levied Against Anchorage Rep. Tuck
Yahoo News – Nathaniel Herz (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 6/18/2022
The Alaska Public Offices Commission withdrew a $56,500 fine it had imposed on state Rep. Chris Tuck, saying he showed the 2020 campaign contribution the agency alleged was late reported past the deadline was actually made outside of a required reporting window. Tuck has announced he was not seeking reelection.
California – Anaheim City Council Deadlocks on Campaign Finance Reform Following FBI Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Spencer Custodio | Published: 6/22/2022
Anaheim City Council members deadlocked on a campaign finance reform proposal to lessen special interests’ influence on policy decisions, which has come under intense scrutiny since revelations of an FBI corruption probe into City Hall. The ordinance would have required a 72-hour reporting window for all campaign contributions of $250 or more, along with mandatory recusal periods for council members. Residents have been calling for the council to limit the influence that special interests like the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Angels, and Disney-funded PACs have on City Hall. Many of those same interest groups funded a majority of the council members’ election campaigns.
California – Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act
MSN – Seth Rosenfeld (San Francisco Public Press) | Published: 6/20/2022
An appeals court ruled the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the state’s Public Records Act. The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.
California – State Attorney General Bonta Gives Mark Ridley-Thomas Backers a Chance to Fight His Removal from LA City Council
Los Angeles Daly News – Elizabeth Chou | Published: 6/22/2022
The state attorney general gave plaintiffs the go-ahead to challenge the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to appoint former council member Herb Wesson to a seat vacated by Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended by his colleagues after being indicted on federal corruption charges. The plaintiffs’ attorneys contend Wesson is ineligible to be a temporary replacement because the appointment violates city charter rules for term limits and appointments to vacant seats. They had also challenged the suspension of Ridley-Thomas by the city council and sought his reinstatement.
Colorado – Colorado Guilty Plea a First for US Election Task Force
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 6/20/2022
A Nebraska man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Colorado’s top elections official in a what officials say is the first such plea obtained by a federal task force devoted to protecting elections workers across the U.S. who have been subject to increasing threats since the 2020 presidential election. Travis Ford admitted sending threats to Secretary of State Jena Griswold on social media. Griswold is a national advocate for elections security who has received thousands of threats over her insistence that the 2020 election was secure and that former President Trump’s claims it was stolen from him are false.
Connecticut – It’s Official: CT candidates can start spending campaign money on child care
CT Insider – Julia Bergman | Published: 6/19/2022
Candidates for elected office in Connecticut can now spend public campaign money on childcare while they are campaigning. The new election rule was finalized recently and follows a years-long fight by a Fairfield mother and former state House candidate that gained national attention. When she first ran for office in 2018, Caitlin Clarkson Pereira often had her daughter, Parker, who was three years old at the time, in tow
Florida – Federal Judge Blows Up Florida’s Law Limiting Contributions for Ballot Initiatives
MSN – Jim Saunders (News Service of Florida) | Published: 6/16/2022
A federal judge struck down a Florida law limiting contributions to people or political committees championing ballot initiatives, ruling it violates the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor issued a permanent injunction against the law that limited such donations to $3,000. The Florida Elections Commission had argued the law limited the potential for fraud and corruption. “But those concerns don’t legally justify the restriction at issue,” Winsor said.
Florida – Former Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum Indicted on Federal Charges
Politico – Matt Dixon and Arek Sarkissian | Published: 6/22/2022
Andrew Gillum, a former Tallahassee mayor who was the Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018, was indicted on charges he illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in return for the financial support. The indictment outlines a series of interactions with two undercover FBI agents who posed as developers seeking contracts in Tallahassee. Gillum’s adviser, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, also faces 19 counts, including allegations that some of those contributions were funneled to a separate company she operates.
Hawaii – Hu Honua Lobbyist Hosted Fundraiser for Senators Who Were Key to Energy Bill
Honolulu Civil Beat – Stewart Yerton and Chad Blair | Published: 6/20/2022
As far as the public could tell from official disclosures, a recent campaign fundraiser was paid for by the candidate committees of four Hawaii senators: Donovan Dela Cruz, Glenn Wakai, Michelle Kidani, and Bennette Misalucha. But undisclosed in public filings required for such events was a behind-the-scenes host: Joanne Hamm, an energy industry lobbyist. Hamm’s client Hu Honua Bioenergy had just scored big wins in the state Legislature, thanks in part to Wakai and Misalucha, who are the chair and vice chair of the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee; and Kidani and Dela Cruz, who sit on the Ways and Means Committee, which Dela Cruz chairs.
Illinois – Ex-State Sen. Thomas Cullerton Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison in Ghost Payrolling Case
MSN – Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Illinois Sen. Thomas Cullerton was sentenced to a year in prison for pocketing more than $250,000 in salary and benefits from the Teamsters union despite doing little or no work. In rejecting a defense request for probation, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman said people are tired of the “depressing” amount of public corruption and he had to send a message to other elected officials that breaching the public trust will not be tolerated. Former Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. said he hired Cullerton to his do-nothing position “as a favor to Senator A.” The two ignored complaints from supervisors when Cullerton failed to even show up for work.
Maine – Paul LePage’s Campaign Fined $3K for Late Finance Report
Bangor Daily News – Caitlin Andrews | Published: 6/22/2022
Maine’s ethics commission hit former Gov. Paul LePage’s 2022 campaign with a $3,000 fine on for filing a campaign finance report a few hours late. The total amount of money raised had been released to the media on May 3, but campaign staffer Joe Turcotte said he had fallen asleep due to illness while submitting the report. He did not wake up until four a.m. the next day to finish filing the report, which was after the deadline.
Maryland – Judge’s Donation to Baltimore State’s Attorney Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Raises Ethical Questions
MSN – Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 6/17/2022
Maryland District Court Judge Flynn Owens is listed as having donated $100 to Thiru Vignarajah’s campaign for Baltimore State’s Attorney. Owens’ listed employer and occupation, a requirement for donors, is “State of MD” and “Legal.” It is a violation of the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct for any sitting judge to make a political contribution to any candidate, let alone a someone running for a political office that the judge is involved with. As a District Court judge overseeing Baltimore, Owens oversees cases brought by the state’s attorney’s office.
Massachusetts – Mass. High Court to Hear Arguments in DiMasi Lobbying Case
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/21/2022
The Supreme Judicial Court will take up a lobbying case involving former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. At issue is whether those found guilty of federal corruption charges should be barred from lobbying state lawmakers, the governor, and other officials for 10 years after their conviction, even if their crimes are not directly cited in the state law. While DiMasi is at the center of the case, he will not be impacted by any ruling as the 10-year ban on him expired in 2021. The court reasoned the legal issue at the case’s core is still of “great public importance and is likely to recur.”
Massachusetts – MassHealth Director Fined $6,000 for Receiving Free Red Sox Tickets
Boston.com – Susannah Sudborough | Published: 6/16/2022
A former MassHealth official paid a $6,000 penalty for breaking the state’s conflict-of-interest law by receiving free Boston Red Sox tickets from the contractor administering the agency’s dental program. Stacia Castro, while serving as director of the MassHealth Specialty Provider Network, asked DentaQuest’s regional director if the company had access to the Red Sox tickets. It then gave Castro four free tickets valued at $120 apiece, a tour of Fenway Park, and a $500 voucher for dinner at Fenway Park’s EMC Club.
Michigan – How One Firm in a ‘Wild West’ Industry Upended the Michigan GOP Governor Race
Bridge Michigan – Yue Stella Yu, Mike Wilkinson, and Joel Kurth | Published: 6/16/2022
Some say signature gathering for candidates to qualify for the ballot is the “Wild West” side of politics. A now-inactive website for the signature-gathering firm First Choice Contracting claimed it was “your best chance at getting on the ballot.” Instead, it was anything but. Fraudulent signatures disqualified five of 10 Republican gubernatorial candidates in Michigan from the race, and a Bridge Michigan investigation found First Choice Contracting worked for all five campaigns. Elections officials have submitted their findings of fraud to state Attorney General Dana Nessel for a criminal investigation.
Missouri – Eric Greitens Ad Touts ‘Hunting Permit’ for GOP Rivals in Missouri U.S Senate Race
Missouri Independent – Rudi Keller | Published: 6/20/2022
In a video of a fake no-knock home raid, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens ––flanked by extras in body armor, using flash grenades and carrying firearms – promoted a fundraising program offering a “RINO Hunting Permit” to supporters of his U.S. Senate campaign. RINO stands for “Republican in Name Only.” Within a few hours of posting, the video was hidden behind a warning message but remained visible on Twitter to those who wish to see it. The video was removed from Facebook. Violent imagery has been a part of Greitens political persona since he began running for office.
Missouri – Missouri Supreme Court Asks Eric Schmitt to Stop Using Judge Photo in Campaign Mailers
KSHB – David Medina | Published: 6/17/2022
The Missouri Supreme Court asked state Attorney General Eric Schmitt to stop using photos of the court’s judges for campaign mailers used for his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The mailer shows Schmitt along with three of the justices. The photo was taken by a member of Schmitt’s staff during Missouri’s bicentennial celebration last August. The judges were there in official capacities and were not aware the photo would be used in such a context.
Montana – Convention of States Group Violated Campaign Law
Montana Free Press – Alex Sakariassen | Published: 6/20/2022
An out-of-state super PAC that spent $126,752 supporting a trio of Republican legislative primary candidates in Montana violated state campaign finance laws, according to Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan. A complaint filed against the Convention of States Political Fund said the organization failed to adequately disclose its spending on mailers and radio ads. Mangan also said the group did not meet the state’s definition of a nonresident political committee because it had failed to file its activity in its home state.
New Mexico – New Mexico County Certifies Election Results, Bowing to Court Order
MSN – Annie Gowan (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2022
Commissioners in New Mexico’s Otero County voted two-to-one to comply with a state Supreme Court order and certify primary-election results, reversing an earlier rejection of vote totals over unfounded claims that voting machines were insecure. Commissioner Couy Griffin refused to back down from assertions the machines were not secure or apologize for leading a charge against a normally straightforward procedural vote that caused a week-long uproar. “My vote to remain a no isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,” Griffin said.
New York – Corporate PACs Fail to Disclose Cash Behind Attacks in Primary Races
New York Focus – Sam Mellins | Published: 6/22/2022
With days to go before New York’s primary election, two real estate-backed groups likely spending millions of dollars to boost moderate Democrats may be violating campaign finance law by failing to disclose where they are getting their money and how they are spending it. Common Sense New Yorkers and Voters of New York are independent expenditure committees, which can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections but cannot coordinate with candidates. New York law mandates that such committees file reports detailing their spending and fundraising 32 and 11 days before a primary, which neither group has done.
New York – Law School Deans Unveil New York’s New Ethics System
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 6/15/2022
The deans of New York’s accredited law schools announced a rigorous vetting process to select nominees for the state’s new 11-member Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, which was created this year to overhaul the existing state ethics panel, which has for years faced criticism for some of its members’ apparent allegiance to the lawmakers who appointed them. Unlike the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, whose members were generally appointed with little vetting, the new rules will enable a nominating committee comprised of the law school deans to reject someone not found to have “undisputed honesty, integrity and character.”
New York – Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner Resigns After Being Accused of an Ethics Violation
MSN – Steve Lieberman (The Journal News) | Published: 6/22/2022
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Berliner resigned from the bench rather than contest claims he engaged in prohibited political activity as a jurist. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct alleged that in September 2015 and November 2017, Berliner accompanied and/or introduced two candidates to three gatherings of community and political leaders in Orange and Rockland counties. “Prohibiting [judges’] involvement in campaigns, except when running for judicial office themselves, is essential to public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,” said commission Administrator Robert Tembeckjian.
North Dakota – North Dakota Ethics Panel Adopts Disclosure Rules for Powerful State Boards
Bismarck Tribune – Jack Dura | Published: 6/22/2022
The North Dakota Ethics Commission adopted rules for how certain state officials should handle potential bias arising from campaign contributions. The new rules take effect immediately and apply to the Public Service Commission and governor-led Industrial Commission, which make decisions usually involving companies in the energy and utility industries. Both boards have their own ethics policies.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Fired Its CEO Amid Bribery Scandal but Let Him Keep Millions, Documents Show
Ohio Capital Journal – Jake Zuckerman | Published: 6/23/2022
As its starring role in a political bribery scandal became clearer and two alleged conspirators pleaded guilty, FirstEnergy fired its chief executive officer, Charles Jones, who was later outed as an architect of the operation. But documents show FirstEnergy’s board of directors declined to invoke a provision in Jones’ contract that would have allowed the company to claw back some of the tens of millions it had paid him during a “pay-to-play” operation the company has admitted to. Between 2017 and 2020, roughly the time frame of the alleged conspiracy, Jones earned more than $51 million.
Ohio – Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Campaign Finance Violations
WVIZ – Matthew Richmond | Published: 6/21/2022
Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins was sentenced to 30 days in jail for campaign finance violations. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg issued the sentence despite the prosecutor’s recommendation of five years’ probation and no jail time. “I’m surprised quite frankly that the state of Ohio doesn’t recognize the seriousness of the violation of a public official violating the public trust,” Synenberg said. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections found 651 instances where Elkins used money donated for his campaigns on expenses like bar and restaurants tabs and haircuts, totaling more than $130,000.
Ohio – P.G. Sittenfeld Trial May Expose How Fundraising, Developer Deals at City Hall Really Got Done
WCPO – Paula Christian | Published: 6/20/2022
Former Cincinnati City Councilperson P.G. Sittenfeld’s federal trial on corruption charges is underway. But the trial is not just about Sittenfeld, and whether he traded “official acts” to help a city project in exchange for $40,000 in donations to his PAC. Experts say the trial is really about the murky, sometimes seedy side of campaign fundraising. The trial will likely expose how business at City Hall got done during one of the most explosive periods of development in recent memory. “This is not a case strictly about him and a couple of developer deals, this is a case about the way American politics works,” said University of Cincinnati professor David Niven.
Pennsylvania – Pa. House Eyes Expanding Who Can Bring Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Lawmakers
Spotlight PA – Stephen Caruso | Published: 6/17/2022
Pennsylvania House leaders are negotiating a deal to close a loophole in the chamber’s rules that protects lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct from facing institutional sanctions. The talks center around a bipartisan resolution that would forbid lawmakers from engaging in sexual harassment “while performing House-related services or duties or in or on any House owned or leased property or facilities.” Consequences could range from censure to expulsion, depending on the outcome of an internal investigation.
South Dakota – South Dakota AG Convicted on 2 Impeachment Charges, Removed
ABC News – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 6/21/2022
The South Dakota Senate convicted state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg of two impeachment charges stemming from a 2020 fatal automobile crash, removing and barring him from future office in a rebuke that showed most senators did not believe his account of the accident. Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher the night of the crash that he might have struck a deer or other large animal and has said he did not know he struck Joseph Boever until he returned to the scene the next morning. Criminal investigators said they did not believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements, and several senators made clear they did not either.
Texas – At Texas GOP Convention, Loyalists Embrace Far Right, Anti-Gay Rhetoric
MSN – Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 6/19/2022
Thousands of Republican activists meeting in Houston for the state’s party convention agreed to a resolution that rejects the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and refers to Joe Biden as an illegitimate president. The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Separately, a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” The platform also advocates for children to learn in school about “the humanity of the preborn child,” promoting new messaging after the state has taken steps to vastly restrict abortion when knocking on constituents’ doors.
West Virginia – Former West Virginia Lawmaker Who Livestreamed Jan. 6 Riot Gets 3 Months in Prison
MSN – Alanna Durkin Richer (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/22/2022
Former West Virginia lawmaker who livestreamed himself on Facebook storming the U.S. Capitol and cheering on what he described as a “revolution” was sentenced to three months in prison. Derrick Evans was sworn in as a member of the state’s House of Delegates just weeks before the riot that left more than 100 police officers injured. Evans was arrested two days after the insurrection and resigned a month before the start of the legislative session.
June 21, 2022 •
A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the influence of foreign actors was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. House Bill 8106, the Fighting Foreign Influence Act, was introduced by Democratic U.S. Representatives Jared Golden and Katie Porter together with […]
A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the influence of foreign actors was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. House Bill 8106, the Fighting Foreign Influence Act, was introduced by Democratic U.S. Representatives Jared Golden and Katie Porter together with Republican U.S. Representative Paul Gosar.
The bill itself contains three separate Acts.
The Think Tank and Non-Profit Foreign Influence Disclosure Act would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require tax exempt organizations, including think tanks, to disclose when a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party makes aggregate contributions and gifts of more than $50,000, which would then become publicly available in a searchable database.
The Congressional and Executive Foreign Lobbying Ban Act would amend The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 to prohibit former members of Congress, senior political appointees, and general or flag officers of the armed forces from ever registering as the agent of a foreign principal.
The Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require political campaigns to verify that anyone making an online contribution has a valid address (using a credit card’s three-digit CVV code) before making a campaign contribution and prohibit foreign agents from fundraising for political campaigns.
The bill, introduced into the U.S. House on June 16, has been referred to the House Administration, the Ways and Means, and the Judiciary committees.
June 20, 2022 •
A commission created to review the current government structure in Portland, Oregon has voted to put a comprehensive governmental restructuring proposition on the ballot this November. Voters will get to decide on expanding the number of City Council members to […]
A commission created to review the current government structure in Portland, Oregon has voted to put a comprehensive governmental restructuring proposition on the ballot this November.
Voters will get to decide on expanding the number of City Council members to 12, implement ranked-choice voting for council members, and hire a professional city administrator.
These changes come on the heels of mass-dissatisfaction among the Portland residents.
Increases in crime, homelessness, and housing costs have all been blamed for the amplified scrutiny of the current government.
June 10, 2022 •
National/Federal A Broken Redistricting Process Winds Down, with No Repairs in Sight San Juan Daily Star – Michael Wines (New York Times) | Published: 6/6/2022 The once-a-decade process of drawing new boundaries for the nation’s 435 congressional districts is limping toward […]
A Broken Redistricting Process Winds Down, with No Repairs in Sight
San Juan Daily Star – Michael Wines (New York Times) | Published: 6/6/2022
The once-a-decade process of drawing new boundaries for the nation’s 435 congressional districts is limping toward a close with the nation’s two political parties roughly at parity. To many involved in efforts to replace gerrymanders with competitive districts, the vanishing number of truly contested House races indicated that whoever won, the voters lost. A redistricting cycle that began with efforts to demand fair maps instead saw the two parties in an arms race for a competitive advantage.
Digital Currencies Flow to Campaigns, but State Rules Vary
WHYY – Andrew Selsky and Steve LeBlanc (Associated Press) | Published: 6/5/2022
While the federal government allows political donations in cryptocurrency, regulation varies widely across the United States. Some states do not allow for cryptocurrency donations in state races under existing campaign finance laws. Others have followed federal rules for congressional candidates and allow donations with disclosure requirements and contribution caps, typically set at $100. Still other states have adopted no specific policies around digital currency donations. Critics say the potential downside of cryptocurrency is the lack of transparency.
FBI Seizes Retired General’s Data Related to Qatar Lobbying
NPR – Associated Press | Published: 6/7/2022
The FBI seized the electronic data of retired Marine Gen. John Allen, who authorities say made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents about his role in an illegal foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of Qatar. Allen led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan before being tapped in 2017 to lead the Brookings Institution. It is part of an expanding investigation that has ensnared Richard Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who pleaded guilty to federal charges, and Imaad Zuberi, a political donor now serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption charges.
Former Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Charged with Contempt of Congress
MSN – Spencer Hsu and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 6/3/2022
Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The charges against Navarro, the second former Trump adviser to face criminal charges in connection with rebuffing the committee, mirror those sought by the House and filed by federal prosecutors against former White House advisor Stephen Bannon after he too refused to appear or produce documents to the committee.
House Panel Investigating Jared Kushner Over Saudi Investment with Private Firm
Yahoo News – Brad Dress (The Hill) | Published: 6/2/2022
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced a probe into an investment by the government of Saudi Arabia into a firm managed by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Trump. Kushner incorporate Affinity in Delaware in January 2021, shortly after Trump exited the White House. He secured the $2 billion Saudi investment six months later, according to the committee. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney accused Kushner in a letter of multiple other close dealings with the Saudi government.
Judge to Eastman: Give Jan. 6 committee more emails, including the one presenting evidence of a likely crime
MSN – Sara Wire (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/7/2022
Conservative lawyer John Eastman must give 159 more emails to the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol, including one a judge says is evidence of a likely crime related to the effort to overturn the election. The committee has argued in court that attorney-client privilege between Eastman and former President Trump would not apply to evidence demonstrating crime or fraud. The email considers whether to ask the courts to rule on the proper interpretation of the Electoral Count Act and potentially risk a court finding that the act binds Vice President Mike Pence from rejecting electors.
New Debate Over Gun Laws Will Test the Gun Lobby’s Influence
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 6/2/2022
The debate over federal gun legislation, thrust anew to the forefront by the deadliest school shooting in a decade, has begun to permeate political messaging and fundraising appeals in competitive U.S. House and Senate races. Gun control organizations and the gun rights groups on the other side are gearing up for an immediate lobbying push on Capitol Hill. By more than three-to-one, gun rights groups have outspent gun control groups on elections and federal lobbying in the past dozen years. But gun control groups have begun to close the gap.
Proud Boys Leader Tarrio, 4 Lieutenants Charged with Seditious Conspiracy
MSN – Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman (Washington Post) | Published: 6/6/2022
Henry Tarrio, the former longtime chairperson of the extremist group Proud Boys, was indicted on a new federal charge of seditious conspiracy with four top lieutenants. The charges expand the Justice Department’s allegations of organized plotting to oppose through violence the certification of President Biden’s election victory, culminating in the attack on the Capitol. Tarrio was not in the District of Columbia that day but allegedly guided activities from Baltimore as Proud Boys members engaged in the earliest and most aggressive attacks to confront and overwhelm police at several critical points on restricted Capitol grounds.
The Dirty Little Secret on How Congressional Staff Thrive in the Always-on World of Modern Politics Is Doing Moonlight Work Like 80-hour Weeks, Including Unpaid Saturdays and Sundays
Yahoo News – Kimberly Leonard, Warren Rojas, and Camila DeChalus (Business Insider) | Published: 6/4/2022
Interviews with more than a dozen current and former congressional staffers revealed the practice of working on both campaigns and on Capitol Hill was widespread. Some staff members do not get paid for their campaign work. Their performance in taxpayer-funded day jobs stands to suffer, critics of the practice fear. There is no list for tracking which staffers also work on political campaigns, which are generally funded by private donors and special-interest groups and prioritize winning over other considerations, such as serving constituents.
The Great Resignation Hits State Legislative Chambers
Yahoo News – Reid Wilson (The Hill) | Published: 6/3/2022
A large number of state legislators across the country are not seeking reelection. Some are retiring at the end of long careers, others have been forced out by the redistricting process, and some say they have accomplished what they got elected to do. But a growing number of lawmakers say the jobs they sought and won have changed, in an age of hyper-partisanship and social media influence. Many expressed frustration with a changing landscape in Legislatures where cross-aisle deals and negotiations once yielded results. Today, they say the partisan rancor that has afflicted Washington, D.C., has moved to the states.
US Sees Heightened Extremist Threat Heading into Midterms
MSN – Ben Fox (Associated Press) | Published: 6/7/2022
A looming U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S-Mexico border, and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said. The U.S. was in a “heightened threat environment” already, and these factors may worsen the situation, DHS said in the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin. It is the latest attempt by Homeland Security to draw attention to the threat posed by domestic violent extremism, a shift from alerts about international terrorism.
From the States and Municipalities
California – ‘Culture of Corruption’: Former DWP cybersecurity chief gets 4 years in prison
Yahoo News – Dakota Smith (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/7/2022
A federal judge sentenced the former official in charge of cybersecurity at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) to four years in prison for lying to federal authorities. David Alexander is the second city official to be sentenced in the corruption probe of the DWP and the city attorney’s office. Alexander was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. DWP officials and attorneys working for the city took part in various crimes, including aiding and abetting extortion and bribery, according to prosecutors.
California – Ex-Alameda Supervisor Nabs Lobbying Gig for Mega-Project He Spearheaded
MSN – Eliyahu Kamisher (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 6/3/2022
A former Alameda County supervisor who championed some of the East Bay’s biggest transportation projects over his 24 years in public service ended a brief retirement by landing an $197,000 lobbying contract for a multi-billion-dollar rail project he spearheaded during his time in office. The contract puts Scott Haggerty on the payroll of Valley Link, which he once led as board chairperson and played a key role in seeding with hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Colorado – Lauren Boebert’s Mileage Reimbursements Under Investigation, State Officials Say
Canon City Daily Record – Conrad Swanson (Denver Post) | Published: 6/8/2022
Colorado officials are investigating whether U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert broke any laws by cashing in on large amounts of mileage reimbursements from her own campaign. Boebert paid herself more than $22,000 from her campaign account in 2020, raising red flags for ethics experts. While candidates can legally reimburse themselves for the miles they drive, those payments would have meant she drove nearly 39,000 miles while campaigning. In one four-month span of her campaign, Boebert had only one publicly advertised event.
Connecticut – A CT State Senator’s Trial on Charges of Campaign Finance Fraud Is Delayed Indefinitely by Evidence Dispute
Yahoo News – Edmund Mahoney (Hartford Courant) | Published: 6/3/2022
State Sen. Dennis Bradley’s federal trial on charges he conspired to cheat Connecticut’s public campaign financing program out of about $180,000 was abruptly postponed by a dispute over the late disclosure by federal prosecutors of a key piece of evidence. The evidence is a 28-minute video recording that supports the central contention of the government case: that what Bradley claims was a private client party hosted by his law firm was actually a campaign kick-off and fundraiser for his 2018 state Senate race.
Connecticut – Colchester’s Process for Spending Federal Funds Sparks Ethics Debate
CT Mirror – Andrew Brown | Published: 6/2/2022
Last year, Colchester, Connecticut, officials appointed a handful of residents to a special committee and charged them with advising the town’s elected leaders on how to spend more than $4.6 million in federal stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. But in recent months, several of those same committee members submitted applications to the town asking for a portion of that federal money, either for their businesses or for other organizations they run.
Connecticut – In Run for Governor, Stefanowski Has Yet to Detail Finances
MSN – Susan Haigh (Associated Press) | Published: 6/8/2022
In the four years since Republican businessperson Bob Stefanowski first ran for governor, he says he has supported himself with work as a consultant. As he again asks voters to put him in charge of Connecticut, he has yet to disclose his clients or other details of his finances. Stefanowski said his personal financial information will be forthcoming, including his tax returns, but did not provide a time frame. As more wealthy candidates with little to no prior elective service run for office in Connecticut, often funding their own campaigns, it is more important for that information to be released to the voters, said Gary Rose of Sacred Heart University.
Florida – DeSantis Spokeswoman Belatedly Registers as Agent of Foreign Politician
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/8/2022
A spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis registered as a foreign agent of a former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, belatedly detailing work she performed for the politician between 2018 and 2020. Christina Pushaw made the disclosure following contact from the Justice Department. She was ultimately paid $25,000 over the course of two years. The episode reflects standard enforcement practices under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, said Joshua Ian Rosenstein, an expert on the law. A letter of inquiry may prompt a voluntary registration, he said, to “short-circuit a more formal determination of a failure to comply.”
Florida – Florida Supreme Court Locks in DeSantis-Backed Redistricting Map
Yahoo News – Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 6/2/2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to redraw the state’s congressional map and give a substantial advantage to Republicans will likely remain in place for this year’s elections. The state Supreme Court declined to wade into an ongoing legal dispute over the map. It also freezes in place for now a new congressional map for the nation’s third-largest state. Voting and civil rights groups argue the redistricting maps violate Florida’s Fair Districts provisions, or anti-gerrymandering amendments in the state constitution.
Florida – ‘Reeks of Cronyism’: Backlash begins after mayor’s chief of staff hired as department director
MSN – Karl Etters (Tallahassee Democrat) | Published: 6/8/2022
Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter called into question the hiring of the mayor’s former chief of staff into a plum city position, saying “it reeks of cronyism.” Thomas Whitley is now the director of the office of Strategic Innovation, which oversees the city’s state and federal lobbying efforts, implements the city’s strategic plan, and works on agenda processes and policy development. “To hire someone who has no formal experience, no formal training, no formal qualifications except as four years as an aide to the mayor is frankly extraordinary,” Porter said.
Florida – Tallahassee Commissioners Want Those Who Lobby Them to Register. But Should That Carry a Fee?
WFSU – Regan McCarthy | Published: 6/9/2022
Tallahassee city commissioners want to make sure anyone who gets paid to lobby them also registers. Commissioners approved a series of changes to streamline the process but found one sticking point – registration fees. Commissioner Dianne Williams Cox thinks the $25 fee the city currently charges for lobbyist registration is not enough. Commissioner Jeremy Matlow said he is hesitant to increase the cost. He says the goal is for the public to know who is lobbying the commission.
Georgia – Fake Trump Electors in Ga. Told to Shroud Plans in ‘Secrecy,’ Email Shows
MSN – Amy Gardner, Beth Reinhard, Rosalind Helderman, and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 6/6/2022
A staffer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign instructed Republicans planning to cast electoral college votes for Trump in Georgia despite Joe Biden’s victory to operate in “complete secrecy,” an email shows. The admonishments suggest those who carried out the fake elector plan were concerned that, had the gathering become public before Republicans could follow through on casting their votes, the effort could have been disrupted. Georgia law requires that electors fulfill their duties at the State Capitol.
Illinois – ‘Millionaire’s Exemption’ Could Make Illinois’ Governor’s Race the Nation’s Most Expensive
Yahoo News – Ella Lee (USA Today) | Published: 6/2/2022
The hundreds of millions of dollars funneling into Illinois’ gubernatorial election are, in part, thanks to the state’s unique campaign finance laws that trigger a funding free-for-all once one candidate decides to self-fund. As soon as any candidate spends more than a certain amount – $250,000 in gubernatorial campaigns – in personal funds on his or her own campaign, all candidates are freed from contribution limits. The outcome could be an expensive lesson in how far money goes in political races.
Indiana – All Five Indiana Supreme Court Judges Side with Holcomb in Special Session Dispute
Yahoo News – Johnny Magdelano (Indianapolis Star) | Published: 6/3/2022
The Indiana Supreme Court sided with Gov. Eric Holcomb in a lawsuit that claimed a piece of legislation giving the General Assembly the ability to call itself into special sessions was unconstitutional. House Bill 1123 gives the Legislature the power to start a session after the governor has declared an emergency. Holcomb vetoed it last year, claiming it went against the Indiana Constitution, but the General Assembly overrode his veto.
Louisiana – Fashion at the Capitol Reflects State’s Joie de Vivre
Baton Rouge Advocate – Lauren Cheramie | Published: 6/9/2022
As Louisiana’s legislative session wrapped up on June 6, the undercover owner of one Instagram account, “la_sessionistas,” has made capturing and showcasing the best fashion trends at the Capitol a mission. It has also become a stage to showcase the most vibrant of power suits, dresses, coats, and shoes. “It’s a great repository for all the well-dressed players in the Capitol, including members and lobbyists, and we all secretly hope we will make it into a post,” said lobbyist Kim Carver.
Louisiana – Louisiana Lawmakers Must Redraw Maps, Come Up with Second Majority-Minority District, Judge Rules
Baton Rouge Advocate – Mark Ballard and Sam Karlin | Published: 6/6/2022
A federal judge ordered Louisiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature to redraw the state’s congressional map to add a second majority-Black district. U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick told legislators to draw a map compliant with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by June 20. She wrote that the court would step in if the Legislature failed to draw a new map that complies with federal law.
Maryland – Md. Comptroller’s Spoof Raises Questions About Use of Public Funds
MSN – Erin Cox (Washington Post) | Published: 6/2/2022
A newspaper insert featuring state Comptroller Peter Franchot on the cover landed at more 150,000 Maryland homes, advertising unclaimed property and raising questions among some observers about whether his attention-getting marketing was designed to promote his bid for governor as the primary draws near. Although the practice has ruffled some of Franchot’s competitors in a crowded field, the mailing is “completely legal,” according to Jared DeMarinis, campaign finance director for the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Michigan – Michigan Wants AG Nessel to Review 2 Political Nonprofits for Possible Crimes
Yahoo News – Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 6/6/2022
The Michigan Department of State believes a pair of nonprofits with ties to state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey illegally solicited donations to send “dark money” to an effort to undermine Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s power to issue sweeping pandemic orders. The department referred a complaint against Michigan! My Michigan! and Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility to state Attorney General Dana Nessel for possible criminal investigation. The allegations stem from the efforts of Unlock Michigan, a petition initiative that successfully garnered enough support to change a law used by Whitmer to issue large-scale health and safety orders in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan – Michigan Widens Probe into Voting System Breaches by Trump Allies
Yahoo News – Nathan Layne and Peter Eisler (Reuters) | Published: 6/6/2022
State police in Michigan have obtained warrants to seize voting equipment and election-related records in at least three towns and one county in the past six weeks, widening the largest known investigation into unauthorized attempts by allies of former President Trump to access voting systems. Documents reveal a flurry of efforts by state authorities to secure voting machines, poll books, data-storage devices, and phone records. The state’s investigation follows breaches of local election systems in Michigan by Republican officials and pro-Trump activists trying to prove his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Michigan – Republicans Take Fight to Get on Primary Ballot to Michigan Supreme Court
Detroit News – Craig Mauger and Beth LeBlanc | Published: 6/3/2022
Three Republican candidates for governor who were knocked off the ballot because of alleged petition forgeries have asked the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately hear their cases and intervene to put their names on the August primary ballot. The candidates argued the state Bureau of Elections needed to analyze each individual signature that staff members invalidated. But Jonathan Brater, the state’s elections director, has said he is confident in the bureau’s findings, which analyzed petition sheets from a group of allegedly fraudulent petition circulators and spot-checked about 7,000 of 68,000 alleged forgeries.
Missouri – Pair of Lawsuits Expose a Potentially Massive Hole in Missouri’s Sunshine Law
Missouri Independent – Jason Hancock | Published: 6/6/2022
In 2017, in two different state government agencies, Missouri’s Sunshine Law was put to the test. Just weeks after Josh Hawley was sworn in as attorney general that year, his staff began using private email accounts to discuss public business with out-of-state political consultants. Later that year, nearly everyone in then-Gov. Eric Greitens’ office downloaded an app called Confide which allows people to send text messages that self-destruct. A pair of lawsuits allege those actions were attempts to deny the public access to records. Now the state has settled on a defense that could blow a massive hole in the Sunshine Law.
Missouri – St. Louis Aldermanic President, Two Allies Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Jacob Barker and Mark Schlinkmann | Published: 6/3/2022
St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, and former Alderman John Collins-Muhammad were indicted on charges of accepting bribes in return for their support on property tax breaks. The indictment sets out an alleged scheme involving the three aldermen and an unidentified businessperson who sought a tax break to develop a gas station and to buy a separate tract of property for well below its value. Collins-Muhammad resigned from the board in May with little explanation. He wrote on Twitter that he had “made mistakes” and takes full responsibility for them.
New York – Appellate Court: NY lobbying rules legal
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 6/2/2022
An appellate court upheld key aspects of a lower court opinion that ruled New York’s regulations governing state lobbyists were legal. In 2019, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) adopted the lobbying regulations, which sought to expand the types of activities that must be publicly disclosed. JCOPE, whose enforcement of ethics laws was often criticized over a decade of existence, also significantly expanded the amount of lobbying data available. Beyond requiring the disclosure of traditional lobbying, the regulations sought to cover other types of efforts that have become widespread.
New York – Donors to Pro-Adams’ Political Action Committee Have Sizable Investments in Evolv Technologies, a Gun Detection Company Favored by City Hall
MSN – Micheal Gartland (New York Daily News) | Published: 6/3/2022
Two donors who spent a combined $1 million to support Eric Adams’ mayoral run in New York City work at companies that hold sizable investments in Evolv Technologies, the manufacturer of a gun detection system Adams began touting earlier this year. When asked by how the city came to temporarily install one of Evolv’s gun detectors at City Hall, Adams said he found it on the internet. Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of Citizens Union, said there should be laws detailing “what can and cannot be done” when it comes to donors to PACs and how they may attempt to exert influence once a candidate is in office.
North Dakota – How North Dakota’s Campaign Finance Laws Allow Groups to Conceal Donors, Spending
Grand Forks Herald – Jeremy Turley | Published: 6/9/2022
As money in politics comes under closer scrutiny, wealthy North Dakota donors have maneuvered the complicated web of laws in a way that allows them to choose what to disclose and what to conceal from the public. Two of the most active groups financing candidates in this year’s election cycle have drawn criticism from transparency advocates and state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for declining to divulge details of their political activity. Campaign finance has become more consequential and more complex over the last two decades, but North Dakota’s laws have changed little during that time.
Ohio – Judge Shaves 5 Years Off Disgraced Former Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s Corruption Sentence
MSN – Adam Ferrise (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 6/8/2022
A federal judge reduced former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s sentence for engineering a “pay-to-play” style of government that thrived for years. U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Dimora to 28 years in prison in 2012. Lioi resentenced Dimora after federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, clarified parts of the definition of bribery in federal law.
Oklahoma – Stitt’s ‘Oklahoma Turnaround’ Ads May Violate Ethics Rules
Oklahoma Watch – Paul Monies | Published: 6/6/2022
The latest campaign commercial for Gov. Kevin Stitt prominently featuring his appointed attorney general, John O’Connor, is raising eyebrows in political circles and may run afoul of Oklahoma Ethics Commission rules for electioneering. Disclosure reports show the Stitt campaign is spending more than $300,000 in the next few weeks on the commercial. State campaign finance law does not allow candidate committees to pay for electioneering communications for another campaign within 30 days of a primary or runoff election. They also have limits, $2,900 per election.
Oregon – Oregon’s Largest Election Debacle Occurred Under Sherry Hall. Years of Mishaps by Her Office Preceded It
MSN – Shane Dixon Kavanaugh (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 6/4/2022
The news reached Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall more than a week before the May election: an error had marred ballots and would likely delay some results. Hall, however, decided not to move quickly to remedy the problem and it was not the first issue with her handling of elections. Long before former President Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election thrust suspicion about local vote counts into the national spotlight, Hall presided over a mounting tally of election errors spanning her two decades as Clackamas’s elected clerk.
Pennsylvania – A Former Pa. Congressman Caught in 1970s Abscam Sting Pleads Guilty to Election Fraud Charges
MSN – Jeremy Roebuck (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 6/6/2022
Former U.S. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers, who had been working as a campaign consultant since his release from federal prison in the 1980s after being convicted in the Abscam investigation, admitted he paid one South Philadelphia elections official to fraudulently add votes for candidates who had hired him for their races from 2014 to 2016. He convinced another, he said, to do it for free. The 79-year-old now faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges and could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Pennsylvania – Candidates of Color Say They Need More Party Support, Financial Backing to Be Successful in Pa.
Spotlight PA – Kate Huangpu | Published: 6/8/2022
Pennsylvania’s Latino population grew 43 percent between 2010 and 2020, and the panel charged with drawing new state legislative lines sought to reflect that increase by creating opportunity districts – areas with minority populations large enough to sway an election. At least one candidate of color ran in either the Democratic or Republican primary in five opportunity districts. Only two of the six candidates won their primary, one of whom ran unopposed. The candidates said the demographic composition of the district generally did not overcome a more deep-rooted disadvantage: running for office without resources or party support.
June 8, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Michigan: “Michigan Wants AG Nessel to Review 2 Political Nonprofits for Possible Crimes” by Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press) for Yahoo News Oklahoma: “Stitt’s ‘Oklahoma Turnaround’ Ads May Violate Ethics Rules” by Paul Monies for Oklahoma Watch Elections […]
Michigan: “Michigan Wants AG Nessel to Review 2 Political Nonprofits for Possible Crimes” by Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press) for Yahoo News
Oklahoma: “Stitt’s ‘Oklahoma Turnaround’ Ads May Violate Ethics Rules” by Paul Monies for Oklahoma Watch
Georgia: “Fake Trump Electors in Ga. Told to Shroud Plans in ‘Secrecy,’ Email Shows” by Amy Gardner, Beth Reinhard, Rosalind Helderman, and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for MSN
Pennsylvania: “A Former Pa. Congressman Caught in 1970s Abscam Sting Pleads Guilty to Election Fraud Charges” by Jeremy Roebuck (Philadelphia Inquirer) for MSN
National: “US Sees Heightened Extremist Threat Heading into Midterms” by Ben Fox (Associated Press) for MSN
National: “Proud Boys Leader Tarrio, 4 Lieutenants Charged with Seditious Conspiracy” by Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman (Washington Post) for MSN
Indiana: “All Five Indiana Supreme Court Judges Side with Holcomb in Special Session Dispute” by Johnny Magdelano (Indianapolis Star) for Yahoo News
Louisiana: “Louisiana Lawmakers Must Redraw Maps, Come Up with Second Majority-Minority District, Judge Rules” by Mark Ballard and Sam Karlin for Baton Rouge Advocate
June 6, 2022 •
Elections Maryland: “Md. Comptroller’s Spoof Raises Questions About Use of Public Funds” by Erin Cox (Washington Post) for MSN Michigan: “Republicans Take Fight to Get on Primary Ballot to Michigan Supreme Court” by Craig Mauger and Beth LeBlanc for Detroit […]
Maryland: “Md. Comptroller’s Spoof Raises Questions About Use of Public Funds” by Erin Cox (Washington Post) for MSN
Michigan: “Republicans Take Fight to Get on Primary Ballot to Michigan Supreme Court” by Craig Mauger and Beth LeBlanc for Detroit News
National: “Former Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Charged with Contempt of Congress” by Spencer Hsu and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for MSN
Missouri: “St. Louis Aldermanic President, Two Allies Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges” by Jacob Barker and Mark Schlinkmann for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
National: “The Great Resignation Hits State Legislative Chambers” by Reid Wilson (The Hill) for Yahoo News
National: “New Debate Over Gun Laws Will Test the Gun Lobby’s Influence” by Kate Ackley (Roll Call) for MSN
New York: “Appellate Court: NY lobbying rules legal” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union
Florida: “Florida Supreme Court Locks in DeSantis-Backed Redistricting Map” by Gary Fineout (Politico) for Yahoo News
June 3, 2022 •
National/Federal A Top White House Aide Has Ties to Amazon, Adding a New Ingredient to the Bezos-Biden Drama MSN – Hailey Fuchs and Emily Birnbaum (Politico) | Published: 5/26/2022 As the White House weighed how hard to engage Amazon founder Jeff […]
A Top White House Aide Has Ties to Amazon, Adding a New Ingredient to the Bezos-Biden Drama
MSN – Hailey Fuchs and Emily Birnbaum (Politico) | Published: 5/26/2022
As the White House weighed how hard to engage Amazon founder Jeff Bezos over his criticism of its economic policies, it brought back a senior aide whose firm does work for the company. Anita Dunn rejoined the administration as a top adviser from the powerful communications shop that she co-founded, SKDK. The Democratic firm, which has produced a number of current and former administration officials, has a host of major clients in business and politics. One of them is Amazon.
Former Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Subpoenaed by DOJ in Jan. 6 Probe
MSN – Felicia Sonmez and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 6/1/2022
Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro was subpoenaed by the Justice Department as part of the probe into the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Navarro revealed the subpoena in a lawsuit he filed against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House committee investigating the attack. The select committee subpoena seeks records and testimony from the former trade adviser, who has written and publicly discussed the effort to develop a strategy to delay or overturn certification of the 2020 election.
Guns Are All Over GOP Ads and Social Media, Prompting Some Criticism
MSN – Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 5/31/2022
Although candidates in both parties have long used guns as a campaign prop, the images have in recent years become more prevalent, and intentionally provocative, in Republican advertising, holidays greetings, and other forms of communication with the public. Such placements convey a cultural and political solidarity with conservatives more powerfully than most anything else, according to GOP strategists and aides. But as the nation reckons with a pair of deadly mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, some are warning these photos and videos are harmful and glorify the use and ownership of firearms designed to kill.
Maker of Rifle in Texas Massacre Is Deep-Pocketed GOP Donor
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 5/27/2022
The owners of Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the rifle apparently used in the massacre of 21 people in Uvalde, Texas, are wealthy Republican donors, giving to candidates and committees at the federal and state level aligned against limits on access to assault rifles and other semiautomatic weapons. The spending by Marvin Daniel and his wife illustrates the financial clout of the gun industry, even as political spending by the National Rifle Association has declined. It also shows how surging gun sales during the coronavirus pandemic have empowered manufacturers to expand their marketing and political advocacy, experts said.
Sussmann, Who Worked for Clinton, Acquitted of Lying to FBI in 2016
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 5/31/2022
A federal jury found Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Democrats including the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, not guilty of lying to the FBI when he brought them allegations against Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race. The verdict was a major setback for Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed during the Trump administration and has spent three years probing whether the federal agents who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign committed wrongdoing. Sussmann was the first person charged by Durham to go to trial. Another person charged in the investigation is due to face a jury later this year.
The NRA Has Weakened. But Gun Rights Drive the GOP More Than Ever.
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf and Carol Leonnig (Washington Post) | Published: 5/26/2022
The killing of 20 children and six adults in 2012 at a Connecticut elementary school threw the politics of gun violence into a state of suspension as conservative politicians waited to hear from the National Rifle Association (NRA) before taking a stand. After another rampage, at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead, Republican lawmakers did not wait for the NRA as they lined up within hours to rebuff any proposed gun-control measures. That dynamic reflects both the recent decline of the NRA’s power and the logical conclusion of its own increasingly hardline messaging that guns and liberty are inextricable from patriotism and all gun control is a plot to seize weapons and leave owners defenseless.
From the States and Municipalities
California – Compton City Council Election Overturned in Wake of Vote Rigging Scandal
Yahoo News – James Queally (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 5/30/2022
Results of a Compton City Council race decided by one vote have been overturned following an election rigging scandal that prompted criminal charges against the winner last year. Councilperson Isaac Galvan must be replaced by his challenger, Andre Spicer, after a judge determined four of the votes cast in the election were submitted by people who did not live in the council district the two men were vying to represent. The municipal contest drew attention in August, when the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Galvan with election rigging and bribery.
California – San Jose Mayor’s Election Fundraising Raises Legal Questions
San Jose Spotlight – Tran Nguyan | Published: 5/27/2022
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo may have broken state and local campaign rules when he collected six figures for a PAC he formed to influence the 2022 election. A complaint claims Liccardo, as a sitting mayor, should not have opened the committee nor raised any money to support candidates running in this election. It further alleges the contributions the PAC received exceeded local donation limits, which was then spent to support three candidates in San Jose City Hall races.
Colorado – Contributions by Conservative Lobbyist Appear to Run Afoul of Campaign Finance Laws
Colorado Springs Gazette – Marianne Goodland (Colorado Politics) | Published: 5/27/2022
Political donations made by a prominent conservative lobbyist appear to have run afoul of Colorado’s campaign finance law. Michael Fields, a registered lobbyist for Advance Colorado Action, gave three contributions during the legislative session to three Republican statewide candidates. State law bars professional or volunteer lobbyists from donating to statewide candidates during the legislative session. The prohibition more prominently applies to incumbents of these offices. Fields said he was not aware the law also prohibits giving to candidates during the legislative session.
Connecticut – A Connecticut State Senator and Former School Board Chair to Go on Trial for Allegedly Conspiring to Steal Public Campaign Money
Hartford Courant – Edmund Mahoney | Published: 5/31/2022
State Sen. Dennis Bradley Jr. and former Bridgeport school board chairperson Jessica Martinez, who once served as his campaign treasurer, are on trial in federal court on charges they conspired to cheat Connecticut’s public campaign financing program out of about $180,000. The government’s case will turn on a party Bradley threw, at which he announced he was running for the Senate. Prosecutors say evidence will show Bradley, Martinez, and others in the campaign altered contribution records and misled state election regulators so a pricey campaign kickoff would not block Bradley from obtaining public grants to pay for the rest of the race.
Florida – DeSantis Signs Bills Penalizing Florida Judges and Lawmakers Who Lobby Within Six Years after Term
Creative Loafing Tampa Bay – Gary Rohrer | Published: 5/26/2022
Lawmakers and judges who leave office and lobby the Florida Legislature or executive branch within six years could face a fine of up to $10,000 and other penalties after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills implementing a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018. The laws do not take effect until January 1, 2023, so they would not apply to any lawmaker or judge who leaves office before then, either due to term limits, resignation, or losing an election. A two-year ban on lobbying still exists in current law, although punishments for violating that prohibition are not spelled out.
Florida – How the Proud Boys Gripped the Miami-Dade Republican Party
Yahoo News – Patricia Mazzei and Alan Feurer (New York Times) | Published: 6/2/2022
At least a half-dozen current and former Proud Boys, the far-right nationalist group that was at the forefront of the riot at the U.S. Capitol last year, have secured seats on the Miami-Dade Republican Party Executive Committee, seeking to influence local politics from the inside. The concerted effort by the Proud Boys to join the leadership has destabilized and dramatically reshaped the Miami-Dade Republican Party, transforming it from an archetype of the strait-laced establishment to an organization roiled by internal conflict as it wrestles with forces pulling it to the right.
Florida – Judge in Dark Money Case Reverses Order, Allows Mystery Group to Continue Shielding Donors
Florida Politics – Jesse Scheckner | Published: 5/26/2022
Soon after ordering a “dark money” group behind attack ads in a 2020 state Senate Primary to disclose the identities of its secretive donors, a Miami judge vacated that decision and allowed the group to continue shielding its benefactors. Judge Jose Rodriguez granted a motion for reconsideration for Floridians for Equality and Justice, effectively reversing his May 11 ruling that the group must turn over its bank records and reveal its contributors within 30 days.
Hawaii – Lobbying and Ethics Reforms Top Agenda at New Hawaii Standards Commission Meeting
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 6/1/2022
A commission tasked with beefing up government transparency in Hawaii kicked off its first regular meeting with a discussion on proposals to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists and address conflicts-of-interest with state lawmakers. The Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct is expected to spend the rest of the year examining election laws, campaign finance, and other areas for potential reforms. Any of the commission’s proposals would have to be approved by lawmakers.
Idaho – A GOP Congressional Candidate Used Covid Relief Funds Meant for His Employees to Pay for His Car and Political Campaign
MSN – Matthew Loh (Business Insider) | Published: 6/2/2022
A congressional candidate in Idaho pleaded guilty to taking COVID-19 relief funds meant for his employees and using them for personal expenses like his car payments and a 2020 political campaign. Nicholas Jones also pleaded guilty to falsifying records to conceal the time and work his employees put into his campaign in a report to the FEC. He faces a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison.
Illinois – As Aurora Mayor, Richard Irvin Quietly Launched Firm with a Top Aide Plus Two Others, Who Got a City Contract
Yahoo News – Joe Mahr and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/1/2022
Two years ago, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin co-founded a consulting firm with a top city aide, who is also a lifelong friend, and two men from Virginia. The arrangement has raised several potential conflict-of-interest issues for Irvin. There is a mayor going into business with a city employee who is so close to Irvin the mayor calls him a stepbrother. There is also the employee skirting through a process requiring city approval for side jobs. And there are the two Virginia men, who went on to get a $15,000 city contract without their ties to Irvin being disclosed. As Irvin seeks to become Illinois’ next governor, the episode joins other arrangements in raising questions about where Irvin draws the line between public duties and private ventures.
Illinois – Cook County Ethics Board Sues Elected Official for Refusing to Fire Her Cousin, in Defiance of Nepotism Ban
Chicago Tribune – Alice Yin | Published: 6/2/2022
The feud between Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Tammy Wendt and the Board of Ethics has escalated to the courts after Wendt continued to defy a rule against nepotism by refusing to fire her cousin. The ethics board filed the lawsuit naming Wendt and her first cousin, and top staffer, Todd Thielmann as defendants. The complaint calls for a judge to uphold the county’s ethics code, which forbids Wendt from employing Thielmann, and for Wendt to fire him and to pay the $2,000 the board imposed when it originally found she violated the nepotism ban.
Michigan – 5 Michigan GOP Candidates for Governor Disqualified from Ballot After Board Deadlocks
MSN – Paul Egan (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 5/26/2022
A state elections panel in Michigan deadlocked on whether five Republican candidates for governor should be barred from the August primary ballot because they each submitted too many fraudulent signatures, and an official said the effect of the vote is to disqualify the candidates. The action of the Board of State Canvassers is not the final word as the candidates can appeal to the courts. The board’s debate came down to how much responsibility the candidates should bear for filing petitions that Bureau of Elections staff determined contained many thousands of signatures that were obviously forged, despite that candidates are told to vet the signatures before filing.
Michigan – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Defends Actions Involving Confidential FBI Source
Detroit News – Sarah Rahal | Published: 5/31/2022
Records and interviews provided a look at Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s conduct behind the scenes of a federal corruption investigation targeting at least two of the mayor’s closest allies on the city council in recent years, André Spivey and Janeé Ayers. After getting advance notice of an investigation involving Spivey from the now-former councilperson in June of last year, Duggan shared the informant’s identity with multiple people, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The informant is a towing contractor in Metro Detroit who was wearing hidden recording equipment for the FBI while secretly filming Spivey and others accepting bribes.
New Hampshire – 4 Homes Tied to Journalist Hit with Bricks, Graffitied with Spray Paint
MSN – Jonathan Edwards (Washington Post) | Published: 6/1/2202
Since late April, there had been five other attacks on homes tied to journalist Lauren Chooljian, all hit with a brick and red spray paint. Targets included her former address, her boss’s place, and her parents’ home, which was hit twice. Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said investigators are considering the possibility the attacks are linked to Chooljian’s work as a reporter and producer for New Hampshire Public Radio. The possible motive: revenge for stories she has published in the past, intimidation to silence her in the future, or both.
New York – Cuomo Ethics Inquiry Could Die with Outgoing Commission
Albany Times Union – Joshua Solomon and Chris Bragg | Published: 5/29/2022
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was supposed to face an ethics hearing in April concerning whether he violated the law by using state employees to assist in the production of a book that netted him millions of dollars. But a presiding officer overseeing the hearing postponed the date until September 15, and by that time, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will no longer be in existence, throwing the yearlong investigation’s future into question.
New York – Transition to New Ethics Panel Sparks Early Legal Threat
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 5/31/2022
As the much-criticized Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) prepares to shutter on July 8, questions remain about the transition to a replacement body created in this year’s state budget. One is whether current JCOPE members will be allowed to serve on the new 11-member panel, called the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. The somewhat obscure issue is already causing a current commissioner to threaten litigation overturning the entirety of New York’s new ethics law.
New York – Trump Loses Appeal, Must Testify in New York Civil Probe
MSN – Mike Sisak (Associated Press) | Published: 5/26/2022
Former President Trump must answer questions under oath in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his business practices, a state appeals court ruled, rejecting his argument that he be excused from testifying because his answers could be used in a parallel criminal probe. Lawyers for the Trumps agreed in March they would sit for depositions within 14 days of an appellate panel decision upholding the ruling. They could also appeal the decision to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, delaying the matter and the Trumps’ potential testimony indefinitely.
Ohio – Federal Court Intervenes in Ohio Redistricting, Orders State to Implement Unconstitutional District
WOUB – Andy Chow (Statehouse News Bureau) | Published: 5/31/2022
A federal appeals court ordered Ohio to implement maps that were found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court and hold a primary for those candidates on August 2. The court said unless Ohio comes up with another solution by May 28, Map 3, which was previously submitted and rejected, will be imposed. The judges said the decision was based on choosing “the best of our bad options.”
Oregon – Measure to Limit Walkouts in Oregon’s Capitol Could Be on November Ballot
OPB – Dirk VanderHart | Published: 5/27/2022
When Oregon Republicans blocked climate change legislation by fleeing the state in 2019 and 2020, the state’s public sector labor unions were among the loudest critics. Now, those unions are spending big on a ballot measure that would severely limit the ability for the minority party to use that so-called nuclear option in the future. Under the proposal, a lawmaker who is marked unexcused by a chamber’s presiding officer 10 or more times in a single legislative session would be barred under the state constitution from seeking re-election.
Pennsylvania – Gift Ban, Other Good-Government Changes Stall in Pa. Despite Promises from Leadership
Spotlight PA – Christina Baker | Published: 5/31/2022
The advocacy group MarchOnHarrisburg has been pushing Pennsylvania lawmakers to enact a gift ban for six years. When a bill that to do that made it out of committee in this legislative session, House Republican leaders seemed like they were finally ready to pass it. But then, nothing. A gift ban is just one of many reforms that advocates have called for the Legislature to pass. Pennsylvania has comparatively lax laws on lobbying, campaign finance, and more. But proposals have historically failed to reach either the state House or Senate floor for a vote.
Pennsylvania – Pa. GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Shares Documents with Jan. 6 Panel, Agrees to Interview
Yahoo News – Betsy Woodruff Swan (Politico) | Published: 6/2/2022
The January 6 select committee received materials from Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano. The submission includes documents about his work to arrange buses that carried pro-Trump protesters to Washington on January 6, 2021. But when the select committee subpoenaed Mastriano, it said he did not need to send any materials related to official actions in his current position as a state senator. Given that sizable carve-out, the majority of the materials Mastriano sent to the committee are public social media posts.
Pennsylvania – Pa. GOP Senate Race Upended by Court Cases
Yahoo News – Zach Montellaro and Holly Otterbein (Politico) | Published: 5/31/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the counting of some mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, an order that could affect the tight Republican U.S. Senate primary between former hedge fund executive David McCormick and celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz. An order from Justice Samuel Alito paused a lower-court ruling in a lawsuit over a disputed 2021 local court election that would have allowed the counting of mail-in ballots that lacked a handwritten date.
Tennessee – Tennessee Governor Signs Campaign Finance and Ethics Bill
MSN – Kimberly Kruesi (Associated Press) | Published: 5/28/2022
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation that requires political nonprofits to disclose their spending ahead of an election. Senate Bill 1005 mandates that when nonprofits use a candidate’s name or image, they must disclose expenditures of more than $5,000 that take place within 60 days of an election. Even legislative leaders called for ethics reform amid an ongoing corruption investigation, so-called dark money groups have remained opposed to the changes. Many argued the law will result in them disclosing donors.
Texas – Supreme Court Puts Texas Social Media Law on Hold While Legal Battle Continues
MSN – Robert Barnes and Cat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 5/31/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court stopped a Texas law that would regulate how social media companies police content on their sites, while a legal battle continues over whether such measures violate the First Amendment. Texas and Florida are two states with such laws, which they said were necessary to combat the tech industry’s squelching of conservative viewpoints. If two of the country’s regional appeals courts split on the legality of similar laws, there is a good chance the Supreme Court will need to confront the question of whether states may bar social media companies from removing posts based on a user’s political ideology or comments.
Texas – Uvalde CISD Police Chief Sworn in as City Council Member
KTXA – Staff | Published: 6/1/2022
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced that city council members were sworn in during a private ceremony, including Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief who has been blamed for law enforcement’s failure to engage the shooter at Robb Elementary. Arredondo was identified as the person who decided not to breach the school classroom where the shooter had holed up and instead stand back and wait for reinforcements.
Washington – Group Doorbells WA Homes, Searching for Illegal Voters and Drawing Complaints
Seattle Times – Jim Brunner and Joseph O’Sullivan | Published: 5/30/2022
Across Washington state, hundreds of volunteers have been knocking on doors, questioning residents, and searching for evidence of voter fraud – or at least outdated voter rolls. It is an effort led by Glen Morgan, a conservative activist known for filing frequent campaign finance complaints against Democratic politicians, unions, and other allied groups. It is loosely connected to a national campaign by Donald Trump supporters hunting door-to-door for proof the 2020 election was fraudulent. The campaign has generated complaints from people put off by the inquiries.
Washington – Washington AG Wins Sanctions Against Attorney Behind Voter Fraud Lawsuit
Reuters – Jacqueline Thomsen | Published: 6/1/2022
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his office won court sanctions against an attorney behind a post-2020 presidential election lawsuit alleging state officials were illegally registering non-citizens to vote and said he will also ask bar officials to discipline the lawyer. The state Supreme Court ordered Virginia Shogren to pay nearly $19,000 in attorneys’ fees for violating a rule against frivolous appeals. The court also directed Shogren’s client in the lawsuit, the Washington Election Integrity Coalition United, to pay about $9,500 in costs.
June 2, 2022 •
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 348 codifying the attorney general’s interpretation of state campaign finance limits. Contribution limits apply to each of the three phases of the election cycle: the exploratory phase, the primary election, and the […]
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 348 codifying the attorney general’s interpretation of state campaign finance limits.
Contribution limits apply to each of the three phases of the election cycle: the exploratory phase, the primary election, and the general election.
Individuals and corporations are permitted to contribute up to $5,000 per election phase to candidates and candidate committees and up to $10,000 per election phase to non-candidate political committees and political parties.
Under the new campaign finance limits, non-candidate political committees and political parties will be able to contribute an unlimited amount to other non-candidate political committees and political parties.
Senate Bill 348 will take effect on January 1, 2023.
May 31, 2022 •
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill requiring certain non-profits to report expenditures of more than $5,000 on communications with the image or name of candidates within 60 days before an election. Senate Bill 1005 provides exceptions such as communications […]
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill requiring certain non-profits to report expenditures of more than $5,000 on communications with the image or name of candidates within 60 days before an election.
Senate Bill 1005 provides exceptions such as communications to members, lobbying during a special session, and communications involving Facebook followers.
This bill also requires political candidates to provide a report of all expenditures over $100 with a cap being set on non-itemized expenses at $2,000 per statement period.
The bill is effective immediately upon the governor’s signature.
May 31, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Florida: “Judge in Dark Money Case Reverses Order, Allows Mystery Group to Continue Shielding Donors” by Jesse Scheckner for Florida Politics Tennessee: “Tennessee Governor Signs Campaign Finance and Ethics Bill” by Kimberly Kruesi (Associated Press) for MSN Elections […]
Florida: “Judge in Dark Money Case Reverses Order, Allows Mystery Group to Continue Shielding Donors” by Jesse Scheckner for Florida Politics
Tennessee: “Tennessee Governor Signs Campaign Finance and Ethics Bill” by Kimberly Kruesi (Associated Press) for MSN
Michigan: “5 Michigan GOP Candidates for Governor Disqualified from Ballot After Board Deadlocks” by Paul Egan (Detroit Free Press) for MSN
New York: “Trump Loses Appeal, Must Testify in New York Civil Probe” by Mike Sisak (Associated Press) for MSN
Oregon: “Measure to Limit Walkouts in Oregon’s Capitol Could Be on November Ballot” by Dirk VanderHart for OPB
National: “The NRA Has Weakened. But Gun Rights Drive the GOP More Than Ever.” by Isaac Arnsdorf and Carol Leonnig (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “A Top White House Aide Has Ties to Amazon, Adding a New Ingredient to the Bezos-Biden Drama” by Hailey Fuchs and Emily Birnbaum (Politico) for MSN
Colorado: “Contributions by Conservative Lobbyist Appear to Run Afoul of Campaign Finance Laws” by Marianne Goodland (Colorado Politics) for Colorado Springs Gazette
May 27, 2022 •
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bills 7001 and 7003 to prohibit lobbying by a public officer and a former justice or judge during public service and for a six-year period after leaving public office. The bills were passed to […]
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bills 7001 and 7003 to prohibit lobbying by a public officer and a former justice or judge during public service and for a six-year period after leaving public office.
The bills were passed to implement Amendment 12, a 2018 constitutional amendment.
Both bills will take effect December 31, 2022.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.