April 19, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance New Mexico: “Ethics Allegations Move Forward Against State Treasurer Laura Montoya” by Dan McKay for Albuquerque Journal Ethics National: “Washington Used to Abhor Talking About Mental Health. No More.” by Myah Ward (Politico) for MSN Oklahoma: “Okla. Governor Calls on Officials to Resign […]
April 17, 2023 •
Minnesota Considers Bills to Overhaul Lobbyist Reporting
The Minnesota Legislature is considering two bills proposing an overhaul to the lobbyist reporting requirements. Senate File 1636 requires lobbyist principals to report the total amount, spent by the principal during the preceding calendar year on each of four types […]
The Minnesota Legislature is considering two bills proposing an overhaul to the lobbyist reporting requirements.
Senate File 1636 requires lobbyist principals to report the total amount, spent by the principal during the preceding calendar year on each of four types of lobbying:
- Lobbying to influence legislative action
- Lobbying to influence administrative action
- Lobbying to influence official action of political subdivisions
- Lobbying to influence administrative action in cases of rate setting, power plant and powerline siting, with no rounding of the amounts, so lobbyist principals will be reporting actual amount spent for each category of lobbying.
House File 1723 requires lobbyist principals to report the total amount, rounded to the nearest $10,000 spent by the principal during the preceding calendar year on each of four types of lobbying:
- Lobbying to influence legislative action
- Lobbying to influence administrative action
- Lobbying to influence official action of political subdivisions
- Lobbying to influence administrative action in cases of rate setting, power plant and powerline siting, and granting of certificates of need for a large energy facility.
Currently principals are only required to report the total amount, rounded to the nearest $20,000, for all categories.
April 14, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – April 14, 2023
National/Federal Appeals Court Upholds ‘Obstruction’ Charge Used Against Hundreds of Jan. 6 Rioters, for Now ABC News – Ryan Reilly | Published: 4/7/2023 A federal appeals court panel affirmed the government’s use of an obstruction charge used against hundreds of defendants arrested […]
Appeals Court Upholds ‘Obstruction’ Charge Used Against Hundreds of Jan. 6 Rioters, for Now
ABC News – Ryan Reilly | Published: 4/7/2023
A federal appeals court panel affirmed the government’s use of an obstruction charge used against hundreds of defendants arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol, though the complex opinion appears likely to result in additional litigation and leaves questions about the future of the use of the statute. A three-judge panel upheld the use of the obstruction of an official proceeding charge against defendants who assaulted law enforcement during the attack.
NPR Quits Elon Musk’s Twitter Over ‘Government-Funded’ Label
ABC News – Timothy O’Brien (Associated Press) | Published: 4/12/2023
National Public Radio (NPR) is quitting Twitter after the social media platform owned by Elon Musk stamped NPR’s account with labels the news organization says undermine its credibility. Twitter labeled NPR’s main account as “state-affiliated media,” a term also used to identify media outlets controlled or heavily influenced by authoritarian governments, such as Russia and China. Twitter later changed the label to “government-funded media.”
Judge Limits Fox’s Options for Defense in Dominion Trial
DNyuz – Jeremy Peters (New York Times) | Published: 4/11/2023
A judge ruled Fox News could not argue it broadcast false information about Dominion Voting Systems on the basis that the allegations were newsworthy, limiting a key line of defense for the network as it faces the beginning of a potentially costly defamation trial. The judge also ruled Dominion could not refer to the assault on the Capitol except in very narrow circumstances, saying he did not want jurors to be prejudiced by events that were not relevant to the central question in the case: did Fox air wild claims about Dominion’s purported involvement in a conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump knowing they were lies?
New Pressure to End Old Senate Practice After Mississippi Judicial Pick Is Blocked
DNyuz – Carl Hulse (New York Times) | Published: 4/11/2023
Democrats hoped they were on the verge of a judicial breakthrough when President Biden nominated a Baton Rouge lawyer for a U.S. District Court vacancy and the two Republican senators from Louisiana offered no objections. Getting Republican senators to sign off on Biden nominees in their home states has been a struggle, slowing the Democratic drive to fill as many judicial slots as possible. But U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican of Mississippi, then said she would not allow the nomination of Scott Colom, a candidate for a court vacancy in the state, to move forward, citing his past political support from the left, among other reasons.
Witnesses Asked About Trump’s Handling of Map with Classified Information
DNyuz – Maggie Haberman, Adam Goldman, and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 4/12/2023
Investigators are asking witnesses whether former President Trump showed off to aides and visitors a map he took with him when he left office that contains sensitive intelligence information. The map has been just one focus of the Justice Department probe into Trump’s handling of classified documents after he departed the White House. One person briefed on the matter said investigators have asked about Trump showing the map while aboard a plane. Another said investigators appeared to believe Trump showed the map to at least one adviser after leaving office.
Special Counsel Focuses on Trump Fundraising Off False Election Claims
MSN – Josh Dawsey, Devlin Barrett, Rosalind Helderman, and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 4/12/2023
Federal prosecutors probing the attack on the U.S. Capitol have in recent weeks sought a wide range of documents related to fundraising after the 2020 election, looking to determine if former President Trump or his advisers scammed donors by using false claims about voter fraud to raise money. The fundraising prong of the investigation is focused on money raised during the period between November 3, 2020, and the end of Trump’s time in office, and prosecutors are said to be interested in whether anyone associated with the operation violated wire fraud laws, which make it illegal to make false representations over email to swindle people out of money.
Meta Won’t Say If Politicians Can Post AI-Made Fakes Without Warnings
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 4/7/2023
Political campaign operatives wrote to Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, asking how the company planned to address AI-generated fake images on its platforms. The inquiry testified to growing concern about the technology’s impact on American democracy among some of the top strategists preparing for the 2024 election. A Meta employee replied to the operatives saying such images, rather than being treated as manipulated media and removed under certain conditions, were being reviewed by independent fact-checkers who work with the company to examine misinformation and apply warning labels to dubious content.
New Report Outlines the Deep Political Polarization’s Slow and Steady March
MSN – Paul Kane (Washington Post) | Published: 4/8/2023
New research by David Wasserman, senor editor at the Cook Political Report, examines all 435 U.S. House districts to explain the geographical roots of political polarization and how hollowed-out the political middle has become. Although legislative gerrymandering plays a key role in letting representatives choose their constituents, the nation’s “urban/rural polarization” has been a much bigger factor over the past 25 years, Wasserman wrote. “The electorate has simply become much more homogenous than it used to be,” he said.
Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire
ProPublica – Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski | Published: 4/6/2023
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted luxury trips around the globe for more than two decades, including travel on a superyacht and private jet, from a prominent Republican donor without disclosing them. ProPublica reported on an array of trips funded by Harlan Crow, a Dallas businessperson. There are few restrictions on what gifts justices can accept. But Thomas’s failure to report the flights appears to violate a law that requires justices, judges, members of Congress, and federal officials to disclose most gifts, ethics law experts said.
Pressured by Their Base on Abortion, Republicans Strain to Find a Way Forward
Yahoo News – Jonathan Weisman (New York Times) | Published: 4/11/2023
Republican leaders have followed an emboldened base of conservative activists into what increasingly looks like a political cul-de-sac on the issue of abortion – a tightly confined absolutist position that has limited their options ahead of the 2024 election season, even as some in the party push for moderation. Some Republicans are warning the uncompromising position of their party’s activist base could be leading them over an electoral cliff next year.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Arizona Republican Said She ‘Barely’ Met with Lobbyists, but Her Calendar Shows Otherwise
Arizona Mirror – Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Published: 4/10/2023
Arizona Sen. Justine Wadsack recently said she “barely” meets with lobbyists after she faced criticism from gun control lobbyists who she refused to meet, but a copy of her legislative calendar shows the lawmaker meets regularly with lobbyists and special interest groups. Public records revealed the majority of Wadsacks’ meetings were with lobbyists, many of whom do not reside in her legislative district. Wadsack’s calendar listed four meetings with voters from her district, and more than 30 meetings with lobbyists and special interest groups.
Arizona – Arizona House Republicans Expel One of Their Own
DNyuz – Neil Vigdor (New York Times) | Published: 4/12/2023
The Arizona House expelled a Republican lawmaker who organized a presentation by an insurance agent who made unsubstantiated accusations that a wide range of politicians, judges, and public officials of both parties took bribes from a Mexican drug cartel. Rep. Liz Harris’s ouster came a day after the House Ethics Committee determined Harris violated legislative rules by inviting a witness to present false testimony.
Arizona – Printer Glitches in Ariz. Election Not Due to Malfeasance, Review Finds
MSN – Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 4/10/2023
The combination of heavier paper and longer ballots was responsible for problems tabulating votes at dozens of polling places in Maricopa County, Arizona, during last November’s midterm elections. The report’s public release marks the latest chapter in the board of supervisors’ quest to tamp down conspiracy theories about elections in the county, which is home to more than half the state’s voters. The printer problems caused confusion on Election Day as tabulators at the affected sites rejected faulty ballots.
California – What Happened on Ash Street? How a Criminal Probe into Suspected Conspiracy to ‘Defraud the City’ Was Settled with a Single Misdemeanor
MSN – Jeff McDonald (San Diego Union Tribune) | Published: 4/9/2023
When an investigator for District Attorney Summer Stephan was seeking warrants to search Jason Hughes’ home and office, he described a far-reaching conspiracy to swindle San Diego taxpayers out of millions of dollars through two separate real estate deals. Nearly two years later, Hughes pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge, the only defendant in a criminal probe that had earlier implicated some of the most powerful elected officials and political donors in the city. Legal experts and pundits are debating what drove judges to push for settlements in the criminal and civil cases and why San Diego officials agreed to them.
California – Bredefeld, Chavez Slap Back at Fresno County Campaign Transfer Limit. It’s Heading to Court
Yahoo News – Tim Sheehan (Fresno Bee) | Published: 4/12/2023
Two Fresno City Council members filed a motion asking a judge to find unconstitutional a county ordinance limiting what they can transfer into their pending campaigns for county office. Fresno County adopted an ordinance in 2020 that put a $30,000 cap on transfers or contributions from a candidate’s campaign account for non-county elective offices into their campaign for county offices. In its lawsuit the county is asking a court for declaratory relief and decide whether that limit can be applied.
Colorado – Tina Peters, Trump Loyalist and Former Clerk, Is Sentenced in Obstruction Case
DNyuz – Neil Vigdor (New York Times) | Published: 4/11/2023
Tina Peters, who was barred from overseeing elections in a Colorado county after her indictment on charges relating to tampering with voting equipment, was sentenced to home detention after she was convicted in a separate obstruction case. Peters, the former clerk in Mesa County, was given four months of house arrest and 120 hours of community service. A jury convicted her of stonewalling investigators from the district attorney’s office when they tried to seize an iPad from her that she had used to record a court proceeding.
District of Columbia – D.C. Housing Director’s $41,250 Bonus at Issue in Council Hearing
MSN – Steve Thompson (Washington Post) | Published: 4/12/2023
District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) Director Brenda Donald recently received a $41,250 bonus on top of the $275,000 she makes annually to lead the embattled authority. She was questioned about the bonus by city council member Donald White. He also raised concerns that the DCHA is not sufficiently transparent about its affairs. At the routine oversight hearing, Donald told White that who approved the bonus and by what rationale was not his business as chair of the Housing Committee.
Hawaii – Ex-Hawaii Lawmaker Gets 2 Years in Prison for Taking Bribes
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 4/6/2023
Former state Rep. Ty Cullen was sentenced to two years in prison for taking cash bribes of more than $25,000 as well as payments in the form of poker chips totaling $22,000 between 2015 and 2021 as part of a scheme to influence legislation involving wastewater and cesspools. He was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine on top of a $23,000 forfeiture. Cullen assisted federal prosecutors as part of an ongoing investigation into public corruption in Hawaii.
Hawaii – Campaign Cash Flowed to Hawaii Senators Just Before an Energy Bill Vote. Reform Measures Won’t Stop It
Honolulu Civil Beat – Stewart Yerton | Published: 4/10/2023
Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit registered lobbyists from donating to lawmakers during the legislative session. Individuals and entities who are not registered lobbyists, like the energy company executives, would still be allowed to donate during a session. A bill that would have prohibited all contributions was defeated. The bill is headed to a conference committee, where lawmakers will try to work out differences in House and Senate versions.
Illinois – Chicago Will Host 2024 Democratic Convention as Party Returns to Midwest
MSN – Katie Glueck and Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) | Published: 4/11/2023
Chicago will host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, elevating a large liberal city in the heart of the Midwest, a critical battleground region. In the final deliberations, Chicago beat out New York – another progressive city whose advocates had boasted of its infrastructure and fundraising resources – as well as Atlanta, in a presidential battleground state. Republicans plan to hold their national convention in Milwaukee, underscoring the fierce competition for the Midwest on the cusp of another presidential election.
Illinois – Federal Judge Sentences Longtime Political Operative to Probation in Corruption Probe
Yahoo News – Madeline Buckly and Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 4/12/2023
A federal judge lamented the pervasiveness of public corruption in Illinois as she ordered a one-year probation sentence for a longtime Chicago fire inspector and precinct captain who admitted to lying to the FBI in connection with a bribery probe into former state Sen. Martin Sandoval. Rudy Acosta pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI in a series of interviews about its investigation into Sandoval and other elected officials. The judge stressed the importance of sending a message to those in positions of power to deter official misconduct but took into account Acosta’s health issues and his “extensive” cooperation in FBI probes.
Kansas – Judge Won’t Toss Subpoenas Directed at Kansas Republican Officials Amid Ethics Probe
Yahoo News – Andrew Bahl (Topeka Capital-Journal) | Published: 4/11/2023
A judge declined to toss a sweeping series of subpoenas issued to local Republican Party leaders, clearing a potential path for the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to be able to be enforce the documents in court. The probe into the campaign finance activities of prominent legislators and state GOP officials has become increasingly open in recent months, with the ethics panel going to court to enforce the subpoenas and drawing pushback.
Kansas – Wichita Council OKs Airport Marketing Contract, Will Talk More About Conflicts of Interest
Yahoo News – Michael Kelly (Wichita Eage) | Published: 4/11/2023
The Wichita City Council approved a media buying contract for Eisenhower National Airport with Copp Media. The contract, approved a week after the council voted it down, includes new language prohibiting Copp from taking on mayoral or city council candidates as clients while doing business with the city. The council also voted to schedule a workshop where staff will present a policy for discussion about the ethics of double-dipping in city campaign work and city contract work.
Maryland – Chaos Erupts in House of Delegates as Tension Grips Final Moments of General Assembly Session
Maryland Matters – William Zorzi | Published: 4/11/2023
The Maryland General Assembly ended the 2023 session with high drama in both chambers as the final minutes in the House of Delegates devolved into a partisan shouting match, and the Senate president interrupted a motion for final adjournment with a last-seconds vote. The House descended into pandemonium in the final minutes amid a debate over a bill that would prohibit police from stopping or searching a person based solely on the odor of marijuana.
Michigan – Feds Unveil Corruption Charges in Mich. Marijuana Probe Involving Rick Johnson
Detroit News – Robert Snell and Craig Mauger | Published: 4/6/2023
Rick Johnson, the former chair of Michigan’s now-defunct Medical Marijuana Licensing Board, pleaded guilty alongside three others as part of a public corruption probe surrounding the state’s system for regulating medical marijuana. Johnson, who also served as House speaker, was charged with accepting bribes in exchange for licenses to launch marijuana facilities, federal prosecutors said. Also pleading guilty were two lobbyists who were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery – Brian Pierce and Vincent Brown.
New Jersey – Advocates See Few Upsides to Recent Pay-to-Play Overhaul
New Jersey Monitor – Nikita Biryukov | Published: 4/10/2023
Good government advocates warn changes to New Jersey’s “pay-to-play” laws under the Elections Transparency Act will enable corruption. Advocates warn the campaign finance bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law will weaken safeguards meant to prevent local and state officials from steering public contracts to donors. The law ends local “pay-to-play” ordinances that are often stricter than state law, permits the executive branch to award contracts through a system that critics have decried as a loophole, and removes donations to political parties from the list of those that invoke the anti-corruption protections.
New Jersey – N.J. Town Approves Legal Weed Business Represented by State Democratic Chair’s Lobbying Firm
Newark Star Ledger – Jelani Gibson (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 4/13/2023
The East Orange City Council approved a cannabis dispensary applicant represented by a lobbying firm belonging to New Jersey Democratic Party Chairperson Leroy Jones Jr. while rejecting a local applicant who had pointed out that connection, a move that drew scorn from residents at a council meeting. Precious Osagie-Erese, co-founder of the local applicant for a dispensary, Roll-Up Life, had been critical of Nimbus Holdings being represented in the municipality’s selection process by Jones’ lobbying firm, 1868 Public Affairs.
New York – Key Campaign Player for NYC Mayor Adams Raised Reelection Funds While Taking Money to Lobby His Office, Sparking Ethics Concerns
MSN – Chris Sommerfeldt (New York Daily News) | Published: 4/9/2023
New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign fundraising manager solicited donations for the mayor’s reelection bid last year while simultaneously being paid to lobby his administration on behalf of a Manhattan property owner with business before the city, according to a review of public records. There is no indication the aide, Brianna Suggs, ran afoul of any laws in playing the dual roles.
New York – Manhattan D.A. Sues Congress Members for ‘Brazen’ Attack on Trump Prosecution
MSN – Shayna Jacobs and Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 4/11/2023
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed a federal lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and others for what the prosecutor says is a brazen and unconstitutional attack by members of Congress on the prosecution and investigation of former President Trump. The civil complaint in seeks to interrupt an investigation launched by Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan and his committee are trying to obtain confidential investigative materials compiled during the district attorney’s criminal probe.
North Dakota – Bills to Boost Campaign Finance Transparency Hit Dead End in North Dakota Legislature
Fargo Forum – Jeremy Turley | Published: 4/10/2023
A recent rise in nebulous political spending has increased the desire among lawmakers for reforming North Dakota’s campaign finance law, but most measures to expand reporting requirements fell flat this year. A unique feature of thew law means groups designated as multicandidate committees are not required to list the recipients of their expenditures.
Oregon – Oregon Secretary of State’s Office Uses Business Registry to Try to Drum Up Support for Budget Request
Oregon Capital Chronicle – Julia Shumway | Published: 4/10/2023
An email from a state division director asking customers to advocate for the agency’s budget raised eyebrows among business owners and lawmakers. The request comes as legislative budget writers urge agencies to trim their budgets, keeping open positions vacant and spending less amid economic uncertainty. Corporation Division Director Eloisa Miller emailed everyone who has registered a business in Oregon asking them to submit written testimony supporting the request.
Pennsylvania – The Philadelphia Board of Ethics Is Accusing Mayoral Candidate Jeff Brown of Illegally Coordinating with a Super PAC
MSN – Chris Brennan, Sean Collins Walsh, and Anna Orsco (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 4/10/2023
The Philadelphia Board of Ethics accused a super PAC called For a Better Philadelphia and a nonprofit of the same name of coordinating with mayoral candidate Jeff Brown to circumvent the city’s contribution limits. The board asked Common Pleas Court Judge Joshua Roberts to issue an emergency order prohibiting the groups from spending money to influence the May 16 primary election and cancel any planned television advertising or other efforts to support Brown’s campaign. The board is also seeking $162,000 in fines to be paid jointly by the two groups for repeatedly violating the city’s campaign finance laws as part of the alleged scheme.
Pennsylvania – How a Pa. City Manager Allegedly Stole Thousands of Taxpayer Dollars with Virtually No Oversight
Spotlight PA – Min Xian and Angela Couloumbis | Published: 4/10/2023
Herm Suplizio, the manager of DuBois, a small city about two hours from Pittsburgh, was arrested for stealing more than $600,000 from public accounts over which he had signatory control. The scheme was so elaborate, according to officials, that investigators with backgrounds in organized and financial crimes were brought in to untangle what charging documents describe as a web of money moving in and out of accounts, with little oversight or accountability. Residents are wondering if Suplizio is convicted, how could such a large theft in a place so small occur without anyone noticing?
Tennessee – Black Lawmaker Who Was Expelled Reinstated to Tennessee Seat
Associated Press News – Jonathan Mattise, Travis Loller, and Kimberlee Kruesi | Published: 4/11/2023
One of the two Black Democrats who were expelled from the Republican-led Tennessee House was reinstated after Nashville’s governing council voted to send him back to the Legislature. The unanimous vote by the Metropolitan Council took only a few minutes to restore Rep. Justin Jones to office just four days after Republicans stripped him of his seat. The expulsions made Tennessee a new front in the battle for the future of American democracy and propelled the ousted lawmakers into the national spotlight.
Tennessee – In Tennessee, Second Expelled Black Democratic Lawmaker Is Reappointed
MSN – Robert Klemko and Karin Brulliard (Washington Post) | Published: 4/12/2023
Justin Pearson, one of two Black Democratic lawmakers expelled by Republican representatives for leading a gun-control protest on the Tennessee House floor, was reappointed to the office, returning to his seat after a tumultuous week that deepened partisan rancor in the state and transformed the pair into national political figures. Shelby County commissioners voted unanimously to reinstate Pearson two days after commissioners in Nashville voted unanimously to return the other expelled lawmaker, Justin Jones, to the statehouse.
Tennessee – Tennessee Expulsions Prompt Senate Democrats to Call for DOJ Inquiry
MSN – Matthew Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 4/12/2023
U.S. Senate Democrats urged the Department of Justice to investigate the expulsions of two state representatives in Tennessee to determine whether their removal violated the Constitution or federal civil rights law. Their letter is the first formal effort by federal lawmakers in response to the removals. The Republican-dominated Tennessee House expelled Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson both Democrats, after they led protesters in chants for gun control from the floor of the chamber.
Tennessee – Judges Block Tennessee Move to Cut Nashville Council in Half
Yahoo News – Jonathan Mattise (Associated Press) | Published: 4/10/2023
The Democratic-leaning city of Nashville’s Metropolitan Council will get to keep all 40 of its seats for now under a temporary decision issued by three state judges. The ruling stymies an effort by state Republican lawmakers to cut the council in half after it blocked the 2024 Republican National Convention from coming to the Music City. Nashville has operated under a combined city-county government system with 40 council members since 1963, when leaders were wrestling with consolidating the city and surrounding county as advocates worked to ensure Black leaders maintained strong representation.
Texas – Texas Senate Approves Ban on Local Governments Using Public Funds on Lobbyists
MSN – Hogan Grace (Austin American-Statesman) | Published: 4/12/2023
The Texas Senate approved legislation that would restrict how local governments could fund lobbyists to help them influence proposed state laws and policies moving through the Legislature. Senate Bill 175 would ban cities, counties and school districts from spending public funds to hire registered lobbyists tasked with pressing lawmakers for action. The bill also prohibits political subdivisions from using public funds to pay nonprofit state associations or organizations, such as the Texas Municipal League, that contract registered lobbyists.
Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott Announces He Will Push to Pardon Daniel Perry After Murder Conviction
MSN – Tony Plohetski, Claire Osborn, and Ryan Autullo (Austin American-Statesman) | Published: 4/10/2023
Less than 24 hours after a jury found Daniel Perry guilty of shooting to death a protester, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would pardon the convicted killer as soon as a request “hits my desk.” The unprecedented effort came as Abbott faced growing calls from national conservative figures to undo the conviction. “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney,” Abbott said in a statement.
Virginia – Hounded by Baseless Voter Fraud Allegations, an Entire County’s Election Staff Quits in Virginia
MSN – Jane Timm (NBC News) | Published: 4/10/2023
Three weeks ago, Buckingham County Registrar Lindsey Taylor, along with two part-time staffers, quit. Their resignations followed a deputy registrar who left in February. The four departures left residents without a functioning registrar’s office; there was no way to register to vote or certify candidate paperwork, at least temporarily. In January, the GOP assumed control of the Buckingham County Electoral Board that oversees Taylor’s office, and local Republicans began advancing baseless voter fraud claims that baffled her. The electoral board made it clear it wanted her out of the job.
Wisconsin – Two Candidates Tied in a Town Election. They Settled It with a Dice Roll.
MSN – Kyle Melnick (Washington Post) | Published: 4/10/2023
When Nate Bell received a photo of his Wisconsin village’s election results, he was in disbelief. The photo showed he and the other candidate for the village board’s president, Rob Zoschke, had each received 256 votes. Bell wondered how the tie would be resolved. The Village of Sister Bay’s board settled on a game of chance: a dice roll. A dice representing Bell landed on six; Zoschke’s dice stopped on two. Bell’s number was larger, so he was selected as the village’s new president.
April 12, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance North Dakota: “Bills to Boost Campaign Finance Transparency Hit Dead End in North Dakota Legislature” by Jeremy Turley for Fargo Forum Elections Arizona: “Printer Glitches in Ariz. Election Not Due to Malfeasance, Review Finds” by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington […]
April 11, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Hawaii: “Campaign Cash Flowed to Hawaii Senators Just Before an Energy Bill Vote. Reform Measures Won’t Stop It” by Stewart Yerton for Honolulu Civil Beat New Jersey: “Advocates See Few Upsides to Recent Pay-to-Play Overhaul” by Nikita Biryukov for New Jersey Monitor […]
April 10, 2023 •
Kentucky Legislature Adjourns Sine Die
The 2023 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly adjourned sine die on March 30. A procurement bill and a bill requiring special elections for Louisville passed. House Bill 0522 increases the small purchase amounts for public agencies from $30,000 […]
The 2023 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly adjourned sine die on March 30.
A procurement bill and a bill requiring special elections for Louisville passed.
House Bill 0522 increases the small purchase amounts for public agencies from $30,000 to $40,000 before requiring a newspaper advertisement seeking bids.
House Bill 0191 requires a special election must be held 60 days after the declaration of vacancy, to fill an open Louisville Metro Council seat if the vacancy occurs over three months before a regular election.
Several Campaign finance bills did not pass, including:
- A bill requiring campaign consultants to register
- A bill permitting paper filings
- A bill prohibiting candidates, committees, and contributing organizations from making an expenditure to an intermediary.
April 7, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – April 7, 2023
National/Federal Attacks on Dominion Voting Persist Despite High-Profile Lawsuits DNyuz – Stuart Thompson | Published: 4/6/2023 Claims that election software companies like Dominion Voting Systems sent helped orchestrate widespread fraud in the 2020 election have been widely debunked in the years since […]
Attacks on Dominion Voting Persist Despite High-Profile Lawsuits
DNyuz – Stuart Thompson | Published: 4/6/2023
Claims that election software companies like Dominion Voting Systems sent helped orchestrate widespread fraud in the 2020 election have been widely debunked in the years since former President Trump and his allies first pushed the theories. But far-right Americans on social media and influencers in the news media have continued in recent weeks and months to make unfounded assertions about the company and its electronic voting machines, pressuring government officials to scrap contracts with Dominion, sometimes successfully.
Feds: Fugees rapper Pras Michel ran global influence-peddling scheme for cash
MSN – Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 3/30/2023
In opening arguments, federal prosecutors portrayed rap star Pras Michel as a washed-up, money-hungry entertainer who embarked on a brazen secret-influence scheme aimed at the highest levels of the U.S. government. The trial is a chance for the government to recover from a string of high-profile courtroom defeats it has suffered in recent years as it followed through on promises to crack down on foreign-influence efforts.
Nashville Shooting Exploited by Right to Escalate Anti-Trans Rhetoric
MSN – Fenit Nirappil (Washington Post) | Published: 3/30/2023
Conservative commentators and Republican politicians unleashed a new wave of anti-trans rhetoric following the shooting at a Nashville Christian school that killed six people, escalating a broader backlash to the rising visibility of transgender people in public life. The attempts on the right to connect violence to transgender people come even though transgender people are rarely the perpetrators of mass shootings.
Justice Dept. Said to Have More Evidence of Possible Trump Obstruction at Mar-a-Lago
MSN – Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein (Washington Post) | Published: 4/2/2023
Justice Department investigators have amassed fresh evidence pointing to possible obstruction by former President Trump in the investigation into top-secret documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home, according to people familiar with the matter. The new details highlight the degree to which special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the potential mishandling of hundreds of classified national security papers at Trump’s Florida home and private club has come to focus on the obstruction elements of the case – whether the former president took or directed actions to impede government efforts to collect all the sensitive records.
Dominion’s Historic Defamation Case Against Fox News Will Go to Trial, Judge Rules, in Major Decision Dismantling Key Fox Defenses
MSN – Marshall Cohen (CNN) | Published: 3/31/2023
Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case against Fox News will proceed to a jury trial, a judge ruled, in a decision that dismantled several of the network’s key defenses. The network’s highest-ranking executives and most prominent hosts could be called to the stand to testify about the 2020 election lies that were promoted on its programs. One question that jurors will not need to weigh was whether Fox’s claims about Dominion were true or false. “The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” Superior Court Judge Eric Davis wrote.
Key Senate Dems Want Supreme Court Funding Tied to an Ethics Code for Justices
MSN – Tierny Sneed (CNN) | Published: 4/3/2023
Key Senate Democrats are calling for next year’s funding for the U.S. Supreme Court to be conditioned on the creation of an ethics code for the justices. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who leads the appropriations subcommittee charged with writing the annual funding bill for the judiciary, has expressed support for the idea. Other members of the Democratic caucus are proposing language to be attached to next year’s funding bill that would require the Supreme Court to adopt more transparent processes for recusals and for investigating ethics allegations lodged against the justices.
Twitter Slaps NPR with a Dubious New Tag: ‘State-affiliated media’
MSN – Paul Farhi (Washington Post) | Published: 4/5/2023
Is NPR “U.S. state-affiliated media”? Twitter and its new owner, Elon Musk, seem to think so. Over NPR’s protests, Twitter placed that label on its account, implying the nonprofit news organization is somehow connected to, if not controlled by, the federal government. The designation puts NPR, which has 8.8 million followers on the site, in the same Twitter category as propaganda outlets like the Russian-government-owned RT and the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper.
Pence Won’t Appeal Ruling That Compels His Grand Jury Testimony on Jan. 6
MSN – Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 4/5/2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence will not appeal a judge’s ruling that requires him to testify in front of a grand jury exploring the attack on the U.S. Capitol, likely setting up a pivotal moment in the special counsel investigation related to former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Pence’s decision means he will probably testify under oath about Trump’s attempts to pressure him, and he could be a key witness. Trump’s team could still appeal the ruling, but they have lost similar cases previously.
The Price of a Ballot Signature Is Way Up, and Experts Worry It’s Encouraging Fraud
NPR – Ashley Lopez | Published: 4/6/2023
Michigan’s election for governor was upended last year when several Republicans were removed from the primary ballot for problems with their voter signatures. The news highlighted instances of suspected fraud in the process, which experts say could be encouraged by higher rates signature-gathering companies are now charging for their services. As a result, states such as Colorado and California are hoping to crack down on bad actors in the signature-gathering industry.
From the States and Municipalities
Oceania – Government’s Proposed Crackdown on Lobbyists Dismissed as Too Tentative
Radio New Zealand – Staff | Published: 4/4/2023
Following a media investigation into lobbying in New Zealand, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins commissioned long-term work on regulating the industry, but in the meantime wanted lobbyists to develop their own code of conduct and is removing their swipe card access to Parliament. Hipkins said while there may not be a problem with lobbying in New Zealand, there was the perception of a problem.
Arizona – Legislative Election Committees Catered to Conspiracy Theorists
Arizona Mirror – Caitlin Sievers | Published: 4/5/2023
Republican-controlled committees in both chambers of the Arizona Legislature that were charged with vetting election-reform bills used their time this year to cater to fringe right-wing conspiracy theorists and to approve measures that would make big changes to how elections are run in this state. Both the Senate and House elections committees, chaired by Sen. Wendy Rogers and Rep. Jacqueline Parker, had their last meetings recently. They used their hearings to host presentations by election conspiracy theorists and then to advance legislation that would cater to supposed election problems and alleged fraud at the heart of those conspiracy theories.
Arizona – Legislator Testifies That She Had No Idea Guest Speaker Would Make Bribery Allegations
White Mountain Independent – Bob Christie (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 3/31/2023
An Arizona lawmaker defending herself against an ethics complaint swore she was not aware ahead of time that an insurance agent planned to present what were later called “unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations” at a legislative hearing. But Rep. Liz Harris’s repeated statements that she did not know what Jacqueline Breger was going to say at a special election hearing appeared to be contradicted by a series of text messages the Ethics Committee released.
California – Planned Construction Could Forever Change the California Capitol’s West Steps. What Would That Mean for Protests and Events?
Capital Public Radio – Nicole Nixon | Published: 4/6/2023
For more than a century, the state Capito’s west steps have been one of the definitive Sacramento and California gathering places. The historic granite steps, which lead to the Capitol’s original entrance and overlook the downtown Mall, have hosted everything from decades of pro- and anti-war demonstrations and the Women’s March to gubernatorial inaugurations. But critics say plans to build an underground visitor’s center on the west side of the Capitol could displace large gatherings for years, or permanently, and forever alter the west steps’ ability to host thousands of people.
California – Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor’s Mystery ‘Special Advisor’ Raises Legal Concerns, Experts Say
East Bay Times – Grace Hase (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 4/3/2023
Santa Clara resident and small business owner Kirk Vartan has been a special advisor to Mayor Lisa Gillmor for the last three years, but now the city says it was never aware of the appointment and few records between the two exist, sparking concerns about transparency, ethics, and even legal complications. Vartan and Gillmor said the position is volunteer only and he is not paid, and Vartan asserted the city was notified.
California – Mark Ridley-Thomas Found Guilty in Corruption Case
MSN – Matt Hamilton (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 3/30/3023
A longtime Los Angeles politician was convicted on federal corruption charges in a scheme in which prosecutors said he promised to help steer a multimillion-dollar government contract to the University of Southern California (USC) if his son got a scholarship and a teaching job. Mark Ridley-Thomas now faces the possibility of years in federal prison and the permanent loss of his seat on the city council, from which he has been suspended for the last 17 months. The foreperson of the jury said the funneling of a $100,000 donation from Ridley-Thomas’ campaign committee through USC to a nonprofit led by the politician’s son persuaded jurors to convict.
Colorado – State Increases Campaign Finance Limits
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel – Charles Ashby | Published: 4/6/2023
Voters can give a little more money to state and local candidates under new rules adopted by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. In its normal periodic adjustment of campaign contribution limits to account for inflation, donors can give $100 more per election to candidates as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. For contributors to legislative races, the limit goes from $200 to $225 per election, which means a primary race and the general election, among other changes.
Florida – Florida Republicans Poised to Make More Changes to Election Laws
MSN – Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 4/3/2023
Florida Senate Republicans released a comprehensive elections bill that includes a provision designed to undercut legal arguments that were made by those who were charged as part of a crackdown on voter fraud. The lengthy bill also changes campaign finance deadlines, speeds up when local officials must scrub voter rolls for dead and ineligible voters, and increases fines on voter registration groups if they break the law.
Florida – DeSantis Wants State Investigation into Disney Power Play
Politico – Andrew Atterbury | Published: 4/3/2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, apparently outflanked by Disney in a tug-of-war over the control over the thousands of acres that is home to theme parks, is now ordering an investigation into how the dynamic shift happened. The governor requested a “thorough review and investigation” by state officials into an agreement reached by the outgoing Walt Disney Co. board aiming to stymie Florida’s efforts to grab greater authority over the company’s special land district near Orlando. That deal swung power away from the new leadership board installed by the governor and created just months ago by the Legislature.
Hawaii – Hawaii Governor Signs 7 Government, Ethics Reform Bills
MSN – Audrey McAvoy (Associated Press) | Published: 3/31/2023
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green signed seven good-government bills drafted in response to news last year that two former state lawmakers had accepted bribes in exchange for influencing legislation. One measure, House Bill 137, would require lobbyists to report not only the general subject they are advocating for but the specific bill number or the identification number of the program they discussed with officials.
Illinois – Brandon Johnson Projected to Win Chicago Mayoral Election
MSN – Kim Bellware, Sabrina Rodriguez, and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 4/4/2023
Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and former public school teacher, won Chicago’s mayoral runoff. He will succeed Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who lost her bid for reelection when she came in third in February’s general election. Analysts said Lightfoot bore the brunt of the blame for an increase in crime across the city. Johnson’s win over Paul Vallas, a conservative Democrat, was a major victory for the liberal wing of the party.
Indiana – City Council Creates Committee to Develop Ethics Commission for Muncie Government
Yahoo News – David Penticuff (Muncie Star Press) | Published: 4/4/2023
The Muncie City Council took an initial step toward establishing a ethics commission to provide oversight and guidance for city government. Council members adopted a resolution creating a nine-member ethics advisory committee of people from outside local government to explore the creation of a commission. A proposed ethics code would govern elected officials, appointees to boards and commissions, city employees, and individuals and entities that have a business relationship with Muncie.
Maine – Penobscot County Commissioner Voted to Give Contract to His Business Associate
Bangor Daily News – Sawyer Loftus | Published: 4/5/2023
The chairperson of the Penobscot County Commission voted to hire a lobbyist he personally worked with as recently as last year. Andre Cushing did not recuse himself from a vote in January for the county to enter into a contract with Patriot Consulting, which is owned and operated by Zachary Lingley, a lobbyist and political operative. The ethics policy states county employees should not carry on county business with a firm in which the county employee has an interest.
Maryland – Roy McGrath Shot Dead in Tennessee as FBI Closed in After Three-Week Search
MSN – Alex Mann and Lee Sanderlin (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 4/4/2023
Roy McGrath was fatally shot as federal agents sought to arrest him in Tennessee, ending a three-week fugitive search for former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s ex-chief of staff. McGrath was supposed to stand trial on fraud charges in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore on March 13. He never showed up. Prosecutors allege McGrath stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state during his tenure at the helm of the government-owned nonprofit Maryland Environmental Service.
Missouri – Judge Rejects Ex-Missouri Lawmaker’s Push to Overturn Revolving-Door Lobbying Ban
Missouri Independent – Rudi Keller | Published: 4/3/2023
Missouri’s ban on lobbying by lawmakers and legislative staff ban does not violate the right to free speech, a federal judge ruled. Former state Rep. Rocky Miller and General Assembly employee John LaVanchy sued to overturn the lobbying ban, which voters approved in 2018 as part of the Clean Missouri amendment to the state constitution. The amendment prohibits current lawmakers and employees of the General Assembly from paid lobbying during their time of service and for two years after they leave office.
Missouri – Missouri Anti-Discrimination Agency Dysfunctional, Lawyers Say, as Chairman Condemned
Yahoo News – Jonathan Shorman (Kansas City Star) | Published: 4/5/2023
When the chairperson of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights spoke against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination law, the remarks provoked outrage among Democrats and LGBTQ advocates. But the comments from Timothy Faber have also turned a spotlight on the commission itself, which lawyers and employment discrimination experts say is a broken agency unable to effectively respond to allegations of discrimination.
Montana – Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would End Montana Supreme Court Elections
Montana Free Press – Arren Kimbel-Sannit | Published: 3/30/2023
The House Judiciary Committee endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would end state Supreme Court elections in Montana, giving the governor power to appoint justices to the bench with Senate confirmation. House Bill 915 is the long-awaited culmination of Republican efforts this year to remake the state court system and its processes. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Mercer, framed the bill as an effort to combat the proliferation of campaign money in state judicial elections.
Nebraska – Goins Resigns Amid Questions About Conflicts of Interest, Improper Use of State Email
Nebraska Examiner – Paul Hammel | Published: 4/5/2023
Nebraska’s top economic developer, Tony Goins, announced his resignation amid questions about conflicts-of-interest between his state job and co-ownership of a Lincoln cigar lounge. Goins had served as director of the Department of Economic Development since 2019. Media reports detailed instances when Goins directed business to the Capital Cigar Lounge, in which he has a 51 percent ownership interest.
New Jersey – Murphy Signs Disputed Election Finance Bill That Gives Him More Power Over Watchdog Agency
Yahoo News – Ashley Balcerzak (Bergen Record) | Published: 4/3/2023
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a controversial overhaul of the state’s campaign finance system that drastically raises limits on political contributions, curbs investigations of campaign finance violations, loosens the “pay-to-play” law, and gives Murphy more power over the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). All three ELEC members resigned in protest after the General Assembly approved the legislation. Lawmakers pulled the bill from scheduled full chamber votes several times after substantial provisions were added and pushed through the process at the last minute.
New York – Trump Indictment Follows 50 Years of Investigation on Many Fronts
MSN – Marc Fisher (Washington Post) | Published: 3/30/2023
Donald Trump has portrayed himself as the consummate dealmaker and the ultimate escape artist, an entrepreneur turned politician who managed to avoid major consequences despite having been investigated in every decade of his adult life by federal and state agencies, by bankers and casino regulators, by legions of prosecutors and competitors. Now, 50 years after federal officials first accused Trump and his father of violating laws that barred racial discrimination in apartment rentals, the former president has been indicted.
New York – Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Felony Charges
Politico – Erica Orden, Kyle Cheney, and Josh Gerstein | Published: 4/4/2023
A stone-faced Donald Trump made a momentous courtroom appearance when he was confronted with a 34-count felony indictment charging him in a scheme to bury allegations of extramarital affairs that arose during his first White House campaign, becoming the first ex-president to ever face criminal charges. The indictment centers on allegations Trump falsified internal business records his private company while trying to cover up an effort to illegally influence the 2016 election by arranging payments that silenced claims potentially harmful to his candidacy.
North Carolina – N.C. Lawmaker Flips Parties, Handing State GOP a Veto-Proof Majority
MSN – Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff (Washington Post) | Published: 4/4/2023
A North Carolina lawmaker elected as a Democrat is defecting to the GOP, handing Republicans a veto-proof supermajority in the state Legislature. Rep. Tricia Cotham’s party change gives the GOP increased power over key issues like abortion and elections. She cited her treatment by Democrats as her motivation to switch parties. Cotham said she has been “bullied” for not toeing the party line and accused Gov. Roy Cooper and the state Democratic Party of demanding she follow the lead of top state officials.
Ohio – Dobos Resigns as Vice Chair of Ohio House Higher Ed Committee Over False MIT Grad Claim
MSN – Bill Bush (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 4/5/2023
Ohio Rep. David Dobos resigned as vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee following a report that he falsely claimed to have graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The claim of holding an MIT degree has been repeated by Dobos often dating back some 30 years, in everything from campaigns to casual conversations. Dobos has already come under scrutiny for not disclosing $1.45 million in outstanding debts. State law requires legislative candidates to disclose people or businesses to whom they owe more than $1,000.
Ohio – AEP Doesn’t Have Much to Say About Its Support for Corrupt Utility Bailout
Ohio Capital Journal – Marty Schladen | Published: 4/3/2023
The utility AEP was not at the center of a bribery and money-laundering scandal in 2019. But it also was not very far away as a corrupt deal was hatched in the Ohio Capitol to use $61 million in bribes to pass a $1.3 billion bailout for nuclear power plants. AEP came up repeatedly in the trial that ended in the racketeering convictions of former House Speaker Larry Householder and former state GOP Chairperson Matt Borges. Through its dark-money group, AEP provided more than $900,000 that was used to help pass the bailout. It has received more than $60 million to subsidize aging coal plants that belong to a consortium in which it owns a 40% stake.
Oregon – Portland Auditor Finds Insufficient Evidence ShotSpotter Violated City Code
Oregon Public Broadcasting – Jonathan Levinson | Published: 4/4/2023
An investigation by the city auditor’s office found insufficient evidence that gunshot detection company ShotSpotter violated Portland’s lobbying rules, clearing the way for the city’s pursuit of the technology. After receiving a complaint, the auditor’s office reviewed whether ShotSpotter had passed the time or monetary thresholds in its courting of the city for a contract that would have required it to register as a lobbying entity. Private companies are required to register as lobbying entities if they have spent eight cumulative hours or at least $1,000 during any calendar quarter lobbying.
Pennsylvania – Campaign Finance, Lobbying Reform Still Receiving Little Attention in Pa. Legislature
Spotlight PA – Angela Couloumbis | Published: 3/31/2023
During the five hours that legislators questioned Pennsylvania Department of State officials during recent hearings, they inquired about the agency’s work on campaign finance and lobbying just twice. For those who follow the Capitol closely, it came as little surprise. Republican legislative leaders have not substantively discussed improving the state’s campaign finance and lobbying disclosure rules for more than a decade, despite calls by good-government advocates and others for changes.
Tennessee – Tennessee GOP Begins Expulsion Process for 3 Democrats, House Session Devolves into Chaos
MSN – Melissa Brown and Vivian Jones (Tennessean) | Published: 4/4/2023
Tennessee House Republicans introduced resolutions to expel three Democrats for “disorderly behavior” after the trio led protest chants for gun reform on the floor of the chamber in the wake of the deadly Covenant School shooting. The three House Democrats had approached the podium between bills without being recognized to speak, a breach of chamber rules. With a bullhorn, Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson led protestors in the galleries in several chants calling for gun reform. House leadership later likened the trio’s behavior to an “insurrection.”
Texas – Texas Judge Orders Banned Books Returned to Library Shelves
MSN – Cheyanne Daniels (The Hill) | Published: 4/3/2023
A federal judge in Texas ruled Llano County officials must return more than a dozen books they had banned and removed from the county’s library shelves during 2021. The preliminary order by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman also prohibited the county from removing any other books as the court case is pending. The library’s catalog is required to be updated to show county residents the removed books are once again available. In his ruling, Pitman said, “Defendants removed the books at issue to prevent access to viewpoints and content to which they objected.”
Texas – Bills Advance to Close Loophole Allowing Some Lawmakers to Increase Their Pay to $140,000
Texas Tribune – James Barragán | Published: 3/29/2023
Lawmakers are moving forward with a measure to do away with a loophole that allows long-serving legislators to increase their annual pay by $140,000 by dipping into their pension while continuing to draw a state salary. Pension payments for state employees grow based on years of service and are typically capped at the state worker’s maximum salary. But state lawmakers, who make an annual salary of $7,200, have retirement benefits tied to the salaries of state District Court judges, who make $140,000, meaning lawmakers who stay in office could have an opportunity to collect retirement payments that far exceed their state salaries.
Virginia – Judge Orders GOP Primary in Va. Senate Race After Party Official Sues
MSN – Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) | Published: 3/30/2023
A judge ordered Virginia to hold a Republican primary in a Suffolk-area state Senate contest, ruling in favor of a Republican official who accused Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s chief of staff and Attorney General Jason Miyares of pressuring the state elections chief into canceling it in favor of a convention. Circuit Court Judge Claire Cardwell ordered state Elections Commissioner Susan Beals to once again schedule the June Republican primary that had been announced but then called off.
Wisconsin – Liberals Win Control of Wisconsin Supreme Court Ahead of Abortion Case
MSN – Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 4/4/2023
Liberals claimed control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, giving them a one-vote majority on a body that in the coming years will likely consider the state’s abortion ban, its gerrymandered legislative districts, and its voting rules for the 2024 presidential election. Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s victory over former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly will end 15 years of conservative control of the court. Candidates, political parties, and independent groups spent more than $40 million on the race, making it the most expensive judicial contest in U.S. history.
April 6, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Elections Arizona: “Legislative Election Committees Catered to Conspiracy Theorists” by Caitlin Sievers for Arizona Mirror Illinois: “Brandon Johnson Projected to Win Chicago Mayoral Election” by Kim Bellware, Sabrina Rodriguez, and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) for MSN Ethics Indiana: “City Council Creates Committee to Develop Ethics […]
April 4, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Elections Montana: “Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would End Montana Supreme Court Elections” by Arren Kimbel-Sannit for Montana Free Press National: “Dominion’s Historic Defamation Case Against Fox News Will Go to Trial, Judge Rules, in Major Decision Dismantling Key Fox Defenses” by Marshall Cohen (CNN) […]
Montana: “Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would End Montana Supreme Court Elections” by Arren Kimbel-Sannit for Montana Free Press
National: “Dominion’s Historic Defamation Case Against Fox News Will Go to Trial, Judge Rules, in Major Decision Dismantling Key Fox Defenses” by Marshall Cohen (CNN) for MSN
National: “Justice Dept. Said to Have More Evidence of Possible Trump Obstruction at Mar-a-Lago” by Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein (Washington Post) for MSN
Hawaii: “Hawaii Governor Signs 7 Government, Ethics Reform Bills” by Audrey McAvoy (Associated Press) for MSN
Ohio: “AEP Doesn’t Have Much to Say About Its Support for Corrupt Utility Bailout” by Marty Schladen for Ohio Capital Journal
Texas: “Bills Advance to Close Loophole Allowing Some Lawmakers to Increase Their Pay to $140,000” by James Barragán for Texas Tribune
Missouri: “Judge Rejects Ex-Missouri Lawmaker’s Push to Overturn Revolving-Door Lobbying Ban” by Rudi Keller for Missouri Independent
Oceania: “Lobbying in Parliament: New rules announced by Hipkins” by Felix Desmarais for 1News
April 3, 2023 •
New Lobbying Law for City of Pickering in Ontario, Canada
On March 27, the city of Pickering, in Ontario, Canada, passed a new lobbying law and will become the 10th municipality in Ontario to have a lobbyist registry framework in place. This by-law authorizing a lobbyist registry for the city […]
On March 27, the city of Pickering, in Ontario, Canada, passed a new lobbying law and will become the 10th municipality in Ontario to have a lobbyist registry framework in place. This by-law authorizing a lobbyist registry for the city technically came into force with its passage, but all enforcement and penalties will not take effect until November 1, 2023.
All lobbyists must file a registration (a first filing of a return) regarding lobbying communication within ten business days of the initial communication occurring. A lobbyist must file a return updating any change to their registration immediately. Lobbying is defined as “any communication with a public office holder by an individual who is paid or who represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action including development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before council, a committee of council, or a staff member acting under delegated authority.”
The list of covered public office holders includes members of the city council, officers or employees of the city in management positions, members of local boards or committees established by the city council, and individuals providing professional services to the city during the course of providing such services.
The mandatory registry applies to consultant lobbyists, in-house lobbyists, and certain voluntary lobbyists. Lobbying on a contingency basis is prohibited. Former public office holders are forbidden from lobbying for a period of 12 months after leaving office. Penalties include being barred from lobbying for various periods of time. Additionally, all lobbyists must adhere to a formal Code of Conduct for Lobbyists, which is part of the by-law, during all lobbying activities with public office holders.
April 3, 2023 •
Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance New Jersey: “N.J. Election Watchdogs Resign After Dems Send Controversial Campaign Money Bill to Murphy” by Matt Arco (NJ Advance Media) for MSN Elections Virginia: “Judge Orders GOP Primary in Va. Senate Race After Party Official Sues” by Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) […]
March 31, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – March 31, 2023
National/Federal Former Trump Officials Must Testify in 2020 Election Inquiry, Judge Says DNyuz – Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 3/24/2023 A federal judge ruled a number of former officials from former President Trump’s administration – including his […]
Former Trump Officials Must Testify in 2020 Election Inquiry, Judge Says
DNyuz – Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 3/24/2023
A federal judge ruled a number of former officials from former President Trump’s administration – including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows – cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Prosecutors are likely to be especially eager to hear from Meadows, who refused to be interviewed by the House select committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol. Meadows was a central player in various efforts to help Trump reverse the election outcome in a number of contested states.
A Campaign Aide Didn’t Write That Email. A.I. Did.
DNyuz – Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) | Published: 3/28/2023
Inside political campaigns, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to soon help perform mundane tasks that previously required fleets of interns. Republican and Democratic engineers alike are racing to develop tools to harness AI to make advertising more efficient, to engage in predictive analysis of public behavior, to write more and more personalized copy, and to discover new patterns in mountains of voter data. The technology is evolving so fast that most predict a profound impact, even if specific ways in which it will upend the political system are more speculation than science.
Fetterman Set to Return to Senate Week of April 17
MSN – Al Weaver (The Hill) | Published: 3/29/2023
Sources said U.S. Sen. John Fetterman is set to return to the Senate the week of April 17. He has been absent since mid-February after checking himself into Walter Reed Medical Military Hospital with clinical depression. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said he met with his fellow Keystone State lawmaker recently and was pleased to see how he was doing.
How TikTok Built a ‘Team of Avengers’ to Fight for Its Life
MSN – Hailey Fuchs, Clothilde Goujard, and Daniel Lippman (Politico) | Published: 3/30/2023
TikTok’s battle for survival has become a vivid study in how a wealthy, foreign-owned corporation can use its financial might to build an impressive-looking network of influence, and in the limitations of what lobbying can do to protect a company at the center of a firestorm. A Politico investigation revealed an effort by TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, dating back to at least 2018, long before concerns about TikTok’s Chinese ownership reached their current pitch.
House’s Monthly Pay Cycle, an Inconvenience for Some, Could Get Review
MSN – Justin Papp (Roll Call) | Published: 3/30/2023
When money gets low, some Capitol Hill staffers hit up receptions for free food. Others, especially junior staffers, work multiple jobs to get them from one paycheck to the next. Still others run up credit card debt while working in the halls of Congress. The low pay for staff has been an issue for years. But the infrequency of the paychecks, just one per month, can compound the problem.
Schools Forced to Divert Staff Amid Historic Flood of Records Requests
MSN – Hannah Natanson and Karina Elwood (Washington Post) | Published: 3/27/2023
School districts across the nation are facing a mounting pile of increasingly complex records requests from parents, community members, or attorneys representing education advocacy groups – all of whom say they want greater transparency about how local children are educated. The focus is on curriculum documentation or the contents of emails between school board members, as concerns have spread over what public schools are teaching about race, gender and sexual orientation.
Indicted Chinese Exile Controls Gettr Social Media Site, Ex-Employees Say
MSN – Joseph Menn (Washington Post) | Published: 3/26/2023
An exiled Chinese tycoon indicted in New York in a billion-dollar fraud case controls the conservative social media platform Gettr and used it to promote cryptocurrencies and propaganda, former employees said. They said the arrested expatriate, Guo Wengui, and his longtime money manager, William Je, called the shots at the company while Donald Trump senior adviser Jason Miller was its chief executive and public face. The revelations show a man accused of massive fraud on two continents climbed high into Trump’s political sphere and dictated messaging at a social media site that reaches millions of Americans.
Activist Group Led by Ginni Thomas Received Nearly $600,000 in Anonymous Donations
MSN – Shawn Boberg and Emma Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 3/28/2023
A Washington Post investigation sheds new light on the role money from donors who are not publicly identified has played in supporting Ginni Thomas’s political advocacy, long a source of controversy. She is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A conservative activist group led by Ginni Thomas collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations to wage a cultural battle against the left. Contributions to Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty were channeled through a right-wing think tank that agreed to serve as a funding conduit from 2019 until the start of last year.
AP Sources: Judge rules Pence must testify before grand jury
MSN – Jill Colvin and Eric Tucker (Associated Press) | Published: 3/28/2023
A federal judge ruled former Vice President Mike Pence will have to testify before a grand jury in the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Sources said Pence would not have to answer questions about his actions on January 6, 2021, as Pence was presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory. But he would have to testify about any potential illegal acts committed by Trump.
Supreme Court Justices Under New Ethics Disclosures on Trips, Other Gifts
MSN – Jonathan O’Connell and Ann Marimow (Washington Post) | Published: 3/28/2023
Federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, must follow strengthened financial disclosure requirements surrounding gifts they receive. The new requirements mark a technical but significant change that lawmakers and transparency advocates hope will lead to more disclosure by judges and justices. The revisions come after years of pressure from members of Congress, who say the judiciary should follow ethics guidelines closer to those that apply to the executive and legislative branches.
Lindsey Graham Publicly Admonished for Fundraising on Capitol Grounds
MSN – Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) | Published: 3/24/2023
A nine-minute Fox News appearance last year earned U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham a public admonishment from the Senate Ethics Committee because in the video, he solicited campaign contributions for former candidate Herschel Walker while standing on Capitol grounds. The committee acknowledged Graham self-reported his actions to them. The committee also noted this is not the first time Graham violated Senate rules banning fundraising appeals on federal property.
Republicans Face Setbacks in Push to Tighten Voting Laws on College Campuses
Yahoo News – Neil Vigdor (New York Times) | Published: 3/29/2023
Alarmed over young people increasingly proving to be a force for Democrats at the ballot box, Republican lawmakers in a number of states have been trying to enact new obstacles to voting for college students. Out of 17 states that generally require voter ID, five do not accept any student IDs. Proponents of such restrictions often say they are needed to prevent voter fraud, even though instances of fraud are rare. Two lawsuits were filed in state and federal court shortly after Idaho’s Republican governor, Brad Little, signed a student ID prohibition into law on March 15.
From the States and Municipalities
Canada – Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Approve Loosening of Ethical Lobbying Rules
Western Standard – Lee Harding | Published: 3/27/2023
In a letter to Commissioner of Lobbying Nancy Bélanger, the House of Commons Ethics Committee approved of the commissioner’s proposed changes to the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct. Committee members aid they wanted Belanger to formalize the ability of lobbyists to offer “sponsored travel” junket trips to members of Parliament and their family members and associates “where they serve a legitimate purpose.” They approved the increase on the annual limit on gifts from a lobbyist to $200, and on hospitality to $200.
Arizona – Arizona Court Declines Most of Lake’s Appeal Over Gov’s Race
MSN – Jacques Billeaud (Associated Press) | Published: 3/23/2023
The Arizona Supreme Court declined to hear most of Kari Lake’s appeal in a challenge of her defeat in the governor’s race but revived a claim that was dismissed by a trial court. Lake, who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs by just over 17,000 votes, was among the most vocal 2022 Republican candidates promoting Donald Trump’s election lies, which she made the centerpiece of her campaign. While most other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake did not.
Arizona – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Spokesperson Resigns After Twitter Post Invoking Gun Violence
MSN – Stacey Barchenger (Arizona Republic) | Published: 3/29/2023
Arizona – Arizona State Rep. Liz Harris Says Constitution Required Her to Allow Baseless Cartel Bribery Claims
Yahoo News – Ray Stern (Arizona Republic) | Published: 3/23/2023
A lawmaker whose invited guest speaker accused public officials and the LDS church of conspiring with a Mexican drug cartel told an Arizona House ethics panel she had a constitutional duty to allow the testimony. Rep. Liz Harris was hit with a complaint after her guest, insurance agent Jacqueline Breger, presented the allegations at a joint Senate and House elections committee hearing. Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, who filed the complaint, said the presentation amounted to “disorderly conduct” by Harris and made Arizona a “national joke.”
Colorado – Proposal to Cap Candidate Contributions in Colorado’s Local Elections Advances
Colorado Politics – Hannah Metzger | Published: 3/27/2023
Colorado could soon establish a statewide limit on donations made to candidates in local elections if a new bill is passed into law. House Bill 1245 would cap contributions from individuals at $250 and donations from small-donor committees at $2,500 in municipal elections, among other provisions. Karen Goldman with the Colorado Municipal Clerks Association raised concerns about elements of the bill intended to increase transparency in campaign contributions, calling the proposed changes “excessive and unworkable.”
Connecticut – Legislator’s Arrest Places Spotlight on Drinking at Connecticut State Capitol
Yahoo News – Christopher Keating (Hartford Courant) | Published: 3/26/2023
In previous years, organized parties with live music and copious amounts of alcohol kept lawmakers at the Capitol in Hartford until dawn on the session’s final day. Legislative receptions often featured liquor, including an annual wine tasting at the same time House and Senate members were debating in nearby chambers. The issue gained increased attention following the arrest of Rep. Robin Comey, who had been at a bar with three other legislators. Comey was driving a Honda Civic in a narrow section of Capitol Avenue near the Red Rock Tavern when her car flipped upside down and landed on its roof.
District of Columbia – D.C. Campaign Finance Office Tosses Complaints About Silverman’s Poll
MSN – Michael Brice-Saddler (Washington Post) | Published: 3/27/2023
The District of Columbia’s Office of Campaign Finance has dismissed a third and final complaint related to former city council member Elissa Silverman’s decision to poll last year’s Ward 3 Democratic primary election, concluding a controversial saga the erstwhile lawmaker says cost her a seat on the council. Silverman turned some heads in June when she said she polled the Ward 3 race and discussed the results with two candidates in that contest who had asked for her endorsement.
Florida – Florida Bill Would Shield DeSantis’s Travel Records
DNyuz – Nick Corasaniti (New York Times) | Published: 3/24/2023
Florida lawmakers moved to shield Gov. Ron DeSantis’s travel records from the public, proposing to change the state’s public information laws just as the governor ramps up what is expected to be a 2024 presidential campaign. The bill includes a sweeping retroactive clause that would block the release of many records of trips already taken by DeSantis and other officials, as well as their families and staff members. In recent months, the governor has traveled widely as he promotes a new book and moves toward a White House bid.
Florida – DeSantis Wants ‘Media Accountability.’ A New Bill Makes Suing Journalists Easier.
MSN – Elahe Izadi and Lori Rozsa (Washington Post) | Published: 3/23/2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to challenge Donald Trump and a growing field for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, has made open antipathy toward “corporate media” a key part of his brand in his ascent in conservative politics. A new bill moving through the Legislature appears to codify DeSantis’s combative stance toward media and his portrayal of journalists as partisan players who lack accountability by making it far easier to sue news organizations for defamation and win.
Florida – Disney Quietly Dodged DeSantis’s Oversight Board, Appointees Realize
MSN – Bryan Pietsch (Washington Post) | Published: 3/30/2023
The Disney World oversight board installed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused the previous board of passing an 11th-hour agreement in cahoots with the company that has hamstrung it from much of its administrative power over the amusement park. In an apparent retaliation for Disney’s critique of a DeSantis-backed bill, the governor replaced the previous Disney-friendly oversight board with a new panel made up entirely of his own appointees, including religious and conservative activists.
Illinois – Out-of-State PAC Backing Conservative School Board Candidates Hasn’t Disclosed Spending
Yahoo News – Dan Petrella (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 3/28/2023
A New York-based PAC backing conservative candidates in local school board races in Illinois has not disclosed what it is spending on mailers that began arriving in Chicago-area mailboxes recently as required under state law, according to state election officials. While the 1776 Project is registered with the FEC, Illinois campaign finance law requires independent expenditure committees that spend money on races in the state to register. Since it is not even registered with the state, the 1776 Project had not reported any such spending one week before Election Day.
Illinois – ‘ComEd Four’ Trial Offering a Fascinating and Unprecedented Look into the Inner Workings of Madigan’s Political Power
Yahoo News – Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 3/26/2023
Through wiretapped conversations, internal documents, and the sworn accounts of key insiders, federal prosecutors in a corruption trial have laid bare the inner workings of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s extraordinary power. Before resigning, Madigan held sway over the fate of legislation and the political and professional futures of hordes of lawmakers, lobbyists, and job seekers. Proving Madigan’s influence is a key element of the prosecution’s case against four associates of the former speaker accused of conspiring to bribe him to help Commonwealth Edison’s legislative agenda.
Maryland – Baltimore Board of Ethics Makes Mosby Defense Fund Donor List Public, Minus Names of Donors
MSN – Emily Opilo (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 3/23/2023
A list of donors to a legal-defense fund established to benefit Baltimore political power couple Nick and Marilyn Mosby became public, minus the names of the more than 130 donors. The list was expected to offer a public accounting of who gave to the fund. The fund was at the center of a Board of Ethics ruling against Nick Mosby, the Baltimore City Council president. The board found he violated the ethics ordinance by indirectly soliciting for the fund and by failing to include it on his annual ethics disclosure form. After contesting the ruling for nearly a year, Mosby complied with an order from the board to provide information about the fund.
New Jersey – N.J. Election Watchdog Declines to Discipline Executive Director Over Alleged Anti-Gay Email
MSN – Matt Arco (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 3/28/2023
The head of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) will not be disciplined for allegations of workplace homophobia, racism, and insubordination after members of the commission cleared him of wrongdoing. The hearing for ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle was held after a colleague filed a complaint about an email Brindle sent in response to a National Coming Out Day announcement. It also came as the Legislature is considering a controversial bill that would reshape ELEC, including allowing Gov. Phil Murphy to replace the agency’s current commissioners and ultimately oust Brindle.
New Jersey – Critics Slam Lawmakers’ Push to Raise Campaign Donation Limits
New Jersey Monitor – Nikita Biryukov | Published: 3/30/2023
New Jersey lawmakers in both chambers are set to approve an overhaul of the state’s campaign finance system that, among numerous other things, would drastically increase how much donors can give to candidates and political parties. The bill, expected to receive final votes in the state Assembly and Senate on March 30, would double the $2,600 limit on contributions to candidates, roughly double the $37,000 cap on donations to county political parties, and triple the $25,000 maximum contribution limit to committees run by the state political parties and the Legislature’s leaders.
New Mexico – Steak Dinners and Ski Passes: As lobbyists spend to influence New Mexico Legislature, 2 lawmakers seek more transparency
Albuquerque Journal – Dan McKay | Published: 3/23/2023
State Sens. Jeff Steinborn and Mark Moores say New Mexico’s lobbyist reporting requirements miss critical information. They pushed for legislation this year that would require lobbyists to disclose what bills they are lobbying on and the position they take. Senate Bill 218 advanced through one committee but died without reaching the full Senate for a vote. Meager as the required spending reports are, Steinborn said, they nevertheless hint at lobbyists’ influence.
New Mexico – Council Walks Back Campaign Code Rewrite
Santa Fe Reporter – Andrew Oxford | Published: 3/29/2023
Santa Fe’s mayor and city council walked back proposed changes to local campaign finance rules after the municipal ethics board raised concerns the update – coming just months before an election – could lead to less transparency about who is spending money to influence voters. City Clerk Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic backed the election code rewrite as a means of simplifying Santa Fe’s labyrinthine campaign rules and more closely aligning local policies with state law.
New Mexico – NM Legislators Fail to Pass Ethical Conduct Bill as Lobbyists Fear Unsafe Working Conditions
Source New Mexico – Megan Gleason | Published: 3/23/2023
An effort to update and standardize professional conduct standards for public employees, including lawmakers, failed to get through the 2023 legislative session. As a result, lobbyists say people who work and visit the Roundhouse will still need to assign their own measures to feel safe in Santa Fe. The current guidelines already say public employees cannot ask for money or something else of value in exchange for a vote or other official favors, but this bill would have specified that sexual acts also cannot be traded.
New York – NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov Used Government Email to Solicit Business
MSN – Chris Sommerfeldt (New York Daily News) | Published: 3/26/2023
New York City Councilperson Inna Vernikov used her government email account to solicit business for a self-defense company she has been involved with. In an email from her government account to constituents, Vernikov wrote she has “partnered with” Legion to offer classes in Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art. Vernikov said she is no longer on Legion’s board. Richard Briffault, a former chairperson of the Conflicts of Interest Board, said Vernikov likely violated ethics law even if she is not currently involved with Legion in a formal capacity, as the rules bar public officials from using “any city resources for any non-city purpose.”
North Carolina – N.C. Board Removes Election Officials Who Refused to Certify
Yahoo News – Hannah Schoenbaum (Associated Press) | Published: 3/28/2023
The North Carolina State Board of Elections removed two local election officials who had refused to certify their county’s 2022 results after officials determined they violated state law. The elections board voted unanimously to dismiss Surry County elections secretary Jerry Forestieri and board member Timothy DeHaan in one of the strongest disciplinary actions taken against local officials across the U.S. who have delayed or refused to certify election results.
Oklahoma – Oklahoma Rep. Dean Davis Claimed ‘Legislative Immunity’ During His Arrest. Are State Officials Really Exempt?
Yahoo News – Jessie Christopher Smith (Oklahoman) | Published: 3/28/2023
The circumstances and fallout regarding the arrest of Oklahoma Rep. Dean Davis have generated discussion about constitutional privileges for lawmakers and the exact boundaries of the protection. During his arrest at a bar in Oklahoma City, Davis presented his legislative identification card to police, asking an officer to read it aloud. The card contains language from the state constitution that prohibits a legislator from being arrested under certain circumstances. After reading the card, the officer told Davis he was not at the Capitol, and he was going to be arrested on a complaint of public drunkenness.
Oregon – Port of Morrow Commissioners, Already Under Investigation, Keep Voting on Amazon’s Data Center Tax Deals
MSN – Mike Rogoway (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 3/24/2023
Two commissioners at the Port of Morrow who each own a stake in Amazon’s local fiber-optics provider voted recently to give the city of Boardman a share of new tax deals for data centers the company wants to build outside city limits. They voted even though their prior votes on the port’s dealings with Amazon, a customer of their fiber business, are already the subject of a state ethics investigation. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has said state law allows these latest votes, provided they acknowledge publicly they might profit from the deals.
Virginia – Lawsuit Filed Over Nomination Method for One Va. GOP Race
MSN – Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) | Published: 3/27/2023
A court feud has erupted over the method of nomination Virginia Republicans will use in one state Senate race, with one party official arguing Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s chief of staff and the attorney general put pressure on the state elections commissioner to change a primary to a convention. The case puts the spotlight back on the arcane business of nomination selection that split the party as Youngkin sought his party’s gubernatorial nomination. At that time, the multimillionaire political newcomer sought a primary, a format that tends to favor candidates with more money, and accused one of his rivals of trying to tilt the playing field toward a convention.
Washington – Those Mailers Telling You to Call Your Elected Leaders? They May Soon Tell You Who Paid for Them
KNKX – Scott Greenstone | Published: 3/27/2023
Legislation advancing in Washington would require groups sponsoring ads that urge people to contact lawmakers about a bill to list their major donors. When the Legislature is in session, the bill would require groups lobbying the public to register who paid for and worked on the campaign within 24 hours of the ad being presented to the public.
West Virginia – PSC Orders Audit of Mon Power, Potomac Edison Lobbying Expenses
Charleston Gazette – Mike Tony | Published: 3/27/2023
Wisconsin – Costly Court Race Points to a Politicized Future for Judicial Elections
DNyuz – Reid Epstein (New York Times) | Published: 3/28/2023
The campaign for a swing seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court – officially nonpartisan but positively awash in partisanship – brings together the old and new ways of judicial politics in America and offers a preview of what might be to come. The race could lead to a sea change in how state Supreme Court races are contested in the other where high court justices are elected, injecting never-before-seen amounts of money, politicization, and voter interest.
Wisconsin – Wis. School Blocks 1st-Graders from Singing ‘Rainbowland’ in Spring Show
MSN – María Luisa Paúl (Washington Post) | Published: 3/29/2023
Melissa Tempel’s first grade class at Heyer Elementary School in Wisconsin has spent weeks preparing for its upcoming spring concert. Students were set to perform “Rainbowland,” a duet by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton, with lyrics that advocate for inclusion. But within one day of students learning the song, Tempel said school administration asked her to remove “Rainbowland” from the concert. The district said it called for the song to be removed because its lyrics “could be deemed controversial” according to a school board policy on controversial issues in the classroom.
March 29, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Maryland: “Baltimore Board of Ethics Makes Mosby Defense Fund Donor List Public, Minus Names of Donors” by Emily Opilo (Baltimore Sun) for MSN Elections Virginia: “Lawsuit Filed Over Nomination Method for One Va. GOP Race” by Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) for MSN […]
Maryland: “Baltimore Board of Ethics Makes Mosby Defense Fund Donor List Public, Minus Names of Donors” by Emily Opilo (Baltimore Sun) for MSN
Virginia: “Lawsuit Filed Over Nomination Method for One Va. GOP Race” by Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) for MSN
Wisconsin: “Costly Court Race Points to a Politicized Future for Judicial Elections” by Reid Epstein (New York Times) for DNyuz
National: “Activist Group Led by Ginni Thomas Received Nearly $600,000 in Anonymous Donations” by Shawn Boberg and Emma Brown (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “AP Sources: Judge rules Pence must testify before grand jury” by Jill Colvin and Eric Tucker (Associated Press) for MSN
Oklahoma: “Oklahoma Rep. Dean Davis Claimed ‘Legislative Immunity’ During His Arrest. Are State Officials Really Exempt?” by Jessie Christopher Smith (Oklahoman) for Yahoo News
Washington: “Those Mailers Telling You to Call Your Elected Leaders? They May Soon Tell You Who Paid for Them” by Scott Greenstone for KNKX
West Virginia: “PSC Orders Audit of Mon Power, Potomac Edison Lobbying Expenses” by Mike Tony for Charleston Gazette
March 28, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Washington DC: “D.C. Campaign Finance Office Tosses Complaints About Silverman’s Poll” by Michael Brice-Saddler (Washington Post) for MSN Ethics Florida: “Florida Bill Would Shield DeSantis’s Travel Records” by Nick Corasaniti (New York Times) for DNyuz National: “Schools Forced to Divert Staff Amid Historic […]
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