August 17, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Colorado: “Colorado Secretary of State Considers New Rules to Implement Campaign Contribution Limits” by Hannah Metzger for Colorado Politics Tennessee: “Cothren Challenges Subpoena Order by State Registry” by Sam Stockard for Tennessee Lookout Wyoming: “Confusion, Compliance Concerns Color […]
Colorado: “Colorado Secretary of State Considers New Rules to Implement Campaign Contribution Limits” by Hannah Metzger for Colorado Politics
Tennessee: “Cothren Challenges Subpoena Order by State Registry” by Sam Stockard for Tennessee Lookout
Wyoming: “Confusion, Compliance Concerns Color Campaign Finance Filings” by Maggie Mullen for WyoFile
National: “On TikTok, Election Misinformation Thrives Ahead of Midterms” by Tiffany Hsu (New York Times) for Seattle Times
National: “Liz Cheney Loses Primary While Vowing Effort to Keep Trump from White House” by Paul Kane and Hannah Knowles (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Justice Department Opposes Release of Mar-a-Lago Affidavit” by Perry Stein (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “Judge Rules Against State Ethics Panel in Cuomo’s Book Deal Case” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union
Rhode Island: “Rep. Carlos Tobon Hit with $3,600 Fine for Over a Dozen Ethics Violations” by Steph Machado, Eli Sherman, Ted Nesi, and Tim White for WPRI
California: “California Lawmakers Use Secretive Process to Kill Would-Be Laws: ‘Where good bills go to die’” by Andrew Sheeler, Lindsey Holden, and Stephen Hobbs (Sacramento Bee) for MSN
August 16, 2022 •
What are your areas of expertise? I work on computers and networks. I enjoy finding the solutions to issues, hardware or software. I learn something new each day. How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal […]
What are your areas of expertise?
I work on computers and networks. I enjoy finding the solutions to issues, hardware or software. I learn something new each day.
How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal Communications??
I have been at State and Federal Communications for thirteen years.
How do you help our clients?
I work to keep everything running smoothly and try to anticipate needs in the present and near future.
August 16, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Sinema Took Wall Street Money While Killing Tax on Investors” by Brian Slodysko (Associated Press) for MSN Elections National: “Trump-Allied Lawyers Pursued Voting Machine Data in Multiple States, Records Reveal” by Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Aaron Davis, […]
National: “Sinema Took Wall Street Money While Killing Tax on Investors” by Brian Slodysko (Associated Press) for MSN
National: “Trump-Allied Lawyers Pursued Voting Machine Data in Multiple States, Records Reveal” by Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Aaron Davis, and Amy Gardner (Washington Post) for Anchorage Daily News
Georgia: “Giuliani Is Target in Georgia Criminal Probe of Possible Interference in 2020 Election, Lawyer Says” by Eugene Scott and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “California Lawmaker Faces Scandal After Lobbyist Tweets About Alleged Affair” by Ken Carlson (Sacramento Bee) for MSN
Florida: “Rules for Covering DeSantis Visit to Pittsburgh Pose Ethical Quandary, Experts Say” by Chris Potter for WESA
New York: “New York’s New State Government Ethics and Lobbying Oversight Body Takes Shape” by Ethan Geringer-Sameth for Gotham Gazette
Ohio: “Texts, Calendars, Emails Link DeWine to FirstEnergy’s Bribery Scandal” by Jake Zuckerman for Ohio Capital Journal
Colorado: “Public Money Supports Conservative Colorado Lobbying Group Through Membership Dues” by Zoe Schacht for Colorado Newsline
August 15, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Florida: “This Florida Utility’s Secret Cash Helped GOP Win Gainesville State Senate Seat” by Mary Ellen Klaus, Nicholas Nehama, and Ana Claudia Chacin for Miami Herald Elections Wisconsin: “Wisconsin Assembly Leader Axes 2020 Election Investigation After Beating Trump-Backed […]
Florida: “This Florida Utility’s Secret Cash Helped GOP Win Gainesville State Senate Seat” by Mary Ellen Klaus, Nicholas Nehama, and Ana Claudia Chacin for Miami Herald
Wisconsin: “Wisconsin Assembly Leader Axes 2020 Election Investigation After Beating Trump-Backed Primary Challenger” by Zach Montellaro (Politico) for Yahoo News
National: “Under Fire, Homeland Security Watchdog Delays Probe – with GOP Help” by Lisa Rein (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Trump’s Secrets: How a records dispute led the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago” by Josh Dawsey, Rosalind Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany, and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “A Bay Area Councilman Had a 14-Year-Old as His Campaign Treasurer. Regulators Want to Put a Kibosh on That.” by Gabriel Greschler (Bay Area News Group) for MSN
New York: “Jury Selection Will Start in October for Trump Organization Criminal Trial” by Ilya Marritz for NPR
Ohio: “Unfilled Records Requests Hide the Full Story Behind Ohio’s Utility Corruption Scandal” by Kathiann Kowalski (Energy News Network) for WVIZ
Indiana: “Rokita Consultant Hired, But Facing $18,000 in Lobbyist Registration Fines” by Leslie Bonilla Muñiz for Indiana Capital Chronicle
August 12, 2022 •
Arkansas lawmakers adjourned from their special session on August 11. Legislation passed includes an expedited process for corporate and individual tax cuts. The Legislature also approved an appropriation of $50 million for a school safety grant. This does affect lobbying […]
Arkansas lawmakers adjourned from their special session on August 11.
Legislation passed includes an expedited process for corporate and individual tax cuts.
The Legislature also approved an appropriation of $50 million for a school safety grant.
This does affect lobbying reporting.
The August special session triggered a lobbyist activity report due September 10.
August 12, 2022 •
National/Federal Appeals Court Rules IRS Must Provide Trump’s Tax Returns to House Committee MSN – Harper Neidig (The Hill) | Published: 8/9/2022 The IRS must hand over former President Trump’s tax returns to a U.S. House committee, a federal appeals court […]
Appeals Court Rules IRS Must Provide Trump’s Tax Returns to House Committee
MSN – Harper Neidig (The Hill) | Published: 8/9/2022
The IRS must hand over former President Trump’s tax returns to a U.S. House committee, a federal appeals court ruled, dismissing a long-running legal challenge to block tax officials from complying with a request for the records from Democratic lawmakers. A three-judge panel for the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously with the Biden administration and the Ways and Means Committee, ruling against Trump’s arguments against the committee’s authority, his privacy concerns, and his claim that complying with the request would be unconstitutional.
DaVita Helped Craft New Bill to Fix ‘Loophole’ Left by Supreme Court Ruling, Documents Show
Yahoo News – Megan Wilson (Politico) | Published: 8/9/2022
Roughly two months after dialysis company DaVita lost a Supreme Court case involving insurance coverage for its services, Congress introduced bipartisan legislation that would be a boon for dialysis providers. Its language appears to be largely modeled from a proposal circulated by the company. The new bill would obligate health plans to cover dialysis the same way they do treatments for other chronic illnesses and, if enacted, would likely increase reimbursement amounts for companies like DaVita.
Facebook Bans Hate Speech but Still Makes Money from White Supremacists
MSN – Naomi Nix (Washington Post) | Published: 8/10/2022
Facebook has long banned content referencing white nationalism. But a plethora of hate groups still populate the site, and the company boosts its revenue by running ads on searches for these pages. The findings by the Tech Transparency Project illustrate the ease with which bigoted groups can evade Facebook’s detection systems, despite the company’s years-long ban against posts that attack people on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. Activists have charged that by allowing hate speech to proliferate across its networks, Facebook opens the door for extremist groups to organize deadly attacks.
FBI Arrests Former Puerto Rico Governor on Bribery Charges
MSN – Perry Stein (Washington Post) | Published: 8/4/2022
Federal law enforcement agents arrested former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, charging her in a bribery scheme that was allegedly aimed at financing her failed 2020 gubernatorial campaign. Officials said while Vázquez Garced was governor in 2019 and 2020, she allegedly took campaign donations from a banker, Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, and a former FBI agent, Mark Rossini, who was consulting for the bank. Herrera Velutini and Rossini allegedly paid more than $300,000 to consultants who supported Vázquez Garced’s campaign.
Former Health Minister Steve Brine Cleared of Lobbying Beach for Second Time in a Year Because No VAT Was Paid
Business Insider – Catherine Neilan | Published: 8/8/2022
A former United Kingdom health minister has been cleared of breaching lobbying rules for a second time in less than a year, because in both cases no value added tax was paid. Steve Brine, who served in Theresa May’s government until March 2019, messaged then-health secretary Matt Hancock about Remedium Partners. He was being paid £1,600 a month. Former ministers are banned from lobbying ministers for two years after their last day in office. The message was sent in March 2020, meaning his approach fell within the restricted period.
Get Ready for Many More Political Emails, as Federal Regulators OK Google’s Plan to Drop Spam Filters for Eligible Federal Candidates
MSN – Dave Levinthal (Business Insider) | Published: 8/11/2022
The FEC ruled Google could legally launch a pilot program for candidates that allows them to skirt email spam filters when raising money from, or otherwise communicating with, prospective voters and donors. Despite a torrent of public outrage preceding the vote, Google is now free to invite federal candidates to sign up for the email pilot program, which would amount to a free pass out of Gmail spam-box purgatory. The FEC had to decide whether Google giving some candidates a break from spam filters constituted an illegal in-kind political contribution.
Homeland Security Watchdog Previously Accused of Misleading Investigators, Report Says
MSN – Lisa Rein, Carol Leonnig, and Maria Sacchetti (Washington Post) | Published: 8/4/2022
The Homeland Security watchdog now under scrutiny for his handling of deleted Secret Service text messages from the attack on the Capitol previously was accused of misleading federal investigators and running “afoul” of ethics regulations while he was in charge of a Justice Department inspector general field office in Tucson. Separately, investigators found Joseph Cuffari broke ethics rules by referring law firms to the prisoner’s family, including firms where some of his close friends worked.
Maps in Four States Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway.
Eminetra.com – Michael Wines (New York Times) | Published: 8/8/2022
Judges in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio have found Republican legislators illegally drew those states’ congressional maps along racial or partisan lines, or that a trial very likely would conclude they did. Judges in the past who have reached similar findings ordered new maps, or had an expert draw them, to ensure elections were fair. But a shift in election law philosophy at the Supreme Court, combined with a new aggressiveness among Republicans who drew the maps, has upended that model. This time, all four states are using the rejected maps, and questions about their legality for future elections will be hashed out in court later.
Mar-a-Lago Search Appears Focused on Whether Trump, Aides Withheld Items
MSN – Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Rosalind Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany, and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 8/9/2022
In the months before the FBI’s dramatic move to execute a search warrant at former president Trump’s Florida home and open his safe to look for items, federal authorities grew increasingly concerned Trump or his lawyers and aides had not returned all the documents and other material that were government property, according to people familiar with the matter. Over months of discussions about whether documents were still missing, some officials also came to suspect Trump’s representatives were not truthful at times, sources said.
Simmering Threat of Violence Comes to Fore with Search of Trump Property
MSN – Hannah Allam (Washington Post) | Published: 8/9/2022
Within hours of the FBI search at Donald Trump’s Florida compound, Republican lawmakers, conservative talk-show hosts, anti-government provocateurs, and pro-Trump conspiracy theorists began issuing explicit or thinly veiled calls for violence. Extremist organizers have tried to hold on to the momentum they built in recent years by finding causes disparate factions could rally around. With each iteration, analysts say, the networks have grown more sophisticated and more violent. The search at Mar-a-Lago for classified documents is now presented as a tipping point, an existential threat to the country that true patriots must thwart.
The Newest Fad in Fundraising: Gold-level clubs for lobbyists
MSN – Haily Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 8/11/2022
An increasingly popular fad in campaign fundraising is access to small gatherings of politicians that lobbyists can purchase. Instead of brief face time with a lawmaker at a single event, lobbyists are offered the opportunity to develop almost a familial relationship with candidates over a series of them. Attendance at events often tops out at between 15 to 20 people, usually registered lobbyists. They were created to entice donations from individuals rather than corporate PACs. Lobbyists can, in turn, use their membership as a sell for potential new clients.
Voters Aren’t the Only Ones Feeling the Effects of Inflation
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 8/5/2022
High inflation is not just a political messaging point to some candidates running for office. The cost of gasoline, travel, staff pay, printed materials, and food for events all affect the bottom lines of campaigns. Some say they are feeling the pinch of niner percent inflation and can relate to voters for whom rising prices is a top-of-mind matter in this year’s midterm elections. This period of high inflation will ripple into the next election cycle, too.
Who Is Scott Perry, Trump Ally and Lawmaker Whose Phone Was Seized by FBI?
MSN – Kim Bellware (Washington Post) | Published: 8/9/2022
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry’s cellphone was seized as part of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the use of fake electors to try to overturn President Biden’s victory. Perry is the first member of Congress known to have his phone seized as part of the probe into the attempt at the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Perry did not say why investigators confiscated his phone and wrote in a statement that the contents of his phone are not the “government’s business.”
From the States and Municipalities
California – Anaheim City Council Votes to Investigate Itself Following FBI Corruption Probe
LAist – Jill Replogle | Published: 8/10/2022
The city of Anaheim will fund an independent audit of campaign contributions to former Mayor Harry Sidhu and current city council members following an FBI corruption probe that came to light in May. The council voted to hire the firm JL Group to carry out the investigation. Sidhu resigned after it became public the FBI is investigating him for alleged corruption in connection with the sale of Angel Stadium. The audit is intended to provide a measure of transparency after warrants revealed what the FBI called a “covert group” that wielded influence over city government.
California – DA Jenkins Pocketed Six Figures as Consultant for Nonprofit Linked to Boudin Recall Backers
San Francisco Standard – Michael Barba | Published: 8/8/2022
Brooke Jenkins did not just quit her job as a local prosecutor to volunteer for the recall against her former boss, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Newly filed records show she also collected more than $100,000 as a consultant for Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, a nonprofit that shares an address and virtually the same name as the organization behind Boudin’s recall but is legally a separate entity. Jenkins earned the salary in the six months before Mayor London Breed appointed her district attorney on July 8. During that period, Jenkins was volunteering as a spokesperson on the recall campaign.
California – Ethics Commission Blames City Union for Derailing Anti-Corruption Ballot Measure
San Francisco Standard – Mike Edge | Published: 8/10/2022
A ballot initiative that would have tightened up rules around gifts to public officials failed to make the ballot, and San Francisco ethics watchdogs are blaming a union representing city department heads. The Ethics Commission pointed the finger at the Municipal Executives Association in a recent letter, writing the union used the bargaining process to stall the proposed ballot measure past a key deadline. The measure sought to expand the definition of what would constitute a bribe, mandate disclosure of any relationships with city contractors, and add more comprehensive ethics training for city employees.
California – Force Multipliers: How one donor network is pushing the envelope on California campaign money
CalMatters – Ben Christopher, Alexei Koseff, and Jeremia Kimelman | Published: 8/4/2022
In the 2022 election cycle so far, the Govern For California network has donated more than $3 million to more than 110 candidates across California, the vast majority of the money going to those running for the state Senate and Assembly. Govern For California characterizes its 18 chapters as “force multipliers” that amplify the influence of its donors on state politics and government. The organization opposes what it regards as excessive sway of labor unions over state policy. Some experts questioned whether it is a way for its small cadre of wealthy donors to evade contribution caps designed to limit anyone from having outsized influence.
Colorado – In Crowded City Races, Denver’s New Fair Election Fund Will Face First Test
MSN – Joe Rubino (Denver Post) | Published: 8/9/2022
Overhauling Denver’s campaign finance rules was popular with voters in 2018. More than 70 percent of Denverites who cast ballots that year voted for Referred Measure 2E. The sweeping change ratcheted down contribution limits for candidates seeking every seat from mayor to the city auditor, banned direct corporate and union campaign donations, and established a fund to provide public financing for candidates who agreed to abide by even lower limits and other rules. Denver’s 2023 municipal election is inching closer and, finally, the city’s fair elections fund will come to bear on local races.
Connecticut – Larry McHugh to Replace Embattled CT Port Authority Official
MSN – Keith Phaneuf (Connecticut Mirror) | Published: 8/6/2022
House Speaker Matt Ritter selected a longtime business and education leader to replace one of the Connecticut Port Authority officials cited in a state ethics ruling. Lawrence McHugh will replace Donald Frost on the board of directors. Ritter said he was dismayed to learn that Frost was one of the officials at the quasi-public entity who had accepted illegal gifts from Seabury Maritime, a consultant hired to help find a developer for the state pier in New London.
Florida – DeSantis Suspends Elected Prosecutor Over New Abortion Law
Yahoo News – Anthony Izaguirre (Associated Press) | Published: 8/4/2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren pledging not to enforce the state’s new 15-week abortion ban and for supporting gender transition treatments for minors. Asked whether he is overriding the will of the voters by suspending their choice for prosecutor, DeSantis said Warren’s conduct has fallen “below the standard of the Florida Constitution” and that he has neglected his duty to state law.
Florida – Second Firm in Sunset Lounge Bid Disqualified for Improper Lobbying of West Palm Beach Mayor
MSN – Terri Parker (WPBF) | Published: 8/10/2022
There is a new twist in the continuing saga of who will operate the historic and newly renovated Sunset Lounge in West Palm Beach. The firm that was awarded the bid three weeks ago is now disqualified. The city’s procurement director said Mad Room Hospitality violated the terms of the Request for Proposal by contacting the mayor and a commissioner via email before the contract was executed. Vita Lounge LLC had also been disqualified for allegedly lobbying people on Facebook to support their selection and doing an interview on WPBF.
Hawaii – Campaign Spending Commission Investigates COVID Testing Company That Got Big City Contract
MSN – Rick Daysog (Hawaii News Now) | Published: 8/8/2022
The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is investigating one of the companies that was awarded a multi-million-dollar COVID testing contract by former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration. The commission subpoenaed the bank records of two employees of Capture Diagnostics, which is part of a consortium awarded a $19.5 million emergency contract for the city’s testing program at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The commission is looking at whether the company reimbursed the employees who gave a total of $10,000 to the Caldwell campaign.
Illinois – State Sen. Elgie Sims Approached in Federal Criminal Investigation into Alleged Influence Peddling by Body-Cam Company
Yahoo News – Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 8/8/2022
Illinois Sen. Elgie Sims was approached in the spring by federal authorities investigating potential influence peddling involving a police body-camera manufacturer that hired the law firm where Sims works as a lobbyist. The ongoing probe involves Axon Enterprise, a law-enforcement technology company that hired law firm Foley & Lardner to lobby lawmakers in Springfield and Chicago. Sims is an “of-counsel” attorney at Foley, specializing in government affairs and public policy. Investigators are looking into whether Axon improperly tried to influence Sims in his official duties working on criminal justice legislation, which requires every police officer in the state to wear a body camera by 2025.
Indiana – Anti-Common Core Activist Failed to Register as Lobbyist for Rokita’s Office
Indiana Capital Chronicle – Leslie Bonilla Muñiz | Published: 8/9/2022
Erin Tuttle, a policy consultant and state contractor, mistakenly registered as a lobbyist for the city of Indianapolis rather than the state of Indiana. Tuttle and Chief Administrative Officer Larry Hopkins signed a two-year, $200,000 contract for research, analysis, and communications help for state Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office. Among Tuttle’s listed duties: “Contractor shall interact and communicate with legislators.” That set Tuttle up for a potential violation of Indiana law when she did not register with the Lobby Registration Commission.
Indiana – Two Ind. Officers Suspended After Arresting Man Thought to Be Anti-Police
MSN – Meryl Kornfield (Washington Post) | Published: 8/10/2022
Two Indiana officers were suspended after a courtroom revelation that police thought a potential town council candidate was anti-police and arrested him, stopping him from running for office. Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Huerkamp dropped charges that included drug possession against Trevin Thalheimer after an officer and witness recounted how Brookville police talked about Thalheimer. Huerkamp, who also did not pursue a rape charge police had investigated, said he was “disturbed beyond words” by the alleged police conduct and reported the incident to the Indiana State Police, which launched a criminal investigation.
Michigan – GOP Nominee for Michigan AG Named in Election Security Breach Probe
MSN – Rosalind Helderman, Emma Brown, and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 8/7/2022
State police have been investigating efforts by supporters of former President Trump to convince Michigan clerks to give them access to voting software and tabulating machines, so they could examine them to prove fraud took place in 2020. Now, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Republican nominee for her job, Matthew DePerno, after the investigation found evidence that he helped orchestrate an effort last year to gain unauthorized access to voting equipment.
Michigan – Super PAC Backing Tudor Dixon Hides Its Origins Despite Disclosing Donors
MSN – Simon Schuster (MLive.com) | Published: 8/10/2022
Michigan Families United hosted an appearance by Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor of Michigan, that became the basis for campaign ads in which it spent $2.5 million to air before the GOP primary. Michigan Families United spent more than Dixon’s campaign raised in total and more than 20 times what her campaign spent on advertising, but who is behind super PAC remains shrouded in secrecy.
Missouri – Missouri Prepping for New Rules on Campaign Donations by Businesses
St. Louis Post Dispatch – Kurt Erickson | Published: 8/4/2022
Missouri ethics regulators are preparing for a change in state law designed to allow some businesses to give directly to candidates. The law is aimed at stopping shell companies from pumping “dark money” into campaigns by requiring limited liability companies with a specific tax status to register with the state Ethics Commission. The commission released guidance on the new requirements and said it is developing a portal on its website for companies to register and for candidates to search whether a company has submitted the proper paperwork.
New Jersey – Disclosure Statements Provide Little Insight into Lawmakers’ Finances
New Jersey Monitor – Nikita Biryukov | Published: 8/8/2022
Members of more than 50 state boards, commissions, and committees in New Jersey, as well as high-ranking administration officials, must annually report their finances with greater levels of transparency than state lawmakers. Recent efforts to require lawmakers to disclose more about their finances have not gone anywhere. Experts in government and ethics say broader requirements would not only help the public know more about the sources of their state representatives’ income but would also boost public confidence in government.
New York – City Ethics Board Out of Business
Investigative Post – Geoff Kelly | Published: 8/8/2022
Last September, 140 people signed a formal complaint filed with the Buffalo Board of Ethics. The complaint alleged city workers, including police officers, were campaigning for Mayor Byron Brown on city time, using city resources. Almost a year later, there has been no response, not even an acknowledgement the complaint was received. The ethics board has not met in two-and-a-half years.
New York – Erie County Comptroller Seeks Answers on OTB Lobbying Expenses
Lockport Journal – Mark Scheer | Published: 8/9/2022
Erie County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick is asking more questions about the inner workings of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. (OTB) and this time he wants to know why it is spending so much public money on Albany lobbyists. Hardwick said that following a review of the agency’s board meeting minutes dating back to 2014, his office found OTB has used 10 firms for lobbying and advocacy activities. The comptroller said the agency either paid or agreed to pay a total of $157,000 for such services in the first six months of 2022 alone. The letter about lobbying is the third one that Hardwick’s office has sent to OTB in less than two weeks.
New York – State Agency Made Key Reversal in Bid Process Won by Hochul Donor
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 8/5/2022
Medical Answering Services contended it could run New York’s medical transportation program for far less money than its rivals, a major factor when the company eventually won the competitive bidding. A competitor for the contract, Modivcare Solutions, says it learned a key, promised part of the process was not followed. Two months before the award was issued, Medical Answering Services’ founder, Russ Maxwell, hosted a campaign fundraiser for Gov. Kathy Hochul, one of many such events hosted by people with business before her administration.
New York – Trump Takes the Fifth
Yahoo News – Kelly Hooper (Politico) | Published: 8/10/2022
Former President Trump declined to answer questions during a deposition with the office of New York Attorney General Tish James, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Trump’s deposition came amid the office’s three-year-long investigation into whether the Trump Organization had misstated the value of assets on financial statements. The former president is also the subject of a parallel criminal investigation being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office into whether he fraudulently inflated property values.
Ohio – Judge Scolds Ohio House Bill 6 Defendant for Posting Witness’s Social Security Card and Driver’s License Online
MSN – Andrew Tobias (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 8/5/2022
A federal judge admonished a former lobbyist accused in the Ohio House Bill 6 corruption matter for using his website to publish the personal information of a key witness in the case, including unredacted copies of his driver’s license and Social Security card. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black said he found it “entirely incredible” that Matt Borges did not mean to post witness Tyler Fehrman’s information to his legal-defense website.
Ohio – Utility Regulator Accused of Taking a Bribe Helped Write Bill Targeting Watchdog
Ohio Capital Journal – Jake Zuckerman | Published: 8/5/2022
Ohio’s former top utility regulator, who was accused of taking a $4.3 million bribe, spent months helping write a sweeping energy bill that targeted a state watchdog agency that advocates for residential electric customers, records show. Emails from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio show its former chairperson, Sam Randazzo, conferred with the bill sponsor and helped draft legislative language. The bill would have limited the reach of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and given often-hostile state legislators control of its board.
Pennsylvania – Posh Southwestern Pa. Party Spotlights How Lawmakers and Lobbyists Mingle Out of the Public Eye
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Mike Werechagin | Published: 8/7/2022
Pennsylvania is among a minority of states that places no limits on the value of gifts special interests can give legislators. Even members of Pennsylvania’s executive branch cannot accept gifts or meals under an executive order signed by Gov. Tom Wolf the day he took office. But the Legislature has blocked nearly every effort to limit the ability of special interests to shower lawmakers with dinners, drinks, and travel, or to give the public a clear picture of what their representatives and senators allow lobbyists to buy them.
Rhode Island – Inside the Political, Personal, and Legal Connections of the Tidewater Landing Soccer Stadium Deal
MSN – Brian Amaral (Boston Globe) | Published: 8/4/2022
When the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s board convened to consider appropriating $60 million for the Tidewater Landing soccer stadium project in Pawtucket, relationships between board members and outside interests sparked criticism. Law partners for the Commerce Corporation’s attorney are registered as lobbyists for the developer. A board member’s sister is trying to unseat the incumbent governor, who chairs the board. A Pawtucket city official who helped shepherd the deal through by working with the Commerce official who is now running for treasurer against the Pawtucket official’s fiancé.
Texas – Not a ‘Love Story’: Former Richardson mayor gets 6 years for accepting bribes, sex
MSN – Kevin Krause (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 8/4/2022
Laura Maczka, a first-time Richardson, Texas, mayor, accepted a string of favors, some sexual, from the wealthy developer, Mark Jordan, who became her lover and then her husband. She did what she could while on the city council to make sure he got the zoning he wanted for his planned apartments despite vehement resident opposition. Now the pair are headed to federal prison for their misdeeds in a public corruption case that spanned almost a decade and resulted in a city investigation and two salacious public trials.
Virginia – Virginia Official Lobbied for Gas Project His Agency Will Consider
Roanoke Times – Patrick Wilson (Richmond Times Dispatch) | Published: 8/5/2022
As one of eight gubernatorial appointees on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, James Minor gets a vote on an anticipated permit request for a natural gas pipeline expansion near Petersburg. Public records show he has been lobbying elected officials to support the project; he and the company that wants to build it will not say if he was paid for the work. Public records show Minor emailed and called elected officials in Petersburg between February and May on behalf of a pipeline expansion project from TC Energy and its subsidiary, Columbia Gas Transmission.
Washington – Tim Eyman Forced to Sell House to Pay Campaign Finance Fines, Debts
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 8/5/2022
Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who was found liable last year in Washington for “numerous and particularly egregious” violations of campaign finance law, has been forced to sell his house to help pay millions of dollars of fines and debt. The $900,000 in proceeds will go toward paying off the more than $5.6 million in sanctions and legal fees he owes the state and other creditors. A judge found Eyman enriched himself by laundering political donations, accepted kickbacks from a signature-gathering company, and secretly shuttled money between initiative campaigns and concealed the source of other political contributions.
August 11, 2022 •
Q: I have taken on a new role handling our company’s government outreach in Florida. I will likely be lobbying both state and local officials. Where do I get started? A: Florida offers a labyrinth of compliance issues for state […]
Q: I have taken on a new role handling our company’s government outreach in Florida. I will likely be lobbying both state and local officials. Where do I get started?
A: Florida offers a labyrinth of compliance issues for state and local lobbyists. The decentralized nature of the regulatory landscape means you may need to register at the state level, as well as in each individual city or county where you will be active.
At the state level, registration is required prior to engaging in lobbying activities. This includes any attempt to obtain the goodwill of a legislator, executive official, or employee of either branch. Registrants must select whether they will be lobbying the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, or both. Activity reports for the state are limited to lobbying firms, who must disclose compensation received on a quarterly basis. Gift disclosures may also be required for any registered lobbyist, but we will discuss these in a moment.
Engaging with city or county officials is where staying compliant can be complicated. Most cities and counties have their own registration and reporting ordinances. Luckily, a general theme throughout is the requirement to register prior to engaging with officials. Most locales require annual registration, for either the calendar year or fiscal year, and reporting of lobbying activities. Be careful here to note the reporting periods as they can differ from the registration period. Some cities, such as Orlando, do not require the submission of a report if no expenses were incurred during the reporting period.
Also, be sure to note additional requirements such as meeting logs, lobbyist trainings, or registrations with subgroups of a municipality. For example, Miami-Dade County Publics Schools has its own registration requirement separate from Miami-Dade County.
Finally, whether you are registered with the state or a municipality, state statutes require quarterly disclosures of gifts to certain officials and employees. These reports include gifts valued at more than $25 given to officials or employees who file financial disclosures with the state; however, no such report is required if no reportable gifts were given. And, as always, please be sure any gift is permissible according to the relevant ethics rules.
For more information, be sure to check out the “Registration” and “Reports Required” sections of the Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication for Florida and its municipalities. If you have any questions, please feel free to learn more and contact us at www.stateandfed.com
August 11, 2022 •
Gov. Eric Holcomb called a special election to be held for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District on November 8 to fill the vacancy created by the death of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski following a tragic car accident on August 3. Due […]
Gov. Eric Holcomb called a special election to be held for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District on November 8 to fill the vacancy created by the death of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski following a tragic car accident on August 3.
Due to the timing of the vacancy, the state committee of each political party will select a candidate to be placed on the ballot by August 26.
August 11, 2022 •
Elections California: “DA Jenkins Pocketed Six Figures as Consultant for Nonprofit Linked to Boudin Recall Backers” by Michael Barba for San Francisco Standard Ethics National: “Facebook Bans Hate Speech but Still Makes Money from White Supremacists” by Naomi Nix (Washington […]
California: “DA Jenkins Pocketed Six Figures as Consultant for Nonprofit Linked to Boudin Recall Backers” by Michael Barba for San Francisco Standard
National: “Facebook Bans Hate Speech but Still Makes Money from White Supremacists” by Naomi Nix (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Who Is Scott Perry, Trump Ally and Lawmaker Whose Phone Was Seized by FBI?” by Kim Bellware (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “Ethics Commission Blames City Union for Derailing Anti-Corruption Ballot Measure” by Mike Edge for San Francisco Standard
Indiana: “Two Ind. Officers Suspended After Arresting Man Thought to Be Anti-Police” by Meryl Kornfield (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “Trump Takes the Fifth” by Kelly Hooper (Politico) for Yahoo News
National: “DaVita Helped Craft New Bill to Fix ‘Loophole’ Left by Supreme Court Ruling, Documents Show” by Megan Wilson (Politico) for Yahoo News
New York: “Erie County Comptroller Seeks Answers on OTB Lobbying Expenses” by Mark Scheer for Lockport Journal
National: “Maps in Four States Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway.” by Michael Wines (New York Times) for Eminetra.com
August 10, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Voters Aren’t the Only Ones Feeling the Effects of Inflation” by Kate Ackley (Roll Call) for MSN Colorado: “In Crowded City Races, Denver’s New Fair Election Fund Will Face First Test” by Joe Rubino (Denver Post) for […]
National: “Voters Aren’t the Only Ones Feeling the Effects of Inflation” by Kate Ackley (Roll Call) for MSN
Colorado: “In Crowded City Races, Denver’s New Fair Election Fund Will Face First Test” by Joe Rubino (Denver Post) for MSN
Hawaii: “Campaign Spending Commission Investigates COVID Testing Company That Got Big City Contract” by Rick Daysog (Hawaii News Now) for MSN
National: “Appeals Court Rules IRS Must Provide Trump’s Tax Returns to House Committee” by Harper Neidig (The Hill) for MSN
New York: “City Ethics Board Out of Business” by Geoff Kelly for Investigative Post
Ohio: “Judge Scolds Ohio House Bill 6 Defendant for Posting Witness’s Social Security Card and Driver’s License Online” by Andrew Tobias (Cleveland Plain Dealer) for MSN
Texas: “Not a ‘Love Story’: Former Richardson mayor gets 6 years for accepting bribes, sex” by Kevin Krause (Dallas Morning News) for MSN
Europe: “Former Health Minister Steve Brine Cleared of Lobbying Beach for Second Time in a Year Because No VAT Was Paid” by Catherine Neilan for Business Insider
August 9, 2022 •
The Massachusetts Legislature adjourned its formal session August 1 after a historic 23-hour session. Before adjourning, lawmakers passed laws legalizing sports betting, expanding mental health care, and overhauling regulations related to recreational marijuana. The Legislature will continue to meet in […]
The Massachusetts Legislature adjourned its formal session August 1 after a historic 23-hour session.
Before adjourning, lawmakers passed laws legalizing sports betting, expanding mental health care, and overhauling regulations related to recreational marijuana.
The Legislature will continue to meet in informal sessions where non-controversial issues may be considered and approved by a voice vote.
This does not affect lobbyist reporting.
August 9, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Washington: “Tim Eyman Forced to Sell House to Pay Campaign Finance Fines, Debts” by David Gutman for Seattle Times Elections Michigan: “GOP Nominee for Michigan AG Named in Election Security Breach Probe” by Rosalind Helderman, Emma Brown, and […]
Washington: “Tim Eyman Forced to Sell House to Pay Campaign Finance Fines, Debts” by David Gutman for Seattle Times
Michigan: “GOP Nominee for Michigan AG Named in Election Security Breach Probe” by Rosalind Helderman, Emma Brown, and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “FBI Searches Trump Safe at Mar-a-Lago Club, Former President Says” by Devlin Barrett, Mariana Alfaro, Josh Dawsey, and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for MSN
Connecticut: “Larry McHugh to Replace Embattled CT Port Authority Official” by Keith Phaneuf (Connecticut Mirror) for MSN
New Jersey: “Disclosure Statements Provide Little Insight into Lawmakers’ Finances” by Nikita Biryukov for New Jersey Monitor
Rhode Island: “Inside the Political, Personal, and Legal Connections of the Tidewater Landing Soccer Stadium Deal” by Brian Amaral (Boston Globe) for MSN
Illinois: “State Sen. Elgie Sims Approached in Federal Criminal Investigation into Alleged Influence Peddling by Body-Cam Company” by Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) for Yahoo News
Pennsylvania: “Posh Southwestern Pa. Party Spotlights How Lawmakers and Lobbyists Mingle Out of the Public Eye” by Mike Werechagin for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 8, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “FEC Draft Says Google Plan to Keep Campaign Emails Out of Spam Is Lawful” by Rachel Scully (The Hill) for Yahoo News California: “Force Multipliers: How one donor network is pushing the envelope on California campaign money” […]
National: “FEC Draft Says Google Plan to Keep Campaign Emails Out of Spam Is Lawful” by Rachel Scully (The Hill) for Yahoo News
California: “Force Multipliers: How one donor network is pushing the envelope on California campaign money” by Ben Christopher, Alexei Koseff, and Jeremia Kimelman for CalMatters
Missouri: “Missouri Prepping for New Rules on Campaign Donations by Businesses” by Kurt Erickson for St. Louis Post Dispatch
National: “Homeland Security Watchdog Previously Accused of Misleading Investigators, Report Says” by Lisa Rein, Carol Leonnig, and Maria Sacchetti (Washington Post) for MSN
Florida: “DeSantis Suspends Elected Prosecutor Over New Abortion Law” by Anthony Izaguirre (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
New York: “State Agency Made Key Reversal in Bid Process Won by Hochul Donor” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union
Ohio: “Utility Regulator Accused of Taking a Bribe Helped Write Bill Targeting Watchdog” by Jake Zuckerman for Ohio Capital Journal
Virginia: “Virginia Official Lobbied for Gas Project His Agency Will Consider” by Patrick Wilson (Richmond Times Dispatch) for Roanoke Times
August 5, 2022 •
National/Federal A Right-Wing Think Tank Claimed to Be a Church. Now, Members of Congress Want to Investigate. ProPublica – Andrew Suozzo | Published: 8/2/2022 Forty members of Congress asked the IRS and the Treasury Department to investigate what the lawmakers termed […]
A Right-Wing Think Tank Claimed to Be a Church. Now, Members of Congress Want to Investigate.
ProPublica – Andrew Suozzo | Published: 8/2/2022
Forty members of Congress asked the IRS and the Treasury Department to investigate what the lawmakers termed an “alarming pattern” of right-wing advocacy groups registering with the tax agency as churches, a move that allows the organizations to shield themselves from some financial reporting requirements and makes it easier to avoid audits. The representatives raised transparency concerns following a ProPublica story about the Family Research Council, a right-wing Christian think tank based in Washington, D.C., getting reclassified as a church.
Campaign Finance Watchdog Alleges WinRed Processed Billions in Political Contributions Without Disclosing Operating Expenses
OpenSecrets – Taylor Giorno | Published: 7/29/2022
Online Republican fundraising platform WinRed may have failed to fully disclose operating expenses, the Campaign Legal Center alleges in a new FEC complaint. The self-described “#1 fundraising technology used by conservatives” reported less than $2,700 in operating expenses since January 2019 despite processing over $2.8 billion in earmarked contributions, and $212 million in contribution refunds, during that period, according to the complaint.
Ex-White House Counsel Subpoenaed by Federal Grand Jury Investigating Jan. 6 Attack
ABC News – Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, and Alexander Mallin | Published: 8/2/2022
A federal grand jury subpoenaed former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone in its investigation into the assault on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The move to subpoena Cipollone signals an even more dramatic escalation in the Justice Department’s investigation of the attack than previously known, following appearances by senior members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff before the grand jury.
First Jan. 6 Defendant Convicted at Trial Receives Longest Sentence of 7 Years
MSN – Spencer Hsu and Tom Jackman (Washington Post) | Published: 8/1/2022
The first U.S. Capitol riot defendant convicted at trial was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, the longest punishment handed down to date over the January6, 2021, attack on Congress. Guy Reffitt, a recruiter for the right-wing Three Percenters movement in Texas, was convicted of five felony offenses, including obstruction of Congress as it met to certify the 2020 election result, interfering with police, and carrying a firearm to a riot, and threatening his teenage son, who turned him in to the FBI.
Hot Mic Captured Gaetz Assuring Stone of Pardon, Discussing Mueller Redactions
Anchorage Daily News – John Swaine and Dalton Bennett (Washington Post) | Published: 7/30/2022
As Roger Stone prepared to stand trial in 2019, complaining he was under pressure from federal prosecutors to incriminate Donald Trump, a close ally of the president repeatedly assured Stone “the boss” would likely grant him clemency if he were convicted, a recording shows. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz predicted Stone would be found guilty at his trial but would not “do a day” in prison. Gaetz was apparently unaware they were being recorded by documentary filmmakers following Stone, whom special counsel Robert Mueller had charged with obstruction of a congressional investigation.
Jan. 6 Text Messages Wiped from Phones of Key Trump Pentagon Officials
CNN – Tierny Sneed and Zachary Cohen | Published: 8/2/2022
The Department of Defense (DOD) wiped the phones of top departing DOD and Army officials at the end of the Trump administration, deleting any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the attack on the U.S. Capitol. American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information suit seeking the records from former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, among others. Miller, Patel, and McCarthy have been viewed as crucial witnesses for understanding government’s response to the assault and former President Trump’s reaction to the breach.
Justice Department Details Threats Against Election Workers
Associated Press News – Marina Villeneuve | Published: 8/3/2022
The U.S. Justice Department has charged five people for making threats of violence against election workers amid a rising wave of harassment and intimidation tied to the 2020 presidential race, a top official told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said the department has investigated more than 1,000 harassing and threatening messages directed at election workers. Roughly 100 of those have risen to the level of potential prosecution.
Russian National Charged with U.S. Political Influence Operation
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 7/29/2022
Federal authorities charged a Russian man with a years-long malign influence campaign targeting American politics – alleging he used American groups in Florida, Georgia, and California to sow discord and push pro-Russia propaganda. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, who lives in Moscow, worked for nearly eight years with Russian officials to fund and direct the U.S. groups, according to the indictment. It does not name the groups, but charges Ionov also advised the campaigns of two unidentified candidates in Florida.
Secret Service’s ‘Ludicrous’ Deletion of Jan. 6 Phone Data Baffles Experts
MSN – Drew Harwell, Will Oremus, and Joseph Menn (Washington Post) | Published: 7/29/2022
Cybersecurity experts and former government leaders are stunned by how poorly the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security handled the preservation of officials’ text messages and other data from around January 6, 2021, saying the top agencies entrusted with fighting cybercrime should never have bungled the simple task of backing up agents’ phones. Experts are divided over whether the disappearance of the phone data is a sign of incompetence, an intentional coverup, or some murky middle ground. But the failure has raised suspicions about the disposition of records whose preservation was mandated by federal law.
Several Election Deniers Backed by Trump Prevail in Hotly Contested Primaries
MSN – Hannah Knowles (Washington Post) | Published: 8/3/2022
Several election deniers backed by former President Trump prevailed in closely watched primaries on August 2, as a nationwide battle over the future of the GOP played out in state and federal races across five states. Primaries in these states as well as Kansas and Washington kicked off a final series of intraparty contests before the midterms that will determine control of Congress in the fall. It was unclear what the totality of the primaries would reveal about the influence of Trump and his ideas, with key contests yet to be settled.
The GOP Went to War Against Google Over Spam – and May Win
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 7/29/2022
Many Republican lawmakers contend Google is suppressing the party’s campaign solicitations. Republicans have waged a pressure campaign that has included public Twitter offensives and private discussions with Google executives. The effort’s impact became apparent when Google asked the FEC to approve a pilot program that would exempt campaign emails from spam detection. The amount of political fundraising conducted over email and text has exploded in recent years, adding to the deluge of promotional messages swamping Americans every day. The full-court press drew on the GOP’s protest that Silicon Valley is biased against conservatives, a claim disputed by the companies.
The RNC ‘Election Integrity’ Official Appearing in DOJ’s Jan. 6 Subpoenas
MSN – Betsy Woodruff Swan (Politico) | Published: 7/30/2022
In addition to a group of former President Trump’s top lawyers, the Justice Department’s January 6 probe is also seeking communications to and from a Republican National Committee (RNC) staffer in a sensitive role. At least three witnesses in the investigation of so-called alternate electors in the 2020 election have received subpoenas demanding communications to and from Joshua Findlay, who is now the RNC’s national director for election integrity.
U.S. Sues Former Trump Aide Peter Navarro Over White House Emails
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 8/3/2022
Peter Navarro, the former Trump economic adviser already facing trial on charges of contempt of Congress, was sued by the government over his refusal to turn over private emails he allegedly used to conduct White House business during the Trump administration. The lawsuit charges he “is wrongfully retaining Presidential records that are the property of the United States, and which constitute part of the permanent historical record of the prior administration.”
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Arizona Officials Warned Fake Electors Plan Could ‘Appear Treasonous’
MSN – Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater (New York Times) | Published: 8/3/2022
Two Arizona Republicans recruited by allies of former President Trump to join an effort to keep him in office after he lost the 2020 election grew so concerned about the plan that they told lawyers working on it that they feared their actions could be seen as treason, according to emails. The scheme was part of a broader plan to falsely manufacture a victory for Trump by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim he had been the true winner. Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality.
California – Alameda County Sued by Anti-Affirmative Action Group Over Public Contracts Policy
MSN – Joseph Geha (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 7/31/2022
Alameda County’s efforts to ensure minority-owned and women-owned businesses get a share of public construction contracts violate the U.S. and California Constitution, according to a lawsuit. Plaintiffs say the county’s Public Works Agency and its General Services Agency both oversee similar programs that “force general contractors to discriminate against subcontractors” if they are not minority owned. The programs, which push contractors working on many projects to have at least 15 percent of the work done by minority-owned businesses and at least five percent done by women-owned businesses, amount to “government-sanctioned racial discrimination.”
California – Is It Too Easy for Write-In Candidates in California Elections?
CalMatters – Sameea Kamal | Published: 7/28/2022
In California elections, it only takes a handful of signatures and votes for legislative write-in candidates to get on the November ballot. While some candidates might spend millions of dollars or months campaigning, California’s top-two primary system means that in races with only one other candidate, it is possible for a write-in candidate to sneak into second place with very little support. For the June 7 primary, state Assembly and Senate candidates needed as few as 40 people to sign nomination papers to qualify as write-in candidates. No matter how few votes they won, as long as they finished in second, they advanced to the November election.
California – L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas Sues City Hall, Seeking to Restore His Pay
MSN – David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 7/28/2022
Los Angeles City Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas filed a lawsuit seeking to have a judge strike down the city’s decision to cut off his pay while he fights federal corruption charges. In his filing, Ridley-Thomas called the decision by City Controller Ron Galperin to terminate his pay and health benefits “unauthorized, unlawful and politicized.” Ridley-Thomas said he is barred under city law from seeking outside income while he fights the charges. He also contends that Galperin’s actions violated the City Charter.
California – SF Arts Commission Director Used Grant Money for a Hawaii Vacation
San Francisco Examiner – Thomas Hughes (Bay City News Foundation) | Published: 8/2/2022
A former director of the San Francisco Arts Commission was fined $20,000 after she admitted diverting grant money to finance a personal vacation in Hawaii. The grant had been intended for a local Native and Indigenous artist and was awarded to fund a short documentary exploring pre-colonial connections across the Pacific. Instead, the money was used by former arts director Barbara Mumby-Huerta to pay travel expenses to Hawaii for herself, her daughter, and a friend, a trip in which no work was ever produced.
Connecticut – Connecticut Port Authority Reveals Which Employees Accepted Gifts
Yahoo – Greg Smith (The Day) | Published: 8/1/2022
At the request of two state senators, the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) has released the names of its employees that improperly accepted gifts from a company vying for authority business. Former Executive Director Evan Matthews and Andrew Lavigne, the CPA’s current manager of business development and special projects, each received a $625 ticket from Seabury Maritime Capital to a May 2019 National Hockey League playoff game in Boston along with food and beverages from a restaurant.
Florida – Ethics Panel Hearing Set for Bristol City Clerk Who Allegedly Left IOUs for City Cash
Yahoo News – Karl Etters (Tallahassee Democrat) | Published: 8/1/2022
A state ethics panel found probable cause for a complaint against Bristol’s city clerk that alleges she left IOU notes for money she took from the cash drawer in City Hall. The panel recommended a formal public hearing for City Clerk Robin Hatcher. Deputy City Clerk Nichole Day said she saw Hatcher take $200 from the city’s cash drawer and replace it with a slip of paper “stating she had taken cash and would repay it later,” according to the complaint. Hatcher said she intended to donate $200 of her own money to the high school weightlifting team but didn’t have a chance to get to the bank, taking city money instead.
Florida – Florida Power & Light Operates an Exclusive, Invite-Only Lounge for Lawmakers and Lobbyists
MSN – Matt Dixon and Bruce Ritchie (Politico) | Published: 8/2/2022
Florida Power & Light operates an event space located on the third floor of the company’s Tallahassee offices. The exclusive lounge is used by company officials to host lobbyists and the lawmakers whose votes they need, according to sources. Revelations of the party space come as the utility is mired in scandals over its aggressive approach to lobbying and public advocacy. State Rep. Anna Eskamani said the energy company’s exclusive lounge raises concerns it is illicitly influencing lawmakers and violating the state’s gift ban and open meetings laws.
Florida – Intrigue Grows in Florida’s ‘Ghost’ Candidate Case as Prosecutors Seek More Info
Bradenton Herald – Ana Ceballos (Miami Herald) | Published: 7/30/2022
Prosecutors subpoenaed records related to a $600,000 money transfer between “dark money” organizations tied to an ongoing Miami-Dade County criminal case surrounding “ghost candidates” in the 2020 election. The transfer is adding a new layer of intrigue to a years-long question into who paid for thousands of political mail advertisements to promote sham no-party candidates in three contested Florida races that were key to helping solidify the Republican majority in the state Senate.
Florida – Judge Candidate Says Ivey Offered to Help Secure Appointment If She Dropped Out of Race
Yahoo News – Eric Rogers and Bobby Block (Florida Today) | Published: 8/3/2022
In the weeks since two Republican candidates said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey offered to securer them political jobs worth up to $50,000 a year if they left their races and backed his favored contenders, the election meddling controversy has widened. Now, another candidate has come forward, saying Ivey also tried to interfere in her race for county judge and offered to help secure her a spot as the county’s next state attorney if she agreed to drop out of the contest.
Georgia – Georgia Ethics Board Moves Forward Against Abrams-Linked Groups
MSN – Margaret Newkirk (Bloomberg) | Published: 8/1/2022
Georgia’s ethics commission will move ahead with a case against two groups founded by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, saying it was likely they violated campaign finance law by helping her first run for governor four years ago. The ruling paves the way for a final hearing and decision that could bring the biggest ethics fine in state history, just as the rematch between Abrams and Republican Governor Brian Kemp moves into its final three months.
Illinois – Ex-Speaker Michael Madigan’s Pension Payments Balloon as Judge Grants Defense Until Next Year to File Motions in Racketeering Case
MSN – Ray Long and Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 8/3/2022
As a federal judge granted a lengthy extension for Michael Madigan’s racketeering case, the former Illinois House speaker’s state pension has risen to nearly $149,000 a year, a more than $63,000 increase since he retired last year. The windfall is the result of both Madigan’s 50-plus years in the House and an often-beneficial state pension formula for lawmakers that Madigan himself helped push through. It also comes as the former lawmaker continues to battle a federal bribery-related case that will likely not see any significant court action until next year.
Illinois – Federal Lawsuit Challenges New Limits on Contributions to Illinois Judicial Candidates
MSN – Dan Petrella (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 8/3/2022
A federal lawsuit challenges the restrictions on campaign contributions to judicial candidates in Illinois on First Amendment grounds. Democrats in the Legislature passed a bill last year that bars judicial candidates from receiving campaign money from out-of-state contributors and groups that do not disclose their donors. This year, lawmakers banned donations in excess of $500,000 per election cycle from a single source to independent expenditure committees set up to support or oppose judicial candidates.
Kansas – Kansans Resoundingly Reject Amendment Aimed at Restricting Abortion Rights
MSN – Annie Gowan and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 8/2/2022
Kansas voters sent a resounding message about their desire to protect abortion rights, rejecting a ballot measure in a conservative state with deep ties to the anti-abortion movement that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright. The results bolster Democrats’ hopes that the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade will animate their voters in an otherwise difficult election year for their party. The vote signals abortion is an energizing issue that could affect turnout in the November midterms.
Kentucky – Louisville Candidates Got New Ethics Rules. Why Weren’t They Followed?
WDRB – Marcus Green | Published: 7/29/2022
Metro Council approved sweeping changes to Louisville’s ethics rules in March, broadening what must be reported by candidates for key offices and other top elected and appointed officials. Once the ordinance took effect March 8, it gave candidates in the May primaries until April 30 to file the new financial disclosures with the city’s ethics commission. But that did not happen. The ethics commission ultimately extended the filing deadline until after the primary, a decision that made the disclosures a non-factor for voters and campaigns alike.
Louisiana – Karen Carter Peterson Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud. She Will Be Sentenced on Dec. 7
NOLA.com – Tyler Bridges and Gordon Russell | Published: 8/1/2022
Karen Carter Peterson pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding campaign donors, putting an ignominious end to a political career that saw her serve 22 years in the state Legislature and chair the Louisiana Democratic Party for nearly a decade. Prosecutors said Peterson helped herself to about $147,357 in funds that did not belong to her, from both her re-election campaigns and money given to the party. Peterson spent a “substantial amount” of that money at casinos, both “before and after her gambling addiction diagnosis,” according to court documents.
Missouri – How a Trump Endorsement Scramble in Mo. Ended in Absurdity: Vote ‘ERIC’
MSN – Michael Scherer, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 8/2/2022
With two words, Donald Trump launched a wild scramble that Republican leaders had hoped to avoid: “sometime today!” the former president wrote on Truth Social declaring his plans endorse in Missouri’s U.S. Senate primary. Trump had not yet decided which candidate to back when he published those words, according to interviews with numerous officials familiar with the chaos that ensued. So began an eight-hour deadline to win over Trump’s favor before primary day, a decision that in the mind of some Republicans could have undermined GOP hopes for taking control of the Senate this fall.
Missouri – St. Louis County Council Ethics Committee Wants Closer Look at Colleague’s Weed Work
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Joe Holleman | Published: 7/30/2022
Not only did a St. Louis County Council committee vote to delve deeper into Councilperson Lisa Clancy’s ties to the marijuana industry, it also widened its scope to include several other larger players involved. The council’s ethics committee said it wants to continue researching whether Clancy violated conflict-of-interest rules in 2019. The specific issue being examined by the committee is that Clancy was paid about $4,500 by a law firm to work on marijuana license applications at the same time she was actively working to influence the county’s zoning ordinance regulating marijuana locations.
New Mexico – Former New Mexico Cannabis Director Joins Private Firm, Raising Ethics Debate
MSN – Carlos Segarra (KRQE) | Published: 8/2/2022
After spending less than a year developing and executing the state’s cannabis rules, New Mexico’s former Cannabis Control Division (CCD) director is joining a private cannabis firm. A consultant agency, Weeds, hired Kristen Thomson, leading some to debate the ethics of the move. Weeds also hired Bobbi Martinez, the former compliance manager for the CCD.
New York – Hochul Campaign Donor Lands Multi-Billion-Dollar State Contract
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 7/31/2022
The New York Department of Health is awarding a multi-billion-dollar transportation contract to a company owned by a significant campaign donor to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was also the beneficiary of a campaign fundraiser the bidder hosted as the procurement process was nearing its conclusion. Records show Russ Maxwell spent $4,500 to pay for food, catering, and flowers for a Hochul fundraiser. He also gave Hochul an additional $10,000 that day, and his husband, Morgan McDole, gave $20,000. Maxwell donated $10,000 and McDole $20,000 to the state Democratic Party, which is closely aligned with Hochul’s campaign.
Ohio – Feds Ask Judge to Sanction Ex-Lobbyist Charged in House Bill 6 Case for Publishing Key Witness’s Personal Information Online
MSN – Andrew Tobias (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 8/2/2022
Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sanction an ex-lobbyist charged with bribery in the Ohio House Bill 6 corruption case for using his legal defense website to publish the personal information of a key witness in the government’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Singer said Matt Borges’s website, until he removed it, contained unredacted copies of the witness’s Social-Security card, tax forms, and driver’s license. Using the pseudonym “CHS-1” to refer to the witness, Tyler Fehrman, Singer said the incident was an intentional effort by Borges to intimidate and retaliate against Fehrman by exposing him to identity theft.
Ohio – Subpoenaed State Records Detail Former Top Regulator’s Work to Protect Nuclear Bailout
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Andrew Tobias | Published: 8/1/2022
Records the FBI requested last year detail the steps a former top state official took to try to save Ohio’s nuclear bailout law after it was threatened by a federal regulatory decision. The newly released records show how then-Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairperson Sam Randazzo traveled to meet executives with Energy Harbor, the owner of the two nuclear plants bailed out by House Bill 6. Randazzo helped set up the meeting hours after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new rule meant to discourage states from subsidizing their electricity industry, as Ohio had done with House Bill 6.
Pennsylvania – Dr. Oz’s Dark History of Promoting Companies He Was Quietly Invested In
MSN – Sam Brody (Daily Beast) | Published: 8/1/2022
Dr. Mehmet Oz built a national brand on dispensing surprising, and surprisingly simple, remedies for widespread health concerns. In one emblematic case, viewers may have surmised that Oz’s video plugging the probiotic TruBiotics was, essentially, an ad. What they were not aware of, however, is Oz was a member of the board of directors of the brand’s parent company, PanTheryx. He holds a stake in the business worth as much as $1 million. Oz is the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania – Pa. Liquor Control Board Officials Got Dibs on Pappy Van Winkle, Other High-End Bourbon Lottery Leftovers
MSN – Jan Murphy (Pennlive.com) | Published: 8/2/2022
Thousands of Pennsylvanians try their luck at entering the Liquor Control Board’s limited-release lotteries with hopes of getting the chance to buy a bottle of high-end limited quantity wine or spirits. In 2019 and 2020, though, for Liquor Control Board member Michael Negra and four of the agency’s top-level employees, luck was not needed to claim their bottle or two. Negra and the employees were given the chance to buy some of the coveted bottles left over from lotteries before the public even knew there were still bottles up for grabs. A State Ethics Commission investigation found this sharing of confidential information did not violate the law.
Texas – Aide to Houston Mayor Resigns After Reportedly Pleading Guilty to Public Corruption
Houston Public Media – Adam Zuyanich and Haya Panjwani | Published: 8/3/2022
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said neither he nor anyone on his executive staff had prior knowledge of a federal public corruption case involving one of his top aides, who pleaded guilty recently and subsequently resigned. William-Paul Thomas, who has worked as the mayor’s liaison to the city council since before Turner was elected in 2015, admitted to participating in a conspiracy to accept a cash bribe, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Texas – Texas Ethics Commission Wants Funds for Tech Upgrades after Beto O’Rourke Crashes Servers
MSN – Allie Morris (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 8/2/2022
After Beto O’Rourke’s massive fundraising report overwhelmed state servers in July, the Texas Ethics Commission wants $750,000 to upgrade its aging technology ahead of the midterm elections. Without change, the system “will likely fail again” when the next round of campaign finance reports are due in October, commission leaders warned in a letter to the Legislative Budget Board. The issue is coming to a head as campaign finance reports grow ever more voluminous, the letter said, and the commission’s decade-old servers cannot keep up.
Wisconsin – Memo Shows Wis. GOP Lawyer Privately Opposed Decertifying Biden’s 2020 Win
MSN – Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 8/2/2022
Michael Gableman, a former state Supreme Court justice hired by Republican lawmakers to probe the 2020 election, said in March that Wisconsin should take a “hard look” at canceling Joe Biden’s victory and revoking the state’s 10 electoral college votes. The comment drew applause from a packed hearing room in the state Capitol and praise from former President Trump, whose allies have called for throwing out the results in Wisconsin and other battleground states even though constitutional scholars have scoffed at the notion as absurd. But a newly unearthed memo shows Gableman soon offered a far different analysis in private.
Wisconsin – Wisconsin DOJ Probes Voter Fraud Stunt as Election Officials Debate Absentee Rules
MSN – Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 7/29/2022
With a few clicks of a mouse, a conservative activist sent Wisconsin’s elections apparatus into disarray ahead of the August 9 primary. Harry Wait said he requested absentee ballots in the names of two high-profile politicians be sent to his own address to try to show voter fraud is easy to perform. The stunt showed one person and a computer or smartphone could jolt the state’s elections system and forced officials to weigh making changes to the state’s absentee voting procedures and whether doing so would make it harder to vote. It also drew the attention of law enforcement.
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