December 6, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Vows to Reject Corporate PAC Money on the Rise for Incoming Congress” by Kate Ackley (Roll Call) for MSN New York: “Bribery, Fraud Charges Dismissed Against Ex-NY Lt. Governor” by Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) for MSN Elections […]
National: “Vows to Reject Corporate PAC Money on the Rise for Incoming Congress” by Kate Ackley (Roll Call) for MSN
New York: “Bribery, Fraud Charges Dismissed Against Ex-NY Lt. Governor” by Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) for MSN
National: “DNC Moves Forward with Dramatic Change to Presidential Primary Calendar” by Elena Schneider (Politico) for MSN
Washington DC: “Giuliani Puts 2020 Election Back on Trial in DC Ethics Case” by Zoe Tillman (Bloomberg) for MSN
Hawaii: “‘A Deep Moral Crisis’: Commission Proposes ‘Bold’ Reforms in Government” by Chad Blair for Honolulu Civil Beat
Mississippi: “Ethics Commission Says Legislature Not Subject to Open Meetings Law” by Bobby Harrison (Mississippi Today) for Daily Journal
Oregon: “Long-Serving Director of Oregon Government Ethics Commission Retires” by Nigel Jaquiss for Willamette Week
South Carolina: “Judge to Decide Whether to Dismiss Charges Against Quinn, Alleged Kingpin of Corruption Scandal” by John Monk (The State) for MSN
December 5, 2022 •
Two special elections have been scheduled for January 31, 2023, and February 7, 2023, to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Senate District 27’s seat was vacated by Sen. John Gordner, who resigned on November 30 to become counsel […]
Two special elections have been scheduled for January 31, 2023, and February 7, 2023, to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania Legislature.
Senate District 27’s seat was vacated by Sen. John Gordner, who resigned on November 30 to become counsel to the interim Senate President Pro Tempore.
The winner of the January 31, 2023, special election will serve the remainder of the term set to expire at the end of 2024.
The House District 32 seat became vacant when Rep. Tony DeLuca won re-election on November 8 after he passed away in October before the election.
The winner of the February 7, 2023, special election will serve the remainder of the term set to expire at the end of 2024.
December 5, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Federal Election Commission Passes New Digital Ad Disclosure Rule” by Taylor Giorno for OpenSecrets Illinois: “Despite Ban on Lobbyists’ Campaign Money, Lightfoot Took $53K from Lobbyist’s Companies” by Tim Novak and Frank Main for Chicago Sun-Times New […]
National: “Federal Election Commission Passes New Digital Ad Disclosure Rule” by Taylor Giorno for OpenSecrets
Illinois: “Despite Ban on Lobbyists’ Campaign Money, Lightfoot Took $53K from Lobbyist’s Companies” by Tim Novak and Frank Main for Chicago Sun-Times
New Mexico: “Ethics Board Advances Complaint Against County Commissioner” by Jessica Dyer for Albuquerque Journal
Arizona: “Ariz. County Ordered to Certify Election as GOP Lawyers Are Sanctioned” by Isaac Stanley-Becker and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Trump Mar-a-Lago Special Master Struck Down by Appeals Court” by Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) for MSN
Florida: “Matt Gaetz Associate Joel Greenberg Gets 11 Years as Probe into Congressman Stalls, Sources Say” by Will Steakin for ABC News
National: “Ted Cruz’s Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia May Violate Ethics Laws, Watchdog Says in New Complaint” by Zach Everson (Forbes) for MSN
Canada: “MPs Step in to Delay New Lobbying Code of Conduct Following Complaints” by Bill Curry for Globe and Mail
December 2, 2022 •
Milwaukee Common Council President José G. Pérez called a special election to be held on April 4, 2023, to fill the vacant aldermanic seats in districts 1, 5, and 9. If a primary election is necessary to fill any of […]
Milwaukee Common Council President José G. Pérez called a special election to be held on April 4, 2023, to fill the vacant aldermanic seats in districts 1, 5, and 9.
If a primary election is necessary to fill any of these seats, it will be held on February 21, 2023.
December 2, 2022 •
On December 1, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) formally approved a Final Rule and Explanation and Justification revising its disclaimer requirements for certain public communications placed for a fee on the internet. The FEC stated it is adopting these updates […]
On December 1, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) formally approved a Final Rule and Explanation and Justification revising its disclaimer requirements for certain public communications placed for a fee on the internet. The FEC stated it is adopting these updates to the regulatory rules “in light of technological advances since the Commission last revised its rules governing internet disclaimers in 2006, and to address questions from the public about the application of those rules to internet communications,” according to the memorandum submitted with the approved draft.
By amending 11 CFR §110.11, the regulations will require that disclaimers appear on certain public communications made over the internet. Some communications will be permitted to include an “adapted disclaimer” when a full disclaimer cannot be provided or would occupy more than 25 percent of the communication due to space or character constraints. The final rule also revises the definition of “public communication.” The term now includes “communications placed for a fee on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform.”
The FEC also approved another measure seeking comments on whether its definition of “public communication” or “internet public communications” should also include internet communications that are “promoted for a fee” on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform. The Supplemental Notice will be published in the Federal Register at a future date. The goal of these proposals is to apply the Federal Election Campaign Act’s disclaimer requirements to general public political advertising on the internet and to revise the definition of “public communication” to clarify how it applies to such advertising.
The FEC must now transmit the approved regulations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate for a thirty-legislative-day review period.
December 2, 2022 •
National/Federal Candidates Recoup $5M in Old Campaign Loans So Far Thanks to Ted Cruz’s $555K Court Win MSN – Todd Gillman (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 11/24/2022 In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits in place for two decades […]
Candidates Recoup $5M in Old Campaign Loans So Far Thanks to Ted Cruz’s $555K Court Win
MSN – Todd Gillman (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 11/24/2022
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits in place for two decades that barred federal candidates from raising money indefinitely to pay off personal loans. At least 18 current lawmakers and former candidates have availed themselves of the flexibility that Sen. Ted Cruz engineered to recover loans from previous campaigns. Together, they have recouped $5 million. Paul Smith of the Campaign Legal Center, which also defended the restrictions Cruz got overturned, drew a distinction between a senator taking donations that end up in his personal account and an ex-candidate tapping unspent campaign funds to repay an old loan.
Cyberthieves Stole $186,000 from a Republican Member of Congress as Fraud Epidemic Plagues Political Committees
Yahoo News – Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) | Published: 11/29/2022
A cyber thief known only as “Vix” stole more than $186,000 from U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger’s campaign account in an “unauthorized fraudulent wire transfer” in July. The Harshbarger campaign told the FEC the bank in which the stolen money was deposited “froze the funds and returned all the money in question,” meaning Harshbarger did not lose the money for long, in contrast to other prominent political committees that have together lost millions of dollars in recent years. Cybertheft methods such as phishing are preferred methods among perpetrators. But more old-school techniques, such as stealing or falsifying paper checks, are also common.
Democrats Prepare to Upend Presidential Primary Calendar
MSN – Elena Schneider (Politico) | Published: 11/29/2022
The list of states with the biggest say in Democratic presidential contests could get a big shake-up. A flurry of public and private lobbying to reformat the longtime early-state lineup of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina kicked off again after the midterms. States like Michigan and Minnesota are trying to push in, while Nevada is making a play for first-in-the-nation status over New Hampshire. The Democratic National Committee has left open the possibility of adding a fifth calendar to the slate.
Ethics Watchdog Group Seeks Probes into Oversight of Officials’ Stock-Trading Conflicts
Fox Business – Brody Mullins and Rebecca Ballhaus (Wall Street Journal) | Published: 11/22/2022
The Campaign Legal Center filed a series of legal complaints alleging the federal government is failing to adequately enforce conflict-of-interest rules. It called on the executive-branch agency that oversees ethics rules to investigate what it called deficiencies in enforcement at several agencies. The group also requested that internal investigators at four agencies examine whether their ethics programs complied with federal rules. The legal filings were prompted by a series of articles revealing that thousands of federal employees held stock in companies that were regulated by the agencies where those employees worked.
House Democrats Prepare for Unfamiliar Territory: New leaders, in a minority
MSN – Mariana Sotomayor and Camila DeChalus (Washington Post) | Published: 11/30/2022
House Democrats elected a new generation of leaders who will be responsible for keeping the caucus united as they set their sights on winning back the majority next term. The decision by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to step aside after leading Democrats for two decades has paved the way for the caucus to unite around a younger, more diverse trio of leaders. Democrats elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to serve as minority leader, Rep. Katherine Clark as minority whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar as chairperson. Jeffries will make history as the first Black member to lead either party in either chamber of Congress.
Inside Sam Bankman-Fried’s Courtship of a Washington Regulator
MSN – Tory Newmyer and Peter Whoriskey (Washington Post) | Published: 11/28/2022
Crypto magnate Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX has collapsed amid allegations of fraud. As the financial world examines why major firms threw hundreds of millions of dollars at the 30-year-old Bankman-Fried, some are looking anew at his courtship of Washington, D.C. and why he sought to build ties with Rostin Behnam and the agency he leads, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bankman-Fried had given enough in political currency to expect to get an audience. He gave $40 million to politicians and PACs before the midterms, mostly to Democrats and liberal-leaning groups. Another senior FTX official, Ryan Salame, gave large sums to Republicans.
Oath Keepers’ Rhodes Guilty of Jan. 6 Seditious Conspiracy
MSN – Lindsay Whitehurst, Alana Durkin Richer, and Michael Kunzelman (Associated Press) | Published: 11/29/2022
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn President Biden’s election, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its prosecution of the Capitol insurrection. Rhodes was acquitted of two other conspiracy charges. A co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, who led the group’s Florida chapter, was also convicted of seditious conspiracy, while three other associates were cleared of that charge. Jurors found all five defendants guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding: Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
‘Opening the Gates of Hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts
MSN – Taylor Lorenz (Washington Post) | Published: 11/24/2022
Elon Musk said he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts. The announcement came after he posted a poll whether there should be reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The mass return of users who had been banned for such offenses as violent threats, harassment, and misinformation will have a significant impact on the platform, experts said. Many questioned how such a resurrection would be handled, given it is unclear what Musk means by “egregious spam” and the difficulty of separating out users who have “broken the law,” which vary widely by jurisdiction and country.
Supreme Court Clears Way for Trump Tax Returns to Go to Congress
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 11/23/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for a congressional committee to examine Donald Trump’s tax returns, denying without comment the former president’s last-ditch effort to extend a legal battle that has consumed Congress and the courts for years. Lawmakers have said they need Trump’s tax returns from his time in office, plus the year before his term and the year after for comparison, to help evaluate the effectiveness of annual presidential audits. Trump has argued Democratic lawmakers are on a fishing expedition designed to embarrass him politically.
Supreme Court Responds to Lawmakers on Ethics Complaints
MSN – Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 11/28/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unusually forceful and detailed rebuttal to ethics concerns raised by two Democratic lawmakers about a drive by religious conservatives to entertain some justices. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Hank Johnson threatened a probe if the court did not launch its own inquiry into the claims. The court’s legal counsel, Ethan Torrey, repeated and expanded on earlier denials of impropriety issued by Justice Samuel Alito, following reports in the media about a concerted campaign by religious-right activists to encourage more conservative decisions by the justices by building connections with them in social settings.
Trump’s Dinner with Antisemites Provides Test of GOP Response to Extremism
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, and Marianna Sotomayor (Washington Post) | Published: 11/30/2022
Former President Trump’s refusal to apologize for or disavow the outspoken antisemites he dined with recently is setting him increasingly at odds with leaders of his own party, providing the first test of his political endurance since launching his third run for the White House. The fracas is also testing how Republicans will handle the party’s extreme fringe in the months ahead after years of racist, misogynist, and antisemitic speech flooding into the political bloodstream during the Trump era.
Canada – Questions Raised About Whether Former N.S. Premier Was Lobbying for New Golf Course
CBC – Tom Ayers | Published: 11/21/2022
Former Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald said he is not lobbying the provincial government on behalf of a private golf course developer. He is not listed on the provincial registry of lobbyists, but he has contacted all three party leaders in the Legislature about a proposed 18-hole course on protected lands. MacDonald said he has simply met with local groups on behalf of a developer and given provincial politicians a heads-up that a proposal may be coming.
Canada – Updated Lobbyists’ Code Awaits Approval from House Committee. Critics Say Changes ‘Gut Ethical Lobbying Rules’
National Observer – Natasha Bulowski | Published: 11/29/2022
Proposed changes to Canada’s Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct are ready to be examined and approved by the parliamentary ethics committee before coming into force after two years and three rounds of consultations. The draft update introduced new standards for lobbyists regarding shared relationships, political activities, and gifts. Perhaps one of the most controversial changes has to do with the time between a lobbyist campaigning to elect a politician and petitioning them in their elected role.
From the States and Municipalities
Alabama – AG Steve Marshall Says Alabama Ethics Commission Policy Undermines Enforcement
MSN – Mike Cason (AL.com) | Published: 11/29/2022
State Attorney General Steve Marshall said his office cannot rely on findings by the Alabama Ethics Commission because of a commission policy that it does not disclose exculpatory information to people under investigation. Marshall’s lawsuit says the commission’s rule to not disclose exculpatory information, evidence that is favorable to the accused, violates due process for those under investigation and impairs the ability of his office to enforce ethics laws. Marshall asked the court to declare the rule null and void.
Arizona – Three Weeks After Election, Arizona Remains in Turmoil Over Results
MSN – Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 11/28/2022
In Arizona, where problems with ballot printer ink at about a third of Phoenix-area polling places have fueled unproven Republican claims of a stolen election, events surrounding certification of the results showcased the depths of distrust in election administration in the state, as well as the willingness of GOP candidates and elected officials to sanction, even stoke, that distrust. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich has not indicated publicly how he will handle the looming deadline for the state to certify the results.
California – After Spending $39 Million, California’s Campaign Finance Website Still Trapped in 2000
Center Square – Madison Hirneisen | Published: 11/30/2022
Despite nearly $40 million spent to update California’s antiquated campaign finance website, state lawmakers are still awaiting the roll out of a new platform that was initially scheduled to go live in 2019. Now that may be pushed back to June 2026. That was the subject of a hearing to understand the delay in rolling out an updated version of the California Automated Lobbying and Campaign Contribution Electronic Search System, better known as Cal-Access.
California – Former California Police Chief Charged in CalPERS Double-Dipping Fraud Case
MSN – Randy Diamond (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 11/23/2022
Criminal charges of grand theft have been brought against Greg Love, one of several Broadmoor Police Department chiefs and commanders that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) said defrauded the pension system by collecting more than $2 million in excessive retirement payments. Another former chief, David Parenti, will not be subject to any criminal prosecution. CalPERS misplaced the records for more than four years that detailed a complaint saying Parenti was collecting retirement benefits while drawing a salary as police chief and other positions, said San Mateo County Prosecutor Steve Wagstaffe.
California – These Teens Won the Right to Vote. Their County Disenfranchised Them.
MSN – Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) | Published: 11/30/2022
Many high school students in Oakland worked to lower the voting age to 16 for school board races, arguing no one had a higher stake in who led their district. They won, convincing a supermajority of the electorate in 2020 to expand voting rights to younger teens. But Alameda County, which runs the city’s elections, never implemented the measure. It also failed to deliver on a 2016 ballot initiative from Berkeley that did the same thing. So, November 8 passed like election days past: with 16- and 17-year-olds watching from the sidelines.
Florida – Suspended Florida Prosecutor Takes Fight to DeSantis in Opening Day of Federal Trial
Yahoo News – Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 11/29/2022
Suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren took his battle against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a federal court in a trial that is exposing the machinations in how the governor’s office operates. DeSantis suspended Warren in August over moves the Democratic elected official made, including signing a pledge that he would not enforce the state’s new abortion laws. Warren contends that DeSantis’s move to suspend him violated his First Amendment rights.
Georgia – Court Says Trump Aide Meadows Must Testify in Election Probe
MSN – Kate Brumback (Associated Press) | Published: 11/29/2022
The South Carolina Supreme Court said former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify before a special grand jury investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia. The court’s opinion says the justices reviewed Meadows’ arguments and found them to be “manifestly without merit.”
Georgia – Hall County Solicitor Accused of Ignoring Campaign Finance Laws
WAGA – Randy Travis | Published: 11/22/2022
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission filed a complaint accusing Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard of failing to provide key campaign and financial disclosures for every year since 2018. Records show Woodard has spent little or no money on campaigns in recent years because she has had no opposition. But the law still requires regular reporting.
Georgia – Herschel Walker Only Recently Stopped Renting Out Georgia Home He Claims as His Residence
Yahoo News – Roger Sollenberger (Daily Beast) | Published: 11/28/2022
When he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, it was widely known at the time that Herschel Walker had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for “17 years.” Less widely known was that Walker’s wife collected rental income for that residence. Federal law does not require Senate candidates to reside in the state they plan to represent until they are elected. But under Georgia law, aspiring candidates must meet certain residency requirements before they can run for office.
Illinois – Lightfoot Hit with Ethics Complaint After Taking $25K Donation from Chicago Fire Owner Involved in Training Facility Land Swap
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 11/30/2022
Mayor Lori Lightfoot should be investigated for accepting a $25,000 contribution to her re-election campaign from Chicago Fire owner Joe Mansueto, according to a complaint. That donation came 57 days after the city council approved a proposal Lightfoot backed to turn over some 26 acres of Housing Authority land to the Chicago Fire Football Club. Mansueto’s donation marks the first time he has financially supported Lightfoot’s campaign.
Kentucky – What You Need to Know About Louisville Metro’s New Lobbying Rules
WFPL – Roberto Roldan | Published: 11/28/2022
Louisville Metro will require people and interest groups that try to influence city officials to register as lobbyists and file financial disclosure reports. Councilperson Bill Hollander said he proposed the legislation after looking at transparency measures taken by local governments of similar size to Louisville. The ordinance was also modeled after Kentucky’s Code of Ethics, which was approved by the General Assembly in 1993.
Maine – State Panel Fines Group That Backed Democratic Candidates
Kennebec Journal – Randy Billings (Portland Press Herald) | Published: 11/30/2022
Maine’s ethics commission voted to impose fines totaling nearly $11,000 against a group that supported Democratic state legislative candidates for violating disclosure laws and filing a late report. The commission determined American Leadership Committee-Maine violated campaign finance laws by sending mailers and running digital advertisements without disclosing the group’s top three donors. Commissioners also reviewed a slate of proposed campaign finance changes that will be submitted to the incoming Legislature.
Maryland – Marilyn and Nick Mosby Each Report $0.00 in Their Campaign Bank Accounts
Baltimore Brew – Mark Reutter | Published: 11/29/2022
Indicted State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, each filed reports to the State Board of Elections saying their campaign bank accounts were empty, even though, elsewhere in the same reports, cash surpluses are listed by a computer-generated program. Previously, Baltimore Brew has pointed to many errors and inconsistencies in Marilyn Mosby’s reports, including citing her long-dead grandfather as a campaign donor and listing wrong addresses for staff at the state attorney’s office who contributed.
Massachusetts – Everett Contractor Fined for Excessive Donations to Mayor Carlo DeMaria
MSN – Stephanie Ebbert (Boston Globe) | Published: 11/25/2022
Gregory Antonelli, a contractor and developer in Everett, was fined $6,000 for illegally funneling excessive campaign contributions to Mayor Carlo DeMaria through family members. Antonelli acknowledged asking two relatives to each make $1,000 contributions to the mayor after he had donated the same sum, the maximum amount allowable under campaign finance law. “You subsequently provided cash from your personal account to each family member to reimburse them for the contributions made in their names to the Committee,?” Office of Campaign Finance Director William Campbell wrote to Antonelli.
Michigan – Michigan AG Dana Nessel Wants Lee Chatfield Investigation Records Kept Secret from Public
Yahoo News – Kelly House (Bridge Michigan) and Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 11/30/2022
The state attorney general wants to restrict public access to search warrant records in its probe of former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, arguing the documents should remain shielded even though the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan won a judge’s order unsealing them. The decision opens the door to the attorney general sitting on the public documents indefinitely, or at least until any formal results from the investigation are released. That, despite a state law requiring courts to release search warrants and affidavits 56 days after a warrant is issued, unless investigators convince a judge or magistrate to extend the suppression.
Missouri – Eric Schmitt’s Office Did Not Keep Travel Records after 2020, Raising Transparency Concerns
AOL – Kacen Bayless and Daniel Desrochers (Kansas City Star) | Published: 11/28/2022
In April, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt walked from inside the U.S. Supreme Court to a circle of cameras and reporters stationed on the sidewalk. Schmitt took questions about his and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s challenge to a Biden administration immigration policy. But as he represented the taxpayers of Missouri in front of the Supreme Court, his office did not keep his travel records. The oral arguments, covered by news organizations across the country, did not appear on his calendar. His calendar notes a “Press Conference” and two television interviews that day. There are no records showing the cost of the trip or reimbursement checks.
New Jersey – NJ Transit Report Card: A chief ethics officer with two jobs and two masters
MSN – Colleen Wilson (Bergen Record) | Published: 11/24/2022
The position of chief ethics officer was created as part of the NJ Transit reform legislation to investigate fraud, waste, and abuse. The board unanimously approved Christopher Iu for the position in 2021. Iu, however, is also the agency’s chief compliance officer, and in that role answers to Kevin Corbett, the chief executive officer of NJ Transit. This arrangement is not what former state Sen. Loretta Weinberg had in mind when she was writing the legislation.
New Mexico – Nuclear Watchdog Accuses Ex-Environment Official of Conflicting Interests After She Accepts LANL Job
Santa Fe New Mexican – Scott Wyland | Published: 11/28/2022
A nuclear watchdog group wants a state commission in New Mexico to nullify its decision on a permit for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s radioactive liquid waste treatment facility, arguing the panel’s former chair backed a ruling favorable to the lab while she sought a job with the federal agency that oversees it. Critics say former state Water Quality Control Commission Chairperson Stephanie Stringer, who also was a deputy secretary of the state Environment Department, is the latest in a series of New Mexico regulators going to work for entities they oversee after taking actions that appear to help their new employers.
New York – De Blasio Was Admonished by Ethics Board for Using City Staff and Phone for Politicking. His Underlings Weren’t So Lucky.
The City – Yoav Gonen | Published: 11/29/2022
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio violated conflict-of-interest rules more extensively than previously known, but the city’s ethics board kept the breaches under wraps by admonishing him privately. De Blasio received the two 2016 warning letters even as some lower-level municipal workers whom the board found to have similarly misused city resources or personnel got punishments that ranged from a public admonishment to fines of thousands of dollars.
New York – New Ethics Rules Derailed State’s Annual Turkey Donation Program
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 11/23/2022
The New York Democratic Party hurriedly bought and helped distribute roughly 4,000 turkeys after the state’s new ethics rules derailed what had been a November rite of passage for governors to oversee the distribution of the donated birds. Attorneys for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration determined the law adopted this year prohibited the state from accepting the donations.
New York – Supreme Court Suggests Higher Bar May Be Needed for Corruption Cases
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 11/28/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared poised to make it tougher to prosecute political corruption cases as they signaled sympathy toward an ex-aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a businessperson convicted on bribery and fraud charges. The court has questioned federal prosecutors pursuing public officials for behavior that some justices have considered the normal activity of politics. The justices heard arguments by Cuomo’s former executive deputy secretary Joseph Percoco and onetime construction company executive Louis Ciminelli, who were charged in a corruption crackdown by federal prosecutors centered on Albany.
Ohio – Ethics Questions Swirl Around Lake County Commissioner
WKYC – Phil Trexler and Marisa Saenz | Published: 11/22/2022
Lake County Commissioner John Plecnik worked two full-time jobs and took on a third by using his government office and taxpayer resources. Plecnik, who earns $114,000 as a full-time Cleveland State University law school professor and about $95,000 annually as commissioner, was paid to teach an out-of-state law class via Zoom last summer and used his office to conduct the class. He donated the $9,000 teaching stipend to the Lake County NAACP chapter. Plecnik was not an NAACP member, nor has he ever made a significant contribution until it became known the media was investigating him.
Ohio – Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman Must Spend 500 Hours Registering Voters as Penance for Phony Robocalls Targeting Black Voters in Cleveland
MSN – Cory Shaffer (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 11/29/2022
A judge ordered Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two right-wing conspiracy theorists behind robocalls that sought to intimidate Black voters in Cleveland out of casting mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election, to spend 500 hours registering voters in low-income neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. area. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Sutula placed them on two years of probation, fined each $2,500, and ordered them to home confinement for the first six months of their probation.
Ohio – Ohio Bribery Case: Explosive Justice Department documents show Larry Householder’s involvement in pay-to-play for sports betting
WKYC – Dave DeNatale, Phil Trexler, and Neil Fischer | Published: 11/30/2022
New court filings suggest former Speaker of the House Larry Householder was heavily involved in a “pay-to-play” scandal to bring sports betting to Ohio. The Justice Department says Neil Clark instructed undercover agents to pay $50,000 to $100,000 to expedite legislation, which would eventually end up going to Householder and his associates through his “dark money” account, Generation Now.
Oregon – Oregon State Senator’s Fiery Words Test Free Speech Limits
OPB – Andrew Selsky (Associated Press) | Published: 11/29/2022
A state senator who made veiled threats against the Oregon State Police and the Senate president said he is pursuing a freedom of speech lawsuit against fellow lawmakers who sanctioned him. Sen. Brian Boquist said he also is seeking an order from the Oregon Supreme Court that would prevent the state police or the state attorney general from enforcing legislative branch rules.
Oregon – Portland Auditor Withdraws $5,520 Fine Against Rene Gonzalez’s City Council Campaign
MSN – Catalina Gaitán (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 11/23/2022
The Portland City Auditor reversed its October determination that Rene Gonzalez’s city council campaign violated campaign finance limits by accepting a subsidized $250 monthly rent for over 3,000 square feet of office space and two designated parking spots in downtown Portland owned by campaign supporter and real estate mogul Jordan Schnitzer. The announcement arrives after Judge Joe Allen revoked a $77,000 fine the city issued against the campaign. Allen said the deeply discounted office space did not surpass the fair market value of the property and therefore did not qualify as an unreported campaign contribution.
Tennessee – Former State Sen. Brian Kelsey Pleads Guilty to Two Federal Charges in Campaign Conspiracy
Yahoo News – Melissa Brown (Tennessean) | Published: 11/22/2022
Former Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in a scheme to bolster his failed 2016 congressional campaign. The case was moving toward a January trial when Kelsey’s co-defendant, Joshua Smith, pleaded guilty in October. Kelsey and Smith conspired to “orchestrate the concealed movement of $91,000,” the Department of Justice said, the majority of which came from Kelsey’s state Senate campaign account. The funds were shuffled to a national political group to buy advertising for Kelsey’s campaign. The organization made another $80,000 worth of contributions to Kelsey’s congressional campaign.
December 1, 2022 •
I am always looking for great folks to add to our State and Federal Communications community. I recently was aware that Joe Wasser was looking for a new opportunity. Joe has more than 24 years of business development experience in […]
I am always looking for great folks to add to our State and Federal Communications community. I recently was aware that Joe Wasser was looking for a new opportunity. Joe has more than 24 years of business development experience in the government relations and PAC industry. So I picked up the phone and called him.
Joe joined State and Federal Communications, Inc. in October as our new Senior Account Manager. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise in government relations and building relationships. I am thrilled he is on our team.
Prior to joining State and Federal Communications, Joe was one of the first employees of Capitol Hill Software which became Vocus before it was acquired by Cision. Joe was one of the most instrumental people in building the Vocus client base starting in 1997.
“I’m excited to work with my longtime friend Elizabeth and the team at State and Federal Communications,” said Wasser. “I know we can build upon the great work that has already been done and help the company grow.”
Joe will explore business development and new growth opportunities for State and Federal Communications including market assessment, and new and emerging industry potential.
When Joe started with Capitol Hill Software and Vocus, the products were sold as physical diskettes that were sent to clients. Similarly, State and Federal Communications sent out binders and guidebooks to clients and would regularly supplement them with additional pages.
While State and Federal Communications was modernizing the process of making compliance web-based, Joe and the Vocus teamwere doing the same thing to create one of the most widely used web-based filing tools for federal PACs. His experience adds great value to State and Federal Communications.
A life-long Maryland Terrapin, Joe is a big fan of Washington D.C. sports particularly the Washington Nationals. However, after getting a taste of a winning culture in the Cleveland Guardians, he has adopted the Guardians as a fan too.
Joe and his wife Suzanne live on the eastern shore of Maryland. They have two adult children and are delighted to be welcoming their first grandchild in January 2023.
If Joe knows you, he will be in contact with you. He is as much an extrovert as me and I already know he will be a great addition.
On behalf of the State and Federal Communications Family, we wish you and yours Happy Holidays and look forward to a busy 2023 in the states, federal government, municipalities, and international countries.
December 1, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Maine: “State Panel Fines Group That Backed Democratic Candidates” by Randy Billings (Portland Press Herald) for Kennebec Journal Elections California: “These Teens Won the Right to Vote. Their County Disenfranchised Them.” by Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) for MSN […]
Maine: “State Panel Fines Group That Backed Democratic Candidates” by Randy Billings (Portland Press Herald) for Kennebec Journal
California: “These Teens Won the Right to Vote. Their County Disenfranchised Them.” by Moriah Balingit (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “Court Says Trump Aide Meadows Must Testify in Election Probe” by Kate Brumback (Associated Press) for MSN
Florida: “Suspended Florida Prosecutor Takes Fight to DeSantis in Opening Day of Federal Trial” by Gary Fineout (Politico) for Yahoo News
New Jersey: “NJ Transit Report Card: A chief ethics officer with two jobs and two masters” by Colleen Wilson (Bergen Record) for MSN
Ohio: “Ethics Questions Swirl Around Lake County Commissioner” by Phil Trexler and Marisa Saenz for WKYC
National: “House Democrats Prepare for Unfamiliar Territory: New leaders, in a minority” by Mariana Sotomayor and Camila DeChalus (Washington Post) for MSN
Oregon: “Oregon State Senator’s Fiery Words Test Free Speech Limits” by Andrew Selsky (Associated Press) for OPB
November 30, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Cyberthieves Stole $186,000 from a Republican Member of Congress as Fraud Epidemic Plagues Political Committees” by Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) for Yahoo News Elections Georgia: “Herschel Walker Only Recently Stopped Renting Out Georgia Home He Claims as […]
National: “Cyberthieves Stole $186,000 from a Republican Member of Congress as Fraud Epidemic Plagues Political Committees” by Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) for Yahoo News
Georgia: “Herschel Walker Only Recently Stopped Renting Out Georgia Home He Claims as His Residence” by Roger Sollenberger (Daily Beast) for Yahoo News
National: “Supreme Court Responds to Lawmakers on Ethics Complaints” by Josh Gerstein (Politico) for MSN
National: “Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy” by Robert Legare for CBS News
Alabama: “Alabama AG vs. Alabama Ethics Commission” by Josh Moon for Alabama Political Reporter
New Mexico: “Nuclear Watchdog Accuses Ex-Environment Official of Conflicting Interests After She Accepts LANL Job” by Scott Wyland for Santa Fe New Mexican
New York: “De Blasio Was Admonished by Ethics Board for Using City Staff and Phone for Politicking. His Underlings Weren’t So Lucky.” by Yoav Gonen for The City
Canada: “Updated Lobbyists’ Code Awaits Approval from House Committee. Critics Say Changes ‘Gut Ethical Lobbying Rules’” by Natasha Bulowski for National Observer
November 29, 2022 •
Gov. Bill Lee has set upcoming election dates to fill Tennessee House District 86. The seat was vacated upon the death of Democratic State Rep. Barbara Cooper in late October at the age of 93. Tennessee allowed her name to […]
Gov. Bill Lee has set upcoming election dates to fill Tennessee House District 86.
The seat was vacated upon the death of Democratic State Rep. Barbara Cooper in late October at the age of 93.
Tennessee allowed her name to remain on the November ballot where she won.
A primary election will be held on January 24, 2023 with the general election being held on March 14, 2023.
November 29, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Candidates Recoup $5M in Old Campaign Loans So Far Thanks to Ted Cruz’s $555K Court Win” by Todd Gillman (Dallas Morning News) for MSN Georgia: “Hall County Solicitor Accused of Ignoring Campaign Finance Laws” by Randy Travis […]
National: “Candidates Recoup $5M in Old Campaign Loans So Far Thanks to Ted Cruz’s $555K Court Win” by Todd Gillman (Dallas Morning News) for MSN
Georgia: “Hall County Solicitor Accused of Ignoring Campaign Finance Laws” by Randy Travis for WAGA
National: “‘Opening the Gates of Hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts” by Taylor Lorenz (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Trump Faulted for Dinner with White Nationalist, Rapper Ye” by Jill Colvin (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
California: “Former California Police Chief Charged in CalPERS Double-Dipping Fraud Case” by Randy Diamond (Sacramento Bee) for MSN
Missouri: “Eric Schmitt’s Office Did Not Keep Travel Records after 2020, Raising Transparency Concerns” by Kacen Bayless and Daniel Desrochers (Kansas City Star) for AOL
Kentucky: “What You Need to Know About Louisville Metro’s New Lobbying Rules” by Roberto Roldan for WFPL
New York: “U.S. Supreme Court Leans Toward Limiting Public Corruption Prosecutions” by Nate Raymond and Andrew Chung (Reuters) for MSN
November 28, 2022 •
Lawmakers will convene for a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly on November 28. Lawmakers will discuss extending the gas tax holiday and the continued suspension of fares on all public transit buses.
Lawmakers will convene for a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly on November 28.
Lawmakers will discuss extending the gas tax holiday and the continued suspension of fares on all public transit buses.
November 28, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Massachusetts: “Everett Contractor Fined for Excessive Donations to Mayor Carlo DeMaria” by Stephanie Ebbert (Boston Globe) for MSN Oregon: “Portland Auditor Withdraws $5,520 Fine Against Rene Gonzalez’s City Council Campaign” by Catalina Gaitán (Portland Oregonian) for MSN Tennessee: […]
Massachusetts: “Everett Contractor Fined for Excessive Donations to Mayor Carlo DeMaria” by Stephanie Ebbert (Boston Globe) for MSN
Oregon: “Portland Auditor Withdraws $5,520 Fine Against Rene Gonzalez’s City Council Campaign” by Catalina Gaitán (Portland Oregonian) for MSN
Tennessee: “Former State Sen. Brian Kelsey Pleads Guilty to Two Federal Charges in Campaign Conspiracy” by Melissa Brown (Tennessean) for Yahoo News
Arizona: “Maricopa County Says Printer Glitches Didn’t Prevent Anyone from Voting” by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “Lindsey Graham Testifies Before Georgia Grand Jury in Election Probe” by Holly Bailey and Matthew Brown (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Supreme Court Clears Way for Trump Tax Returns to Go to Congress” by Robert Barnes (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “New Ethics Rules Derailed State’s Annual Turkey Donation Program” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union
Canada: “Questions Raised About Whether Former N.S. Premier Was Lobbying for New Golf Course” by Tom Ayers for CBC
November 23, 2022 •
National/Federal Cigars, Booze, Money: How a lobbying blitz made sports betting ubiquitous Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) | Published: 11/20/2022 In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal prohibition on sports betting was unconstitutional. […]
Cigars, Booze, Money: How a lobbying blitz made sports betting ubiquitous
Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) | Published: 11/20/2022
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal prohibition on sports betting was unconstitutional. Gambling companies and their allies then deployed a full court lobbying campaign to press for sports betting in state capitals, showering lawmakers with money, gifts, and visits from sports luminaries and at times using deceptive arguments to extract tax breaks and other concessions, according to a New York Times investigation. In state after state, while lobbyists cultivated friendly relationships with lawmakers and regulators, the interests of taxpayers and people at risk of gambling problems were often on the back burner.
GOP Operative Found Guilty of Funneling Russian Money to Donald Trump
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 11/17/2022
A federal jury convicted a Republican political operative, Jesse Benton, for funneling illegal campaign contributions from a Russian national into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Benton worked with another GOP operative to arrange for Roman Vasilenko to attend a fundraiser and take a picture with Trump. Since the event required a contribution, Vasilenko sent $100,000 to Benton’s political consulting firm, $25,000 of which Benton donated in his own name to the Trump campaign and the other $75,000 of which he pocketed.
How Carolyn Maloney’s Ticket to the Met Gala Led to an Ethics Inquiry
Yahoo News – Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
When U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney learned in 2016 that she had been dropped from the guest list for that year’s Met Gala, she evidently could not abide it. Maloney called a powerful friend and appeared to have done her own version of trying to talk her way on the list. In an investigative referral, a congressional ethics watchdog contended her cajoling – including reminding the Met “how much she does for the Met” – may have violated House ethics rules or federal laws that bar lawmakers from soliciting gifts, including invitations.
In New Special Counsel, a Prosecutor Schooled in Corruption Cases
DNyuz – Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 11/19/2022
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee a pair of criminal investigations involving former President Trump, thrusting him into a political firestorm that will doubtlessly accompany the job. The special counsel’s purview will include the probe of Trump’s alleged retention of highly sensitive national security secrets at his Florida estate, and aspects of the effort by Trump and his allies’ effort to subvert the 2020 election and disrupt the transition of power to President Biden. Smith has been prosecuting criminal cases, including politically charged corruption investigations involving public officials, for nearly 30 years.
Pelosi to Step Down as House Democratic Leader
Yahoo News – Sarah Wire (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/17/2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will not seek to lead House Democrats for another term but remain in Congress. The decision, capping a 35-year career in which Pelosi became the most powerful female member of Congress in U.S. history, followed her party’s narrow loss of the chamber in the midterm election. Pelosi is also abiding by a 2018 agreement with fellow Democrats that she would step down from leadership by the end of 2022 to make way for a new generation. Pelosi also said the attack on her husband, Paul, would be a factor in her decision.
Senior Democratic Lawmakers Demand Answers on Alleged Supreme Court Leak
MSN – Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 11/20/2022
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Hank Johnson are demanding that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts detail what, if anything, the court has done to respond to recent allegations of a leak of the outcome of a major case the justices considered several years ago. Whitehouse and Johnson are also interested in examining claims about a concerted effort by religious conservatives to woo the justices through meals and social engagements. They made clear if the court will not investigate the alleged ethical breaches, lawmakers are likely to launch their own probe.
Trump Family’s Newest Partners: Middle Eastern governments
Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
The Trump Organization signed a deal with a Saudi Arabian real estate company that creates new conflict-of-interest questions for Donald Trump’s just-launched presidential campaign. The deal is for a Trump-branded hotel, villas, and a golf course as part of a $4 billion real estate project in Oman. The agreement continues a practice that had been popular for the Trump family business until Trump was elected president – selling branding rights to an overseas project in exchange for a generous licensing fee.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – APOC OKs Subpoenas for Republican Governors Association Execs in Dunleavy Coordination Case
Midnight Sun – Matt Acuña Buxton | Published: 11/18/2022
The Alaska Public Offices Commission issued subpoenas to two officials with the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Executive Director Dave Rexrode and Chief Financial Officer Erim Canligil. A complaint argues the independent expenditure group illegally coordinated with Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s campaign, violating laws intended to keep candidates separated from unlimited corporate spending.
Arkansas – Ethics Commission Reaches Settlements in Cases Involving Advocacy Group and Arkansas Legislators
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Michael Wickline | Published: 11/18/2022
The Common Ground Arkansas group founded by state Sen. Jim Hendren, along with Sen.-elect Bryan King and state Rep. Mary Bentley, have each been sanctioned with fines and public letters of caution by the Arkansas Ethics Commission. The fines range from $50 to $150. In a complaint, Sen. Trent Garner alleged Hendren, as founder and board member of Common Ground, violated state election law by engaging in expressed advocacy for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election or election of candidates.
California – Anaheim Residents Pressure City Council to Publicly Release Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Hosam Elattar | Published: 11/16/2022
Anaheim residents will get to see if their elected leaders are corrupt after they pressured the city council to commit to releasing the findings of an internal probe. The results could implicate city staff and officials themselves. It comes after revelations of an FBI probe into City Hall and former Mayor Harry Sidhu. Federal agents allege Sidhu tried ramming through the Angel Stadium land sale for $1 million in campaign support from team officials.
California – California Raises Campaign Contribution and Gift Limits for 2023-2024
Lexology – Kimberly Railey (Covington & Burling LLP) | Published: 11/18/2022
The California Fair Political Practices Commission voted to increase limits on campaign contribution and gifts to public officials. The new caps take effect on January 1, 2023.
Connecticut – After Record Spending in CT Governor Race, Questions Arise Over Future Spending by Wealthy Candidates
CT Insider – Ken Dixon | Published: 11/21/2022
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and challenger Bob Stefanowski avoided the state’s public campaign financing program in this year’s gubernatorial election, dipping into their own wealth to spend more than $30 million and raising the question of whether top of the ticket candidates will continue doing this in the future and just how wealthy someone must be to run for the state’s highest office. If the current maximum $9 million grant is not increased for governor candidates, it could subvert the purpose of the law aimed at removing lobbyist and special-interest money from statewide and General Assembly races while opening the pool of potential candidates.
Connecticut – Manager at CT State Pier Recommended Itself for $87M in Contracts
Connecticut Mirror – Andrew Brown | Published: 11/21/2022
The company hired to oversee the redevelopment of the State Pier in New London, Kiewit Corporation, recommended itself for tens of millions of dollars in subcontracts under the project, even in some cases where another construction firm submitted a lower-priced bid to the state. That arrangement is now drawing criticism from a few Connecticut lawmakers who are concerned about the potential for a conflict-of-interest. Sen. Paul Formica, who represents the district where the new pier is being built, argued it was a poor business practice to allow Kiewit to both manage the public bidding process and submit offers for work at the site.
Florida – Judge Blocks DeSantis Law on Barring ‘Woke’ Education
Yahoo News – Anthony Izaguire (Associated Press) | Published: 11/17/2022
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker blocked a law pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in colleges. Walker issued a temporary injunction against the so-called Stop Woke act in a ruling that called the legislation “positively dystopian.” The law prohibits teaching that contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others. It also bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is acceptable to achieve diversity.
Georgia – Judge Says Georgia Law Allows Saturday Voting for Runoff
MSN – Kate Brumback and Jeff Amy (Associated Press) | Published: 11/18/2022
A judge said Georgia law allows counties to offer early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is the only possibility for Saturday voting before the runoff election between U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Warnock’s campaign filed a lawsuit arguing that early voting should be allowed that day. They were challenging guidance by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that said it would be illegal to hold early voting on Saturday, November 26, the day after a state holiday.
Idaho – September Special Session Leads to $24,000 in Fines Against 91 Idaho Lobbyists for Late Filings
Idaho Capital Sun – Kelcie Moseley-Morris | Published: 11/21/2022
Ninety-one lobbyists were fined for filing late reports following Idaho’s one-day special session on September 1. There are 393 registered lobbyists in Idaho, meaning about 23 percent of the registered lobbyists were fined. According to emails sent to the affected lobbyists, the report was due October 15, and a fine of $50 is assessed each day the report is late. Those fines are also applicable for campaign finance reports that candidates must file monthly according to election cycles. While 13 of the fines were $150 or less, the rest were $300 after the secretary of state’s office decided to reduce what were initially $700 to $900 fines.
Illinois – Madigan: Indicted but still pitching for (and getting) money
Chicago Sun-Times – Tim Novak and Dave McKinney | Published: 11/18/2022
Since being indicted last March as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been personally soliciting campaign contributions for his Democratic ward organization and has gotten more than $400,000 for the political fund. These contributions have helped replenish $302,000 in legal fees Madigan’s groups has spent since being subpoenaed by a federal grand jury as part of the ongoing criminal case. It is unusual to see such a large haul associated with someone in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors, someone who no longer can dole out political favors and jobs, as Madigan did for decades.
Illinois – With New Campaign Fund, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Allies Are Raising Cash Outside City Ethics Rules Limits
MSN – Gregory Pratt (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 11/21/2022
The establishment of a new independent expenditure committee in October underscores the political battle that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s supporters are anticipating in the coming months and the loopholes that exist in campaign finance laws and city ethics rules designed to limit the influence political backers have on elected officials’ government actions. The 77 Committee, which is being run by a longtime top adviser to Lightfoot, is allowed to accept unlimited funds for her reelection, including from city contractors who are restricted under ethics rules from contributing to the mayor’s campaign or a Lightfoot-aligned PAC.
Indiana – Doctor Says She Shouldn’t Have to Turn Over Patients’ Abortion Records
MSN – Kim Bellware (Washington Post) | Published: 11/19/2022
A physician who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim has asked a judge to stop the Indiana attorney general from accessing patient medical records as part of an investigation into consumer complaints her lawyers have called a “sham.” Caitlin Bernard’s lawyers said Attorney General Todd Rokita’s efforts to obtain the patient’s medical charts are a troubling violation of patient privacy that, if allowed, would shake trust in doctor-patient confidentiality. The state countered that Rokita’s office is allowed to access the records as it investigates complaints accusing Bernard of professional lapses.
Louisiana – Federal Grand Jury Probing Purchases by LaToya Cantrell’s Image Consultant
NOLA.com – David Hammer (WWL), John Simerman, and Gabriella Killett | Published: 11/17/2022
At least two New Orleans area stores have received subpoenas from a federal grand jury and been questioned by FBI agents about clothing purchases made by Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s image consultant, Tanya Haynes. Gray Sexton, the former lawyer for the Louisiana Board of Ethics Board, said such expenditures are proper under state law only if they are truly spent on consulting, not clothing. He noted a few limited exceptions to that rule, such as people who hold elected positions that might require them to wear a uniform, such as an elected police chief, might be able to tap their campaign funds.
New Jersey – Former Top Aide to NJ Senate Leader Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion and Wire Fraud Conspiracy
Yahoo News – Steve Janoski and Ashley Balcerzak (Bergen Record) | Published: 11/21/2022
The former chief of staff to the New Jersey Senate president pleaded guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud charges. Tony Teixeira admitted he conspired with Sean Caddle, a former Hudson County political operative, to overcharge various campaigns, PACs, and nonprofits for work done by Caddle’s consulting firm. Caddle paid a portion in cash and the rest through checks made out to Teixeira’s relatives to conceal the kickbacks. Teixeira never reported the earnings to the IRS. Caddle remains on home confinement after pleading guilty to a plot in which he hired two hitmen to kill a former friend and associate.
New York – ‘Investment in Democracy’: NY begins matching campaign donations for state candidates
Auburn Citizen – Robert Harding | Published: 11/19/2022
A new program will allow candidates for state-level offices in New York to receive public funds to match small-dollar donations. The Public Campaign Finance Board launched the matching program recently for the 2024 election cycle. Candidates for state Legislature will be the first group eligible to apply and receive matching funds. The program will be in place for statewide candidates running in the 2026 election.
New York – Manhattan Prosecutors Again Consider a Path Toward Charging Trump
MSN – Jonah Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William Rashbaum (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has moved to jump-start its criminal investigation into Donald Trump, seeking to breathe new life into an inquiry that once seemed to have reached a dead end. Under the new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, the prosecutors have returned to the long-running investigation’s original focus: a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump. The renewed scrutiny of the hush money comes amid an intensifying swirl of legal and political drama around Trump.
Texas – Austin Candidates Say Bad Advice from City Made Them Miss Out on Election Funds
MSN – Sarah Asch (Austin American-Statesman) | Published: 11/21/2022
Despite following guidance from the city clerk’s office, two Austin City Council candidates will miss out on thousands of dollars they had sought from a fund set up to help candidates pay for election activities. José Velásquez and Ryan Alter filed a lawsuit asking for a restraining order to prevent the city from distributing the funds, which they say they are entitled to receive. The money is held in the Fair Campaign Finance Fund, which was set up in 2008 for candidates who sign a pledge to limit the amount of campaign contributions they accept from special interest groups or from outside the city. A judge denied the restraining order.
Washington – Public Disclosure Commissions Fines Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich for Electioneering, Lobbying; Sheriff Vows Appeal
Spokane Spokesman-Review – Kip Hill | Published: 11/18/2022
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich violated a pair of state laws prohibiting the use of public office for electioneering and use of public funds for indirect lobbying when he produced a YouTube video attacking Democratic lawmakers for their stance on crime, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission ruled. Knezovich was fined $300.
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