May 20, 2022 •
National/Federal A Fringe Conspiracy Theory, Fostered Online, Is Refashioned by the GOP Hartford Courant – Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish (New York Times) | Published: 5/16/2022 At the extremes of American life, replacement theory – the notion that Western elites, sometimes […]
A Fringe Conspiracy Theory, Fostered Online, Is Refashioned by the GOP
Hartford Courant – Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish (New York Times) | Published: 5/16/2022
At the extremes of American life, replacement theory – the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans – has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years. But replacement theory, once confined to Reddit message boards and semi-obscure white nationalist sites, has gone mainstream. In sometimes more muted forms, the fear it crystallizes of a future America in which white people are no longer the numerical majority has become a potent force in conservative media and politics, where the theory has been borrowed and remixed to attract audiences, retweets, and small-dollar donations.
Feds Dismiss Campaign Finance Complaint Against Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert
Colorado Public Radio – Caitlyn Kim | Published: 5/16/2022
The FEC dismissed a complaint against U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert over her 2020 mileage reimbursement after the commissioners deadlocked on whether to investigate further. While the FEC’s Office of General Counsel did not find any evidence that Boebert converted campaign funds to personal use, as the complaint had alleged, it did note the “round figure of 32,000 miles driven for campaign-related purposes suggests that the assessment is a general estimate rather than one found on the kind of contemporaneous log contemplated in the Commission’s regulations.”
How Facebook Funded a Clandestine War Against Regulation
MSN – Cat Zakrzewski and Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) | Published: 5/17/2022
Backed by millions of dollars from Facebook-parent company Meta, the political advocacy group American Edge has launched a campaign to combat antitrust legislation in Washington, placing op-eds in regional newspapers throughout the country, commissioning studies, and collaborating with an array of partners, including minority business associations, conservative think tanks, and former national security officials. It is a playbook more common to other industries, but tech companies, under heightened scrutiny from federal regulators, are seizing on these methods.
How the Biden Administration Let Right-Wing Attacks Derail Its Disinformation Efforts
Yahoo News – Taylor Lorenz (Washington Post) | Published: 5/18/2022
On April 27, the Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of the first Disinformation Governance Board with the stated goal to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.” The Biden administration tapped Nina Jankowicz, a well-known figure in the field of fighting disinformation and extremism, as executive director. Within hours of her appointment, Jankowicz was thrust into the spotlight by the forces she dedicated her career to combating. She became a primary target on the right-wing Internet, subject to a barrage of harassment and abuse while unchecked misrepresentations of her work continue to go viral.
Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas 5 House Republicans, Including Minority Leader
MSN – Felicia Sonmez, Jacqueline Alemany, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Mariana Sotomayor (Washington Post) | Published: 5/12/2022
The U.S. House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on announced it subpoenaed five Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, after they refused to cooperate with the panel’s inquiry. The move marks a significant escalation in the committee’s efforts to obtain information related to lawmakers’ communications with former President Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before, during, and after the attack.
Supreme Court Agrees with Cruz, Strikes Campaign Contribution Limit
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 5/16/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a $250,000 cap on the amount of money that candidates can be reimbursed after an election for personal loans to their own campaigns unjustifiably burdened political expression. It was the latest decision to knock out a part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and reemphasized the court’s view that many restrictions on campaign finance are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment’s protection of speech. Justice Elena Kagan said the court was effectively abetting corruption by allowing donors to contribute to a campaign after an election in a way that benefits the candidate personally.
The Little Red Boxes Making a Mockery of Campaign Finance Laws
Yahoo News – Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) | Published: 5/16/2022
Democratic candidates nationwide are pioneering new frontiers in soliciting and directing money from friendly super PACs financed by multimillionaires, billionaires, and special-interest groups. Campaign watchdogs complain the practice further blurs the lines meant to keep wealthy interests from influencing people running for office, effectively evading the strict donation limits imposed on federal candidates. The practice is both brazen and simple. To work around the prohibition on directly coordinating with super PACs, candidates are posting their instructions to them inside the red boxes on public pages that super PACs continuously monitor.
U.S. Sues to Compel Casino Mogul Steve Wynn to Register as Agent of China
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 5/17/2022
The U.S. Justice Department sued Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to compel him to register as a foreign agent because of lobbying work it says he performed for the Chinese government during the Trump administration. The department said it had advised Wynn repeatedly over the last four years to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and is suing now because Wynn refused to do so. Though the Justice Department has ramped up efforts to criminally prosecute people who do not register as foreign agents, officials described this case as the first lawsuit of its kind in more than three decades.
Victories by Mastriano, Budd Show Potency of Trump’s False Stolen Election Claims in GOP
MSN – Annie Linskey and David Weigel (Washington Post) | Published: 5/17/2022
Republican candidates who sought to overturn the 2020 election won statewide primaries in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, reflecting the lingering influence in the GOP of former President Trump’s false claims the vote was rigged against him. Their primary victories came on a day when the effect of Trump and his far-right movement on the midterm elections faced its biggest test to date. Incomplete results showed Trump’s influence over the movement he started was uneven, winning some but not all the races where he backed a candidate.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Arizona Senate to Investigate Wendy Rogers Over Social Media Post on Buffalo Shooting
Yahoo News – Ray Stern (Arizona Republic) | Published: 5/16/2022
The Arizona Senate Ethics Committee will investigate a social media post from state Sen. Wendy Rogers that suggested the shooter in a mass killing in Buffalo was a federal agent and part of a conspiracy by the federal government. The committee said it will examine Rogers’ remarks “relating to the Buffalo shooting as inappropriate of an elected official with this body.” An effort to expel Rogers pushed by Democrats failed.
California – Judge Halts Angel Stadium Sale for FBI Corruption Probe of Anaheim Mayor
KABC – City News Service | Published: 5/17/2022
The city of Anaheim’s planned sale of Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno’s company was halted for at least two months by an Orange County Superior Court judge, who agreed to a request by the state to pause the deal amid a federal corruption probe of Mayor Harry Sidhu. The state attorney general’s office filed the petition requesting a halt to the sale, pointing to the federal investigation that involves, in part, allegations Sidhu was trying to leverage the deal to secure campaign contributions from the Los Angeles Angels.
Colorado – Some Colorado Lobbyists Work for Both Sides at the Same Time
KUSA – Zack Newman | Published: 5/16/2022
At least 15 lobbyists and firms in Colorado have had clients on opposite of a bill at the same time in 2021 and 2022. State law requires lobbyists to tell clients about any conflicts-of-interest and bars them from engaging in “any other practice that discredits the practice of lobbying or the general assembly.” Mike Beasley, who runs 5280 Strategies, said it is “really important” to avoid conflicts-of-interest and there are practices in place to prevent them. He said his contract requires him to flag possible conflicts as far in advance as possible.
Delaware – State Auditor Loses Bid to Have Procurement Charge Dropped
MSN – Randall Chase (Associated Press) | Published: 5/17/2022
A judge refused to dismiss a criminal charge accusing Delaware’s embattled state auditor of deliberately breaking up payments for a contract she entered into with a former campaign consultant in order to avoid compliance with state procurement law. Kathleen McGuiness, who is responsible for rooting out government fraud, waste, and abuse, was indicted on felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, conflict-of-interest, and noncompliance with procurement laws. McGuiness has denied any wrongdoing.
Florida – Florida Bans Protests Outside Homes
MSN – Lindsay Bever (Washington Post) | Published: 5/17/2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to outlaw protests outside private residences, a move opponents say violates First Amendment rights. The new law will make it a misdemeanor to picket or protest outside a person’s house to “harass or disturb” that person. Violators will receive a warning, and those who do not stop may be arrested for unlawful residential picketing, a crime punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Republicans and Democrats have been debating the legality of protesting outside the private residences of U.S. Supreme Court justices, and the White House has said such protests are fine when they are peaceful.
Florida – Florida Judge Blocks DeSantis’ Congressional Redistricting Effort
MSN – Gary Fineout (Politico) | Published: 5/11/2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bid to remake the state’s congressional map was dealt a setback on after a state judge said he would block the plan because of the way it scattered Black voters among several districts. DeSantis personally pushed the GOP-led Legislature to approve the map, which boosts the number of Republican-held seats in the state. The map also dismantles the district held by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat. The map is facing a legal challenge by a coalition that argues it violates the state’s Fair Districts standards – voter-approved anti-gerrymandering amendments in the Florida Constitution.
Florida – Miami Heat Mayor Suarez’s Office Is Mum on Prime Courtside Seat at the Heat’s Playoff Game
MSN – Ben Carnack (Miami Herald) | Published: 5/18/2022
At a recent Miami Heat playoff game, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was seated courtside. The county ethics code mandates that gifts exceeding $100 must be reported in quarterly financial disclosures. Former Mayor Tomás Regalado, who faced an ethics probe that dealt, in part, with Miami Heat tickets, said it is inappropriate for the current mayor to sit courtside at a playoff game, whether the ticket was gifted to Suarez or he purchased it himself.
Florida – Mystery Group Behind Ads in ’20 Central Florida Primary Must Reveal Donors, Judge Rules
The Black Chronicle – Annie Martin (Orlando Sentinel) | Published: 5/12/2022
A group that sent attack ads in a state Senate primary in Florida without disclosing its donors, must reveal its contributors and make its chairperson available for a deposition, a judge ruled. Though political committees are required to list their contributions publicly, Floridians for Equality and Justice listed just one donation, a $249,925 “starting balance” from a “dark money” nonprofit organization of the same name. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jose Rodriguez said that records that state Sen. Annette Taddeo seeks, including bank records, exist and are in the committee’s possession.
Georgia – Georgia County Under Scrutiny After Claim of Post-Election Breach
MSN – Emma Brown and Amy Gardner (Washington Post) | Published: 5/13/2022
A former elections supervisor in rural Coffee County, Georgia, told The Washington Post she opened her offices to a businessperson active in the election-denier movement to help investigate results she did not trust in the weeks after former President Trump’s 2020 defeat. Trump carried the conservative county by 40 points, but elections supervisor Misty Hampton said she remained suspicious of Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. Hampton made a video that went viral soon after the election, claiming to show Dominion Voting System machines, the ones used in her county, could be manipulated.
Georgia – Georgia’s Oxendine to Hand Over $128,000 to End Ethics Saga
WABE – Associated Press | Published: 5/12/2022
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission agreed to drop its campaign finance case against former state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who will hand over the $128,000 remaining in his campaign fund and admit no wrongdoing. The deal ends a years-long struggle over whether Oxendine broke state law by using campaign funds to buy a house, lease luxury cars, and join a private club. Some members of commission expressed frustration that Oxendine did not admit fault in the consent order.
Georgia – Lieutenant Governor Candidate Jones Hasn’t Disclosed Flights
MSN – Associated Press | Published: 5/16/2022
A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia acknowledged he has been flying to campaign events on his family’s private plane without disclosing any donations or expenses related to the flights in campaign finance filings. A campaign spokesperson for state Sen. Burt Jones said the candidate planned to pay one lump sum after the May 24 primary for all flights taken. But state campaign finance law says candidates “must disclose (expenses made) on the campaign contribution disclosure report due for the reporting period in which the flight occurred.”
Illinois – Three-Peat: Chicago ranks no. 1 in Corruption, report finds
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 5/11/2022
For the third year in a row, Chicago is America’s most corrupt city, and Illinois is the third-most corrupt state, according to an annual report from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The report is based on an analysis of the public corruption statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that nearly shut down state and federal courts, 2020 was one of the most “significant” twelve months in the “startling saga of political and public corruption in Chicago and Illinois,” said the author of the report, Dick Simpson, a former Chicago City Council member.
Iowa – Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to Return Illegal $50,000 PAC Campaign Contribution
MSN – Katie Akin (Des Moines Register) | Published: 5/18/2022
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will return an illegal $50,000 campaign contribution from the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Iowa law prohibits statewide candidates from accepting donations from PACs until the regular legislative session ends and lawmakers had not adjourned when Miller accepted the donation on May 13.
Kansas – Wichita Ethics Board Members, Candidates Could Be Disqualified Under ‘Goofy’ Policy
MSN – Chance Swaim (Wichita Eagle) | Published: 5/17/2022
Quirks in Wichita’s ethics policy threaten to further delay a board that has been dormant for more than a year, stalling any investigations of potential misconduct by city officials. One empty board seat, the ethics officer position, stands between the passage and enforcement of the city’s ethics rules. But the three finalists for the position have either dropped out of the race or face disqualification. A prohibition on “active members” of political parties and nonpartisan political organizations disqualifies two of the three finalists, one of whom already dropped out of the race. The other finalist moved out of town and is no longer interested in the position.
Maryland – Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby Violated Ethics Law by Accepting Money from City Contractors Via Legal Defense Fund, Board Rules
MSN – Emily Opilo (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 5/12/2022
Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by accepting money from persons doing business with the city through his legal defense fund. The ruling by the city’s Board of Ethics does not name the donors but both are considered “controlled donors” under the law, which bars elected officials from receiving contributions from such donors, solicited or otherwise. The board also concluded Mosby violated a provision of the law barring him from soliciting donations, directly or indirectly, from controlled donors.
Michigan – Feds Charge Ex-Romulus Mayor with Wire Fraud in Corruption Crackdown
Detroit News – Robert Snell | Published: 5/13/2022
Federal prosecutors charged the former mayor of Romulus with wire fraud for spending more than $15,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses. LeRoy Burcroff is the latest current or former public official charged during a more than decade-long federal assault on corruption within municipal government and organized labor around Metro Detroit. That crackdown has led to charges against more than 110 people and the convictions of the two past presidents of the United Auto Workers, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and 23 contractors and public officials in Macomb County.
Montana – State Won’t Appeal Ruling Striking Down Parts of New Law
Helena Independent Record – Seaborn Lawson | Published: 5/18/2022
The Montana attorney general’s office will not appeal a District Court ruling that found state lawmakers went to unconstitutional lengths to pass new campaigning laws. Judge Mike Menahan ruled lawmakers had added sections unrelated to the original intent of Senate Bill 319 in a late-session meeting without public participation, in violation of the Montana Constitution.
New York – Adams’ Top Aide Navigates Uncharted Path on New York Ethics Issues
Yahoo News – Sally Goldenberg and Joe Anuta (Politico) | Published: 5/17/2022
Attorney Frank Carone of the firm Abrams Fensterman is chief of staff to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. A recent public disclosure shows the firm has been actively lobbying the new mayoral administration. Carone faces numerous conflicts-of-interest as he undertakes an expansive role in City Hall. An analysis of the firm’s clients from last year found more than 40 whose financial interests are intertwined with municipal government. Abrams Fensterman’s network of clients sets up a situation with little recent precedent in New York.
New York – Corporate Campaign Donors Identify Themselves Thanks to New York Focus Nudge
New York Focus – Sam Mellins | Published: 5/12/2022
In the wake of reporting into the state Board of Election’s failure to act on possible violations of a campaign finance law meant to limit “dark money” in New York elections, the agency began enforcement in March. That yielded rapid results, recent figures show: compliance with the law’s disclosure requirements has increased more than threefold since the board acted. The law required limited liability companies (LLCs) that make political donations to submit a form listing their owners and how much of the company each one owns. But majority of donors who gave via LLCs were not aware of or simply ignored this requirement.
New York – Court Expert Draws More GOP-Friendly New York Political Maps
MSN – Michelle Price (Associated Press) | Published: 5/16/2022
A court-appointed expert released a draft of new congressional maps for New York state that are more favorable to Republicans than the original gerrymandered political maps drawn by Democrats. A New York court will take comment on the maps for two days before a final version is approved by a judge on May 20, with primary elections for congressional races and the state Senate now being held August 23. Adding to the redistricting tangle, the state’s Assembly and gubernatorial primaries are still scheduled for June 28.
Ohio – Cincinnati Launches New Office of Ethics and Good Government to Rebuild ‘Public Trust’
Spectrum News – Casey Weldon | Published: 5/14/2022
Cincinnati endured one of its most difficult periods two years ago as it watched one-third of city council arrested on federal corruption charges. Federal prosecutors accused City Hall of having a “culture of corruption.” The city has worked to help reshape that image, and one way is through the creation of the Office of Ethics and Good Government. Its job is to educate elected officials and city staff on ethics-related issues, ranging from conflicts-of-interest to campaign contributions. It also investigates suspected cases of impropriety submitted through a new hotline.
Ohio – Lawmaker Proposed $300M Handout to Nursing Homes; Then Raised $52,000 from their Liaisons
Yahoo News – Jake Zuckerman (Ohio Capital Journal) | Published: 5/12/2022
An Ohio lawmaker last year proposed allocating $300 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds, divvied up among the state’s nursing homes with no strings attached. Ten days later, Rep. Sara Carruthers received a $13,200 campaign contribution from the chief executive of a chain of 59 nursing homes, $13,200 from his business partner, and another $13,200 from the chief executive’s wife. Two weeks later, a lobbyist for an association of nursing homes that backed the bill gave her another $13,200. The four contributions together comprise nearly half of all Carruthers’ campaign fundraising in 2021.
Ohio – Leader of Columbus Green-Energy Ballot Measure Guilty of Falsifying Campaign Finance Report
Yahoo News – Bill Bush and Jordan Laird (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 5/16/2022
The man who led the failed ProEnergy Issue 7 ballot initiative last November, which Columbus leaders called a blatant effort to grab taxpayer funds, was found guilty of filing a false campaign finance record in connection with the petition drive for a similar 2019 initiative. John Clark Jr. led the petition drive to get an initiative put on the ballot that, if it had passed, would have diverted more than $50 million of city money toward vague green-energy initiatives proposed by a group that would have been in sole control of the funds.
Ohio – Medicaid Director Owned Stock in Companies She Awarded Huge Contracts
Ohio Capital Journal – Marty Schladen | Published: 5/17/2022
Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran’s ethics filings show she continued to own stock in three health care companies in 2021, the same year she negotiated and signed billion-dollar contracts with their subsidiaries. State ethics rules only require that officials such as Corcoran list all the stocks they own at least $1,000 worth of in a given year. So, it is impossible to know how heavily invested she is in those companies. Corcoran declined to file an affidavit disclosing her exact holdings in companies whose subsidiaries she was awarding contracts and she has refused to make those disclosures voluntarily.
Oregon – Rich Donors Take Major Advantage of a Loophole in Portland’s Public Campaign Financing System
OPB – Rebecca Ellis | Published: 5/12/2022
Portland’s public campaign finance program aims to reduce the influence of big money in city politics by limiting the contributions that participating candidates can accept. In return for capping donations at $250, candidates get their small donations matched nine-fold by the city. But the ability of wealthy donors to give unlimited amounts to PACs that support candidates is, this year’s election shows, a fundamental loophole in the city’s efforts to curb campaign spending and, in the process, broaden who can run for office.
South Dakota – South Dakota Report: Noem’s daughter got special treatment
MSN – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 5/18/2022
State lawmakers unanimously approved a report finding South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s daughter got preferential treatment while she was applying for a real estate appraiser’s license in 2020. Noem has denied wrongdoing, despite holding a meeting that included her daughter, Kassidy Peters, and key decision-makers from the agency that was evaluating her application just days after the agency moved to deny her the license. After the meeting, Peters received another opportunity to demonstrate she could meet federal standards and was ultimately awarded the license.
Tennessee – Registry of Election Finance Declines to Investigate Rep. Sherrell’s Fire-Hall Checks
Tennessee Lookout – Sam Stockard | Published: 5/19/2022
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance claimed it had been “weaponized” in a state House District race and refused to investigate a complaint that Rep. Paul Sherrell wrote checks to volunteer fire halls and asked for cash back. “What we’re being asked here is to assume that Mr. Sherrell is a crook, bottom line. We’re to assume he is conducting illegal activity …,” board member Tom Lawless said, because Sherrell bought ham breakfasts for firefighters. Nevertheless, the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance urged Sherrell to make contributions differently in the future and to document all donations.
Texas – AG Ken Paxton Refuses to Disclose His Property Addresses to the Texas Ethics Commission
MSN – Jay Root and Taylor Goldenstein (Houston Chronicle) | Published: 5/18/2022
The state police made him do it. That is the excuse Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gives on his ethics disclosures in place of revealing, as required by law, the addresses of properties he owns in Austin and College Station. “Redacted for security purposes on request of TX DPS,” Paxton has written on every form since he began work as attorney general. But nothing in the law allows him to refuse to provide the addresses, and none of the parties involved could produce any records proving such a request was ever made.
Washington – Inside the Washington Legislative Workers’ Union Push and Building Frustration with Democratic Leadership
Seattle Times – Joseph O’Sullivan | Published: 5/17/2022
Washington lawmakers passed a bill aimed at setting up a process to allow at least some legislative workers to unionize. The legislation also lifts the state’s prohibition on collective bargaining for legislative workers beginning in 2024. House Bill 2124 creates the Office of State Legislative Labor Relations to research and make recommendations to lawmakers about how staffers might unionize, and which workers might be part of that group. Lawmakers and others acknowledge they will likely need to pass another bill next year before collective bargaining begins.
Washington DC – Judges Accused of Sex Discrimination, Bullying, Internal Survey Shows
MSN – Ann Marimow (Washington Post) | Published: 5/16/2022
Complaints in a workplace survey conducted for the federal trial and appeals courts in the nation’s capital, an institution regarded as a steppingstone to the U.S. Supreme Court detail instances of gender discrimination, bullying, and racial insensitivity, while underscoring the power imbalance between judges with life tenure and the assistants who depend on them for career advancement. Current and former employees who acknowledged having witnessed misconduct described their reluctance to file complaints against their superiors. They cited fears of retaliation and distrust that the federal judiciary’s system for workplace accountability, which tasks judges with policing one another, ultimately would resolve their concerns.
Washington DC – Trump Sells D.C. Hotel Lease to Miami Investment Group
MSN – Jonathan O’Connell (Washington Post) | Published: 5/11/2022
The Trump Organization completed the sale of its District of Columbia hotel lease on Pennsylvania Avenue to CGI Merchant Group and its partner Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which will operate the hotel as a Waldorf Astoria property. Calls for the lease to be revoked or for Trump to divest himself of his real estate assets grew louder after he entered office and foreign leaders, corporations, and Republican politicians booked rooms and parties at the hotel as part of their efforts to curry favor with Trump.
West Virginia – ‘Everyone Was Shocked’: How WV’s ethics laws allowed someone barred from lobbying to try to influence legislators anyway
Mountain State Spotlight – Ian Karbal | Published: 5/16/2022
The West Virginia Ethics Act bars certain public officials from lobbying for at least a year after they leave office. But as Evan Jenkins’ rapid flip from state Supreme Court justice to timber company attorney highlighted, the law leaves plenty of wiggle room. He was able to speak directly to lawmakers, as well as propose specific language to legislation, all within weeks of holding a powerful position in government.
Wisconsin – Wis. Democrats File First-of-Its-Kind Suit vs. Fake Trump Electors
MSN – Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 5/17/2022
Three Democratic voters in Wisconsin, including two who served as electors for President Biden in 2020, filed suit against 10 supporters of Donald Trump in the state, arguing the group engaged in a civil conspiracy to violate state and federal law when they declared themselves presidential electors in 2020 even though Biden won the state’s popular vote. Wisconsin was one of five states won by Biden where Republican electors gathered December 14, 2020, and declared themselves “duly elected and qualified” – then sent signed certificates to Washington purporting to affirm Trump as the actual victor of their states.
May 19, 2022 •
The Oklahoma Legislature called a concurrent legislative session to begin May 18 concerning $1.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund spending. The special session will also cover $698 million in Large-scale Economic Activity and Development Act (LEAD Act) allocations […]
The Oklahoma Legislature called a concurrent legislative session to begin May 18 concerning $1.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund spending.
The special session will also cover $698 million in Large-scale Economic Activity and Development Act (LEAD Act) allocations to pursue Project Ocean, which state officials described as an economic development project that is considering Oklahoma for a major manufacturing operation.
The concurrent session can keep going after the regular session adjourns, which must be done by 5 p.m. Friday, May 27.
This does not affect lobbyist reporting dates.
May 19, 2022 •
The Alaska Legislature adjourned sin die late Wednesday after finally coming to an agreement on the state’s budget bill. Lawmakers set this year’s dividend for each resident at $3,200 from Alaska’s Permanent Fund, a fund derived from the state’s oil […]
The Alaska Legislature adjourned sin die late Wednesday after finally coming to an agreement on the state’s budget bill.
Lawmakers set this year’s dividend for each resident at $3,200 from Alaska’s Permanent Fund, a fund derived from the state’s oil and gas reserves.
The Legislature failed to pass new campaign contribution limits to replace the ones found to be unconstitutional earlier this year.
Alaska’s regulatory body, the Alaska Public Offices Commission, punted the responsibility to lawmakers after refusing to resurrect old contribution limits.
This does affect lobbyist reporting.
A lobbyist monthly report will be due June 30, covering May 1 through May 31.
May 19, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Florida: “Mystery Group Behind Ads in ’20 Central Florida Primary Must Reveal Donors, Judge Rules” by Annie Martin (Orlando Sentinel) for The Black Chronicle Ohio: “Leader of Columbus Green-Energy Ballot Measure Guilty of Falsifying Campaign Finance Report” by […]
Florida: “Mystery Group Behind Ads in ’20 Central Florida Primary Must Reveal Donors, Judge Rules” by Annie Martin (Orlando Sentinel) for The Black Chronicle
Ohio: “Leader of Columbus Green-Energy Ballot Measure Guilty of Falsifying Campaign Finance Report” by Bill Bush and Jordan Laird (Columbus Dispatch) for Yahoo News
National: “How the Biden Administration Let Right-Wing Attacks Derail Its Disinformation Efforts” by Taylor Lorenz (Washington Post) for Yahoo News
California: “Judge Halts Angel Stadium Sale for FBI Corruption Probe of Anaheim Mayor” by City News Service for KABC
Florida: “Florida Bans Protests Outside Homes” by Lindsay Bever (Washington Post) for MSN
Kansas: “Wichita Ethics Board Members, Candidates Could Be Disqualified Under ‘Goofy’ Policy” by Chance Swaim (Wichita Eagle) for MSN
South Dakota: “South Dakota Report: Noem’s daughter got special treatment” by Stephen Groves (Associated Press) for MSN
Texas: “AG Ken Paxton Refuses to Disclose His Property Addresses to the Texas Ethics Commission” by Jay Root and Taylor Goldenstein (Houston Chronicle) for MSN
National: “U.S. Sues to Compel Casino Mogul Steve Wynn to Register as Agent of China” by Isaac Stanley-Becker and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) for MSN
Delaware: “State Auditor Loses Bid to Have Procurement Charge Dropped” by Randall Chase (Associated Press) for MSN
May 18, 2022 •
New York Rep. Tom Reed announced his retirement from Congress seven months before his final term was set to conclude. His resignation comes after the congressman faced allegations of sexual misconduct. Rep. Antonio Delgado is also expected to resign to […]
New York Rep. Tom Reed announced his retirement from Congress seven months before his final term was set to conclude.
His resignation comes after the congressman faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
Rep. Antonio Delgado is also expected to resign to become Gov. Hochul’s new lieutenant governor.
Both resignations will trigger special elections for congressional districts that are currently being redrawn.
May 18, 2022 •
Meet Emone Smith, Finance Administrative Assistant! What are your areas of expertise? I am a Finance Assistant. How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal Communications? I have been at State and Federal Communications for 9 […]
Meet Emone Smith, Finance Administrative Assistant!
What are your areas of expertise?
I am a Finance Assistant.
How many years of experience do you have at State and Federal Communications?
I have been at State and Federal Communications for 9 years.
How do you help our clients?
I triage calls from the clients to everyone in the company from the President and CEO, associate directors, and managers. I am the first person they hear when they call the company and I make sure to answer with a smile. I also assist the Comptroller in dealing with processing all client invoices and payments making sure their records are accurate.
May 18, 2022 •
On May 17, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) made available its updated FEC Form 1, the Statement of Organization for Political Committees, which now includes designations for superPACs and Hybrid Committees. SuperPACs, which are technically independent expenditure-only political committees, and […]
On May 17, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) made available its updated FEC Form 1, the Statement of Organization for Political Committees, which now includes designations for superPACs and Hybrid Committees.
SuperPACs, which are technically independent expenditure-only political committees, and Hybrid Committees, which in turn are committees with separate non-contribution accounts, were required to file separate letters along with the old FEC Form 1 to receive those designations.
May 18, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Feds Dismiss Campaign Finance Complaint Against Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert” by Caitlyn Kim for Colorado Public Radio Georgia: “Lieutenant Governor Candidate Jones Hasn’t Disclosed Flights” by Associated Press for MSN Elections National: “Victories by Mastriano, Budd Show […]
National: “Feds Dismiss Campaign Finance Complaint Against Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert” by Caitlyn Kim for Colorado Public Radio
Georgia: “Lieutenant Governor Candidate Jones Hasn’t Disclosed Flights” by Associated Press for MSN
National: “Victories by Mastriano, Budd Show Potency of Trump’s False Stolen Election Claims in GOP” by Annie Linskey and David Weigel (Washington Post) for MSN
Wisconsin: “Wis. Democrats File First-of-Its-Kind Suit vs. Fake Trump Electors” by Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) for MSN
Arizona: “Arizona Senate to Investigate Wendy Rogers Over Social Media Post on Buffalo Shooting” by Ray Stern (Arizona Republic) for Yahoo News
New York: “Adams’ Top Aide Navigates Uncharted Path on New York Ethics Issues” by Sally Goldenberg and Joe Anuta (Politico) for Yahoo News
Ohio: “Medicaid Director Owned Stock in Companies She Awarded Huge Contracts” by Marty Schladen for Ohio Capital Journal
National: “How Facebook Funded a Clandestine War Against Regulation” by Cat Zakrzewski and Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) for MSN
Colorado: “Some Colorado Lobbyists Work for Both Sides at the Same Time” by Zack Newman for KUSA
New York: “Court Expert Draws More GOP-Friendly New York Political Maps” by Michelle Price (Associated Press) for MSN
May 17, 2022 •
Cookies make the world a better place. Elizabeth Bartz has once again supported the Girl Scouts in an extraordinary way. This year, she bought 1077 boxes of cookies from girl scouts in six states, helping 86 scouts in the process! […]
Cookies make the world a better place.
Elizabeth Bartz has once again supported the Girl Scouts in an extraordinary way. This year, she bought 1077 boxes of cookies from girl scouts in six states, helping 86 scouts in the process! “I love helping the Girl Scouts and I didn’t eat a single cookie!” said Bartz.
The giving didn’t stop there. On Saturday, May 7, 741 boxes of cookies were donated to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church’s Good Samaritans, a group that provides a monthly food distribution to families in need. Another 200 boxes were given to the Philoptochos Backpacks program serving the students at Robinson Elementary School in Akron. One hundred boxes went to Annunciation’s coffee hour after church, and 36 boxes to the staff of Greenfield Estates memory facility.
We are calling this the Cookiepalooza 2022!
May 17, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “The Little Red Boxes Making a Mockery of Campaign Finance Laws” by Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) for Yahoo News National: “U.S. Supreme Court Backs Ted Cruz, Dumps Campaign Finance Restriction” by Lawrence Hurley (Reuters) for MSN […]
National: “The Little Red Boxes Making a Mockery of Campaign Finance Laws” by Shane Goldmacher (New York Times) for Yahoo News
National: “U.S. Supreme Court Backs Ted Cruz, Dumps Campaign Finance Restriction” by Lawrence Hurley (Reuters) for MSN
New York: “Corporate Campaign Donors Identify Themselves Thanks to New York Focus Nudge” by Sam Mellins for New York Focus
Georgia: “Georgia County Under Scrutiny After Claim of Post-Election Breach” by Emma Brown and Amy Gardner (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “A Fringe Conspiracy Theory, Fostered Online, Is Refashioned by the GOP” by Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish (New York Times) for Hartford Courant
Michigan: “Feds Charge Ex-Romulus Mayor with Wire Fraud in Corruption Crackdown” by Robert Snell for Detroit News
Ohio: “Cincinnati Launches New Office of Ethics and Good Government to Rebuild ‘Public Trust’” by Casey Weldon for Spectrum News
West Virginia: “‘Everyone Was Shocked’: How WV’s ethics laws allowed someone barred from lobbying to try to influence legislators anyway” by Ian Karbal for Mountain State Spotlight
May 16, 2022 •
On May 16, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a part of federal campaign finance law regulating the repayment of loans from candidates to their own campaigns. Generally, Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 barred campaigns […]
On May 16, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a part of federal campaign finance law regulating the repayment of loans from candidates to their own campaigns.
Generally, Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 barred campaigns from using more than $250,000 of political contributions raised after the election day to repay a candidate’s personal loans to their campaign committee.
In striking down the law, the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by five other Justices, concludes the law “increases the risk that candidate loans over $250,000 will not be repaid in full, inhibiting candidates from making such loans in the first place.”
The majority in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate, et al. concluded the law burdens core political speech without proper justification. The majority found the Federal Election Commission failed to demonstrate that the loan-repayment limit serves an interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption.
The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Kagan and joined by Justice Breyer and Justice Sotomayor, argued the burden of the law is minimal and the reasoning behind the enactment of the law remains valid: money given after an election to a candidate’s campaign committee, which will go directly to the candidate as repayment for their loan to the campaign committee, creates a heightened risk of corruption.
Senator Ted Cruz, the plaintiff in the case, loaned his campaign committee $260,000 one day before he was reelected. While the amount was $10,000 over the limit, the campaign committee had a 20-day grace period in which Cruz could have been fully repaid. It has been reported Cruz allowed the repayment to lapse beyond that date in order to establish a legal basis for bringing a challenge to the law.
May 16, 2022 •
QUESTION: Are there any rules that pertain to making contributions in the weeks leading up to an election? ANSWER: With this being an election year, it is wise to know what the rules are when making contributions in the days […]
QUESTION: Are there any rules that pertain to making contributions in the weeks leading up to an election?
ANSWER: With this being an election year, it is wise to know what the rules are when making contributions in the days and weeks leading up to an election. Usually, there is a monetary threshold that must be exceeded and typically there is a short turnaround time to disclose the contribution, usually within 24 hours. In some instances, there is an outright ban on contributions.
In California, contributions of $1,000 or more per candidate made by a major donor during the 90-day period before an election must be disclosed within 24 hours of making the contribution. Contributions to ballot measure committees and political party committees are also included within this reporting requirement. The candidate and the ballot measure committee must be on the ballot at the election for which the 90-day period applies. California’s 90-day pre-election period is the longest in the country. If numerous special elections are being held, the 90-day periods may overlap.
In Washington, a contribution of $1,000 or more per candidate made by a registered lobbyist during the seven days before a primary election and 21 days before the general election must be disclosed within 24 hours of making the contribution. This includes contributions to candidates and ballot measures appearing on the ballot at the election for which the seven day and 21-day period applies, as well as contributions to political party committees and PACs. The Washington Public Disclosure Commission has a link on its home page that allows for the electronic filing of this report.
In Florida, opposed candidates must return contributions received less than five days prior to an election.
In Tennessee, a PAC is prohibited from making a contribution to a candidate for office after the 10th day before an election until the day of the election. This prohibition only applies if the contribution is going to a candidate who is running in that election.
These are just a few examples. As we always advise, verify the rules in your state before making political contributions.
For more information, be sure to check out the “Registration and Reports Required” section of the U.S. Political Contributions Compliance Laws online publication on our website. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
May 16, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Georgia: “Georgia’s Oxendine to Hand Over $128,000 to End Ethics Saga” by Associated Press for WABE Maryland: “Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby Violated Ethics Law by Accepting Money from City Contractors Via Legal Defense Fund, Board Rules” by […]
Georgia: “Georgia’s Oxendine to Hand Over $128,000 to End Ethics Saga” by Associated Press for WABE
Maryland: “Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby Violated Ethics Law by Accepting Money from City Contractors Via Legal Defense Fund, Board Rules” by Emily Opilo (Baltimore Sun) for MSN
Ohio: “Lawmaker Proposed $300M Handout to Nursing Homes; Then Raised $52,000 from their Liaisons” by Jake Zuckerman (Ohio Capital Journal) for Yahoo News
Oregon: “Rich Donors Take Major Advantage of a Loophole in Portland’s Public Campaign Financing System” by Rebecca Ellis for OPB
National: “Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas 5 House Republicans, Including Minority Leader” by Felicia Sonmez, Jacqueline Alemany, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Mariana Sotomayor (Washington Post) for MSN
Illinois: “Three-Peat: Chicago ranks no. 1 in Corruption, report finds” by Heather Cherone for WTTW
Washington DC: “Trump Sells D.C. Hotel Lease to Miami Investment Group” by Jonathan O’Connell (Washington Post) for MSN
Florida: “Florida Judge Blocks DeSantis’ Congressional Redistricting Effort” by Gary Fineout (Politico) for MSN
May 13, 2022 •
The Vermont General Assembly adjourned sine die on Thursday, May 12. Lawmakers passed Vermont’s first statewide ethics code with new gift limits and a revolving door provision applicable to legislative employees. Bills related to campaign finance were introduced, but not […]
The Vermont General Assembly adjourned sine die on Thursday, May 12.
Lawmakers passed Vermont’s first statewide ethics code with new gift limits and a revolving door provision applicable to legislative employees.
Bills related to campaign finance were introduced, but not passed.
This does not affect lobbyist reporting.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.