July 14, 2023 •
National/Federal Trump Aide Walt Nauta Pleads Not Guilty in Classified Documents Case MSN – Shayna Jacobs and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 7/6/2023 Donald Trump’s personal aide, Walt Nauta, pleaded not guilty to charges he schemed with the former president to […]
MSN – Shayna Jacobs and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 7/6/2023
Donald Trump’s personal aide, Walt Nauta, pleaded not guilty to charges he schemed with the former president to hide classified documents from authorities at Mar-a-Lago, moving boxes containing top-secret government materials for Trump. Nauta was indicted along with Trump on five criminal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice. Nauta was also charged with lying to the FBI.
MSN – Tamia Fowlkes (Washington Post) | Published: 7/9/2023
For many voters under 35 years of age, especially those on the left, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings have become a political issue in the same way that climate change, gun violence, and immigration have over the course of the past two decades, some political scientists and organizers have said. Democrats and liberals have viewed the court as an institution that historically protects the rights of marginalized groups. But Republican politicians and activists on the right have remade the court: Former President Trump, backed by a GOP Senate, appointed three justices to create a conservative majority.
MSN – Edward Fitzpatrick (Boston Globe) | Published: 7/11/2023
He did not make the cut when the Museum of Political Corruption inducted the first five members of its Hall of Shame in 2021, a group that includes former President Richard Nixon and William “Boss: Tweed. But former Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. did make the second group of inductees in 2022, along with former Vice President Spiro Agnew and former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker.
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 7/11/2023
The Justice Department will no longer seek to make the U.S. government the defendants in a lawsuit filed against Donald Trump by a writer who says the former president raped her several decades ago. The decision comes after three years in which the department, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, argued Trump was acting within his presidential duties when he denied sexually assaulting columnist E. Jean Carroll. That determination made Trump, like other federal employees acting in their official capacity, totally immune from any liability.
MSN – Laura Nelson (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 7/9/2023
The FBI, along with consumer groups, have been warning for years of the rise of fraudulent PACs amid surging political spending by independent groups hoping to influence the electoral process. With the 2024 election approaching, including what is expected to be a highly charged presidential election, the climate is primed for another bumper crop of swindlers. Court decisions over the last decade that loosened restrictions on fundraising and led to a surge in independent expenditures in elections have also made it easier for scammers to blend in among the legitimate committees.
MSN – Jeremy Barr and Will Sommer (Washington Post) | Published: 7/12/2023
Fox News, which recently settled two separate high-profile legal challenges for approximately $800 million, is now facing a lawsuit from a man who said the network presented him as a “scapegoat” for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Ray Epps attended the pro-Trump rallies in Washington in January 2021 but was not among the people found to have breached the Capitol building and has not been charged for his conduct. In subsequent weeks, then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson highlighted a video clip of Epps outside the Capitol to suggest Epps might have been a government informant, a notion Epps and the FBI have strongly denied.
MSN – Roger Sollenberger (Daily Beast) | Published: 7/13/2023
The Republican National Committee requires at least 40,000 individual donors as one of its criteria for allowing a candidate on the stage for the first presidential debate in August. North Dakota Dov. Doug Burgum, one of the announced candidates is far from the household name who could gather all those donors. His solution is to give 50,000 campaign donors $20 all-purpose gift cards in exchange for a one-dollar contribution. The strategy could create its own set of problems, according to campaign finance experts who say it may not be legal.
MSN – Daniela Altimari (Roll Call) | Published: 7/13/2023
Less than three weeks after the FEC deadlocked on a request to develop regulations governing so-called deepfake political ads generated using artificial intelligence tools, a non-partisan advocacy group pushing for the new rules is trying again. Public Citizen filed a petition to the FEC seeking regulations regarding deliberately misleading campaign communications generated through artificial intelligence.
Seattle Times – Abbie VanSickle and Steve Eder (New York Times) | Published: 7/9/2023
After Clarence Thomas joined the U.S. Supreme Court, he was soon accepted by another exclusive club: the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. At Horatio Alger, Thomas moved into the inner circle, a cluster of wealthy, largely conservative members who lionized him and all he had achieved. During his Horatio Alger tenure, interviews and documents show Thomas has received benefits from a broad cohort of powerful friends. They include major donors to conservative causes with broad policy and political interests and much at stake in Supreme Court decisions, even if they were not directly involved in the cases.
Yahoo News – Natalie Adams (Politico) | Published: 7/10/2023
It now pays to be a supporter of Vivek Ramaswamy’s presidential bid, at least for those who can convince their friends to click a link and donate. The Republican is launching the “Vivek Kitchen Cabinet,” a scheme that promises to pay participants 10 percent of any money they raise for his campaign. The campaign continues to employ three traditional fundraising professionals to generate donations, and the new program will mostly generate new small-dollar gifts.
Yahoo News – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 7/9/2023
Over the past year, eight Republican-led states quit a nonpartisan program designed to keep voter rolls accurate and up to date. Top GOP election officials in those states publicly argued the program was mismanaged. But experts say the Electronic Registration Information Center was among the best nationwide tool states had to catch people trying to vote twice in the same election. Now, those Republican-led states who left, and other states who lost access to their data, are scrambling to police so-called double voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Yahoo News – Cat Zakrzewski, Naomi Nix, and Joseph Menn (Washington Post) | Published: 7/8/2023
An injunction that places extraordinary limits on the government’s communications with technology companies undermines initiatives to harden social media firms against election interference, civil rights groups, academics, and tech industry insiders say. After companies and the federal government spent years expanding efforts to combat online falsehoods in the wake of the 2016 election, the ruling is the latest sign of the pendulum swinging in the other direction. Tech companies are facing new election threats as leaps in artificial intelligence give bad actors new tools to create fake videos, photos, and ads.
Yahoo News – Josh Meyer (USA Today) | Published: 7/10/2023
The Justice Department filed charges against the co-director of a think tank, alleging he acted as an illegal arms broker and unregistered agent for the Beijing government while also seeking to help China obtain Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions. Gal Luft is accused of recruiting and paying a former high-ranking U.S. government official and advisor to then President-elect Trump on behalf of principals based in China without registering as a foreign agent. Luft has accused President Biden’s family members of bribery and received payments from individuals with ties to Chinese military intelligence or energy firms.
Yahoo News – Lisa Kashinsky and Shia Kapos (Politico) | Published: 7/12/2023
Donald Trump changed the playbook when he ushered in both a new era of hyper-partisan politics and vicious personal put-downs. Governors deprived of foils in states with one-party rule are increasingly turning to trolling their ideological opposites in faraway places. As culture wars rage, it can help state executives shore up their home bases and amplify their agendas to a new, national audience. The brief spotlight each high-profile gambit brings is key for eager governors positioning for higher office.
From the States and Municipalities
Yahoo News – Sean Maguire (Anchorage Daily News) | Published: 7/2/2023
A newly filed ballot measure would set term limits for Alaka lawmakers. Legislators would be restricted to serving a maximum of 12 years consecutively in the state House or Senate, and they then would be required to take a six-year break before serving again. They would also be limited to serving for a lifetime maximum of 20 years as members of the Legislature.
Arizona Mirror – Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Published: 7/11/2023
The Arizona Legislature has been in session for 184 days with no end in sight. Many Capitol regulars say this session has been more tense, more partisan, and contentious than previous sessions. From a practical standpoint, the shift has transformed how work gets done at the Capitol – or does not get done. Some legislative veterans say they have seen this change coming for years.
CalMatters – Sameea Kamal | Published: 7/12/2023
The number of election-related bills introduced in California this legislative session, close to 50, is average, election officials said. But that number has been whittled down since January, and a deadline may narrow the active proposals more. The most sweeping bills got shelved in the Legislature. Instead, lawmakers are focusing on ballot measure language, local redistricting, voting integrity, and campaign finance tweaks before the 2024 election.
Courthouse News Service – Michael Gennaro | Published: 7/12/2023
In closing arguments, federal prosecutors painted former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission chief Harlan Kelly as a conniving businessperson who misused his authority and connections to rig the bidding process for city contracts. His defense argued Kelly was simply naïve. Kelly stands accused of two separate schemes – collaborating with businessperson Walter Wong to get Wong a city contract to install streetlights, and defrauding Quicken Loans of $1.3 million by lying on a loan application to remodel his home.
KCRA – Ashley Zavala | Published: 7/7/2023
A bill in California that would require large tech companies including Google and Facebook to pay news outlets a fee for posting their content has been shelved for the year. The California Journalism Preservation Act is primarily meant to help generate funds for newsrooms across the state. The bill’s author, Assemblyperson Buffy Wicks, said the decision to hold off on moving the measure forward this year was meant to give lawmakers more time to work on what would be a first in the nation law.
MSN – Liam Dillon and Doug Smith (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 7/11/2023
At a March press conference, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced they found the best person to prevent 1,500 formerly homeless Skid Row tenants from losing their homes once again. The tenants’ nonprofit landlord, Skid Row Housing Trust, had financially collapsed. The pair petitioned a judge to put the trust’s 29 buildings under a receivership led by Mark Adams. Feldstein Soto did not mention that Adams had hosted a fundraiser for her in October, with Adams and his associates contributing at least $8,500 to her election bid.
MSN – Nick Coltrain (Denver Post) | Published: 7/10/2023
At least $20 million was spent on lobbying during this past legislative session in Colorado, not counting money spent in the lead-up to the General Assembly’s January start date or spending unreported in a state database. It represents a snapshot of how industry and interest groups try to sway lawmakers into supporting, altering, or defeating some of the hundreds of measures considered by lawmakers every year. The secretary of state’s office, which manages the record-keeping for lobbing disclosures, said it found some reporting issues it is seeking to correct.
District of Columbia – Disciplinary Panel Calls for Rudy Giuliani’s Disbarment
Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 7/7/2023
A District of Columbia-based bar discipline committee concluded Rudy Giuliani should be disbarred for “frivolous” and “destructive” efforts to derail the 2020 presidential election in support of former President Trump. Giuliani plans to challenge the panel’s findings and recommended sanction in front of a larger bar-discipline board. His ultimate disbarment or other penalty would be decided by the Court of Appeals.
MSN – Sally Goldenberg and Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 7/7/2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew to New Hampshire for a campaign swing that coincided nearly exactly with the path of a private plane connected to a wealthy supporter. Daniel Doyle Jr. owns a plane whose flight path lines up with DeSantis’ July 4 trip to the Granite State. Neither DeSantis’ presidential campaign nor representatives for Doyle would say if the governor was aboard. It is a recurring pattern where DeSantis and the organizations assisting him remain quiet about who is bankrolling his travels and his frequent use of private charter jets.
Yahoo News – Dara Kam (Miami Herald) | Published: 7/11/2023
A state lawyer filed a motion asking the Florida Commission on Ethics to dismiss a complaint against former state Sen. Jack Latvala, more than five years after he resigned from office amid sexual-harassment allegations. The request came after two women critical to the case refused to participate. Latvala left office in 2017 after the release of a special master’s report about allegations he had sexually harassed Rachel Perrin Rogers, a former high-ranking Senate aide. He denied wrongdoing with the aide but admitted he had an extramarital affair with former lobbyist Laura McLeod.
Yahoo News – Sarah Blaskey, Tess Riski, and Joey Flechas (Miami Herald) | Published: 7/13/2023
Mayor Francis Suarez watched the Miami Grand Prix from a viewing party as the personal guest of Florida’s wealthiest person, Citadel Chief Executive Officer Ken Griffin. Citadel has lobbyists registered in the city as the company pursues various development projects. Florida ethics laws prohibit elected officials from taking expensive gifts from anyone with business in front of their city. Citadel spokesperson Zia Ahmed said Suarez covered the cost of the events. He refused to say when Suarez paid or how much. Neither Citadel nor the city would provide documentation confirming the payment.
Georgia Public Broadcasting – Donna Lowry | Published: 7/6/2023
Georgia candidates can now use campaign money they raise for childcare. The funds can also cover care for people who have elderly parents or disabled dependents. In a bipartisan effort, Reps. Stacey Evans and Beth Camp asked the state ethics commission to align Georgia’s campaign regulations with federal rules. In 2018, the FEC ruling expanded to allow elder and dependent care payments.
Yahoo News – Kate Brumback (Associated Press) | Published: 7/12/2023
The Georgia State Election Board asked a judge to order a conservative voting organization to produce information to help investigate its claims of ballot trafficking in the state. True the Vote filed complaints with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November 2021, including one saying it had received “a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the 2020 general election and in a runoff election in January 2021. True the Vote’s assertions were relied upon heavily for the film “2000 Mules,” a widely debunked film by conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.
MSN – Ray Long and A.D. Quig (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 7/6/2023
In a historic decision, a federal judge ended the half-century-old anti-patronage case launched to fight the stubborn and unfair use of politics to decide most hiring, firing, and promotion in state and local government in Illinois. The judge granted the request of Democratic Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough to eliminate federal oversight of her office even though she had been criticized for politicizing hiring. The clerk’s office is the last of multiple public offices to be relieved of the supervision in the long-running case.
MSN – Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 7/10/2023
For the first time, federal prosecutors detailed wiretaps capturing Tim Mapes, the indicted former chief of staff to ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, discussing issues central to the scandal that rocked state government – from how to handle a burgeoning sexual harassment scandal to Mapes’ ouster from the speaker’s team and his encounter with the FBI. The filing comes as prosecutors are seeking to play many of the recordings at Mapes’ trial on charges he lied to a grand jury investigating Madigan and his relationship with confidant Michael McClain.
CNN – Ethan Cohen | Published: 7/8/2023
Iowa Republicans voted to hold their first-in-the-nation caucuses on January 15 next year, setting up the earliest start of the presidential nominating process since 2012. While there are still several moving parts, the schedule for next year’s early 2024 Republican nominating contests before Super Tuesday on March 5 is coming into focus.
Louisiana – How One Baton Rouge Lobbyist Is Harnessing AI
Baton Rouge Business Report – Holly Duchmann | Published: 7/7/2023
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing how business owners and workers do their job as different industries experiment to see how the technology can be applied to their fields. Louisiana lobbyist Mary-Patricia Wray says AI tools like ChatGPT allow her to get more work done than in years past. Wray, founder of Top Drawer Strategies, has been testing ways to use AI at her firm. “Old school lobbying is dying,” Wray said. “… A donation is not going to convince a savvy, young legislator to go home and tell their constituents why they voted a certain way.”
MSN – Lance Reynolds (Boston Herald) | Published: 7/6/2023
State ethics officials are continuing to press the former Methuen police chief who resigned in 2021 after a scathing investigative report questioned his handling of contracts that would have sent ranking officers’ pay soaring. The Massachusetts Ethics Commission issued an order to show cause alleging Joseph Solomon violated the conflict-of-interest law by changing a draft collective bargaining agreement to increase his salary and providing unwarranted benefits to five intermittent officers.
Yahoo Finance – Nicholas Gilmore (Santa Fe New Mexican) | Published: 7/10/2023
Santa Fe County officials contacted ethics board members recently and asked them to serve another term. Board member Michael Rosanbalm responded by resigning and released a scathing letter about an updated ethics ordinance. The changes were a milestone for the board, whose role initially seemed uncertain after it was created in response to what would become a years-long corruption case.
MSN – Jake Offenhartz and Michael Sisak (Associated Press) | Published: 7/7/2023
Six people were charged in an alleged scheme to divert tens of thousands of dollars in public money to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign months before his election. The indictment does not implicate Adams or other current city employees in the plot. Rather, it describes a straw donor conspiracy orchestrated by people with business before the city who hoped to maximize their donations in exchange for political favors.
MSN – Bill Bush (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 7/11/2023
John Raphael will serve six months for his conviction on corruption charges after U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson resentenced him. Watson originally sentenced Raphael to 18 months house arrest with no prison time for his role in a bribery scheme for a food services contract at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Federal prosecutors appealed Watson’s sentence to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court, which vacated the sentence and ordered the judge to resentence Raphael.
Yahoo News – Doug Livingston (Akron Beacon Journal) | Published: 7/9/2023
Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens is asking state Rep. Bob Young to resign amid multiple criminal charges, including domestic violence, that allegedly occurred at Young’s residence following a GOP fundraiser. In a criminal affidavit, investigators with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office allege Young struck a female relative with an open hand at his house and, at another residence, rammed a male family member who “did sustain cuts from broken glass.”
MSN – Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Washington Post) | Published: 7/7/2023
Divisions rippling through the Texas Republican Party ahead of state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial on September 5 that political strategists say is likely to further divide its members and spur primary challenges next year. The state GOP’s infighting mimics the party’s national dispute, which has pitted traditional conservatives against Donald Trump allies. Paxton is perhaps the most powerful Trump surrogate in Texas.
Stamford Advocate – Sam Metz (Associated Press) | Published: 7/11/2023
The Utah Supreme Court heard arguments on whether courts should allow the state’s Republican-majority Legislature to carve up Democratic-leaning Salt Lake County into four congressional districts. The debate asks whether state courts can review whether district maps drawn by elected officials violate the state constitution and is the latest battle over how states draw political maps and follows a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling denying Legislatures absolute power to do so.
Lynnwood Times – Mario Lotmore | Published: 7/9/2023
The Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) fined Lynnwood Councilperson Josh Binda $300 for failing to file his Personal Financial Affairs Statement on time. It will be waived if he pays $1,250 in fines from two previous violations. Binda said he did not see any of the nine reminder notices sent to both his personal and city council email accounts. He also said he recently discovered the PDC only accepts payments for fines in check form. “I have never written a check … before …,” Binda told the PDC. “… The whole checking process is fairly new to me …. I usually do electronic [payments].”
Seattle Times – Jerry Cornfield (Washington State Standard) | Published: 7/10/2023
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is facing further scrutiny over his shifting of $1.2 million in contributions from past campaigns into the account for his 2024 bid for governor. A complaint contends the individual donors of those contributions must be identified and their past donations, originally for Ferguson’s re-election and now considered “surplus” funds, should count toward contribution limits in his campaign for governor. A second complaint continues to be investigated. Both raise the question of whether Ferguson must abide by recent Public Disclosure Commission actions to require greater disclosure of the source of surplus funds.
July 12, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “This Republican Candidate Is Offering $20 Gift Cards for $1 Donations” by Anjali Huynh (New York Times) for Seattle Times Elections National: “How Supreme Court Decisions Are Activating a Generation of Young Voters” by Tamia Fowlkes (Washington Post) for MSN Ethics […]
National: “This Republican Candidate Is Offering $20 Gift Cards for $1 Donations” by Anjali Huynh (New York Times) for Seattle Times
National: “How Supreme Court Decisions Are Activating a Generation of Young Voters” by Tamia Fowlkes (Washington Post) for MSN
Illinois: “‘Let Me Put You on with the Boss, OK?’: Feds detail wiretaps involving former Michael Madigan chief of staff” by Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) for MSN
New Mexico: “County Ethics Board Member Resigns Over Opposition to Year-Old Code Change” by Nicholas Gilmore (Santa Fe New Mexican) for Yahoo Finance
Ohio: “Under Appeals Court Order, Federal Judge Sentences John Raphael to 6 Months in Prison” by Bill Bush (Columbus Dispatch) for MSN
Arizona: “Arizona’s ‘Radically Different’ and Hyper-Partisan Legislature” by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy for Arizona Mirror
National: “US Says Missing GOP Whistleblower Is Arms Trafficker, Chinese Agent” by Josh Meyer (USA Today) for Yahoo News
Utah: “Utah Supreme Court Scrutinizes Process That Sliced State’s Most Democrat-Heavy District into 4” by Sam Metz (Associated Press) for Stamford Advocate
July 11, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “Vivek Ramaswamy Is Paying Supporters to Find Him Donors” by Natalie Adams (Politico) for Yahoo News Washington: “Lynnwood Councilman Tells PDC He Doesn’t Know How to Write Checks to Pay Fines” by Mario Lotmore for Lynnwood Times Elections Iowa: “Iowa Republicans […]
National: “Vivek Ramaswamy Is Paying Supporters to Find Him Donors” by Natalie Adams (Politico) for Yahoo News
Washington: “Lynnwood Councilman Tells PDC He Doesn’t Know How to Write Checks to Pay Fines” by Mario Lotmore for Lynnwood Times
Iowa: “Iowa Republicans Will Hold 2024 Caucuses on January 15” by Ethan Cohen for CNN
National: “GOP States Quit the Program That Fights Voter Fraud. Now They’re Scrambling.” by Zach Montellaro (Politico) for Yahoo News
California: “California Bill That Would Make Google, Meta, Twitter and Apple Pay for News Won’t Move Forward This Year” by Ashley Zavala for KCRA
National: “Where Clarence Thomas Entered an Elite Circle and Opened a Door to the Court” by Abbie VanSickle and Steve Eder (New York Times) for Seattle Times
Colorado: “Here’s How Much Lobbyists Spent to Sway Lawmakers During the 2023 Session” by Nick Coltrain (Denver Post) for MSN
Louisiana: “How One Baton Rouge Lobbyist Is Harnessing AI” by Holly Duchmann for Baton Rouge Business Report
July 10, 2023 •
Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate completed their final session for the year and adjourned sine die on March 30. Bills related to campaign finance and lobbying reports were passed and signed by the governor. Senate Bill 255 requires […]
Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate completed their final session for the year and adjourned sine die on March 30.
Bills related to campaign finance and lobbying reports were passed and signed by the governor.
Senate Bill 255 requires campaign finance reports to be filed 42 days before any election instead of just general elections.
Senate Bill 1630 increases penalties for repeated late filings of lobbyist reports by $50 for each successive violation.
Both bills are effective 90 days after the adjournment.
July 7, 2023 •
National/Federal ‘I Get My Butt Kicked Every 20 Minutes’: Life in a state legislature’s superminority MSN – Liz Crampton (Politico) | Published: 6/29/2023 There are 29 supermajorities in state Legislatures controlled by either Democrats or Republicans, up from 21 in 2019. In […]
MSN – Liz Crampton (Politico) | Published: 6/29/2023
There are 29 supermajorities in state Legislatures controlled by either Democrats or Republicans, up from 21 in 2019. In addition, there are 51 House or Senate chambers where the minority party makes up fewer than one third of seats. The result is a shrinking minority voice drowned out by a dominant majority that can stomp out any sliver of opposition. While lawmakers said most day-to-day dealings between the parties tend to be peaceful, sometimes tensions between the supermajority and superminority can build to high-profile stunts fueled by pent-up hostility.
MSN – Cat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 7/4/2023
A federal judge in Louisiana restricted the Biden administration from communicating with social media platforms about broad swaths of content online in an ongoing case that could have significant effects on the First Amendment. The injunction came in response to a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri, who allege government officials went too far in their efforts to encourage social media companies to address posts they worried could contribute to vaccine hesitancy during the pandemic or upend elections.
MSN – Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell (Washington Post) | Published: 7/2/2023
The U.S. House’s focus on the far-right’s demands over the past month has irritated Republicans who represent swing districts or are worried an extreme legislative agenda will push voters away and hand the majority to Democrats in 2024. So they are learning to flex their procedural muscles, largely behind the scenes, to keep some proposals they see as most damaging off the House floor.
Seattle Times – Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 6/29/2023
Weeks after Donald Trump was indicted on charges of illegally retaining national security records and obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim them, a federal grand jury in Miami is still investigating aspects of the case. In recent days, the grand jury has issued subpoenas to a handful of people who are connected to the inquiry. While it remains unclear who received the subpoenas and the kind of information prosecutors were seeking to obtain, it is clear the grand jury has stayed active and investigators are digging even after an indictment was issued against Trump and a co-defendant, Walt Nauta.
From the States and Municipalities
Global News – Canadian Press | Published: 7/4/2023
Elections BC banned political organizer Mark Marissen and other Progress Vancouver candidates from running in the next round of local elections after it deregistered their party for breaking campaign finance rules. The party’s disclosure reports revealed an “impermissible” $50,000 loan, improperly recorded contributions, donations from outside British Columbia, and contributions that exceeded legal limits, Elections BC said.
MSN – Hannah Denham and Joseph Bryant (AL.com) | Published: 7/5/2023
Elected officials pose with giant checks, shake hands with constituents, and smile for the cameras as they hand out public money to schools, police departments, and nonprofits in Birmingham and Jefferson County. Now the source of those grants has come under scrutiny after a federal court case a kickback scheme involving two Alabama Lawmakers, a legislative aide, and a youth baseball league, which prosecutors say resulted in the misuse of thousands of public dollars spent on personal credit card bills and a mortgage instead of its intended community service.
Anchorage Daily News – Iris Samuels | Published: 7/6/2023
The group that championed Alaska’s ranked-choice voting reform filed a complaint against several individuals and entities that are leading an effort to repeal the new election laws, alleging they violated multiple campaign finance rules and obscured the source of their funding in the process. The complaint alleges opponents of ranked-choice voting founded a church called the Ranked Choice Education Association that could have allowed donors to gain tax advantages for their contributions while skirting disclosure requirements.
MSN – Leigh Ann Caldwell, Josh Dawsey, and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) | Published: 7/1/2023
In a phone call in late 2020, then-President Trump tried to pressure Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to overturn the state’s presidential election results, saying if enough fraudulent votes could be found it would overcome Trump’s narrow loss in the state. Trump also repeatedly asked former Vice President Mike Pence to call Ducey and prod him to find the evidence to substantiate Trump’s claims of fraud. Pence called Ducey several times to discuss the election, they said, though he did not follow Trump’s directions to pressure the governor.
MSN – Andrew Sheeler (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 7/5/2023
If supporters of Assembly Bill 886 – the California Journalism Preservation Act – prevail, Google and Meta will have to compensate local news publishers for linking to or displaying their work, paying potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to news outlets. California is on the cutting edge of a larger movement to hold social media companies financially accountable for the news they use.
Connecticut Mirror – Akielly Hu (Grist) | Published: 7/4/2023
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill into law that prohibits the state’s investor-owned utilities from charging customers for lobbying expenses and other efforts to sway political outcomes. The law bans utilities from charging customers for trade association dues, donations to political advocacy nonprofits that seek to influence elections, public relations expenses, and fees for consultants and lawyers hired by utilities to argue for rate increases.
MSN – Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 7/3/2023
U.S. Chief District Court Judge Mark Walker blocked a new election law pushed by Republicans that puts restrictions on voter registration groups, calling it “Florida’s latest assault on the right to vote.” Walker granted a preliminary injunction against the law days after it went into effect. Walker has repeatedly ruled against the state in past legal challenges to election measures put in place by the GOP-controlled Legislature.
MSN – Joey Flechas, Sarah Blaskey, and Tess Riski (Miami Herald) | Published: 6/30/2023
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and his city staff joined forces with developer Rishi Kapoor to draft a new city law the developer saw as vital for his $70 million real estate project in Coconut Grove Kapoor later paid Suarez at least $170,000 for consulting for the developer in regular $10,000 increments dating back to at least 2021. The mayor’s financial deal with the developer is currently under federal investigation. Newly obtained emails reveal how the relationship between Kapoor and the mayor’s office began years before the aide made a call to the city’s zoning director, who ultimately overrode a code requirement.
Yahoo News – Meg Kinnard (Associated Press) | Published: 7/5/2023
Attorney Lin Wood, who filed legal challenges seeking to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, is relinquishing his law license, electing to retire from practicing rather than face possible disbarment. Multiple states have weighed disciplining him for pushing false claims he defeated Joe Biden. Wood asked officials in his home state of Georgia to “retire” his law license in light of “disciplinary proceedings pending against me.”
Indiana Environmental Reporter – Sade Ajishegiri, Sophie Kaelble, Nic Napier, Lily Staatz, Jasmine Wright, and Lizzie Wright (Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism) | Published: 6/30/2023
Indiana Lawmakers must file statements of economic interest at the start of each legislative session. Their employers, businesses they own or have stakes in, lobbyists they have relationships with, and government agencies they are affiliated with are all disclosed in the filings. Despite the legal requirement for disclosure, little in state law precludes legislators from pushing bills tied to their economic interests.
WKAR – Rick Pluta | Published: 7/2/2023
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission ended its map drawing more than a year ago. But member Anthony Eid’s new leadership role within an advocacy group is raising questions about a possible conflict-of-interest. Michigan Voices announced Eid would be taking over as the group’s deputy director. The Detroit News noted text on the Michigan Voices website bragging about its work when it came to redistricting.
Minnesota Public Radio – Dana Ferguson | Published: 7/3/2023
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is suing over a new law set to take effect next year, alleging it would chill businesses’ free speech if allowed to take effect. The organization took issue with provisions in a broader election law that bar companies with foreign influenced ownership from making political contributions. Under the law, companies would face legal penalties if they make independent expenditures or contribute to ballot question committees and have foreign ownership thresholds that meet or exceed state limits.
Magnolia Tribune – Sarah Ulmer | Published: 7/3/2023
The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office announced the online campaign finance filing system is being disabled due to concerns over reliability. The next deadline to file campaign finance reports is July 10. Candidates and political committees must now file via email, mail, or fax, or in person.
Missouri Independent – Erik Galicia | Published: 6/30/2023
Despite voters’ attempts to tighten Missouri’s campaign finance laws, many former state legislators keep control of tens of thousands of campaign dollars without running for public office again. A review of hundreds of former lawmakers’ campaign finance reports shows some of them drew from their candidate committees to spend on campaigns that never happened. They bought computers, reimbursed themselves and their relatives without specifying the expenses, and paid rent for their offices.
Las Vegas Sun – Casey Harrison | Published: 7/2/2023
The Nevada Democratic Party is requesting records from Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office after he vetoed a bill that would have required the disclosure of donors from the nonprofit that organized his post-election inauguration events. Party officials claim Lombardo’s camp established the nonprofit to prevent disclosing who contributed to the fund and how much. If the fund was established as part of a PAC, donors would be disclosed.
Nevada Current – Dana Gentry | Published: 7/6/2023
Consultant Jeremy Aguero and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Steve Hill advocated for $380 million in public funding for a new stadium without registering as lobbyists for the Oakland A’s. The team signed a commitment to move to Las Vegas and play in the stadium for 30 years. Among the many effects of COVID-19 was the inability of lobbyists to register for two special sessions in 2020 and the beginning of the regular session in 2021 when the legislative building was closed to the public.
Albuquerque Journal – Colleen Heild | Published: 6/28/2023
Milton Boutte, who is supposed to start serving his prison term later this summer, asked to remain free during his appeal of the conviction to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Boutte was described as the “architect” of a scheme that siphoned money from sole source federal contracts to benefit the Big Crow Program Office and its lobbyists. Three others indicted in the case have pleaded guilty.
Buffalo News – Chris Bragg | Published: 7/4/2023
During its final legislative session day this year on June 9, the state Senate voted to pass a bill allowing New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to enter a new gaming compact with the Seneca Nation. Later that day, word leaked that the Hochul administration’s deal with the Nation included allowing a secretly negotiated new casino in the Rochester area. As that information spread, opposition quickly emerged from Rochester lawmakers. So, the results of the already-cast vote were altered.
MSN – Adam Ferrise (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 6/30/2023
Former Ohio Republican Party Chairperson Matt Borges was sentenced to five years in prison in connection with the Larry Householder-led political corruption scandal that engulfed state politics for years. Borges worked as a lobbyist for FirstEnergy Solutions and alongside Householder, the former House speaker who is now a federal prisoner, to scuttle opposition to a law that gave FirstEnergy a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear power plants owned by a subsidiary of the utility in exchange for $60 million in bribes.
MSN – Jeremy Pelzer (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 7/1/2023
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was sentenced to twenty years in prison for accepting more than $60 million in bribes from utility company FirstEnergy, then hiding it through a web of groups to secure the passage of energy-related law, as well as help himself. As a judge read Householder’s sentence, “dark money” groups continued to operate in Ohio without any more restrictions or transparency rules than when Householder accepted the bribe money. Lawmakers and lobbyists do not have to disclose anything more than what Householder and his co-defendants had to. There is little sign that lawmakers will reform the ethics law.
MSN – Madison Fernandez (Politico) | Published: 7/5/2023
Ohio is poised to become the latest battleground over abortion after advocates submitted more than enough signatures to get an abortion rights initiative on the ballot this fall. A coalition submitted more than 700,000 signatures for a ballot measure that would codify the right to an abortion in the state constitution. The submission sets up a crucial test of the potency of abortion as a political issue ahead of 2024, with vulnerable Democrats in the House and Senate attempting to cling to their seats in an increasingly red state.
Austin Monitor – Nina Hernandez | Published: 7/5/2023
The Ethics Review Commission voted to recommend changes to Austin’s lobbying rules. The rules ensure phone calls and video conferences are properly recorded as appearances before a city official. City Auditor Corrie Stokes said her office found the city does not currently have any way of capturing or logging virtual meetings. Since the pandemic, many meetings between lobbyists, city council members, and other city employees have been virtual. “So, the first provision will show we’re just adding that, yes, if you have a meeting virtually, it still counts as a meeting,” Stokes said.
MSN – Denise Lavoie (Associated Press) | Published: 6/30/2023
Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins was indicted on federal corruption charges for allegedly handing out auxiliary deputy sheriff’s appointments in exchange for cash bribes and large donations to his reelection campaign. First elected sheriff in 2011, Jenkins is accused of soliciting and accepting bribes totaling at least $72,500 from the three indicted businesspeople and at least five others, including two FBI undercover agents during his 2019 reelection campaign.
July 6, 2023 •
Campaign Finance Minnesota: “Minnesota Chamber Sues Over Campaign Disclosure Law” by Dana Ferguson for Minnesota Public Radio Mississippi: “Secretary of State’s Office Disables Online Campaign Finance Reporting Portal” by Sarah Ulmer for Magnolia Tribune Elections Florida: “Federal Judge Halts New Florida Law He Calls ‘Latest […]
June 30, 2023 •
National/Federal How Judges Navigate Offers of Free Lunch, Trips and NBA Tickets Bloomberg Law – Zoe Tillman (Bloomberg News) | Published: 6/25/2023 Recent controversies over perks accepted by Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have raised questions not only about […]
Bloomberg Law – Zoe Tillman (Bloomberg News) | Published: 6/25/2023
Recent controversies over perks accepted by Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have raised questions not only about the justices’ conduct off the bench and what they disclose to the public, but also about how the judiciary broadly enforces ethics. Eight current and former federal judges shared their insights into how the judiciary operates as well as their own experiences with ethics issues. Judges said they usually found the rules clear on what to report, what gifts to refuse, and when to step down from a case. But the judges admit there is a gray area as well.
DNyuz – Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Swain (New York Times) | Published: 6/27/2023
For all the attention focused during the investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents at his private club and residence in Florida, another of Trump’s properties has played a crucial, if quieter, role in the case: his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Bedminster, where Trump spends his summers, has turned out also to have been a focus of investigators and the scene of a central episode in Trump’s indictment: a meeting in which he was recorded showing off what he described as a “highly confidential” plan to attack Iran.
DNyuz – Tiffany Hsu and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) | Published: 6/25/2023
What began a few months ago as a slow drip of fundraising emails and promotional images composed by A.I. for campaigns has turned into a steady stream of materials created by the technology, rewriting the playbook for elections. Political consultants, election researchers, and lawmakers say setting up new guardrails, such as legislation reining in synthetically generated ads, should be a priority. Existing defenses, such as social media rules and services that claim to detect A.I. content, have failed to do much to slow the tide. As the U.S. presidential race starts to heat up, some of the campaigns are already testing the technology.
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 6/27/2023
A new Senate committee report sharply criticizes the FBI and Department of Homeland Security for what it says were failures to believe the intelligence tips they were receiving in the run-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, offering fresh examples of warnings and information that went unheeded. The document sheds new light on the many different types of warnings the FBI received from nongovernmental organizations tracking extremism online, from the public, and from its own field offices.
MSN – Daniela Altimari (Roll Call) | Published: 6/22/2023
The FEC deadlocked on a request to develop regulations for AI-generated deepfake political ads, meaning no action will be taken. Public Citizen submitted a petition asking the commission to establish rules, noting advances in artificial intelligence have given political operatives the tools to produce campaign ads with computer-generated fake images that appear real. Such ads could misrepresent a candidate’s political views, a violation of existing federal law.
Seattle Times – Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 6/26/2023
An audio recording of former President Trump in 2021 discussing what he called a “highly confidential” document about Iran he acknowledged he could not declassify because he was out of office appears to contradict his recent assertion the material that he was referring to was simply news clippings. Portions of a transcript of the two-minute recording were cited by federal prosecutors in the indictment of Trump on charges he had put national security secrets at risk by mishandling classified documents after leaving office and then obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them.
Yahoo News – Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) | Published: 6/28/2023
The Campaign Legal Center filed a second complaint against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign, alleging a Canadian hedge fund made more than $167,000 in illegal contributions to his operation. The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits the contributions to U.S. elections and bans foreign nationals from participating in any decision-making process with regard to making a political donation.
Yahoo News – Mychael Schnell (The Hill) | Published: 6/23/2023
The House ethics committee expanded its probe into U.S. Rep. George Santos, adding allegations he fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits to the list of investigative areas. Santos is also accused of misleading donors and misrepresenting his finances to the public and government agencies. The indictment accuses Santos of fraudulently receiving more than $24,000 in unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yahoo News – Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 6/24/2023
Facing multiple intensifying investigations, former President Trump has begun diverting more of the money he is raising away from his 2024 presidential campaign and into a PAC he has used to pay his personal legal fees. The change raises fresh questions about how Trump is paying for his mounting legal bills, which could run into millions of dollars, as he prepares for at least two criminal trials, and whether his PAC, Save America, is facing a financial crunch.
Yahoo News – Jessica Piper and Sally Goldenberg (Politico) | Published: 6/25/2023
Super PACs have been growing in strength for more than a decade, but this cycle are swimming in more money than ever. The groups are taking new approaches, deploying staffing at campaign events, paying for door-knocking operations, and even sending fundraising texts on candidates’ behalf. Some of the new strategies could test the legal limits on coordination between campaigns and super PACs, though campaign finance experts say the groups so far seem to be complying with how the FEC has interpreted the rules. But the greater on-the-ground presence of super PACs has not gone unnoticed.
Yahoo News – Ben Protess, Alan Feuer, and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 6/28/2023
Rudolph Giuliani, who served as former President Trump’s personal lawyer, was interviewed by federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The voluntary interview, which took place under what is known as a proffer agreement, was a significant development in the election interference investigation led by Jack Smith, the special counsel, and the latest indication that Smith and his team are actively seeking witnesses who might cooperate in the case.
From the States and Municipalities
CBC – Staff | Published: 6/27/2023
Lobbying hit an all-time high in Ottawa during the last fiscal year, says a new report from the industry’s watchdog. Under the law, lobbyists must report their oral and arranged communications with certain public office holders. Consultant lobbyists must also report any communications relating to the awarding of a federal contract. A new code of conduct for the industry will come into effect on July 1.
MSN – Mike Cason (AL.com) | Published: 6/25/2023
The former executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission said the loss of anonymity protection for people who file ethics complaints will result in fewer whistleblowers reporting what they believe are illegal acts. The bill passed by lawmakers requires the commission to tell a person under investigation who filed the complaint that sparked the probe. Legislators said public officials should know the identity of their accuser in an ethics investigation, just as they would in a criminal or civil trial.
MSN – Yvonne Winget Sanchez and Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2023
A key election official in Arizona’s most populous county filed a defamation lawsuit on against Kari Lake, the former television newscaster who narrowly lost her 2022 race for governor and has falsely blamed widespread fraud and malfeasance in the months since. The lawsuit by Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County recorder, marks the most aggressive attempt to hold Lake and her allies accountable for election-related misinformation. It comes amid other efforts to make right-wing figures and media answerable for spreading election fabrications.
MSN – Gabriel Greschler (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 6/27/2023
A city contract worth nearly $1 million was awarded to a San Jose private high school run by Mayor Matt Mahan’s wife, with officials assuring it went through the routine competitive bidding process, though leaders at other schools say they were not aware of the opportunity. City officials insisted they performed the proper outreach to numerous schools so everyone had a fair chance. The private school, they contended, was the only one that applied for the funding for the work-study program at City Hall for high school students.
San Francisco Standard – Michael Barba | Published: 6/27/2023
To some, Harlan Kelly was a corrupt San Francisco official who exploited his role overseeing one of California’s largest public utilities for personal gain, including a lavish vacation to China. To others, the former head of the city’s Public Utilities Commission was an exemplary public servant whose key mistake was trusting a shady businessperson who sought to corrupt him. Those are the two versions of Kelly that jurors heard as his federal corruption trial began. Which version the jury chooses to believe could hinge on their trust in Walter Wong, the businessperson who is expected to testify against Kelly.
District of Columbia – D.C. Council Majority Calls for 3rd-Party Investigation into Ex-Aide
MSN – Meagan Flynn and Michael Brice-Saddler (Washington Post) | Published: 6/20/2023
A majority of District of Columbia Council members called for a broader, independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Mayor Muriel Bowser’s former top adviser, John Falcicchio, following an investigation by Bowser’s legal office that substantiated some of the complaints a female employee made against him. Bowser faces mounting questions from lawmakers about whether it is sufficient for the investigative arm of the executive branch to investigate itself when a sexual harassment complaint is lodged against a mayoral appointee.
MSN – Grethel Aguila (Miami Herald) | Published: 6/25/2023
A new report sheds more light into how a former Broward official allegedly bent the rules, and fired a staffer in the process, to help a developer secure $102 million in loans while in public office. Lynn Stoner, the former mayor of Plantation, was charged with official misconduct, falsification of records, and two counts of influencing a building official. If convicted, she faces up to eight years in prison.
MSN – Michael Scherer, Isaac Arnsdorf, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/29/2023
The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis steered $92 million last year in leftover federal coronavirus stimulus money to a controversial highway interchange project that directly benefits a top political donor. The decision by the state Department of Transportation to use money from the American Rescue Plan for an I-95 interchange near Daytona Beach fulfilled a years-long effort by Mori Hosseini, a politically connected housing developer who owns two large tracts of largely forested land abutting the planned interchange.
WBEZ – Dave McKinney | Published: 6/23/2023
More than two dozen lobbyists were on a handwritten registry of “magic lobbyists” that former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s now-convicted aide, Michael McClain, memorialized on a sheet of hotel stationery. The list helped convict four former Commonwealth Edison executives and lobbyists of bribing Madigan to boost the power company’s legislative fortunes. Despite being publicly identified in the corruption case, none of the other “magic” lobbyists are facing charges due to that investigation and these lobbyists appear to have faced no employment fallout from the scandal.
Yahoo News – Bruce Schreiner (Associated Press) | Published: 6/26/2023
State Attorney General Daniel Cameron directly solicited donations for his gubernatorial campaign from executives of a Kentucky drug treatment organization that his office began investigating last year, according to an attorney for the Edgewater Recovery Centers. Several Edgewater executives later gave $7,600 to Cameron’s campaign, which has been refunded. But the solicitations and their timing have led to demands for an investigation from the campaign of Gov. Andy Beshear.
MSN – Melissa Quinn (CBS News) | Published: 6/26/2023
The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out a bid by Louisiana Republicans seeking to reverse a lower court ruling that ordered it to redraw its congressional map, paving the way for new voting lines to be drawn to include a second majority-Black congressional district before the 2024 election. The case had been put on hold while the Supreme Court weighed a similar challenge to Alabama’s congressional voting lines.
Maryland Matters – Josh Kurtz | Published: 6/28/2023
A new advocacy group is pressing clean energy lobbyists in Maryland and at state Legislatures across the country to part ways with fossil fuel interests. In Maryland, scores of institutions, nonprofit groups, and even clean energy organizations use statehouse lobbyists who are also representing fossil fuels interests. Most Annapolis lobbying firms usually hire teams of politically savvy generalists, who tend to work a range of issues for a broad variety of clients.
Massachusetts – Galvin Pushes to Update Lobbying Laws
Eagle-Tribune – Christian Wade | Published: 6/23/2023
Secretary of State William Galvin wants to bar individuals convicted on federal charges from serving as state lobbyists for at least 10 years. A proposal in the Legislature would expand a state statute “automatically” disqualifying people convicted of certain state crimes from registering as lobbyists to include individuals convicted of federal offenses. The move comes in response to a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling that cleared former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to lobby the state Legislature and executive branch, despite his prior convictions on federal charges.
MSN – Danny McDonald (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/27/2023
Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo admitted to a conflict-of-interest violation and paid a $3,000 penalty for continuing to represent his brother in a sexual harassment lawsuit after Arroyo became a member of the city council. The announcement from the state Ethics Commission is the latest controversy to enmesh Arroyo. One of his council colleagues suggested he consider resigning after two investigative reports found former U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins improperly tried to influence last year’s primary election for Suffolk district attorney in Arroyo’s favor.
Mississippi Free Press – Ashton Pittman | Published: 6/28/2023
The Mississippi Democratic Party could face fines and other penalties after failing to file periodic campaign finance reports. Unless the party takes action by June 30, the secretary of state’s office will turn the issue over to the Mississippi Ethics Commission. In emails, Democratic Party Executive Director Andre Wagner said the party did not have to file campaign finance reports because they had not engaged in spending that would necessitate reporting.
St Louis Post-Dispatch – Austin Huguelet | Published: 6/24/2023
The Missouri Ethics Commission fined one of last year’s candidates for president of the St. Louis City Council $6,000, citing a litany of campaign finance violations. The commission said entrepreneur Mark Kummer failed to report donations of more than $5,000 within 48 hours, neglected to itemize a raft of in-kind contributions worth more than $50,000, and never filed a key disclosure when he terminated a campaign committee.
Courthouse News Service – Andrew Nelson | Published: 6/28/2023
Nebraska Sen. Megan Hunt is suing a conservative PAC for defamation after it called her a groomer on Twitter. The Nebraska Freedom Coalition’s Tweet included childhood photos of her now 13-year-old, transgender son. The group also published a tweet in which it described the lawmaker’s “skills” as “grooming children, including her own.” The tweets were published after Hunt shared that her son was transgender on the floor of the Legislature during a debate on a measure that would restrict gender-affirming care for those younger than 19.
Nevada – Analyst, Consultant, or Lobbyist?
Nevada Current – Dana Gentry | Published: 6/28/2023
When consultant Jeremy Aguero co-presented a bill to pump hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into a homeless facility in Las Vegas, he never disclosed working on the project for Wynn Resorts. When Aguero touted to state lawmakers the potential benefits of investing hundreds of millions of dollars to publicly subsidize a baseball stadium, he once again failed to disclose he was working for the Oakland A’s, the team hoping to profit from the venture. Despite his frequent presence at the Nevada Legislature, Aguero is not registered as a lobbyist, a process that would require him to publicly disclose his clients.
Yahoo News – Michael Gartland (New York Daily News) | Published: 6/26/2023
Mayor Adams’ former chief of staff, Frank Carone, signed a consulting deal with Related Companies, one of the biggest players in the city’s real estate sector, a development that has good-government advocates concerned about the potential for influence peddling. Carone, who worked as one of Adams’ top lieutenants for a year before leaving to launch his Oaktree Solutions consulting firm, remains close to the mayor and is serving as chairperson of his reelection campaign. Carone said the company retained his firm to provide “strategic advice and ideas.”
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2023
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a legal theory that would have radically reshaped how federal elections are conducted by giving state Legislatures largely unchecked power to set rules for federal elections and to draw congressional maps distorted by partisan gerrymandering. Maintaining the status quo is seen as significant for a court that in recent years has constricted voting and election protections in federal law and the Constitution.
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Adam Ferrise | Published: 6/29/2023
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the largest corruption scandal in state history. Jurors found Householder orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme secretly funded by FirstEnergy to secure Householder’s power, elect his allies, pass legislation containing a $1 billion bailout for two aging nuclear power plants owned by a FirstEnergy affiliate, and then to use a dirty tricks campaign to stifle a ballot effort to overturn the bill.
MSN – Julie Carr Smyth (Associated Press) | Published: 6/28/2023
Lawyers disagreed sharply in arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court over whether $8 million in assets belonging to the state’s former top utility regulator should have been frozen after he was caught up in a sweeping bribery investigation. Sam Randazzo resigned as chairperson of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio after FBI agents searched his home, close on the heels of the arrest of then-House Speaker Larry Householder. He has not been charged in conjunction with the House Bill 6 scandal, which remains under investigation.
Oklahoma Watch – Keaton Ross | Published: 6/26/2023
With COVID-19 concerns heightened, advocacy groups in Oklahoma scaled back large in-person gatherings during the 2021 legislative session. Expenditure reports show that sort of spending has rebounded. Lobbyists have spent nearly $380,000 this year on gifts, meals, and beverages for state legislators and other elected officials through May, a 42 person increase over the same period two years ago.
MSN – Grant Stringer (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 6/22/2023
In a repeat of years past, state lawmakers ended the legislative session without tightening Oregon’s loose campaign finance laws, falling short on a key pledge to do so. Tony Lapiz, legislative director for Speaker Dan Rayfield, said lawmakers will continue to meet after the session with the goal of referring the issue to voters in 2024. Unlike the vast majority of states, Oregon law allows unlimited donations from corporations, unions, individuals, and other entities to candidates for governor, state offices, and the Legislature.
Oregon Public Broadcasting – Dirk VanderHart | Published: 6/26/2023
Oregon lawmakers would gain the ability to remove the governor and other statewide elected officials under a proposal lawmakers sent to voters. It will appear on the November 2024 ballot. Oregon is the only state where lawmakers do not have the power to impeach the governor. The proposal gained steam after a scandal that forced Secretary of State Shemia Fagan to resign in May.
Salem Statesman-Journal – Dianne Lugo | Published: 6/25/2023
Oregon voters will get to decide on the creation of an independent commission to make decisions about elected officials’ compensation. The bipartisan effort to address the issue came at the heels of the resignation of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. She faces ethical and criminal investigations after it was revealed she was being paid $10,000 a month by a cannabis company while her office was overseeing an audit of the cannabis industry. Fagan said accepted the contract because her salary as secretary of state was not enough to make ends meet.
MSN – Edward Fitzpatrick (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/27/2023
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission voted to launch an investigation into potential ethics violations by the two former state officials who were accused of “outrageous behavior” during a business trip to Philadelphia, and it will probe a separate allegation against House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. Commission staff members initiated the complaint filed against David Patten and James Thorsen, the two former state officials who took a now-infamous trip to visit Scout Ltd., a Philadelphia company seeking to redevelop the Cranston Street Armory in Providence.
MSN – Steph Machado (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/23/2023
State Sen. Josh Miller was arrested recently, accused of keying a car in a shopping center parking lot that was sporting a bumper sticker reading “Biden sucks.” Body-worn camera videos showed Miller initially denied keying the man’s car when stopped by police, but at his home later acknowledged he did so because he felt he was being threatened by the man. Miller said he has been stalked at the statehouse by “gun nuts” because he is the lead sponsor of a bill to ban assault-style weapons in Rhode Island.
Tennessee Lookout – Adam Friedman | Published: 6/23/2023
Lawyers for the Tennessee legislative office believe the state’s public records do not apply to the legislative body, and it would violate the separation of government powers for a court to compel to release the documents related to their investigation into sexual harassment allegations against former Rep. Scotty Campbell. The case has the potential to widen the door on what records fall under the deliberative process privilege exemption, which Gov. Bill Lee has used to deny numerous public records’ request by journalists.
DNyuz – Neil Vigdor and Nicholas Nehamas (New York Times) | Published: 6/28/2023
A photo op intended to turbocharge Republican voters, one showing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posing in front of a helicopter at the southern border in Texas. But the display is creating an unwanted spotlight for DeSantis: The helicopter is funded by Texas taxpayers, raising questions about the political nature of the flight and its cost. Reflecting the split nature of his duties, DeSantis wore a shirt that said “Governor Ron DeSantis” on the right and “DeSantis for President” on the left.
June 29, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “Watchdog Alleges Canadian Hedge Fund Gave Illegal Contributions to DeSantis Campaign” by Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) for Yahoo News Elections National: “A.I.’s Use in Elections Sets Off a Scramble for Guardrails” by Tiffany Hsu and Steven Lee Myers (New York […]
National: “Watchdog Alleges Canadian Hedge Fund Gave Illegal Contributions to DeSantis Campaign” by Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) for Yahoo News
National: “A.I.’s Use in Elections Sets Off a Scramble for Guardrails” by Tiffany Hsu and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) for DNyuz
California: “San Francisco’s Ex-Utilities Chief Accused of Shady Business Dealings on First Day of Corruption Trial” by Michael Barba for San Francisco Standard
National: “The Attention Was All on Mar-a-Lago. Some of the Action Was at Bedminster” by Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Swain (New York Times) for DNyuz
Massachusetts: “Councilor Ricardo Arroyo Admits to Ethics Violation, Pays Penalty in Connection with Representing His Brother” by Danny McDonald (Boston Globe) for MSN
Ohio: “Ohio Froze an Ex-Utility Regulator’s $8 Million in Assets. Lawyers Disagree Over Whether It’s Legal.” by Julie Carr Smyth (Associated Press) for MSN
Canada: “Federal Lobbying Hit a Record High Last Fiscal Year, Industry Watchdog Says” by Staff for CBC
Maryland: “National Climate Group Asks: Should Md. lobbying firms take fossil fuel clients?” by Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters
California: “A Big Contract Went to a San Jose Private School Run by the Mayor’s Wife. Was It Competitive?” by Gabriel Greschler (Bay Area News Group) for MSN
June 27, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “The Super PAC Frenzy Redefining Campaign Operations” by Jessica Piper and Sally Goldenberg (Politico) for Yahoo News Elections Arizona: “Kari Lake Accused of Defamation in Suit Filed by Arizona Election Official” by Yvonne Winget Sanchez and Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) for […]
June 26, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “FEC Deadlocks on Whether to Govern Deepfake Campaign Ads” by Daniela Altimari (Roll Call) for MSN National: “As Legal Fees Mount, Trump Steers Donations into PAC That Has Covered Them” by Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) for DNyuz […]
June 23, 2023 •
National/Federal Capitol Rioter Who Shocked Police Officer with Stun Gun Is Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Prison Associated Press News – Michael Kunzelman | Published: 6/21/2023 Daniel Rodriguez, who drove a stun gun into a police officer’s neck during one of […]
Associated Press News – Michael Kunzelman | Published: 6/21/2023
Daniel Rodriguez, who drove a stun gun into a police officer’s neck during one of the most violent clashes of the U.S. Capitol riot, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone’s body camera captured him screaming out in pain after Rodriguez shocked him with a stun gun while he was surrounded by a mob. Fanone’s injuries ultimately ended his career in law enforcement.
Honolulu Civil Beat – Nick Grube | Published: 6/20/2023
Ongoing civil litigation involving a former Hawaii defense contractor continues to shed light on the ways private companies and special interests seek to game the political system for their own personal benefit. Martin Kao, the former president of Martin Defense Group has pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes involving illegal campaign donations and fraud. Now, he faces a new series of challenges as his former business partner seeks to hold him financially accountable for his crimes. Much of the lawsuit focuses on the illegal contributions Kao and others made to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
MSN – Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein (Washington Post) | Published: 6/20/2023
President Biden’s son Hunter reached a tentative agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two minor tax crimes and admit to the facts of a gun charge under terms that would likely keep him out of jail. The agreement caps an investigation that was opened in 2018 during the Trump administration and has generated interest and criticism from Republican politicians who accused the Biden administration of reluctance to pursue the case. The terms of the proposed deal are likely to face similar scrutiny.
MSN – Carol Leoning and Aaron Davis (Washington Post) | Published: 6/19/2023
Merrick Garland and his deputies in January 2021 were briefed on the investigation he had promised to make his highest priority as attorney general: bringing to justice those responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But a Washington Post investigation found more than a year passed before prosecutors and FBI agents embarked on a formal probe of actions directed from the White House. Even then, the FBI stopped short of identifying Donald Trump as a focus of that investigation. Garland charted a cautious course aimed at restoring public trust in the department while some prosecutors felt top officials were shying away from looking at evidence of potential crimes by Trump and those close to him.
MSN – Leah Nylen (Bloomberg) | Published: 6/16/2023
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairperson Lina Khan declined to recuse herself from a case against Meta despite the advice of the agency’s top ethics official, according to internal agency documents. The FTC’s ethics official recommended that Khan remove herself from the case to avoid the appearance of bias, but left it up to Khan to decide, concluding it was not an ethics violation if she took part. Meta argued that public statements by Khan calling for a ban on its future acquisitions showed she could not be impartial.
MSN – Amy Wang and Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2023
The House passed a measure to censure U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff for pressing allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia. As the vote was finalized, Democrats filled the well of the chamber and surrounded Schiff. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi led chants of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” against the Republican caucus, and other Democrats yelled out “cowards!”
ProPublica – Justin Elliott, Joshua Kaplan, and Alex Mierjeski | Published: 6/20/2023
Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire who has repeatedly asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in his favor in business disputes, flew Justice Samuel Alito to a luxury fishing resort in Alaska resort on his private jet, a trip that would have cost Alito more than $100,000 one way if he had chartered the jet on his own. Alito did not recuse himself from a 2014 case involving Singer and voted with the majority in Singer’s favor. The justice did not report the 2008 trip on his annual financial disclosures. Experts said they could not identify an instance of a justice ruling on a case after receiving an expensive gift paid for by one of the parties.
Roll Call – Nathan Gonzales | Published: 6/13/2023
Controversial former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is still considering a U.S. Senate run in Wisconsin this cycle, but two lawyers just pleaded guilty to conspiracy over a “scam PAC” to get Clarke to run in 2017. Jack Daly and Nathanael Pendley pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and lying to the FEC. Most of the $1.6 million raised was spent on operations to raise more money to personally benefit Daly and Pendley, not genuine efforts to convince Clarke to run for office.
Yahoo News – Emily Flitter (New York Times) | Published: 6/18/2023
In most of the country, state and local laws require public announcements – about town meetings, elections, and dozens of other routine occurrences – to be published in newspapers, as well as online, so citizens are aware of matters of public note. The payments for publishing these notices are among the steadiest sources of revenue left for local papers. Sometimes, though, public officials revoke the contracts to punish their hometown newspapers for aggressive coverage of local politics. Such retaliation is not new, but it appears to be occurring more frequently, when terms like “fake news” have become part of the popular lexicon.
Yahoo News – Eric Lipton (New York Times) | Published: 6/20/2023
On the Gulf of Oman, thousands of migrant laborers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are building a new city, a multibillion-dollar project backed by Oman’s oil-rich government that has an unusual partner: Donald Trump. Agents are invoking Trump’s name to help sell luxury villas at prices of up to $13 million. Trump has been selling his name to global real estate developers for more than a decade. But the Oman deal has taken his financial stake in one of the world’s most strategically important regions to a new level, underscoring how his business and his politics intersect as he runs for president again amid intensifying legal and ethical troubles.
Yahoo News – Jacob Shamsian (Business Insider) | Published: 6/22/2023
A federal judge criticized U.S. Rep. George Santos for personally feeding the “media frenzy” into his two mysterious bail sponsors, which helped force her hand and make their identities public. Rep. Santos’s father and aunt signed his bond, making them responsible for $500,000 if Santos violates the conditions of his release ahead of a criminal trial. Prosecutors brought a 13-count indictment against Santos, alleging he personally stole donations to his campaign operation, illegally took pandemic employment funds, and lied to Congress on financial disclosure documents.
From the States and Municipalities
Los Angeles Daily News – City News Service | Published: 6/20/2023
The Los Angeles City Council requested a report on how the city could revise its ethics and conflict-of-interest laws to require lobbyists to disclose ties to a council member or their staff. Ethics Commission records indicated Stacey Brenner received more than $174,000 for lobbying efforts for a hotel project while her husband, Shawn Bayliss, was working as the planning and land use deputy for then-Councilmember Paul Koretz.
MSN – Reis Thebault (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2023
Corruption charges filed against Los Angeles City Councilperson Curren Price are only the latest to rock a scandal-plagued City Hall. The case against Price comes eight months after a leaked audiotape exposed the racist remarks and backroom dealings of top city leaders, spurring one council member’s resignation and another’s ostracization. Now, multiple efforts are underway to reform the city council. But unlike past attempts to address what many say is a broken system, this time the call is also coming from inside City Hall, with key council members on board.
MSN – James Queally, Julia Wick, and Dakota Smith (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 6/13/2023
Los Angeles City Councilperson Curren Price was charged with 10 counts of embezzlement, perjury, and conflicts-of-interest, becoming the latest in a years-long parade of elected city officials to face public corruption allegations from state or federal prosecutors. Price is accused of having a financial interest in development projects he voted on, and receiving tens of thousands of dollars in medical benefits from the city for his now wife while he was still married to another woman.
Voice of OC – Noah Biesiada and Hosam Elattar | Published: 6/13/2023
Top Anaheim City staff members have showered themselves with hundreds of free tickets to Angel Stadium, the Honda Center, and the Convention Center over the last six months, often without an explanation as to why. City Manager Jim Vanderpool and other department managers handed out over 700 tickets to various events to a variety of city staff, and occasionally even to the city’s contracted vendors. These are the same staff members who oversee and negotiate leases with the very sports teams these tickets allow them to watch play professional baseball and hockey for free.
Voice of OC – Noah Biesiada | Published: 6/22/2023
Orange County supervisor Katrina Foley was fined nearly $1,800 by the Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to properly disclose free tickets to Los Angeles Chargers games she received in 2017. The violation happened while Foley was mayor of Costa Mesa. The commission said there were two instances where Foley received tickets to a Chargers game, with a total of seven tickets. While Foley reported some of the tickets, she failed to report all of the tickets or their total value.
Yahoo News – Stefanie Dazio, Michael Blood, and Alanna Durkin Richer (Associated Press) | Published: 6/20/2023
Attorney John Eastman, the architect of a legal strategy aimed at keeping former President Trump in power, concocted a baseless theory and made false claims of fraud to overturn the 2020 election, a prosecutor said in arguing Eastman be disbarred. Eastman faces 11 disciplinary charges in the State Bar Court of California stemming from his development of a strategy aimed at having Vice President Mike Pence interfere with the certification of President Biden’s victory.
MSN – Michael Brown (Connecticut Mirror) | Published: 6/19/2023
A former board member of the Connecticut Port Authority will pay $18,500 in fines related to allegations he used his position to benefit a maritime company he co-founded. Henry Juan III will pay the fine to resolve claims he violated ethics codes for both public officials and lobbyists. The state was prepared to prove at a hearing that Juan used his official position at the authority to advance the interests of Seabury Maritime, which included work related to the redevelopment of New London State Pier.
MSN – Beth Reinhard and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 6/20/2023
For decades, the ambitions of Florida’s Republican governors were stymied by the liberal-leaning state Supreme Court. But the court let Ron DeSantis erase a congressional district with a large Black population. It opened the door to a law making it easier to impose the death penalty. Now, it is poised to rule on the governor’s plan to outlaw most abortions in the state. DeSantis seized on the unusual retirement of three liberal justices at once to quickly remake the court. He did so with the help of a secretive judicial panel that vetted judicial nominees in an three weeks before the governor’s inauguration.
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, Nate Jones, Michael Scherer, and Alice Crites (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s wealthy donors and supporters lent a golf simulator to the Governor’s Mansion and provided private flights to fundraisers and other political events. AboutGolf simulators that require installation are typically built to fit a specific space and start at $27,500. DeSantis’s travel records, including those from past trips, are now exempt from public records requests, under a law he signed in May, citing security concerns.
MSN – Jane Timm (NBC News) | Published: 6/21/2023
Years after their lives were turned upside down by conspiracy theorists, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea Moss, were officially cleared by Georgia authorities. The State Election Board dismissed its years-long investigation into alleged election fraud at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, more than two years after conspiracy theorists and then-President Trump claimed Freeman and her daughter had committed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The fraud claims were “unsubstantiated and found to have no merit,” the investigation concluded.
Honolulu Civil Beat – Mariana Starleaf | Published: 6/16/2023
To celebrate the start of construction for Pulelehua, a development of roughly 1,000 homes in part subsidized by millions of dollars from Maui County, each official who posed for photographs was given a wooden digging stick to take with them when the event wrapped up. The Maui Board of Ethics says county officials should give back the pricey koa digging sticks, worth an estimated $400, they received at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Yahoo News – Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/15/2023
A federal jury convicted a politically connected Chicago businessperson of attempting to pay off two state legislators to pass a bill beneficial to his sweepstakes gaming company. James Weiss was found guilty of bribery, fraud, and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors alleged Weiss wanted the state’s gambling expansion bill to include language explicitly legalizing sweepstakes machines, but it was left out of the proposal in the 2019 session. Weiss then agreed to pay monthly $2,500 bribes to get a deal done, first to Rep. Luis Arroyo and later to Sen. Terry Link.
Yahoo News – Caroline Kubzansky (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 6/15/2023
Although a Cook County judge ruled that Niles voters could not elect the members of the village’s ethics board, the primary backer of the change and a candidate for the board are asking a higher court to reconsider the decision. Mayor George Alpogianis said when the elected board was ruled unconstitutional that the most recently seated board would be reconstituted. It is a twist in a three-year legal and political quest to establish an elected ethics board in Niles.
Kentucky Lantern – Tom Loftus | Published: 6/20/2023
Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelection campaign and the Kentucky Democratic Party refunded $202,000 in what they determined to be excess political contributions, money originally reported as donations from numerous members of the family of London Mayor Randall Weddle and employees of a company Weddle co-founded. Eric Hyers, manager of Beshear’s campaign, said the campaign recently determined all that money was donated on a credit card of Randall Weddle and his wife.
Maryland Matters – Bryan Sears | Published: 6/21/2023
A consortium of top gambling companies was hit with the largest fine in the history of the Maryland State Board of Elections. The $48,000 penalty levied against Sports Betting Alliance was assessed for failing to comply with the state’s 48-hour disclosure requirements. The fine was related to activities during the 2020 campaign when voters were asked to approve legalizing sports wagering. All the fines were part of an audit marking the close of the most recent four-year fundraising cycle.
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 6/22/2023
In the days after her election victory last year, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey created a tax-exempt group, headed by a veteran political operative, to raise money and “facilitate” her transition into office. But the source of those funds remains a secret, which, while legal, means state residents have little idea of whether someone sought to curry favor with the new administration by helping bankroll her early hiring process and, disclosures show, a retreat for Healey and dozens of appointees months after her swearing-in.
New Hampshire Bulletin – Ethan DeWitt | Published: 6/22/2023
In a change that took effect in January, the New Hampshire Legislature added limits on how much candidates could receive from political committees, and how much they could transfer from their previous campaign accounts. Where statewide candidates had once enjoyed unlimited transfers, they would be capped at $30,000 per cycle. The state budget this year included a last-minute amendment to do away with the limits, allowing any candidate, PAC, or political advocacy organization to transfer an unlimited amount of money directly to a candidate during an election cycle.
New Jersey Monitor – Nikita Biryukov | Published: 6/15/2023
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appointed four commissioners to the state’s campaign finance watchdog, ending an 11-week stretch of inactivity that began when the last members of the Election Law Enforcement Commission board resigned in March over legislation they said defanged the agency. Provisions of the recently enacted Elections Transparency Act will allow the appointees to take their positions without the advice and consent of the state Senate.
MSN – Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2023
The Conflicts of Interest Board said former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio owes the city nearly $320,000 and must pay a $155,000 fine for using his government-issued security detail on travel “in connection with his presidential campaign.” The board stated it advised de Blasio about this prohibition before the launch of his campaign. De Blasio, the board wrote, “disregarded” the advice.
Yahoo News – Danielle Battaglia (Charlotte Observer) | Published: 6/20/2023
A federal judge sentenced Lynda Bennett to a year of probation and a $7,500 fine after prosecutors said she “thwarted the voting public’s ability to make informed decisions at the ballot box.” Bennett, a close family friend of former President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, ran in 2020 to replace Meadows in Congress. Prosecutors said Bennett asked a relative for a $25,000 loan for her campaign, but since federal election laws cap primary-election donations from an individual at $2,800, she wrote the donation in her own name.
WTVG – Staff | Published: 6/15/2023
A jury found former Toledo City Councilperson Gary Johnson guilty on one bribery charge and not guilty on another. Prosecutors say he took a cash bribe and a check in exchange for votes on internet café zoning requests. Johnson testified he considered the $1,000 check given to him in January of 2020 to be a campaign contribution when he was running for Lucas County sheriff.
Oklahoma Watch – Keaton Ross | Published: 6/20/2023
In recent years, a flood of outside money has poured into state political races amid a funding shortfall for the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. While the agency recently settled a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against an out-of-state group that improperly targeted state legislative candidates, the commission’s executive director said similar violations may go unchecked because of funding constraints.
Willamette Week – Sophie Peel | Published: 6/15/2023
The Oregon Senate passed a bill that bans any candidate or committee from accepting more than $100 annually in cash from any one source. Republican lawmakers drafted the bill in response to reporting that said Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, co-founders of embattled cannabis chain La Mota, gave tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions to top Democrats in cash.
Spotlight PA – Angela Couloumbis | Published: 6/15/2023
Two state lawmakers asked for an investigation into media reports that top officials at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board met privately with casino lobbyists about a competitor and failed to disclose the meeting. Spotlight PA reported lobbyists for Parx Casino embarked on an effort to get the board to abandon its hands-off stance toward skill games, which are not regulated by the state. The skill games industry has become a prime target for some casino executives and their array of lobbyists, who argue the machines are illegal and should be banned.
WPRI – Eli Sherman and Alexandra Leslie | Published: 6/21/2023
The Rhode Island Republican Party is calling on the state Ethics Commission to expand its investigation into state officials’ now-infamous interactions with a Philadelphia company after the revelation the contractor and its lobbyist treated Gov. Dan McKee to lunch in January. The GOP alleged McKee’s failure to pick up the $228 lunch tab at The Capital Grille in Providence violated the state’s ethics code, which prohibits public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $25.
WIS – Mary Green | Published: 6/19/2023
A recent court ruling could have a major effect on how much money can flow into South Carolina elections and the extent to which the public may know about it. Some lawmakers are calling it a victory for free speech and their abilities to have a voice in the political process, while others fear the ruling could have grave consequences. The judge’s order results from a lawsuit brought by the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline Republicans who have often been at odds with the larger House Republican Caucus.
KHOU – Jeremy Rogalski | Published: 6/19/2023
The announcement that Houston City Councilperson Michael Kubosh is dropping out of the race for city controller comes after reporters began asking Kubosh about questionable campaign finance expenses. KHOU told him it reviewed nearly 1,700 pages of his campaign finance reports and cross-referenced those with social media posts made by Kubosh and his family members. The analysis reveals thousands of dollars of expenses that appear for personal use, which is not allowed under Texas Ethics Commission rules.
MSN – Everton Bailey Jr. (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 6/15/2023
The Dallas City Council approved a series of changes to the ethics code, including lowering the standard of proof needed for the inspector general to prove an ethics violation occurred and making it a criminal offense for leaking confidential city information. It is the second time in three years the council has updated ethics rules. Five council members have admitted to or been convicted of crimes related to taking bribes or embezzling since 2000.
MSN – Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Washington Post) | Published: 6/21/2023
The Texas Senate voted to begin the historic impeachment trial of state Attorney General Ken Paxton on September 5, and it approved rules that bar Paxton’s wife from voting due to a conflict-of-interest. The House impeached Paxton over allegations of bribery, unfitness for office, and abuse of public trust, temporarily forcing him from office pending the Senate trial that could lead to his permanent ouster.
June 22, 2023 •
Campaign Finance Kentucky: “Beshear Campaign, Kentucky Democratic Party Return $202,000 Linked to London Mayor” by Tom Loftus for Kentucky Lantern Maryland: “Sports Betting Advocacy Group Tagged with Largest Elections Board Fine” by Bryan Sears for Maryland Matters North Carolina: “FBI Investigation Leads to NC Politician’s […]
Kentucky: “Beshear Campaign, Kentucky Democratic Party Return $202,000 Linked to London Mayor” by Tom Loftus for Kentucky Lantern
Maryland: “Sports Betting Advocacy Group Tagged with Largest Elections Board Fine” by Bryan Sears for Maryland Matters
North Carolina: “FBI Investigation Leads to NC Politician’s Campaign Finance Sentence in Federal Court” by Danielle Battaglia for Yahoo News
Georgia: “Georgia Poll Workers Targeted by Trump Cleared of False Election Fraud Claims” by Jane Timm (NBC News) for MSN
California: “Trump Adviser Faces Possible Disbarment Over His Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election” by Stefanie Dazio, Michael Blood, and Alanna Durkin Richer (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
National: “Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation with GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court” by Justin Elliott, Joshua Kaplan, and Alex Mierjeski for ProPublica
Florida: “DeSantis Donor Supplied Golf Simulator for ‘Governor’s Cabana’ and Private Flights” by Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, Nate Jones, Michael Scherer, and Alice Crites (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “LA City Council Looks into Tougher Lobbying Rules That Could Impact Themselves” by City News Service for Los Angeles Daily News
June 20, 2023 •
Ethics California: “Anaheim Top City Staff Shower Themselves with Free Tickets to Venues They Oversee” by Noah Biesiada and Hosam Elattar for Voice of OC National: “FBI Resisted Opening Probe into Trump’s Role in Jan. 6 for More Than a Year” by Carol Leoning […]
June 19, 2023 •
Campaign Finance National: “Guilty Pleas in ‘Scam PAC’ Case Tied to 2017 Wisconsin Senate Race” by Nathan Gonzales for Roll Call New Jersey: “Governor Murphy Appoints New Campaign Finance Watchdog Board” by Nikita Biryukov for New Jersey Monitor Ethics California: “L.A. City Councilmember Curren […]
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