December 21, 2017 •

Happy Holidays from State and Federal Communications!

From all of us at State and Federal Communications, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Our offices will be closed from Friday, December 22, through Monday, December 25th, as we celebrate the season. Thank you so much […]

From all of us at State and Federal Communications, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Our offices will be closed from Friday, December 22, through Monday, December 25th, as we celebrate the season.

Thank you so much for being a part of our community. We look forward to continuing to provide you with the unparalleled expertise you’ve come to expect.

 

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December 21, 2017 •

Louisiana Special Session Looming

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told state lawmakers this week he intends to call a special session of the Legislature in mid-February to address the state’s budget crisis. Gov. Edwards set a January 19 deadline for a tax deal to […]

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told state lawmakers this week he intends to call a special session of the Legislature in mid-February to address the state’s budget crisis.

Gov. Edwards set a January 19 deadline for a tax deal to be reached to help balance the budget, and will not call the special session if he does not think the issues will be resolved.

Temporary state sales taxes totaling $1 billion expire next July, and Gov. Edwards hopes a package of sales and income tax proposals can offset the impending deficit.

Tax bills cannot be considered during Louisiana’s regular sessions but require the Governor to call a special session for consideration.

If the session is called in February, it will be the sixth special session since Gov. Edwards took office in 2016.

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December 21, 2017 •

Louisiana Special Election Scheduled

A special election has been set for February 17, 2018, to replace Louisiana lawmaker Chris Broadwater. Broadwater, a republican representative from the 86th district, submitted a letter of resignation this week to focus on spending time with his family. His […]

A special election has been set for February 17, 2018, to replace Louisiana lawmaker Chris Broadwater.

Broadwater, a republican representative from the 86th district, submitted a letter of resignation this week to focus on spending time with his family.

His resignation will be effective March 1 unless a successor is chosen before that date.

If necessary, a runoff election to fill the seat will be held on March 24, 2018.

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December 21, 2017 •

Thursday’s Government and Ethics News Roundup

Lobbying Louisiana: “LA’s Ethics Commission Wants More Transparency from Lobbyists” by Libby Denkmann for KPCC Campaign Finance “New Hope, New Problem: Will Federal Election Commission shut down?” by Dave Levinthal for Center for Public Integrity Arizona: “Law’s Wording to Play […]

Lobbying

Louisiana: “LA’s Ethics Commission Wants More Transparency from Lobbyists” by Libby Denkmann for KPCC

Campaign Finance

New Hope, New Problem: Will Federal Election Commission shut down?” by Dave Levinthal for Center for Public Integrity

Arizona: “Law’s Wording to Play Key Role in Court Case Involving APS’ Political Spending” by Howard Fischer (Capitol News Services) for Arizona Daily Star

California: “L.A. Real Estate Developer and Billboard Executive Fined Over Political Donations” by Emily Alpert Reyes for Los Angeles Times

Ethics

California: “Former Beaumont City Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges” by City News Service for Los Angeles Times

Florida: “Jack Latvala Resigns from the Florida Senate” by Steve Bousquet for Tampa Bay Times

Nevada: “NV Legislature’s Administrative Arm Expands Harassment Rule” by Scott Sonner (Associated Press) for Sacramento Bee

Canada: “Trudeau Apologizes for Violating Ethics Laws with Visits to Aga Khan’s Island” by Catharine Tunney for CBC News

Elections

Clashes Over State Ballot Initiatives Could Spill Into 2018” by James Nord (Associated Press) for Federal News Radio

Senate Investigators Scrutinize Another Presidential Candidate: Jill Stein” by Nicholas Fandos for New York Times

Virginia: “Virginia Court Tosses Out One-Vote Victory That Briefly Ended GOP Majority in House” by Jim Morrison and Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post

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December 20, 2017 •

Stocking the Sleigh

We’ve been Stock(ing) the Sleigh with socks for the homeless of Akron. A change of socks is one of the easiest and most profound ways to offer comfort to someone who lives outside and deals with cold, wet feet. I […]

We’ve been Stock(ing) the Sleigh with socks for the homeless of Akron. A change of socks is one of the easiest and most profound ways to offer comfort to someone who lives outside and deals with cold, wet feet.

I am thrilled to report we have collected about 300 pairs of socks for the Haven of Rest, which serves hundreds of homeless people in the Akron area.

Thank you to the staff for their generous giving this holiday season!

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December 20, 2017 •

Los Angeles, California Ethics Commission Adopts Recommendations to Amend Lobbying Ordinance

On December 19, the Los Angeles, California Ethics Commission approved a set of recommendations requiring more disclosure from lobbyists, which will go to City Council for approval. The recommendations require lobbyists to disclose direct communications with city employees by specifying […]

On December 19, the Los Angeles, California Ethics Commission approved a set of recommendations requiring more disclosure from lobbyists, which will go to City Council for approval.

The recommendations require lobbyists to disclose direct communications with city employees by specifying the date of the communication, the employees title, division, and agency.

Additionally, the recommendations expand the current registration exemption for 501(c)(3) organizations.

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December 20, 2017 •

Special Election Called for South Carolina House District 69

A special election has been called for House District 69. The vacancy is a result of South Carolina Rep. Rick Quinn Jr. pleading guilty to corruption charges. The special election will be held on May 1. The special primary will […]

A special election has been called for House District 69.

The vacancy is a result of South Carolina Rep. Rick Quinn Jr. pleading guilty to corruption charges.

The special election will be held on May 1.

The special primary will be held on February 27, with a special primary run-off election scheduled for March 13, if necessary.

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December 20, 2017 •

Wednesday’s Government and Ethics News Roundup

Lobbying Florida: “The Florida House Speaker Who Attacks Special Interests Spends Their Money Lavishly – and Won’t Apologize” by Adam Smith and Eli Zhang for Tampa Bay Times New York: “JCOPE Tweaks Proposed Lobbying Regulations” by Chris Bragg for Albany […]

Lobbying

Florida: “The Florida House Speaker Who Attacks Special Interests Spends Their Money Lavishly – and Won’t Apologize” by Adam Smith and Eli Zhang for Tampa Bay Times

New York: “JCOPE Tweaks Proposed Lobbying Regulations” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union

South Carolina: “Lobbying Is Completely Unregulated in Most S.C. Cities, Leaving Room for Possible Corruption” by Abigail Darlington for Charleston Post and Courier

Campaign Finance

Surge in Out-of-State Donors Fuels Dems in Special Elections” by Ben Wieder and Alex Roarty for McClatchy DC

Federal Regulators Approve Narrow Facebook Ad Disclosure” by Fredreka Schouten for USA Today

In Small Win for Democrats, the Final Tax Bill Will Not Include a Provision Allowing Churches to Endorse Political Candidates” by Heather Long for Washington Post

New Mexico: “Public Financing System Undercut by Budget Holes” by Andrew Oxford for Santa Fe New Mexican

Wyoming: “Did Lawmakers Accidentally Open the Flood Gates for Political Dark Money in Wyoming?” by Arno Rosenfeld for Casper Star-Tribune

Ethics

Michigan: “Businessman Gets 21 Months in Macomb Corruption Scandal” by Robert Snell for Detroit News

Texas: “Board’s Handling of Ethics Policy Called a ‘Mockery’ by Concerned Citizens” by Diane Smith for Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Wisconsin: “Judge Acknowledges He Shouldn’t Have Authorized Release of Ethics Probe Details” by Matthew DeFour for Wisconsin State Journal

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December 19, 2017 •

Spokane, Washington Passes Local Campaign Finance Reform Laws

Spokane, Washington City Council passed a campaign finance reform ordinance on December 18. The new ordinance will cut in half the maximum allowable donation to candidates, from $1,000 to $500. Additional changes include pay-to-play provisions and election cycle contribution restrictions. […]

Spokane, Washington City Council passed a campaign finance reform ordinance on December 18.

The new ordinance will cut in half the maximum allowable donation to candidates, from $1,000 to $500.

Additional changes include pay-to-play provisions and election cycle contribution restrictions.

The new rules are scheduled to take effect January 17, 2018.

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December 19, 2017 •

Tuesday’s Government and Ethics News Roundup

Ethics Montana: Judge Eases Rules on Ethics Complaints Confidentiality for Elected Officials by Phil Drake for Great Falls Tribune North Carolina: Does A ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ Culture Pervade The North Carolina General Assembly? By Jeff Tiberii for KUNC South Carolina: […]

Ethics

Montana: Judge Eases Rules on Ethics Complaints Confidentiality for Elected Officials by Phil Drake for Great Falls Tribune

North Carolina: Does A ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ Culture Pervade The North Carolina General Assembly? By Jeff Tiberii for KUNC

South Carolina: Corruption Probe Evidence Suggests Pervasive Pattern of Political Meddling by Powerful Quinns by Glenn Smith for Charleston Post and Courier

South Dakota: South Dakota Lawmakers to Train in Sexual Harassment Prevention by Dana Ferguson for Sioux Falls Argus Leader

West Virginia: WV House Leaders Back Bill Amending Ethics Act to Include Volunteers by Jake Zuckerman for Charleston Gazette

Lobbying

Executives of Springfield Nonprofit Linked to $1 Million in Illegal Political Activity by Harrison Keegan and Alissa Zhu for Springfield New-Leader

Utah: Salt Lake Hires Ex-Utah League of Cities and Towns Director by Katie McKellar for Deseret News

Virginia: Dorothy McAuliffe Put Aside Pomp as Hard-Lobbying Virginia First Lady by Laura Vozzella for Washington Post

Campaign Finance

Fallout from Allegations of Tea Party Targeting Hamper IRS Oversight of Nonprofits by Robert O’Harrow Jr. for Washington Post

Washington: Spokane City Council Passes Local Campaign Finance Reform Laws by Kip Hill for Spokane Spokesman-Review

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December 18, 2017 •

FEC Elects Caroline Hunter as Chairwoman

On December 14, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) elected Caroline C. Hunter as its chairwoman for 2018. Hunter replaces Steven T. Walther, who was appointed to the commission in 2006. The chairmanship is a rotating, one-year position. Ellen L. Weintraub […]

On December 14, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) elected Caroline C. Hunter as its chairwoman for 2018. Hunter replaces Steven T. Walther, who was appointed to the commission in 2006.

The chairmanship is a rotating, one-year position. Ellen L. Weintraub was elected as Vice Chair for next year.

Additionally, at the same regularly held open meeting, the FEC unanimously approved 12 legislative recommendations be submitted for consideration to the U.S. Congress.

The recommendations concern subject matters such as electronically filing senate reports, increasing and indexing for inflation registration and reporting thresholds, and prohibiting fraudulent practices of PACs.

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December 18, 2017 •

Monday’s Government and Ethics News Roundup

Campaign Finance US Senate Hopeful Opens Coffers to Bitcoin Donations by Chuck Raasch for St. Louis Dispatch Ethics Has Ivanka Trump Repeatedly Broken Ethics Laws Since Joining The White House? By Cristina Silva for Newsweek Nevada Democrat, facing ethics probe, […]

Campaign Finance

US Senate Hopeful Opens Coffers to Bitcoin Donations by Chuck Raasch for St. Louis Dispatch

Ethics

Has Ivanka Trump Repeatedly Broken Ethics Laws Since Joining The White House? By Cristina Silva for Newsweek

Nevada Democrat, facing ethics probe, won’t seek re-election by The Associated Press for The New Jersey Herald

Canada: ‘Watch me, you’ll see,’ under fire, new ethics czar vows to let his record do the talking on Trudeau, Morneau investigations by Abbas Rana and Peter Mazereeuw for The Hill Times

Lobbying

With Billions at Stake in Tax Debate, Lobbyists Played Hardball by Kenneth Vogel and Jim Tankersley for The New York Times

Tax lobbying keeps on giving by Theodoric Meyer for Politico

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane by Kate Ackley for Roll Call

Illinois: Lake Forest city manager: Nearly $200K spent lobbying without council OK by Daniel Dorfman for The Lake Forester

South Carolina: Lobbying is completely unregulated in most S.C. cities, leaving room for possible corruption by Abigail Darlington for The Post and Courier

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December 15, 2017 •

NYCU Video Digest – December 15, 2017

Lobbying, Pay-to-Play and Special Elections in this weeks news you can use video digest!  

Lobbying, Pay-to-Play and Special Elections in this weeks news you can use video digest!

 

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December 15, 2017 •

News You Can Use Digest – December 15, 2017

      National: ‘Fake News,’ Trump’s Obsession, Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen New York Times – Steven Erlanger | Published: 12/12/2017 Around the world, authoritarians, populists, and other political leaders have seized on the phrase “fake news,” and the legitimacy conferred […]

 

 

 

National:

‘Fake News,’ Trump’s Obsession, Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen
New York Times – Steven Erlanger | Published: 12/12/2017

Around the world, authoritarians, populists, and other political leaders have seized on the phrase “fake news,” and the legitimacy conferred upon it by an American president, as a tool for attacking their critics and, in some cases, deliberately undermining the institutions of democracy. Though the term has been around at least since the 1890s, Donald Trump is most responsible for making it a part of the current global conversation. Social media, with its huge reach and its vulnerability to manipulation, has helped to amplify criticism from political leaders and undermine trust in traditional journalism.

For Female Lobbyists, Harassment Often Accompanies Access
New York Times – Trip Gabriel and Julie Bosman | Published: 12/8/2017

Charges of harassment are cascading through statehouses across the country, leading to investigations, resignations of powerful men, and anguish over hostile workplaces for women that for years went unacknowledged. Amid this reckoning, one group of victims has stood apart: lobbyists. Part of a frequently disparaged profession, female lobbyists have emerged as especially vulnerable in Legislatures and in Congress because, unlike government employees, they often have no avenue to report complaints and receive due process. Lobbyists who have been harassed are essentially powerless in their workplaces, all-dependent on access to mostly male lawmakers for meetings and influence to advance legislation and earn their living.

State Lawmakers Blur Line Between Public, Personal Interests
Center for Public Integrity – Ryan Foley (Associated Press) and Liz Essley Whyte | Published: 12/6/2017

State lawmakers around the country have introduced and supported policies that directly and indirectly help their own businesses, their employers, and sometimes their personal finances. The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity and found numerous examples in which lawmakers’ votes had the effect of promoting their private interests. Even then, the votes did not necessarily represent a conflict-of-interest as defined by the state. That is because Legislatures set their own rules for when lawmakers should recuse themselves. In some states, lawmakers are required to vote despite any ethical dilemmas. Many legislators defend votes that benefit their businesses or industries, saying they bring important expertise to the debate.

Federal:

‘Journalism for Rent’: Inside the secretive firm behind the Trump dossier
Washington Post – Jack Gillum and Shawn Boburg | Published: 12/11/2017

Fusion GPS bills itself as a corporate research firm, but in many ways, it operates with the secrecy of a spy agency. The small firm has been under public scrutiny for producing the document known as the Trump dossier. Senior executives summoned to testify before Congress invoked their right against self-incrimination, and the firm is resisting a congressional subpoena for bank records that would reveal who has paid for its services. But hundreds of internal company documents reveal how Fusion has used investigative reporting techniques and media connections to advance the interests of a range of clients on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, and in the nation’s capital. The firm has played an unseen role in stories that dominated headlines in recent years.

Doubting the Intelligence, Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked
Washington Post – Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Philip Rucker | Published: 12/14/2017

Nearly a year into his presidency, Donald Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House. The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president – and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality – have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

Foreign Lobbyists Contributed More Than $4.5 Million to Candidates in 2016 Elections
MapLight – Andrew Perez, David Sirota, and Jay Cassano | Published: 12/4/2017

During the last election, lobbyists for foreign governments gave more than $4.5 million to federal lawmakers and candidates. Foreign lobbyists and their firms’ PACs were also responsible for bundling $5.9 million in donations for candidates and party committees. Because the contributions come from foreign governments’ U.S.-based lobbyists, they effectively circumvent American laws designed to bar direct foreign donations. Under federal law, foreign nationals are banned from donating to any federal, state, or local campaigns, or political parties. But foreign governments frequently hire U.S. citizens to represent their interests, and those people face no such contribution ban.

From the States and Municipalities:

Colorado: Taxpayer Groups File Suit Against Denver to Prevent Disclosure of Nonprofits’ Donors in Election Spending
Denver Post – Jon Murray | Published: 12/13/2017

A lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of two conservative groups says changes to the campaign finance law approved by the Denver City Council in September violate free speech provisions. The ordinance requires clubs, associations, corporations, and groups that advocate for or against local ballot measures to meet the disclosure requirements of issue committees once they raise and spend at least $500. Once it passes that threshold, an issue committee must identify by name and address each donor who gave $50 or more within that calendar year. The legal challenge, in targeting disclosure requirements’ impact on nonprofit groups, raises an issue that goes back more than a decade in Colorado, pitting donor privacy against the interest of campaign transparency.

Florida: Women in Florida Politics Fear #MeToo Moments Will Backfire
Miami Herald – Mary Ellen Klas | Published: 12/11/2017

Female staffers and lobbyists who returned to the Florida Capitol for pre-session meetings, discovered many male legislators will no longer meet with them privately. Accustomed to Tallahassee’s Southern culture, where men and women casually and routinely greet each other with hugs, legislators are doing an awkward dance to replace a hug with a handshake. And the fear of retaliation, against women who brought forward allegations or those who may in the future, is as raw as the fear that lawmakers’ political enemies could turn sexual harassment claims into new weapons.

Indiana: Council Defeats Pay-to-Play Veto
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette – Dave Gong | Published: 12/13/2017

The Fort Wayne City Council overrode Mayor Tom Henry’s veto of a “pay-to-play” ordinance that city officials say likely runs afoul of state and federal law. The ordinance limits corporate campaign contributions to elected city officials to $2,000 per calendar year. Donations from any employee who owns more than seven-and-one-half percent of a firm, as well as contributions from that employee’s spouse or live-in children, would count toward that limit. Any firm that exceeds that limit would be barred from bidding on city contracts.

Kentucky: Law Which Prohibits Legislators Accepting ‘Anything of Value’ from Lobbyists Has Been Ruled Unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge
Spectrum News – Don Weber | Published: 12/7/2017

U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman issued a final order on his June ruling that found Kentucky’s legislative ethics prohibition on gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists is unconstitutional. Bertelsman, who ruled the laws were too vague to be enforced and violated lobbyists’ freedom of speech, issued a final order which included an injunction telling the Legislative Ethics Commission that it could not enforce the unconstitutional rules. In response to the final order, the Kentucky Chamber announced plans to file an amicus brief along with other business groups urging the appeal of the ruling.

Maryland: Supreme Court Will Take Up a Second Gerrymandering Case This Term
Washington Post – Robert Barnes | Published: 12/8/2017

The U.S. Supreme Court added a second partisan gerrymandering case to its docket, suggesting the justices are seriously considering whether voting maps warped by politics may sometimes cross a constitutional line. The court has never struck down a voting district as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. A ruling allowing such challenges could reshape American politics. The earlier case, from Wisconsin, was argued in October. The new case, a challenge to a Maryland congressional district, differs from the first case in several ways. It was brought by Republican voters rather than Democratic ones; it is focused on a single district rather than a statewide map; and it relies solely on the First Amendment rather than a legal theory that includes equal protection principles.

Minnesota: Smith to Take Franken’s Senate Seat, Run in 2018
Minnesota Public Radio – Brian Bakst and Tim Pugmire | Published: 12/13/2017

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton chose Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take over Al Franken’s seat in the U.S.  Senate, keeping a Democrat in the seat for now but setting the stage for a freewheeling 2018 election that could shift the balance of power in Minnesota and in Washington. Franken had announced he would resign after being accused by women of sexual misconduct. Smith will serve as senator until at least next fall, when voters are expected to choose a candidate to fill the remaining two years of Franken’s term. Smith also said she plans to run for the office in that 2018 election.

Missouri: Lobbyist Play Part, Spend Cash in Jefferson City
Kirksville Daily Express – Jason Hunsicker | Published: 12/11/2017

The role of lobbyists in the Missouri Legislature has grown over the last two decades from advocating for businesses, organizations, and causes to include the education of elected officials because of term limits. Their role also includes spending money on lawmakers. Some argue the expenditures lead to undue influence, or at least that perception, which has led in recent years to the introduction of various measures that would reform how lobbyists interact with lawmakers. Lobbyist Michael Gibbons estimated 80 percent of the work lobbyists do is educating lawmakers on issues, from the history of a proposal to how it impacts and relates to various groups across the state.

South Carolina: Rep. Rick Quinn Pleads Guilty in S.C. Corruption Case in Deal That Drops Charges for Kingpin Father
Charleston Post and Courier – Seanna Adcox and Glenn Smith | Published: 12/13/2017

State Rep. Rick Quinn resigned from the South Carolina House and entered a guilty plea to one count of misconduct in office. His plea is part of a deal in which charges against his father, political consultant Richard Quinn, were dropped. But Richard Quinn’s firm will pay a $3,000 fine for failing to register as a lobbyist. The elder Quinn also agreed to testify before a grand jury. Prosecutors alleged Richard Quinn & Associates was paid millions of dollars by some of South Carolina’s most prominent companies and institutions to illegally push bills in the General Assembly. Rick Quinn was secretly and illegally paid some of that money to use his position as a lawmaker to advocate for the proposals, prosecutors said.

Washington: PDC Complaints Becoming Weapons in Political Wars
Spokane Spokesman Review – Jim Camden | Published: 12/10/2017

Some 45 years ago, Washington voters got so tired of hidden money in questionable campaigns that they overwhelmingly approved an initiative with rules on campaign giving and spending. They also set up a commission to make sure the rules were followed. Now those rules are being used by citizen activists and political parties as weapons against their adversaries. Complaints are flooding both the Public Disclosure Commission and the Washington attorney general’s office, which can also investigate and sanction candidates or campaigns for violations.

 

State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.

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