June 22, 2018 •

News You Can Use Digest – June 22, 2018

 

 

 

Federal:

In Trump’s America, the Conversation Turns Ugly and Angry, Starting at the Top
WRAL – Peter Baker and Katie Rogers | Published: 6/20/2018

The politics of rage that animated President Trump’s rise now dominate the national conversation, as demonstrated during the debate over his immigration policy that separated children from parents apprehended at the border. Harsh discourse in American politics is not new, but rarely has the president himself set the tone from the top in the way Trump does. Christine Porath, a Georgetown University professor and author of “Mastering Civility,” said the current harsh climate was affecting people beyond politics, injecting itself into everyday life at home and work. “It seems like people are not only reciprocating, but we tend to stoop lower rather than higher – it’s really putting us in an unfortunate place,” said Porath.

Pence Turns VP’s Office into Gateway for Lobbyists to Influence the Trump Administration
Seattle Times – Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Anu Narayanswami (Washington Post) | Published: 6/15/2018

About twice as many companies and other interests hired lobbyists to contact the vice president’s office in Mike Pence’s first year than in any single year during the tenures of Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Richard Cheney. The approach has allowed Pence to emerge as a key ally for corporations inside the Trump White House even as the president vows to “drain the swamp.” Pence’s inner circle includes friends, donors, and former staffers who are among the lobbyists in regular contact with the vice president’s office. In several cases, the relationships are mutually beneficial, with lobbyists who have charged clients millions of dollars to access his office donating money to Pence-backed political causes.

Women Speak of Pervasive Harassment in DC Lobbying Culture
The Hill – Megan Wilson | Published: 6/19/2018

For K Street denizens, deals are often done over dinner or drinks, on business travel, or retreats. Much like Capitol Hill, the lobbying industry remains dominated by men, creating an environment where women say they are often subject to harassment and worse. Unlike in other industries, few women have been willing to come forward to talk about it. The Hill reached out to women on K Street, asking whether they had similar stories to those surfacing as part of the “Me Too” movement. More than a dozen women spoke about instances of sexual harassment or assault they say they have faced while working as lobbyists and political operatives, and in public relations.

Zinke Linked to Real Estate Deal with Halliburton Chairman
Politico – Ben Lefebvre and Nick Juliano | Published: 6/18/2018

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s family is involved in a land deal with Halliburton Chairperson David Lesar, whose company does business with the Interior Department. A charitable foundation created by Zinke and run by his wife, Lola, is allowing a company co-owned by Lesar and his family to use a portion of its land in Whitefish, Montana, as a parking lot for the development. The Zinkes also own land on the other side of the development, and have long sparred with neighbors about their various plans for it. If the new hotel, retail stores, and microbrewery go through, real estate agents say, the Zinke-owned land next door would stand to increase substantially in value.

From the States and Municipalities:

Arkansas: Legislator-Graft Case Spotlights Arkansas Ethics-Law Flaws
Arkansas Online – Doug Thompson | Published: 6/18/2018

A lobbyist whose firm spent $3.5 million in Arkansas reported total legislator-related expenses of only $12,170 from 2010 to 2017, a comparison of his federal guilty plea and state ethics records show. Milton “Rusty” Cranford could spend up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of federal program bribery. What changes the state Ethics Commission will recommend in light of events uncovered by federal investigators have not been determined, Executive Director Graham Sloan said. He said ethics laws leave reporting of lobbying and campaign expenses up to the entities involved, and the system relies on voluntary compliance, and people reporting noncompliance to the commission. Any change in that system would require new law, Sloan said.

California: ACLU Suit Targets Law That Bars Horn Honking at Protests
San Diego Union Tribune – Teri Figueroa | Published: 6/14/2018

When Susan Porter beeped her car horn in support of a political protest in San Diego last year, she quickly found herself pulled over and ticketed. According to the state vehicle code, horns are to be honked only for safety reasons or as part of a car alarm. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties is asking a federal judge to find that state law unconstitutional, arguing in a newly filed lawsuit that preventing such honking chills free speech. The suit argues Porter is “censoring herself by refraining from using her vehicle horn for expressive purposes,” including supporting political rallies.

Colorado: Colorado Enacts Replacement Campaign Finance Enforcement System
National Law Review – Andrew Garrahan | Published: 6/19/2018

A federal court recently held that Colorado’s system for enforcing its campaign finance laws was unconstitutional. The secretary of state’s office has now enacted temporary enforcement rules, effective immediately. Under the new rules, any person may file a complaint, just like under the old system. But the rules now include three protections that attempt to prevent abuse of the system for political purposes. In addition to the enforcement changes, the new rules also establish a formal system for seeking advisory opinions on campaign finance issues.

Florida: A Persistent Gadfly Wins Again in the Supreme Court
WRAL – Adam Liptak (New York Times) | Published: 6/18/2018

The U.S. Supreme Court gave a civic activist in Florda another shot at proving his arrest at a city council meeting was in retaliation for his criticism of public officials. The court said it was ruling narrowly for Fane Lozman, whose battles with the Riviera Beach City Council had become legendary. It said a lower court had been wrong to stop his retaliation lawsuit. The case grew from an attempt to cut Logan off at a council meeting into a major free-speech showdown that carried nationwide implications for citizens arrested, as Lozman was, by government officials whom they criticize.

Georgia: Candidate for Georgia Governor Bought Condo from Lobbyist
New York Times – Kevin Sack | Published: 6/14/2018

A Republican candidate for Georgia governor reportedly bought an Atlanta condominium from a lobbyist at what appeared to be a discount. The New York Times, citing real estate records, says Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle purchased the condo 10 years ago at 24 percent less than its appraised value. It was bought from Terry Hobbs, a lobbyist who represents natural gas marketer SCANA. Cagle sold the condo last year at a 29 percent profit. As lieutenant governor, Cagle presides over the Senate and controls the flow of legislation there. Cagle said the sale was “a legitimate transaction” and Hobbs had not lobbied him on any issue around the time of the sale.

Kansas: Judge Slams Kobach for Flouting Court Rules
Politico – Josh Gerstein | Published: 6/18/2018

A federal judge permanently struck down Kansas’s proof-of-citizenship voter registration law, rebuking Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the country’s most vocal advocates of voter-ID laws. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson said the state’s requirement that voters show proof of citizenship during registration violated both the Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act. Robinson struck down the law and ordered Kobach to take six additional hours of continuing legal education that “pertain to federal or Kansas civil rules of procedure or evidence.” In an earlier ruling, Robinson held Kobach in contempt for skirting court orders related to the law and failing to send postcards confirming registration for thousands of voters.

Kentucky: Kentucky Man Gets 30-Day Sentence in Attack on Senator Rand Paul
Reuters – Suzannah Gonzales | Published: 6/19/2018

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor was sentenced to 30 days in prison for tackling the lawmaker while he was out doing yard work at his Kentucky home. Paul, who suffered broken ribs, had hoped for a harsher penalty. He said in a statement that the 21 months in prison sought by prosecutors “would have been the appropriate punishment.” Rene Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress in the attack. Boucher said he was triggered by Paul repeatedly stacking debris near their property line in Bowling Green and “lost his temper.” Boucher must serve a year of supervised release after the prison time, stay away from the Paul family, and pay a $10,000 fine.

Maryland: Candidate’s Relationship with Talk Radio Station Raises Questions About Campaign Finance
Baltimore Sun – Libby Solomon | Published: 6/18/2018

Nino Mangione’s family owns talk radio station WCBM 680. He is the station’s web manager. Until April, he even hosted a weekly, hourlong talk show. But Mangione is also running to be a state delegate, a situation one of his opponents said is problematic. “… He’s using his family-owned media platform to promote his own candidacy, and doesn’t seem to understand the conflict of interest involved,” said Justin Kinsey. Mangione said when the WCBM website posts stories about his campaign, it is just reporting the news, not advertising his campaign. Attorney Andy Levy said the relationship could potentially be considered an in-kind campaign contribution, subject to reporting requirements and limits.

Massachusetts: City Council Offers Own Lobbying Bill, Straying from Marty Walsh’s Proposal
Boston Globe – Milton Valencia | Published: 6/19/2018

Boston City Council members Michelle Wu and Michael Flaherty introduced a new lobbying ordinance. The proposal would require lobbyists and their clients to file notices with the city and pay an annual fee: $1,000 for a lobbyist and $500 for a client. They would have to file quarterly reports. A plan to reform the city’s lobbying law was proposed by Mayor Martin Walsh two years ago with a home rule petition that needed the state Legislature’s approval. Wu and Flaherty are proposing a local ordinance, which needs approval from only the council and mayor. But the versions are different enough to raise questions whether a deal can be reached on any changes to the city’s minimal lobbyist registration and disclosure requirements.

Ohio: Convicted Ohio Republican Businessman’s Company Targets Democrats
Philadelphia Inquirer – Julie Carr Smyth (Associated Press) | Published: 6/20/2018

Ben Suarez, an Ohio direct-marketer who was convicted of witness tampering in a campaign finance investigation, is organizing an operation to retaliate against the prominent Democrats he blames for putting him in prison. A memorandum lays out The Justice Association’s strategy for a lawsuit and ad campaign targeting U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is running for re-election this year, and former U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, the Democratic nominee for state attorney general. It calls them “chief culprits” in a vast effort by Democrats to unjustly prosecute Republican-owned companies under former President Obama.

West Virginia: West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Indicted in Investigation He Initiated
Governing – Lacie Pierson (Tribune News Service) | Published: 6/21/2018

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry, who wrote a book on political corruption in the state, was arrested by FBI agents and faces 22 charges alleging fraud, witness tampering, and lying to investigators. The indictment says Loughry used a state vehicle and credit card for personal use, including trips to visit family. It says Loughry also sought mileage reimbursements for trips even though he drove a state vehicle and used a government credit card for gas. He was accused of moving a leather couch and a valuable desk from the Supreme Court office to his home, and of lying to federal agents about his actions and trying to influence an employee’s testimony. Loughry has been suspended without pay.

November 24, 2020 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Georgia Senator David Perdue Privately Pushed for a Tax Break for Rich Sports Teamowners” by Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliott for ProPublica California: “SLO County Supervisors OK $25,000 Campaign Donation Cap Over Hundreds of Objections” by Lindsey […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Georgia Senator David Perdue Privately Pushed for a Tax Break for Rich Sports Teamowners” by Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliott for ProPublica

California: “SLO County Supervisors OK $25,000 Campaign Donation Cap Over Hundreds of Objections” by Lindsey Holden for San Luis Obispo News

New York: “Bill Would Further Restrict Coordination Between City Candidates and Independent Expenditure Campaigns” by Samar Khurshid for Gotham Gazette

Elections

National: “Trump Pushes Supreme Court to Let Him Reshape Apportionment” by Michael Macagnone for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “All the President’s ‘Guys’” by Ben Terris for Washington Post

California: “Feds Charge Recology Exec in Purported Mohammed Nuru Bribery Scheme” by Julian Mark and Joe Eskenazi for Mission Local

Illinois: “Feds Draw Near Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as Key Confidant Weighs Cooperation Choice” by Jason Meisner and Ray Long (Chicago Tribune) for Yahoo News

Ohio: “Sam Randazzo Resigns as Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair” by Jeremy Pelzer for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Legislative Issues

Wyoming: “When Will the Wyoming Legislature Convene Next Year? No One’s Sure Yet” by Nick Reynolds for Casper Star Tribune

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November 23, 2020 •

Missouri Special Session Continued Until After Thanksgiving Break

Missouri Capitol Building

The second special session of the Missouri General Assembly has been delayed until after the Thanksgiving break. This comes in response to a number of positive COVID-19 cases among members and staff. The special session began on November 5 to […]

The second special session of the Missouri General Assembly has been delayed until after the Thanksgiving break.

This comes in response to a number of positive COVID-19 cases among members and staff.

The special session began on November 5 to focus on getting federal CARES Act funding distributed to the state.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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November 23, 2020 •

Third Cincinnati Council Member Arrested

Cincinnati Skyline

Cincinnati Skyline - by Mr. RNGAndreson

Cincinnati City Councilman Alexander “P.G.” Sittenfeld was arrested on federal corruption charges. He is the third council member to be arrested this year. Sittenfeld denies the allegations of bribery and attempted extortion and does not plan to resign. If he […]

Cincinnati City Councilman Alexander “P.G.” Sittenfeld was arrested on federal corruption charges.

He is the third council member to be arrested this year.

Sittenfeld denies the allegations of bribery and attempted extortion and does not plan to resign.

If he does resign, four members of the council will choose his successor by a majority vote.

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November 23, 2020 •

San Luis Obispo County Adopts Campaign Contribution Limits

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo - by MARELBU

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 on Friday to set campaign contribution limits at $25,000. Hundreds of community members called in asking the county go with the forthcoming state limit of $4,700. Opponents of the $25,000 […]

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 on Friday to set campaign contribution limits at $25,000.

Hundreds of community members called in asking the county go with the forthcoming state limit of $4,700.

Opponents of the $25,000 ceiling voiced concerns the higher limit would lead to corruption.

Others argued the county should not make a decision until a replacement for deceased Supervisor Adam Hill is seated.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation limiting campaign contributions to local candidates to $4,700 in cities and counties not having their own contribution limits.

Those limits go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

The $25,000 limit will apply to candidates for 10 county offices, including the five supervisors, the district attorney, and the sheriff.

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November 23, 2020 •

Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Biden Transition Steps Up Fundraising as Trump Withholds Federal Money” by Elena Schneider and Theodoric Meyer for Politico California: “After Divisive Election Cycle, San Jose to Explore New Campaign Finance Laws” by Maggie Angst for San Jose […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Biden Transition Steps Up Fundraising as Trump Withholds Federal Money” by Elena Schneider and Theodoric Meyer for Politico

California: “After Divisive Election Cycle, San Jose to Explore New Campaign Finance Laws” by Maggie Angst for San Jose Mercury News

Nevada: “Las Vegas Judge Took Lawyer’s Campaign Donation Before Dismissals” by David Ferrara for Las Vegas Review-Journal

Elections

National: “Trump’s Escalating Attacks Put Pressure on Vote Certification Process” by David Fahrenthold, Beth Reinhard, Elise Viebeck, and Emma Brown (Washington Post) for MSN

Ethics

New York: “Trump Tax Write-Offs Are Ensnared in 2 New York Fraud Investigations” by Danny Hakim, Mike McIntire, William Rashbaum, and Ben Protess for New York Times

Ohio: “Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld Arrested on Federal Charges” by Andrew Tobias for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Utah: “Audit Finds Free Spending and Cronyism by Ex-State Agency Head” by Bethany Rodgers for Salt Lake Tribune

Lobbying

National: “K Street Moves to Counter ‘Purity’ Test for Biden Administration” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call

Florida: “After Months of Work, Leon County Gives OK to Stronger Lobbying Ordinance” by Karl Etters for Tallahassee Democrat

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November 20, 2020 •

COVID Has Affected State and Federal Communications

First, we are all in good health at State and Federal Communications. For the most part, we are working one day a week in the office and the rest working from home. The staff is also social distancing and wearing […]

First, we are all in good health at State and Federal Communications. For the most part, we are working one day a week in the office and the rest working from home. The staff is also social distancing and wearing masks when in the office. We have only had one staff member who tested positive and is back in the office after the required quarantine period.

I do have to say, this pandemic has affected an important publication. After 21 years, the quick desk reference, State and Federal Communications Guidebook, will not be printed. Due to the pandemic, our clients are not in the office and we are already in possession of the 2020 Congressional Directory we ordered for everyone and received in May, when offices closed and people started working from home.

The information in the Guidebook is included in the very robust State and Federal Communications website, www.stateandfed.com, which will have a redesign unveiled on December 1, 2020.

Jon Spontarelli and Kristi Hadgigeorge will be alerting the State and Federal Communications Community about the updates and upgrades on our new website and, especially where you can continue to find the valuable materials from the Guidebook.

We will continue to make sure you have all the valuable information you need for your work and please do not hesitate to give us a call if you need guidance along the road to compliance.

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November 20, 2020 •

Colorado Governor Calls for Special Session November 30

Colorado Capitol

Colorado Capitol Building

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the start date of the previously announced special session on COVID-19 relief to begin November 30 at 10 a.m. Among the action items to be addressed during the session are childcare support, housing and direct […]

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the start date of the previously announced special session on COVID-19 relief to begin November 30 at 10 a.m.

Among the action items to be addressed during the session are childcare support, housing and direct rental assistance, food insecurity, and public health response.

It is expected to take at least three days to approve the legislation. A professional lobbyist must disclose within 72 hours if a lobbyist agrees to lobby for an existing client or takes a new position in connection to legislation, standard, rules, or rates during a special session.

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November 20, 2020 •

New Mexico Governor Announces Special Session

New Mexico Capitol

New Mexico Capitol Building - Ken Lund

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced November 19 she will call a special legislative session prior to Thanksgiving to provide COVID-19 relief. The state has about $300 million in federal aid. Gov. Grisham and lawmakers want to use the […]

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced November 19 she will call a special legislative session prior to Thanksgiving to provide COVID-19 relief.

The state has about $300 million in federal aid. Gov. Grisham and lawmakers want to use the resources toward small businesses and unemployment.

The special session is scheduled to begin Tuesday, November 24, and is expected to last one day. The Roundhouse will be closed to the public during that time.

A legislative report will be due within 48 hours for each separate expenditure of $500 or more made or incurred by a lobbyist or employer during the special legislative session.

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