June 22, 2016 •

Wednesday Government Relations News

Campaign Finance “Donald Trump Starts Summer Push with Crippling Money Deficit” by Nicholas Confessore and Rachel Shorey for New York Times Ethics Pennsylvania: “Fattah Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges” by Jeremy Roebuck for Philadelphia Inquirer Ohio: “Ethical Conflicts, Nepotism Mar […]

gov-building-symbol-mdCampaign Finance

Donald Trump Starts Summer Push with Crippling Money Deficit” by Nicholas Confessore and Rachel Shorey for New York Times

Ethics

Pennsylvania: “Fattah Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges” by Jeremy Roebuck for Philadelphia Inquirer

Ohio: “Ethical Conflicts, Nepotism Mar Charity” by Dan Horn and Sharon Coolidge for Cincinnati Enquirer

Oklahoma: “Former State Senate Leader Mike Morgan Resentenced” by Nolan Clay for The Oklahoman

Elections

The Kochs’ Powerful Operation Isn’t Aimed at Helping Trump – But It Might Anyway” by Matea Gold for Washington Post

What Do This Season’s Political Books Tell Us About the Election?” by Sam Tanenhaus for New York Times

Trump’s Performance Raises Hard Question: Who’d want to be his VP?” by Eli Stokols and Burgess Everett for Politico

North Carolina: “Appeals Court Considers North Carolina’s Controversial Voting Rules” by Ann Marimow for Washington Post

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June 21, 2016 •

Tuesday Lobbying and Campaign Finance News Update

Lobbying Oklahoma: “Legislators, State Officials Accept More Gifts from Interest Groups” by Trevor Brown for Oklahoma Watch Campaign Finance “Wall Street Donors Seek to Block Warren VP Pick” by Ben White for Politico Montana: “Judge Rules Wittich Can Remain in […]

K StreetLobbying

Oklahoma: “Legislators, State Officials Accept More Gifts from Interest Groups” by Trevor Brown for Oklahoma Watch

Campaign Finance

Wall Street Donors Seek to Block Warren VP Pick” by Ben White for Politico

Montana: “Judge Rules Wittich Can Remain in Office after Taking Illegal Campaign Contributions” by Matt Volz (Associated Press) for Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Wisconsin: “As the Government Accountability Board Ends, What’s the Future for Wisconsin Campaign Finance Regulation?” by Katelyn Ferral for Capital Times

Ethics

Connecticut: “Attorney Gets Reprimand for Drafting Rowland Consulting Contract” by Michelle Tuccitto Sullo for Connecticut Law Tribune

New York: “New York Lawmakers Leave Albany Without Big Ethics Reforms” by David Klepper (Associated Press) for Albany Times Union

New York: “3 New York Police Department Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges” by William Rashbaum and Joseph Goldstein for New York Times

Elections

Courts, Judges Become Top Political Targets in 2016 Elections” by Dave Helling for Kansas City Star

Donald Trump Fires Embattled Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski” by Philip Rucker, Jose DelReal, and Sean Sullivan for Washington Post

Ohio: “John Kasich Vetoes Republican-Backed Voting Bill” by Darrel Rowland for Columbus Dispatch

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June 20, 2016 •

Detroit, MI Demolition Contracts Subject to Council Vote

The City Council will begin voting next week on existing city-funded demolition contracts worth over $25,000. Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration discovered the existing contracts have never sought required City Council approval during a review of purchasing ordinances. Going forward, officials […]

Seal of DetroitThe City Council will begin voting next week on existing city-funded demolition contracts worth over $25,000.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration discovered the existing contracts have never sought required City Council approval during a review of purchasing ordinances. Going forward, officials have committed to a council vote on all contracts valued over $25,000, as required by law.

The city is still investigating the number of contracts performed without proper council approval since Duggan revamped the demolition program in 2014.

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June 20, 2016 •

Monday News Roundup

Lobbying New York: “Lawyer Tapped as Board of Elections Commissioner Refuses to Give Up Lobbying, Raising Conflict of Interest Concerns” by Erin Durkin for New York Daily News Ethics “Trump, Clinton Money Awash in Conflicts of Interest” by Katy O’Donnell […]

Government-Relations-NewsLobbying

New York: “Lawyer Tapped as Board of Elections Commissioner Refuses to Give Up Lobbying, Raising Conflict of Interest Concerns” by Erin Durkin for New York Daily News

Ethics

Trump, Clinton Money Awash in Conflicts of Interest” by Katy O’Donnell for Politico

Lawmakers Turned Over Gifts After Secretly Funded Trip to Azerbaijan” by Megan Wilson for The Hill

Alabama: “Impeachment Investigation of Alabama Governor Begins” by Associated Press for WTVC

Connecticut: “Ethics Panel to Rule If Wade Has Conflict in Anthem-Cigna Merger” by Mark Pazniokas for Connecticut Mirror

Rhode Island: “RI General Assembly Passes Ethics Reform Sponsored by Speaker, Senate President” by Christian Winthrop for Newport Buzz

South Carolina: “SC Supreme Court Hears Wilson-Pascoe Case” by Tim Smith for Greenville News

Elections

Dozens of GOP Delegates Launch New Push to Halt Donald Trump” by Ed O’Keefe for Washington Post

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June 17, 2016 •

News You Can Use Digest – June 17, 2016

Federal: A New Phase for Trump’s Media War The Hill – Niall Stanage | Published: 6/15/2016 Media coverage of Donald Trump is shifting in a more negative direction as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee opens another front in his war with […]

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Federal:

A New Phase for Trump’s Media War
The Hill – Niall Stanage | Published: 6/15/2016

Media coverage of Donald Trump is shifting in a more negative direction as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee opens another front in his war with the Fourth Estate. The Trump campaign revoked press credentials for The Washington Post, initially objecting to a headline regarding remarks he made about President Obama and the mass shooting in Orlando. But coverage from The Post, as well as The New York Times, on Trump’s speech on the massacre included some phrases that are sure to stoke his ire once again. To Trump’s critics, that language is a sign that news media are making an appropriate and long-awaited effort to hold Trump to account. His supporters, however, will no doubt see it as the injection of liberal opinion into news stories.

After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands
New York Times – Jeremy Peters and Lizette Alvarez | Published: 6/15/2016

The deep divide over gay rights remains one of the most contentious in American politics. And the murder of 49 people in an Orlando gay club has, in many cases, only exacerbated the anger from Democrats and supporters of gay causes, who are insisting that no amount of consoling words or reassuring Twitter posts change the fact that Republicans continue to pursue policies that would limit legal protections for gays and lesbians.  Some say identity politics have overtaken the tragedy in Orlando, with its combustible mix of issues that have long divided Americans: guns, gays, God, and immigration.

On Donald Trump, Republicans Keep Distance in Different Ways
New York Times – Jennifer Steinhauer | Published: 6/15/2016

For Republican lawmakers, there is no avoiding reporters in the Capitol, and no escaping controversy brought on by the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Some, like the #NeverTrump crowd that includes U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, have it easy. It is no surprise where they stand on Donald Trump, and they consistently criticize him. But not everyone has it so simple.

Russian Government Hackers Penetrated DNC, Stole Opposition Research on Trump
Washington Post – Ellen Nakashima | Published: 6/14/2016

The Democratic National Committee’s computer systems were compromised by hackers linked to the Russian government, in one of the largest known breaches of an American political organization. A security firm hired by the Democratic Party found two known entities with ties to the Russian government had separately hacked the party’s information-technology infrastructure. It was reported that the party’s entire file of opposition research against Donald Trump had been copied. Presidential campaigns can be intelligence gold mines for foreign adversaries. There is immense interest in how future candidates would treat foreign countries, address trade, build their transition teams, and appoint to cabinet level positions.

From the States and Municipalities:

Alabama – Michael Hubbard, Alabama House Speaker, Is Convicted on 12 Felony Ethics Charges
New York Times – Alan Blinder | Published: 6/10/2016

A jury found Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty on 12 of 23 counts of public corruption, agreeing with prosecutors that he used the influence and prestige of his political offices to benefit his companies and clients. The verdict automatically removes Hubbard from the Legislature and the speaker’s office. Prosecutors accused Hubbard of using his position as speaker and as former chairperson of the state Republican Party to try to obtain $2.3 million in work and investments. The charges included that he directed campaign work to his printing company; solicited investments and help to find employment from lobbyists and company executives; and used the power of his office to benefit his clients through legislative action or lobbying the governor’s office.

California – Former State Sen. Ron Calderon’s Guilty Plea in Corruption Case Marks Blow to Political Dynasty
Los Angeles Times – Joel Rubin and Patrick McGreevy | Published: 6/13/2016

Former California Sen. Ronald Calderon, accused of taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as Hollywood filmmakers, agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud. His brother, ex-Assemblyperson Thomas Calderon, pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge in connection with the case. The Calderon brothers were members of a political dynasty going back several decades in the state before they were ensnared in the federal probe. Ronald Calderon had the undercover agent hire his daughter, make a $5,000 payment toward his son’s tuition, and give $25,000 to a nonprofit group the brothers used to pay themselves. In exchange, Calderon agreed to vote for film tax legislation and hire the undercover agent’s purported girlfriend for his staff.

Connecticut – Agency Approves Settlement That Would End Probe of Democrats’ Spending On Malloy Re-Election
Hartford Courant – Jon Lender | Published: 6/15/2016

The Connecticut Democratic Party and State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) are settling a case involving Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 2014 re-election campaign. The party agreed to make a $325,000 payment to end the dispute over whether it illegally spent money from a federal account on mailers to benefit Malloy, who was participating in the state’s public campaign financing program. The federal account can accept political contributions from state contractors, unlike the party’s state fund. The SEEC will drop a pending lawsuit seeking a court order that the Democratic Party comply with an investigatory subpoena.

Hawaii – Honolulu Ethics Director Quits Over Direction Commission Is Headed
Honolulu Civil Beat – Chad Blair | Published: 6/15/2016

Honolulu Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto has resigned, effective immediately. Totto’s relationship with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration was contentious from the beginning with questions about funding by lobbyists for the mayor’s inaugural luau. The rift was furthered with disagreements on the commission’s budget, as well as the validity of city council votes and Caldwell’s support of the rail project in view of contributions to their political campaigns by rail interests. Totto was placed on a one-month leave after an investigation into management procedures, and was hit with a major restriction upon his return.

Nevada – Nevada Bill Kept Legislators from Being Investigated
Las Vegas Review-Journal – Bethany Barnes | Published: 6/11/2016

The Nevada Ethics Commission is set up to police “public officers,” but legislators hold a special standing that grants them some immunity. The idea is that lawmakers need to be free to make decisions without fear of political retribution. As it stands now, politicians can say the ethics panel investigated a complaint and they were cleared, when in reality the commission was simply powerless to take action. League of Women Voters President Sondra Cosgrove said having no Ethics Commission would be better than having one that is essentially a fraud because it can rarely act. “Nevada is ‘Zombieland;’ it looks like we have lots of good laws and enforcement mechanisms, but as soon you try to actually engage with one, you get your brains eaten,” said Cosgrove.

New York – How Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s Problem-Solver, Became a Problem
New York Times – Jesse McKinley and Vivian Yee | Published: 6/13/2016

It was all but impossible to imagine New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo without Joseph Percoco, his closest aide and the mainstay of his life in politics. But it took only a few days to end the relationship. Federal investigators subpoenaed records related to Percoco from a state ethics board. Then, the governor learned federal agents had raided Percoco’s home, looking for evidence he and his wife had improperly received thousands of dollars from companies that had done business with the state. Cuomo has repeatedly named Percoco and another former aide, Todd Howe, as the prime targets of the investigation led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

South Carolina – General Assembly Passes Ethics Reform for Lawmakers’ Income Disclosure, Independent Investigations
Charleston Post and Courier – Maya Prabhu | Published: 6/15/2016

The South Carolina Legislature approved two ethics reform bills after years of trying. One bill would require lawmakers and other public officials disclose sources of private income, while another would provide independent ethics investigations of ethics complaints against legislators. Under the bills, ethics complaints against legislators would be investigated by a revamped State Ethics Commission, which would determine if there is probable cause to the complaints and if so would send them back to House and Senate ethics committees to determine guilt and any penalty. Legislators and public officials currently must report sources of government income, payments from lobbyists, and some government contractors but not private sources.

Virginia – Two Years Ago, Eric Cantor Lost His House Seat. Was It Just in The Nick of Time?
Washington Post – Roxanne Roberts | Published: 6/15/2016

As vice chairperson of Wall Street investment bank Moelis and Co., Eric Cantor circles the globe advising companies on how to position themselves in the global marketplace. Two years ago, he was the rising star of the Republican Party, the presumptive heir to the speakership of the House, until he was humiliated in a primary election by a political novice. Cantor was the first sitting House majority leader in history to lose his congressional seat. Some called it one of the greatest political upsets of modern times. It was also a cautionary tale. In hindsight, that contest was not just a GOP primary election, Cantor says. It was a referendum on establishment politics, broken promises, and angry voters’ growing distrust of Washington. He was at the epicenter of a populist uprising.

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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June 16, 2016 •

Thursday News Roundup

Campaign Finance “House Votes to Protect ‘Dark Money’ Political Donors” by David Morgan for Reuters Arizona: “FBI Questions Former Utility Regulator, APS, Corporation Commission” by Ryan Randazzo for Arizona Republic Connecticut: “Agency Approves Settlement That Would End Probe of Democrats’ […]

blue-diamond-smCampaign Finance

House Votes to Protect ‘Dark Money’ Political Donors” by David Morgan for Reuters

Arizona: “FBI Questions Former Utility Regulator, APS, Corporation Commission” by Ryan Randazzo for Arizona Republic

Connecticut: “Agency Approves Settlement That Would End Probe of Democrats’ Spending On Malloy Re-Election” by Jon Lender for Hartford Courant

Ethics

New Jersey: “Emails Appear to Show Christie Was Told About Political Activities of His Office” by Matt Friedman and Ryan Hutchins for Politico

Rhode Island: “No Moratorium as Ethics Bill Advances in R.I.” by Jennifer Bogdan for Providence Journal

Elections

A New Phase for Trump’s Media War” by Niall Stanage for The Hill

Two Years Ago, Eric Cantor Lost His House Seat. Was It Just in The Nick of Time?” by Roxanne Roberts for Washington Post

District of Columbia: “Vincent Gray Wins D.C. Council Seat, Makes Political Comeback” by Aaron Davis and Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post

Ohio: “ACLU Sues Cleveland Over Republican National Convention Protest Rules” by Andrew Tobias for Cleveland Plain Dealer

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June 15, 2016 •

Wednesday Government Relations News

Lobbying New York: “Complaint Charges Unregistered Lobbying for Daily Fantasy Sports” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union Ethics “Common Cause Taps Former Connecticut Director as National President” by Staff for Hartford Courant “Lawmakers Charge Park Service Chief Oversees Culture […]

gov-building-symbol-mdLobbying

New York: “Complaint Charges Unregistered Lobbying for Daily Fantasy Sports” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union

Ethics

Common Cause Taps Former Connecticut Director as National President” by Staff for Hartford Courant

Lawmakers Charge Park Service Chief Oversees Culture of Sexual Harassment” by Lisa Rein for Washington Post

California: “Former State Sen. Ron Calderon’s Guilty Plea in Corruption Case Marks Blow to Political Dynasty” by Joel Rubin and Patrick McGreevy for Los Angeles Times

Opa-locka Finance Advisor Once Targeted in County Ethics Probe” by Michael Sallah and Jay Weaver for Miami Herald

New Mexico: “Judge Rules AG Can Have Ethics Records in Griego Case” by Dan Boyd for Albuquerque Journal

New York: “How Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s Problem-Solver, Became a Problem” by Jesse McKinley and Vivian Yee for New York Times

Elections

Trump Revokes Post Press Credentials, Calling the Paper ‘Dishonest’ and ‘Phony’” by Paul Farhi for Washington Post

Russian Government Hackers Penetrated DNC, Stole Opposition Research on Trump” by Ellen Nakashima for Washington Post

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June 14, 2016 •

CA Voters to Weigh In on ‘Citizens United’ Ballot Question

California’s Senate Bill 254 became law without the governor’s signature on June 9, 2016. The measure will place a ballot question on the November 8, 2016 ballot asking voters whether California’s elected officials should use all of their constitutional authority, […]

CaliforniaCalifornia’s Senate Bill 254 became law without the governor’s signature on June 9, 2016.

The measure will place a ballot question on the November 8, 2016 ballot asking voters whether California’s elected officials should use all of their constitutional authority, including proposing and ratifying one or more amendments to the United States Constitution, to overturn the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A previous version of this bill was approved by lawmakers in 2014, but was blocked by legal challenges until January 2016 when the Supreme Court of California upheld the Legislature’s power to use advisory ballot measures.

 

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June 14, 2016 •

Tuesday Lobbying and Campaign Finance News Update

Lobbying “Brussels Lobbying Not Transparent Enough, Admit Lobbyists” by Chris Harris for euronews Campaign Finance New Jersey: “Another Birdsall Executive Sentenced to Jail” by Dan Radel for Asbury Park Press Ethics Alabama: “Michael Hubbard, Alabama House Speaker, Is Convicted on […]

K StreetLobbying

Brussels Lobbying Not Transparent Enough, Admit Lobbyists” by Chris Harris for euronews

Campaign Finance

New Jersey: “Another Birdsall Executive Sentenced to Jail” by Dan Radel for Asbury Park Press

Ethics

Alabama: “Michael Hubbard, Alabama House Speaker, Is Convicted on 12 Felony Ethics Charges” by Alan Blinder for New York Times

Nevada: “Nevada Bill Kept Legislators from Being Investigated” by Bethany Barnes for Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ohio: “Corrupt Cleveland VA Head William Montague Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison” by Eric Heisig for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Elections

Why Political Parties Never Die” by Seth Masket for Politico

To Understand Clinton’s Moment, Consider That It Came 32 Years After Ferraro’s” by Alison Mitchell for New York Times

Trump and Clinton and Their Very Different Responses to the Orlando Shootings” by Juliet Eilperin, Robert Costa, and Anne Gearan for Washington Post

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June 13, 2016 •

Monday News Roundup

Lobbying California: “Carl Kemp, Long Beach Lobbyist and Former Council Candidate, Charged with Failing to File Taxes” by Greg Yee for Long Beach Press Telegram Campaign Finance Massachusetts: “House Sidelines Campaign Finance Bill” by Frank Phillips for Boston Globe Tennessee: […]

Government-Relations-NewsLobbying

California: “Carl Kemp, Long Beach Lobbyist and Former Council Candidate, Charged with Failing to File Taxes” by Greg Yee for Long Beach Press Telegram

Campaign Finance

Massachusetts: “House Sidelines Campaign Finance Bill” by Frank Phillips for Boston Globe

Tennessee: “Ethics Bureau: Sumner Sentinel not a PAC” by Dessislava Yankova for The Tennessean

Ethics

Navy Admiral Pleads Guilty in ‘Fat Leonard’ Corruption Scandal” by Craig Whitlock for Washington Post

Connecticut: “House Speaker: Wade Should Not Preside Over Cigna-Anthem Merger” by Mara Lee for Hartford Courant

Indiana: “Former Top BMV Official Fined $500 for Ethics Violation” by Tony Cook for Indianapolis Star

Elections

Historic Import of Hillary Clinton’s Victory Is One More Source of Division” by Patrick Healy and Sheryl Gay Stolberg for New York Times

There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump.” by Nate Cohn for New York Times

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June 10, 2016 •

News You Can Use Digest – June 10, 2016

National: Study: Ordinary people struggle to use many state campaign finance websites StateScoop – Alex Koma | Published: 5/31/2016 The Campaign Finance Institute released a report that examines how easily ordinary people could use state websites to find out how much […]

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National:

Study: Ordinary people struggle to use many state campaign finance websites
StateScoop – Alex Koma | Published: 5/31/2016

The Campaign Finance Institute released a report that examines how easily ordinary people could use state websites to find out how much money each state’s governor collected in campaign contributions in their most recent elections. Researchers found, for example, that users only managed to answer about 54 percent of questions correctly based on the information available on the websites. Fourteen states earned outright negative ratings, while 10 received middling scores. A total of 12 states got high marks from testers. Michael Malbin, the institute’s executive director, said he hopes the study shines a light on how difficult the sites are to use for “political amateurs, people who don’t use them as part of their occupations.”

Federal:

Clinton Celebrates Victory, Declaring: ‘We’ve reached a milestone’
Washington Post – Anne Gearan, Robert Costa, and John Wagner | Published: 6/8/2016

Hillary Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination after decisive victories in the California, New Jersey, and New Mexico primaries, and appealed to supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to unite with her against Donald Trump. With the Democratic race nearing a close, Clinton savored the biggest night of journey from lawyer, wife, and first lady to senator, secretary of state, and now, the first woman to win a major party’s nomination. The only remaining way for Sanders to win the nomination is to persuade super delegates to effectively overturn the will of the voters.

Exclusive: Trump’s 3,500 lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee
USA Today – Nick Penzenstadler and Susan Page | Published: 6/2/2016

A USA Today analysis of legal filings finds that Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades. They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits. The sheer volume of lawsuits is unprecedented for a presidential nominee. No candidate of a major party has had anything approaching the number of Trump’s courtroom entanglements. Trump’s history of legal actions provides clues about his style as a leader and manager.

From the States and Municipalities:

California – Builders Pierce California’s Environmental Shield with New Weapon: The ballot
New York Times – Ian Lovett | Published: 6/7/2016

Once heralded as a vital check on corporate influence over government, California’s ballot initiative system, which allows residents to propose laws and approve them by popular vote, has been used to sharply cut property taxes and to enact the country’s first medical marijuana law. But these days, developers are using the process for another purpose: to sidestep state environmental laws and speed major developments. Supporters of the ballot measures say they allow residents to override a broken system in which lawsuits and environmental reviews can delay projects for years. But environmentalists argue the arrangement grants special privileges to developers, even if only a relatively small fraction of residents support a project. And land-use experts say the strategy will become more common unless the state government steps in to curtail it.

California – Countywide Ethics Commission Overwhelmingly Approved
Voice of OC – Tracy Wood | Published: 6/7/2016

Voters approved a ballot measure that will establish an ethics commission in Orange County. The commission will enforce campaign finance law on countywide elected officials. The initiative also gives the ethics panel the authority to enforce the county’s gift ban, lobbyist registry, and parts of the county ethics code.

California – Ex-California Lawmaker Tom Calderon Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering
Sacramento Bee – David Siders and Alexei Koseff | Published: 6/6/2016

Former California Assemblyperson Thomas Calderon pleaded guilty to money laundering as part of a plea agreement in which he acknowledged concealing bribes that his brother, then-state Sen. Ron Calderon, accepted in exchange for supporting the expansion of tax credits for the film industry. Though his conviction carries up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors are requesting that he get no more than one year. The bribes came from an undercover FBI agent who posed as the owner of a movie studio. Thomas Calderon deposited a $30,000 bribe from the undercover agent into a bank account belong to the consulting company he founded, according to the plea agreement. He then wrote a check for $9,000 from that bank account to Ron Calderon’s daughter, the agreement says.

Florida – Bryant Miller Olive Appeals $50 Fine – and Loses
Florida Politics – Jim Rosica | Published: 6/3/2016

The Bryant Miller Olive law firm lost its appeal of a $50 fine for the late filing of one of its lobbyist compensation reports in Florida. Commissioners, though, were split on whether to waive the fine. Some wondered why the firm was fighting a one-day fine; others asked why commission staff bothered to pursue it. Foyt Ralston, a lobbyist with the firm, said it “made every attempt to submit our report.” The company appealed “partially on principle, but this is what we had to do to ask the question of how these things are handled,” Ralston said.

Florida – Hialeah Restaurant Owner Tried to Bribe Commissioner, State Says
Miami Herald – David Ovalle | Published: 6/1/2016

When the owner of Hialeah’s Rancho Okeechobee needed permission to keep the restaurant open late for a special event, he walked into the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose Diaz. “You have a friend in Rancho Okeechobee,” he wrote in a letter, according to police. And inside the envelope: $700 cash. The envelope stuffed with cash led not to political favors but to the arrest of Elezear Gadea, the restaurant owner, who has been charged with offering a bribe, authorities said. He later gave an undercover detective, posing as a commissioner’s aide, $2,000 in cash to help him, according to police.

Missouri – Four Years Later, an Ex-Politician Is Still Benefiting from His Campaign Fund
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kevin McDermott | Published: 6/5/2016

When Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley resigned in 2012, he kept his $1.1 million campaign fund open. Donors gave the money to further the public agenda he represented. Instead, those funds are furthering Tilley’s lobbying and political consulting work, through a web of private firms and PACs tied to his family members and political allies. Rep. Jay Barnes described a series of newly outlawed maneuvers that are essentially a diagram of what Tilley has done since leaving office: putting campaign funds in long-term investments that do not allow immediate access to the money; moving the money into separate PACs controlled by the former officeholder; and passing the cash to other elected officials while lobbying those officials.

New York – Independent Budgeting a Little-Used Practice for City Watchdog Agencies
Gotham Gazette – Aaron Holmes | Published: 6/3/2016

During the annual budget process, New York City agencies and entities are at the mercy of the mayor and the city council, who ultimately set the budget. But unlike many, the several agencies and officials who regularly monitor or regulate the administration are put in an awkward situation, annually appealing for funding in a dynamic that can hamper their ability to carry out charter-mandated duties and, in some cases, lead to politically-motivated budget cuts.

New York – NY Gov. Cuomo Wants New Limits on Secret Campaign Funds
The Associated Press – David Klepper | Published: 6/8/2016

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to tighten restrictions on laws governing money given to candidates via so-called independent expenditure committees. Legislation announced by the governor would strengthen rules prohibiting independent groups from working with campaigns to elect specific candidates. It also would require greater disclosure of spending by independent groups. Cuomo released a legal opinion from his top counsel that seeks to clarify ambiguities in current rules prohibiting coordination. The opinion, meant to advise prosecutors or groups like the state Board of Elections, lays out several indications of improper cooperation between a candidate and an independent group. They include sharing major donors or office space, or family members or former staffers of the candidate who lead the independent organization.

Ohio – Lobbyist John Raphael’s Influence Spread Swiftly
Columbus Dispatch – Lucas Sullivan | Published: 6/8/2016

A judge sentenced former Columbus lobbyist John Raphael to 15 months in prison for extorting campaign contributions from red-light-camera vendor Redflex to help secure city contracts for the company. Raphael’s actions have resulted in more than 37 subpoenas, a federal grand jury, hundreds of court depositions, the interrogations of more than 50 Columbus and Franklin County employees, and at least two searches by FBI agents. “It became known that if a company wanted to land a contract, it had to go through John,” said a former city council aide. The city council has enacted new ethics laws this year that call for more accountability and monitoring of lobbyists.

Rhode Island – General Assembly Passes Lobbying Reform Act
Newport Buzz – Christian Winthrop | Published: 6/7/2016

Rhode Island lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that will reform the state’s lobbying law. Senate Bill 2361 and House Bill 7388 clarify the definitions of lobbyist and lobbying; provide a framework for investigations and hearings; strengthen and simplify lobbying reporting guidelines while making it easier for the general public to access these reports; and increase maximum penalties for non-compliance to more than double the current amounts. The bills await Gov. Gina Raimondo’s signature.

Wisconsin – What’s in a Name? Ask the Wisconsin Ethics Commission
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Scott Bauer (Associated Press) | Published: 6/9/2016

Members of the newly created commission to regulate ethics and campaign finance laws for Wisconsin officeholders and lobbyists continued their organizational work with the simplest of tasks: deciding on a name. The Wisconsin Ethics Commission, the name board members agreed upon, was created by the Legislature as one of two groups to replace the Government Accountability Board (GAB) starting on June 30. The agency does not yet have an administrator. Twenty-two people applied for the job, said outgoing GAB Executive Director Kevin Kennedy.

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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June 9, 2016 •

A Tribute to Women Presidential Candidates

American history is full of brave, bold, and courageous women. Below is a list of some of the women who throughout history have taken their courage to the national stage as candidates for President. Victoria Woodhull was the first female […]

American history is full of brave, bold, and courageous women. Below is a list of some of the women who throughout history have taken their courage to the national stage as candidates for President.

    • Victoria_WoodhullVictoria Woodhull was the first female candidate for President of the United States. She was an activist for women’s rights and labor reforms. Together with her sister, she was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street, and they were among the first women to found a newspaper. She ran as a presidential candidate in 1872 from the Equal Rights Party, supporting women’s suffrage and equal rights.
    • Belva Ann LockwoodBelva Ann Lockwood was the second female candidate for President of the United States. She was an attorney, politician, educator, and author. She was the first woman attorney allowed to practice before the Supreme Court. Lockwood ran for president in 1884 and 1888 on the ticket of the National Equal Rights Party and was the first woman to appear on official ballots.
    • Margaret_Chase_SmithMargaret Chase Smith was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in the 1964 presidential election, but was the first woman to be placed in nomination for the presidency at a major party’s convention. She served as a U.S Representative and a U.S. Senator from Maine. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress, and the first woman to represent Maine in either. When she announced her candidacy, she was quoted as saying “I have few illusions and no money, but I’m staying for the finish. When people keep telling you, you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try.”
    • Shirley_ChisholmShirley Chisholm joined the race in 1972 and became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States, and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. She was a politician, educator, and author. She championed a bill to ensure domestic workers received benefits, was an advocate for improved access to education, and fought for the rights of immigrants. She sponsored a bill to expand childcare for women, supported the national school lunch bill and helped establish the national commission on consumer protection and product safety.

Sen._Carol_Moseley_Braun

  • Carol Moseley Braun was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. After a disappointing third place showing in the D.C. primary and four days before the Iowa caucuses, Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and endorsed Howard Dean. She is a politician and lawyer who also served as an Ambassador to New Zealand.
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June 9, 2016 •

Thursday News Roundup

Lobbying Ohio: “Lobbyist John Raphael Sentenced to 15 Months in Federal Prison” by Lucas Sullivan for Columbus Dispatch Rhode Island: “General Assembly Passes Lobbying Reform Act” by Christian Winthrop for Newport Buzz Campaign Finance “Trump’s Fundraisers See No Chance of […]

blue-diamond-smLobbying

Ohio: “Lobbyist John Raphael Sentenced to 15 Months in Federal Prison” by Lucas Sullivan for Columbus Dispatch

Rhode Island: “General Assembly Passes Lobbying Reform Act” by Christian Winthrop for Newport Buzz

Campaign Finance

Trump’s Fundraisers See No Chance of Hitting $1 Billion” by Alex Isenstadt for Politico

New York: “NY Gov. Cuomo Wants New Limits on Secret Campaign Funds” by David Klepper for The Associated Press

Tennessee: “Jeremy Durham Faces Subpoena in New State Investigation” by Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher for The Tennessean

Texas: “Council to Consider Dark Money Ordinance” by Jack Craver for Austin Monitor

Ethics

California: “Countywide Ethics Commission Overwhelmingly Approved” by Tracy Wood for Voice of OC

California: “California Prop. 50 Passes, Allows Lawmakers to Be Suspended Without Pay for Wrongdoing” by Alison Noon (Associated Press) for Orange County Register

New York: “Fraud Charges Against Jail Officers’ Union Chief With a Taste for Luxury” by William Rashbaum, Michael Winerip, and Michael Schwirtz for New York Times

Elections

Next for Democrats: A delicate dance to broker peace between Clinton and Sanders” by Philip Rucker and Dan Balz for Washington Post

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June 8, 2016 •

Five Citizen’s Initiatives to Hit Maine’s November Ballot

A record five citizen’s initiatives are set to hit the November ballot. If all five initiatives pass, ranked-choice voting would replace the current election system (IB 2), a tax surcharge would be imposed on certain households to increase funding for […]

MaineA record five citizen’s initiatives are set to hit the November ballot.

If all five initiatives pass, ranked-choice voting would replace the current election system (IB 2), a tax surcharge would be imposed on certain households to increase funding for public schools (IB 3), minimum wage would be raised to $12 an hour by 2020, background checks would be required for private gun sales (IB 5), and marijuana use would be legal (IB 6).

Ranked-choice voting ensures the winning candidate, in a multi-candidate race, receives the majority vote because voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate does not receive 50 percent of first-choice votes, then the lowest scoring candidate is eliminated and votes are retabulated.

Despite the Legislature’s intention to kill the bill version of IB 2 in March, voters have the opportunity to pass the initiative this November, much like the passage of IB 1 in November 2015, which revamped campaign finance laws.

If successful, Maine would be the first state to institute ranked-choice voting.

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