September 19, 2016 •

Monday News Roundup

Lobbying “Chaka Fattah’s K Street Friends Stand by Him” by Sean McMinn for Roll Call “Nonprofit Seeks to Crowdfund Lobbying” by Megan Wilson for The Hill Campaign Finance “Whom to Vote for? Employees Tend to Follow Their Leader” by Andrew […]

Government-Relations-NewsLobbying

Chaka Fattah’s K Street Friends Stand by Him” by Sean McMinn for Roll Call

Nonprofit Seeks to Crowdfund Lobbying” by Megan Wilson for The Hill

Campaign Finance

Whom to Vote for? Employees Tend to Follow Their Leader” by Andrew Ross Sorkin for New York Times

New Records Shed Light on Donald Trump’s $25,000 Gift to Florida Official” by Kevin Sack and Steve Eder for New York Times

Florida: “Appeals Court Declines to Put Campaign-Finance Rules on Ballot” by Douglas Hanks for Miami Herald

Ethics

White House Women Want to Be in The Room Where It Happens” by Juliet Eilperin for Washington Post

Connecticut: “Wade to Recuse Herself from Anthem-Cigna Review” by Mark Pazniokas for Connecticut Mirror

Elections

Sowing Doubt Is Seen as Prime Danger in Hacking Voting System” by David Sanger and Charlie Savage for New York Times

Clinton Campaign Releases Doctor’s Letter Describing ‘Mild’ Pneumonia” by Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan for Washington Post

Virginia: “Va. Supreme Court Finds McAuliffe Not in Contempt on Felon Voting Actions” by Laura Vozzella for Washington Post

Legislative Issues

Why the U.S. Economy Lags: It’s the politics, stupid” by Paul Davidson for USA Today

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September 16, 2016 •

FEC Unable to Agree on Policy Regarding Permissible Corporate Political Activity by U.S. Domestic Subsidiaries of Foreign Nationals

On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals […]

FEC On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity.

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from directly or indirectly making contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements in connection with federal, state, or local elections. FEC regulations also prohibit foreign nationals from directing, controlling, or participating in the decision-making process of any person, such as a corporation, with regards to decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections in the U.S.

Additionally, the FEC was unable to reach an agreement on the creation of a safe harbor for political committees to accept corporate contributions deemed not to have come from foreign national sources.

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September 16, 2016 •

NYCU Video Digest – September 16, 2016

See what’s happening in government relations this week with our Video Digest. Enjoy!    

See what’s happening in government relations this week with our Video Digest. Enjoy!

 

 

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September 16, 2016 •

News You Can Use Digest – September 16, 2016

National: How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat New York Times – Anahad O’Connor | Published: 9/12/2016 In 1967, the Sugar Research Foundation, the precursor to the Sugar Association, paid Harvard scientists about $50,000 in today’s money to discredit a […]

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National:

How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
New York Times – Anahad O’Connor | Published: 9/12/2016

In 1967, the Sugar Research Foundation, the precursor to the Sugar Association, paid Harvard scientists about $50,000 in today’s money to discredit a link now widely accepted among scientists, that consuming sugar can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, the industry and the scientists pinned the blame squarely, and only, on saturated fat. Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.

Real-Time Election Day Projections May Upend News Tradition
New York Times – Nick Corasaniti | Published: 9/10/2016

Television networks and newspapers have traditionally agreed not to reveal the information they gather through exit polling to their audiences until polls close. Journalists keep that information to themselves, campaigns track the outcome with their own methodologies, and voters are left without access to information about how the election is going in real time. Now, a new company called VoteCastr is seeking to upend that reporting tradition, providing detailed projections of who is winning at any given time on Election Day in key swing states, and updating the information in real time. The plan is likely to cause a stir among those involved in reporting election results, who worry about both accuracy and an adverse effect on how people vote.

Federal:

Congressman Offers Unusual Defense in Ethics Probe
Center for Public Integrity – John Dunbar | Published: 9/13/2016

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Texas Republican under investigation by the House ethics committee, says he did nothing wrong when he offered an amendment that would benefit car dealers, despite the fact that he himself is a car dealer. Members of Congress may not use their positions for personal financial benefit. But Williams asserted he did not profit from his actions. Instead, Williams revealed, he offered the amendment at the behest of a lobbyist. And the lobbyist – whose employer, the national Automobile Dealers Association, one of Williams’ top donors – sent along “proposed language” for the text of the amendment. There is no timetable for when the committee will rule. But regardless of what happens, Williams’ defense offers a rare glimpse at how business is often done in the Capitol.

How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money
Washington Post – David Fahrenthold | Published: 9/10/2016

An investigation of the Donald J. Trump Foundation found it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner. For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money, an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation. Trump then takes that money and generally does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression it is Trump’s own money. Foundation money has also been used for political purposes, which is against the law. Trump paid a penalty this year to the IRS for a 2013 donation in which the foundation gave $25,000 to a campaign group affiliated with Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi.

How These Powerful Women Learned to Love Fundraising
Washington Post – Elise Viebeck | Published: 9/12/2016

Lawmakers frequently think fundraising is the worst part of their job, but it has become critical to their success as the cost of campaigns skyrockets. According to interviews with more than a dozen women in Congress, raising campaign funds poses unique challenges for women entering politics and seeking to rise through the ranks. Building a war chest is essential to female politicians as they work to get elected and to secure a seat at the leadership table, which involves both campaigning and fundraising for colleagues. Scholars have found women exhibit more negative attitudes toward fundraising and express more concern about attracting donors, to the point that it can deter some from running for office.

Lobbying Registrations Are Down, But The Influence Industry Is Flourishing
Washington Post – Catherine Ho | Published: 9/12/2016

This year, for the ninth consecutive time, the number of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. has fallen. The figure has dropped from about 14,800 in 2007 to 10,500 today. But ask virtually any member of K Street’s booming influence industry and they will tell you there are not fewer lobbyists, there are just fewer people labeling themselves as such. Eschewing the lobbyist label in favor of more palatable designations such as policy adviser, strategic counsel, or government relations adviser is not new. But it appears to have grown more prevalent during the two terms of President Obama, who put greater restrictions on lobbyists working in the executive branch than any other president.

From the States and Municipalities:

California – Jury Finds Azano Guilty on 36 Counts in Foreign Money Case
San Diego Union-Tribune – Dana Littlefield and Greg Moran | Published: 9/9/2016

A Mexican businessperson accused of making illegal campaign donations to candidates in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral race was convicted of 36 counts, including conspiracy to make political contributions by a foreign national. José Susumo Azano Matsura also was found guilty in federal court of making contributions in other people’s names and falsifying records.  As a foreign citizen without legal status in the U.S., Azano was prohibited by law from donating to domestic campaigns. Although he lived in a Coronado Cays and both his wife and son were U.S. citizens, Azano did not have a green card or any immigration status that would allow him to financially support political campaigns in this country.

Florida – Judge Orders Campaign-Finance Question Put on Miami-Dade Ballot
Miami Herald – Douglas Hanks | Published: 9/9/2016

Circuit Court Judge William Thomas ordered that Miami-Dade voters get a chance to decide on new rules for campaign contributions, reversing a decision by county commissioners to keep the measure off the November ballot because of alleged legal flaws. The judge ruled the union-backed group behind the proposal to ban county contractors and their lobbyists from donating to county candidates followed all the required steps to secure a ballot slot. County lawyers appealed Thomas’ decision.

Michigan – House Candidate Steve Marino Retracts Claims from Secret Recordings
Detroit Free Press – Paul Egan | Published: 9/11/2016

Michigan House candidate Steve Marino disavowed ever picking up bar tabs for state lawmakers as a lobbyist after Democrats released audio recordings showing him making the claims. Marino, a Macomb County commissioner who was a registered lobbyist from 2013 to 2015, said that despite the way he described the events, they did not involve him personally. Instead, he said the stories were composites patched together from events he had witnessed or heard about over the years.

Missouri – Court: Missouri voters can decide if they want to bring back limits on campaign contributions
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kurt Erickson | Published: 9/13/2016

A state appeals court ruled that a measure re-imposing campaign contribution limits in Missouri can be placed on the November ballot. The initiative would ask voters whether they want to cap donations to individual candidates to $2,600 and limit contributions to a political party to $25,000. The referendum would ban the current practice of funneling money through different committees to hide the source of the money. Opponents say the initiative unfairly limits some classes of businesses and associations from giving money to campaigns. They vowed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania – Gas-Dealing Pa. Game Commission Official Ordered to Pay $75K Fine
Philadelphia Inquirer – Andrew Maykuth | Published: 9/13/2016

William Capouillez, a retired Pennsylvania Game Commission official, will pay a $75,000 fine over his side business. While he was director of the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, Capouillez negotiated gas leases with drilling companies on behalf of private landowners while overseeing Game Commission leases with the same companies. He agreed to the fine in exchange for no further action by the state Ethics Commission, but the head of the ethics panel said Capouillez still faced possible criminal charges. The Ethics Commission said the $75,000 penalty represented just a portion of the amount Capouillez earned since 1996, when he began operating his business. But it said most of the alleged violations occurred before the agency’s five-year statute of limitations expired.

Tennessee – Jeremy Durham Expelled from Tennessee House in 70-2 Vote
The Tennessean – Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher | Published: 9/13/2016

The Tennessee House voted to expel state Rep. Jeremy Durham following allegations of widespread sexual harassment. The vote followed an attorney general’s investigation that detailed allegations of improper sexual contact with at least 22 women over the course of his four years in office. House Speaker Beth Harwell effectively quarantined Durham from other lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists in April, moving his office across the street and barring him from entering the main legislative area other than for official business. The move came after state Attorney General Herbert Slatery said Durham could pose a risk to “unsuspecting women” at the Capitol complex.

Virginia – Prosecutors Will Drop Case Against Former Va. Governor Robert McDonnell
Washington Post – Rachel Weiner and Matt Zapotosky | Published: 9/8/2016

The Justice Department decided to drop all charges against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that vacated his original conviction on corruption charges. As a result, McDonnell’s legal ordeal effectively ends. The justices ruled McDonnell, convicted in 2014 and sentenced to two years in prison for helping a personal donor navigate the state bureaucracy, had not performed any official acts on the donor’s behalf. For federal prosecutors, the case carries grave implications. It likely will make it more difficult for them to use federal bribery, extortion, and fraud statutes against public officials.

Wisconsin – Report: Lead paint makers helped Gov. Walker
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Jason Stein and Patrick Marley | Published: 9/14/2016

A new report sheds new light on the relationships between Gov. Scott Walker and donors to the Wisconsin Club for Growth during the governor’s 2012 recall election. The Guardian U.S. sifted through 1,500 leaked documents from a probe into Walker’s campaign. The documents show $750,000 in donations to Wisconsin Club for Growth from Harold Simmons, the owner of one of the leading producers of lead used in paint until it was banned. Walked signed into law changes passed by the Republican-led Legislature that would have made companies like NL Industries effectively immune from compensation claims for lead paint poisoning. One document shows a lobbyist for NL Industries suggested the language that should be used to make the effective immunity retroactive. The phrase suggested by the lobbyist is the one that was added to an amendment, which was signed into law but later blocked by a federal court.

Jim SedorState 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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September 15, 2016 •

Thursday News Roundup

Lobbying “Changing of the Guard at Lobbying Powerhouse” by Megan Wilson for The Hill Campaign Finance “Judge Hints Could Remand Disclosure Case to FEC” by Kenneth Doyle for Bloomberg BNA Missouri: “Court: Missouri voters can decide if they want to […]

blue-diamond-smLobbying

Changing of the Guard at Lobbying Powerhouse” by Megan Wilson for The Hill

Campaign Finance

Judge Hints Could Remand Disclosure Case to FEC” by Kenneth Doyle for Bloomberg BNA

Missouri: “Court: Missouri voters can decide if they want to bring back limits on campaign contributions” by Kurt Erickson for St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Wisconsin: “Report: Lead paint makers helped Gov. Walker” by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ethics

How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money” by David Fahrenthold for Washington Post

New York: “New York Attorney General to Investigate Donald Trump’s Nonprofit” by Steve Eder for New York Times

Pennsylvania: “Gas-Dealing Pa. Game Commission Official Ordered to Pay $75K Fine” by Andrew Maykuth for Philadelphia Inquirer

Elections

The Rise of GOP Mega-Donor Rebekah Mercer” by Matea Gold for Washington Post

Ohio: “Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Voting Restrictions” by Richard Wolf for USA Today

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September 14, 2016 •

Wednesday Government Relations News

Lobbying “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat” by Anahad O’Connor for New York Times “Lobbying Registrations Are Down, But The Influence Industry Is Flourishing” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post “Congressman Offers Unusual Defense in Ethics Probe” by […]

gov-building-symbol-mdLobbying

How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat” by Anahad O’Connor for New York Times

Lobbying Registrations Are Down, But The Influence Industry Is Flourishing” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post

Congressman Offers Unusual Defense in Ethics Probe” by John Dunbar for Center for Public Integrity

Campaign Finance

How These Powerful Women Learned to Love Fundraising” by Elise Viebeck for Washington Post

Ethics

California: “Ex-Assemblyman Tom Calderon Is Sentenced to a Year in Federal Custody in Bribery Case” by Joel Rubin for Los Angeles Times

Connecticut: “Wade Faces Subpoena in Cigna Conflict of Interest Question” by Mark Pazniokas for Connecticut Mirror

Florida: “Former Opa-locka City Manager Pleads Guilty in Corruption Probe” by Jay Weaver and Michael Sallah for Miami Herald

New York: “Bill Nojay, Upstate Assemblyman, Dies After Shooting Himself at a Cemetery” by Vivian Yee for New York Times

Elections

Appeals Court Overrules Federal Election Official on Proof of Citizenship for Voting” by Josh Gerstein for Politico

Legislative Issues

Tennessee: “Jeremy Durham Expelled from Tennessee House in 70-2 Vote” by Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher for The Tennessean

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September 13, 2016 •

NDP Criticized as it Attempts to Change Alberta’s Campaign Finance Limits

Opposition parties say legislative members in Alberta are attempting to rush through campaign finance changes to disproportionately benefit the New Democratic Party. NDP members have proposed a $4,000 annual limit on political contributions to political parties, constituency associations, nominated candidates, […]

edmontonOpposition parties say legislative members in Alberta are attempting to rush through campaign finance changes to disproportionately benefit the New Democratic Party.

NDP members have proposed a $4,000 annual limit on political contributions to political parties, constituency associations, nominated candidates, candidates seeking nomination, and party leadership contestants. Current limits are $15,000 to a political party and $5,000 to constituency associations, with the limits increasing to $30,000 and $10,000, respectively, in a campaign year.

Currently there are no set limits on political contributions for leadership and nomination campaigns; each party sets its own rules. Opposition members agree with reduced contribution limits, but argue limits in nomination races and leadership campaigns would reduce the available resources necessary for a party to effectively fight an election. The legislative committee examining the election financing legislation must complete its work before the committee is dissolved September 28.

Photo of the Alberta Legislative Building by Tkyle on Wikimedia Commons.

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September 13, 2016 •

Tuesday Lobbying and Campaign Finance News Update

Lobbying Michigan: “House Candidate Steve Marino Retracts Claims from Secret Recordings” by Paul Egan for Detroit Free Press New York: “De Blasio’s Nonprofit Must Comply with Ethics Panel’s Subpoena, Judge Says” by J. David Goodman for New York Times Campaign […]

K StreetLobbying

Michigan: “House Candidate Steve Marino Retracts Claims from Secret Recordings” by Paul Egan for Detroit Free Press

New York: “De Blasio’s Nonprofit Must Comply with Ethics Panel’s Subpoena, Judge Says” by J. David Goodman for New York Times

Campaign Finance

California: “Jury Finds Azano Guilty on 36 Counts in Foreign Money Case” by Dana Littlefield and Greg Moran for San Diego Union-Tribune

Colorado: “Colorado Supreme Court Set to Hear Appeal Over Legal Services Being Treated Like Campaign Contributions” by Tom McGhee for Denver Post

Florida: “Judge Orders Campaign-Finance Question Put on Miami-Dade Ballot” by Douglas Hanks for Miami Herald

Washington: “I-1464 Seeks Big Changes to Washington State Campaign-Finance System” by Rachel LaCorte (Associated Press) for Seattle Times

Ethics

Texas: “Empower Texans Escalates Battle with Ethics Commission” by Patrick Svitek for Texas Tribune

Virginia: “Prosecutors Will Drop Case Against Former Va. Governor Robert McDonnell” by Rachel Weiner and Matt Zapotosky for Washington Post

Elections

Real-Time Election Day Projections May Upend News Tradition” by Nick Corasaniti for New York Times

Hillary Clinton Is Set Back by Decision to Keep Illness Secret” by Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy for New York Times

 

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September 12, 2016 •

Direct Corporate Contributions a Future Possibility in South Dakota

The South Dakota panel assembled by Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to review campaign finance laws showed support of a proposal to allow direct contributions from individual organizations like businesses and labor unions. The panel met Tuesday, September 6 and […]

SouthDakota-StateSealThe South Dakota panel assembled by Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to review campaign finance laws showed support of a proposal to allow direct contributions from individual organizations like businesses and labor unions.

The panel met Tuesday, September 6 and will meet two more times before finalizing proposals that will be requested from the Legislature in January. The panel is also expected to propose new campaign finance reporting requirements.

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September 12, 2016 •

County Court Orders Miami-Dade Proposal Placed on November Ballot

A judge has ordered a campaign finance ballot measure be placed on the ballot in November. After the County Commission rejected the proposal for containing legally insufficient language, An Accountable Miami-Dade filed a petition for a writ of mandamus last […]

Miami-Dade CountyA judge has ordered a campaign finance ballot measure be placed on the ballot in November. After the County Commission rejected the proposal for containing legally insufficient language, An Accountable Miami-Dade filed a petition for a writ of mandamus last week.

The political committee asked the court to force the County Commission, the Mayor, and the Supervisor of Elections to place the measure on the ballot. Circuit Court Judge William Thomas granted the petition, stating the group met all of the requirements to get a proposal on the ballot, including gathering nearly 130,000 signatures.

The County has appealed the ruling and a hearing has been set for next week before the Third District Court of Appeal.

If successfully passed, the measure will reduce the campaign contribution limit from $1,000 to $250 and ban vendors, their lobbyists, and immediate family members from contributing to county candidates.

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September 12, 2016 •

Monday News Roundup

Lobbying “Lobbyists Prepare for Clinton Win” by Megan Wilson for The Hill Campaign Finance “Prolific Donor Trump, Often Skirted Rules, Paid Fines” by Drew Griffin, David Fitzpatrick, and Tom LoBianco for CNN California: “Political Paradox? Prop. 59 Asks Californians to […]

Government-Relations-NewsLobbying

Lobbyists Prepare for Clinton Win” by Megan Wilson for The Hill

Campaign Finance

Prolific Donor Trump, Often Skirted Rules, Paid Fines” by Drew Griffin, David Fitzpatrick, and Tom LoBianco for CNN

California: “Political Paradox? Prop. 59 Asks Californians to Condemn a Big-Money System Long Used Here” by Laurel Rosenhall for CALmatters.org

Illinois: “Judge: Illinois campaign finance law constitutional” by Michael Tarm (Associated Press) for State Journal-Register

Oregon: “Portland Reconsiders Public Money for Political Campaigns” by Brad Schmidt for Portland Oregonian

South Dakota: “Panel Ponders Allowing Businesses to Open Checkbooks for Candidates” by Bob Mercer for Black Hills Pioneer

Ethics

California: “Scandal Plagues City of Commerce, but Generous Services Help Blunt Public Scrutiny” by Adam Elmahrek for Los Angeles Times

Elections

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Invisible Guiding Hand’” by Shane Goldmacher for Politico

Minnesota: “U Launches First-of-Its-Kind Program for Elections Officials” by Kelly Smith for Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Texas: “Court Filing Accuses Texas of Misleading Voters Without IDs” by Michael Wines for New York Times

Legislative Issues

Tennessee: “Beth Harwell: Jeremy Durham expulsion vote will happen” by Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher for The Tennessean

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September 2, 2016 •

Maine’s Ethics Commission Clarifies Contribution Exception

On August 31, 2016, the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices adopted a rule clarifying the “house party” exception from the definition of contribution. Following complaints the exception amounted to undisclosed contributions, the commission adopted a rule stating the […]

MaineOn August 31, 2016, the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices adopted a rule clarifying the “house party” exception from the definition of contribution. Following complaints the exception amounted to undisclosed contributions, the commission adopted a rule stating the costs of food and beverages are exempt only if they relate to the personal services provided by the volunteer and only if paid for by a single volunteer.

The rule will be effective following certification from the secretary of state.

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September 2, 2016 •

NYCU Video Digest – September 2, 2016

See what’s happening in government relations this week with our Video Digest. Enjoy!    

See what’s happening in government relations this week with our Video Digest. Enjoy!

 

 

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September 2, 2016 •

News You Can Use Digest – September 2, 2016

Federal: Addicted to Making Campaign Contributions? The Atlantic – Russell Berman | Published: 8/30/2016 U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $231 million from more than 2.7 million donors in his campaign for president, depending on grassroots support rather than on wealthy bundlers. […]

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Federal:

Addicted to Making Campaign Contributions?
The Atlantic – Russell Berman | Published: 8/30/2016

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $231 million from more than 2.7 million donors in his campaign for president, depending on grassroots support rather than on wealthy bundlers. A benefit of relying on small donations from a large number of backers is that a campaign can go back to them repeatedly before they hit the $2,700 limit for individual contributions. And the Sanders campaign, like most campaigns in the modern era, did so, sending a barrage of urgent pleas for donations in email blasts. The excessive donations point to flaws in how the Sanders campaign managed and communicated with his most passionate supporters. Many of his donors were simply unaware of the federal limits, or if they were aware, they assumed the campaign would prevent them from contributing too much. It did not.

Breitbart Rises from Outlier to Potent Voice in Campaign
New York Times – Michael Grynbaum and John Herrman | Published: 8/28/2016

Breitbart News, once a curiosity of the fringe right wing, is now an increasingly powerful voice, and virtual rallying spot, for millions of disaffected conservatives who propelled Donald Trump to the Republican nomination. Known for bashing the GOP establishment, Breitbart now finds itself at the center of the party’s presidential campaign. Its longtime chairperson, Stephen Bannon, was named campaign chief by Trump, whose nationalist, conspiracy-minded message routinely mirrors the Breitbart worldview. The site received its biggest billing yet in the form of a scathing condemnation. In a nationally televised speech, Hillary Clinton identified Breitbart  as the Democratic Party’s leading media enemy, warning about a “de facto merger” between the Trump campaign and a news outlet that she described as racist, radical, and offensive.

Experts Poke Holes in Clinton Foundation’s Promised Donor Ban
The Hill – Jonathan Swan | Published: 9/1/2016

Ethics experts question the Clinton Foundation’s plan to avoid conflicts-of-interest during a Hillary Clinton presidency. The charity pledged not to accept foreign or corporate donations if she is elected. But watchdogs say it would be relatively easy for foreign governments or individuals to funnel cash to the foundation without the public being aware. It is not clear whether Chelsea Clinton would still raise money for the charity if her mother were to win the election. Bill Clinton has promised to step down from its board and stop fundraising if that happens. Assertions that donors to the charity got special access to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state have dogged her campaign.

How One Donor Is Profiting Off the Trump and Sanders Campaigns
The Atlantic – Russell Berman | Published: 8/28/2016

Entrepreneur Randy Treibel has contributed about $25,000 in total to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, more than any other person has given to both campaigns combined. But Treibel is not donating all this money out of devotion to these unlikely political insurgents – he is just trying to make a profit. He has been buying Trump and Sanders campaign merchandise in bulk and reselling it through his retail company on Amazon at a considerable markup. A Trump sign that costs $10 on his campaign website, for example, will sell for $35 on Amazon, Treibel said. And it is all completely legal under campaign rules. When asked why he did not bother to buy up Hillary Clinton stickers and signs, Treibel responded, “That stuff just doesn’t sell; nobody buys it.”

From the States and Municipalities:

Alabama – More Lawmakers (and Two Ethics Commissioners) Who Got Free Trips on Alabama Lenders’ Dime
AL.com – Kyle Whitmire (Alabama Media Group) | Published: 8/31/2016

The Alabama Lenders Association has amended its last two years’ of lobbying activity reports to include two trips where the organization paid for lodging, meals, and entertainment for numerous state lawmakers and other public officials. Records show the association hosted similar events in earlier years. But it did not disclose those earlier trips because it had not registered as a principal. Because the association had not registered and did not submit lobbying reports, it is impossible to tell which lawmakers it invited on those trips and how much it spent on them.

Alabama – Pro-Marijuana Group Challenges Alabama Lobbying Law
AL.com – Mike Cason | Published: 9/1/2016

The Institute for Justice filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Alabama law that requires all registered lobbyists to attend an ethics training class in Montgomery. The suit was filed on behalf of Maggie Ellinger-Locke and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). It contends that the requirement unduly burdens Ellinger-Locke because she lives in Arlington, Virginia and works at the MPP headquarters in Washington, DC. The Alabama Ethics Commission denied Ellinger-Locke’s request to take the class remotely. “If a person wants to talk to an elected official about a matter of public policy, they shouldn’t have to take a government-mandated class; instead, the only thing they should need is an opinion,” said Paul Sherman, a lawyer for the institute.

Connecticut – Inside the Political Fundraising Game
CT Post – Ken Dixon, Angela Carella, and Neil Vigdor | Published: 8/28/2016

A dozen contractors barred from contributing to state political candidates in Connecticut gave almost $1 million to the Democratic Governors Association, which in turn funneled $3.9 million to a PAC supporting Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 2014 re-election campaign. The transfer of money, though apparently legal, effectively circumvented Connecticut’s clean election laws, which are intended to limit the influence of wealthy special interests on state government. Michael Brandi, executive director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, said it is hard to ferret out the source of campaign cash if donors want to remain anonymous.

Illinois – Chicago Insider Who Took $2 Million in Bribes in Red Light Camera Scandal Gets 10 Years in Prison
Los Angeles Times – David Kidwell (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 8/29/2016

A former Chicago transportation official embroiled in a corruption scandal over the award of a lucrative contract for red-light cameras was sentenced to 10 years in prison. John Bills, who served as assistant commissioner at the Department of Transportation, was convicted on 20 counts, including fraud, bribery, conspiracy, and tax fraud for taking up to $2 million in bribes and gifts in return for awarding $100 million in red lights camera contracts. The contracts went to Redflex Traffic Systems in 2003. Bills was also ordered to pay the city $2 million in restitution.

Maine – Paul LePage, Maine Governor, Now Says He’s Not Quitting
New York Times – Jess Bidgood | Published: 8/31/2016

Facing pressure to resign after comments many called racist and a profanity-laced voicemail left for state Rep. Drew Gattine, Maine Gov. Paul LePage told reporters he will not be stepping down and will seek spiritual guidance. LePage had hinted that he would not finish his current term after facing intense criticism for his latest actions. His six years in office have been marked by controversy. Even as he fueled outrage among Democrats and angst among many moderate Republicans, his well of support, fed by voters who are drawn to his unfiltered political style, never seemed to run dry. But the events of the past week have led to a rupture in his own Republican Party.

Missouri – Audit Finds Senate Slush Fund for Lobbyist-Financed Meals
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kurt Erickson | Published: 8/29/2016

Missouri lawmakers overall do a good job managing taxpayer funds, but are too generous with time off for staff and too willing to accept lobbyist money for meals, according to a pair of audits that also criticize legislators for secrecy. State Auditor Nicole Galloway said the Senate should close a bank account used to solicit lobbyist donations to buy meals for lawmakers. The audit says a House interim committee asked lobbyists for contributions to pay for a tour bus. The Senate says it will look for other ways to pay for meals, but it does not see a solution that will work. The House noted representatives failed this year to ban lobbyist-financed travel for lawmakers.

Nebraska – Panel Tells Embattled Nebraska Senator to Resign by Friday
ABC News – Grant Schulte (Associated Press) | Published: 8/29/2016

State Sen. Bill Kintner, who is ensnared in a cybersex scandal, was given another opportunity to resign before the Nebraska Legislature’s Executive Board determines possible action against him. Kintner was fined $1,000 by the state Accountability and Disclosure Commission after admitting to the online sexual encounter on a state-owned laptop with a woman. The woman, who is believed to have ties to an Ivory Coast crime syndicate, later threatened to expose the encounter unless Kintner paid her $4,500.

New York – Judge: Citizens United must disclose donor information to NY
ABC News – Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) | Published: 8/29/2016

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which Citizens United sought to block New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from enforcing rules requiring the conservative group to disclose more information about its donors. U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein said the attorney general did not violate Citizens United’s First Amendment rights by requiring registered charitable organizations to disclose names, addresses, and contributions of big donors before soliciting funds in the state. Citizens United is best known as the plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited independent spending by corporations and labor unions in election campaigns.

North Carolina – North Carolina Republicans Accused of Dodging Order to Fix Election Rules
New York Times – Michael Wines | Published: 8/30/2016

When a federal appeals court overturned much of North Carolina’s 2013 election law in July, saying it had been deliberately intended to discourage African-Americans from voting, it also tossed out the ground rules for this year’s elections in a critical swing state. In each of the state’s 100 counties, local elections boards filed new election rules with the state. Now, critics are accusing some of the boards, all of which are controlled by Republicans, of staging an end run around a court ruling they are supposed to carry out. Like the law that was struck down, say voting rights advocacy groups and some Democrats who are contesting the rewritten election plans, many election plans have been intentionally written to suppress the black vote.

Pennsylvania – State Not Tracking Lobbying by Marijuana Companies
Allentown Morning Call – Scott Kraus | Published: 8/25/2016

It is very difficult find out how much has been spent trying to tilt the playing field for a potentially lucrative but also controversial medical marijuana industry that is in its infancy in Pennsylvania. That is because there is no category for lobbyists or the principals they represent to report marijuana lobbying, and state officials have no immediate plans to add one. The lobbying detected in the state’s search for The Allentown Morning Call was reported under the “other” category, where filers wrote in medical marijuana. Many states’ lobbying disclosure laws are weak and fail to track lobbying by subject at all, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Virginia – The Money Floods in When the General Assembly Gathers
The Daily Press – Dave Ress | Published: 8/28/2016

Virginia lawmakers received more than $227,000 in campaign contributions over the past five years during the days they were actively considering bills, many of which affected donors, a review of more than 100,000 contributions found. State law bans legislators and statewide officials from accepting political donations “on and after the first day of a regular session of the General Assembly through adjournment.” Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw accepted $5,000 from Anderson Financial on the first day of the 2016 session. Saslaw said he believes it is legal to receive donations on the morning of the first day of the session, since the Legislature formally convenes at noon.

Jim SedorState 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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