July 3, 2020 •

News You Can Use Digest – July 3, 2020

News You Can Use

National/Federal A Common Thread Among Many Trump Press Staffers: They’re related to other Trump staffers MSN – Paul Fahri (Washington Post) | Published: 6/23/2020 Landing a White House job is a highly competitive sport, and who manages to get those jobs […]

National/Federal

A Common Thread Among Many Trump Press Staffers: They’re related to other Trump staffers
MSN – Paul Fahri (Washington Post) | Published: 6/23/2020

Landing a White House job is a highly competitive sport, and who manages to get those jobs has always been a subject of fascination. In the Trump White House, being the relative of someone with a big administration job seems to be one crucial advantage. Family connections, through marriage or direct blood ties, turn up in several places among the people who are in charge of communicating the administration’s agenda or involved in his reelection effort. In a legal opinion written in early 2017, the Justice Department concluded the president has “special hiring authority” and that a decades-old anti-nepotism statute did not apply to the White House.

A Dozen Donors Paid Nearly $480,000 in Legal Fees for Pence in Mueller Inquiry, New Filing Shows
MSN – Michelle Ye Hee Lee (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2020

A dozen donors gave about $480,000 to cover Vice President Mike Pence’s legal bills in the special counsel’s investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. Jim Atterholt, Pence’s former gubernatorial chief of staff, started the fund with $25 in December 2018. Since then, donors gave between $5,000 and $100,000, including business executives from Pence’s home state of Indiana and longtime Republican contributors. Federal ethics rules prohibit executive branch officials from receiving excessive gifts, and watchdogs have called on clearer guidelines for legal expense funds to prevent the potential for conflicts-of-interest or undue influence.

As Support for Mask-Wearing Grows, So Do Political Risks for Forgoing Them
MSN – Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 6/26/2020

President Trump makes a point of not wearing a mask in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, meanwhile, has gone in the other direction. A mask is part of his 2020 signature look. This divergent accessorizing once highlighted yet another partisan divide. For Trump allies, going barefaced is about individual liberty. For Biden supporters, the mask is a symbol of science and sound policy. But as infections spike in red states, support for masks has grown. Some Republicans have urged the public to cover their faces in public, arguing it is the best way to slow the virus. This shift in rhetoric highlights the potential risks for the president as he continues to ignore the advice of public health experts, who agree masks are crucial to slow the spread of the virus.

Congressional Black Caucus Seizes on Push for Racial Justice to Wield Greater Influence
MSN – Rachel Bade, Karoun Demirjian, and Paul Kane (Washington Post) | Published: 6/27/2020

The Congressional Black Caucus is seizing the national moment of reckoning over systemic inequality and racial injustice to wield its greatest level of influence inside the Capitol and in national politics. The caucus took the lead in crafting policing legislation the House passed, an expansive measure to stop police brutality after the death of George Floyd. Three caucus members – Sen. Kamala Harris and Reps. Val Demings and Karen Bass – are on the shortlist of potential running mates for Joe Biden. And with black candidates around the nation channeling the public clamor for equality into likely primary upsets recently, the group is poised to expand its ranks next year when it marks its 50th anniversary.

Democrats Confirm Plans for Nearly All-Virtual Convention
AP News – Bill Barrow | Published: 6/24/2020

Democrats will hold an almost entirely virtual presidential nominating convention August 17-20 in Milwaukee using live broadcasts and online streaming. Joe Biden plans to accept the nomination in person, but it remains to be seen whether there will be a significant in-person audience there to see it. The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that official business, including the votes to nominate Biden and his yet-to-be-named running mate, will take place virtually, with delegates being asked not to travel to Milwaukee.

Devin Nunes Can’t Sue Twitter Over Statements by Fake Cow, Judge Rules
McClatchy DC – Kate Irby | Published: 6/24/2020

A judge ruled U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother, and a Republican strategist. Judge John Marshall said Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims of” Nunes due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms. Nunes sued Twitter, the two parody accounts known as Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes, and strategist Liz Mair. He alleged the latter three had defamed him online, ruining his reputation and causing him to win his 2018 election by a narrower margin than normal. He accused Twitter of being negligent for allowing the alleged defamation.

DOJ Files Charges Against Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff
Politico – Theodoric Meyer | Published: 6/25/2020

Jack Abramoff is set to return to prison after agreeing to plead guilty to violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). He is the first person charged with violating the LDA, which was amended in 2007 after his earlier scheme was uncovered. It was one of the biggest corruption scandals in recent history, resulting in 20 convictions or guilty pleas. Prosecutors said that in 2017, Abramoff agreed to seek changes in federal law and met with members of Congress on behalf of the marijuana industry without registering as a lobbyist. He was also charged with marketing a cryptocurrency to potential investors with a series of false claims. Abramoff made a public showing of rehabilitating himself after he was released from prison in 2010.

For Months, Trump Allies Hunted for Tapes of Biden in Ukraine. Now They’re Turning Up.
Washington Post – Paul Sonne, Rosalind Helderman, Josh Dawsey, and David Stern | Published: 6/30/2020

President Trump’s allies were in pursuit last year of tape recordings of Joe Biden speaking to Ukrainian officials while he was vice president, conversations they believed could help them damage Biden’s current bid for the White House. Now, with just months to go before Election Day, that material is surfacing in Ukraine and being touted by some of the president’s backers in the U.S. Recordings show Biden, as he has previously said publicly, linked loan guarantees for Ukraine to the ouster of the country’s prosecutor general. The tapes do not provide evidence to back Rudolph Giuliani’s accusation that Biden sought to have him fired to block an investigation of a gas company that had hired his son Hunter. The authenticity of the audio files, which appear heavily edited, could not be verified.

GOP Appointee Resigns from Federal Election Commission, Once Again Leaving It Without a Quorum
Washington Post – Michelle Ye Hee Lee | Published: 6/26/2020

Caroline Hunter, a Republican commissioner on FEC, announced he is stepping down on July 3, leaving the agency without a quorum and unable to vote on enforcement actions. Hunter’s resignation came just weeks after the FEC had regained a quorum of four commissioners following the confirmation of Republican James Trainor. The White House announced its plans to nominate campaign finance lawyer Allen Dickerson to replace Hunter. Dickerson is the legal director of the Institute for Free Speech, a nonprofit that opposes limits on political speech and advertising. The FEC, which is ideologically split by design, is now left with one Republican, one Democrat, and an independent who often caucuses with Democrats.

Hickenlooper Rolls to Victory in Colorado Senate Primary
Politico – James Arkin and Ally Mutnick | Published: 6/30/2020

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper won the Democratic Senate primary in Colorado and will face U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable Republicans on the ballot this fall. It was just one of several major races across the country. Hickenlooper was the prohibitive favorite for months, leaning on his successes in his two terms as governor and his universal name recognition and positive image among voters. But he stumbled in the closing stretch of the race, apologizing for racially insensitive comments, and being held in contempt by the Independent Ethics Commission, which ruled he twice violated state ethics laws as governor.

House Republican Leaders Support GOP Nominee Open to QAnon Conspiracy Theory
Washington Post – Paul Kane and Colby Itkowitz | Published: 7/1/2020

Republican leaders stood by the upset winner of the GOP primary in a competitive U.S. House seat despite her openness to the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory. The National Republican Congressional Committee, overseen by top GOP leaders, embraced Lauren Boebert as their nominee following her defeat of five-term Rep. Scott Tipton. Boebert is the ninth individual to win the Republican nomination for a seat in the House or Senate who is either a full supporter of the QAnon movement or has voiced support for some of its tenets, none of which have a foundation in truth. Conspiracy theory experts consider it a webbed network filled with activists who wrongly believe a secret group of elites inside of and outside of government is working against Trump, as well as other false allegations of pedophilia among top Democratic officials.

Human Rights Groups Turn Their Sights on Trump’s America
Politico – Nahal Toosi | Published: 7/1/2020

International activists, groups, and institutions are increasingly focusing on the United States as a villain, not a hero, on human rights. While the country has never fully escaped such scrutiny, former officials and activists say that under President Trump, American domestic strife is raising an unusual level of alarm alongside U.S. actions on the global stage. Some groups also flag what they say is an erosion of democracy in a country that has long styled itself as a beacon of freedom.

Judge Sets July 14 Surrender Date, Immediate Home Confinement for Roger Stone
Politico – Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein | Published: 6/26/2020

A federal judge ordered longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone to prison on July 14 and into home confinement until then, citing Stone’s own evidence of medical issues that he cited to request a delay of his June 30 surrender date to begin a 40-month jail term. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone’s request to delay the start of his sentence until September 3. Jackson sentenced Stone to his 40-month jail term in February following his conviction on charges of repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to impede the House’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

New York Court Sides with Publisher of Explosive Book by President Trump’s Niece
Seattle Times – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 7/1/2020

A court lifted a temporary restraining order against the publication of a book by President Trump’s niece, enabling publisher Simon & Schuster to continue printing and distributing the insider account by Mary Trump. A New York Supreme Court judge agreed to impose the restraining order to allow the parties to present their arguments, raising doubts about whether it would be published. But the Supreme Court’s appellate division lifted the restraining order that had been imposed on Simon & Schuster, while leaving in place the one regarding Mary Trump. That effectively enables the publisher to continue distributing copies of the book in preparation for the planned July 28 publication, even as the overall merits of the case are argued.

Reddit Closes Long-Running Forum Supporting President Trump After Years of Policy Violations
MSN – Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin (WashingtonPost) | Published: 6/29/2020

Reddit shut down its popular but controversial forum devoted to supporting President Trump, following years in which the social media company tried but often failed to control the racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, glorification of violence, and conspiracy theories that flourished there. The move by Reddit comes amid a broader crackdown by technology companies to try to rein in hateful, deceptive. and other problematic content on their platforms, typically after high-profile scandals prompted action. Reddit also implemented its first policy banning hate speech and closed about 2,000 individual forums, what the company calls “subreddits.” The company already had a policy against “divisive language” in advertising.

SBA Exempted Lawmakers, Federal Officials from Ethics Rules in $660 Billion Loan Program
Washington Post – Jonathan O’Connell and Aaron Gregg | Published: 6/26/2020

A brief and barely noticed “blanket approval” issued by the Trump administration allows lawmakers, Small Business Administration (SBA) staff, other federal officials and their families to bypass long-standing rules on conflicts-of-interest to seek funds for themselves, adding to concerns that coronavirus aid programs could be subject to fraud and abuse. Policy experts and watchdogs said the blanket waiver could allow officials to write the rules to benefit themselves. Josh Gotbaum, a Brookings Institution scholar who has worked in economic policy under Democratic and Republican administrations, said he was “appalled” by the waiver.

The Lincoln Project Is Trolling Trump. But Can It Sway Voters?
Politico – Tina Nguyen and Elena Schneider | Published: 6/29/2020

In the past few months, the Lincoln Project, an anti-President Trump PAC run by Republicans, has successfully established itself as a squatter in Trump’s mental space, thanks to several factors: members each boasting hundreds of thousands of social media followers, rapidly cut ads that respond to current events, and a single-minded focus on buying airtime wherever Trump is most likely to be bingeing cable news that day, whether it is the District of Columbia. market or his golf courses across the country. And every time Trump responds, the Lincoln Project scores an incalculable amount of earned media, and millions of views online. But though the PAC has successfully caught the president’s attention, Trump’s critics worry the ads may not work to “prosecute the case” against his reelection, as the group vowed to do in December.

Zuckerberg Once Wanted to Sanction Trump. Then Facebook Wrote Rules That Accommodated Him.
MSN – Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg, and Tony Romm (Washington Post) | Published: 6/28/2020

Facebook constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy allowing politicians to lie, and altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims it was biased against conservatives, according to documents and employees. A document shows it began in 2015 when as a candidate, Donald Trump posted a video calling for a ban of Muslims entering the U.S. Facebook executives declined to remove it, setting in motion an exception for political discourse. Concessions to Trump paved the way for a growing list of digitally savvy politicians to push out misinformation and incendiary political language. It has complicated the understanding of major events and contributed to polarization. Fear of Trump’s wrath pushed Facebook into more deferential behavior toward its growing number of right-leaning users, tilting the balance of news people see on the network.

Canada

Canada Alberta Local Elections Bill Gets Mixed Reaction from Experts, Former Candidates
CBC – Madeleine Cummings and Michelle Bellfontaine | Published: 6/28/2020

Policy experts and former candidates are giving a mixed reaction to amendments to Alberta’s Local Authorities Election Amendment Act. Among the changes proposed are removing the requirement for candidates to disclose their donors prior to Election Day, removing limits on spending by third-party advertisers outside the local election campaign period, and allowing individuals to donate up to $5,000 to as many candidates as they want during an election.

Canada Records Show Charity Closely Linked to Trudeau Has Received Multiple Sole-Source Contracts from Liberal Government
Canada.com – Christopher Nardi | Published: 6/29/2020

WE Charity, which has close ties to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family, and which will get millions of dollars to administer a federal student volunteer grant program. has received a series of exclusively sole-source contracts from the federal government over the last three years. Sole-source contracts are government contracts that are handed directly to a chosen supplier, without the opportunity for others to provide competing bids for the business. The contracts were for vague services such as “Management consulting,” “Public relations services,” and, in three cases, “Other professional services not otherwise specified,” according to records.

From the States and Municipalities

Alabama Alabama Asks Supreme Court to Review COVID-19 Election Ruling
Roll Call – Todd Ruger | Published: 6/29/2020

Alabama officials asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step into the debate over how to conduct elections in the midst of a national health crisis in a legal dispute over absentee ballot requirements in three of the state’s largest counties. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill filed an application to the high court to overturn a lower court’s injunction that found the requirements could violate the constitutional right to vote for some elderly and disabled voters during the coronavirus pandemic. At issue in Alabama are two requirements state officials say combat voter fraud. Voters must submit a copy of their photo ID with their absentee ballot application, and absentee ballots must contain a voter affidavit that is either notarized or signed by two witnesses.

Arizona Witness in Rep. David Cook Investigation Says Lawmaker Sent Threatening Message
Arizona Republic – Andrew Oxford | Published: 6/29/2020

The day before a legislative ethics committee released a critical report on Arizona Rep. David Cook, the lawmaker got a copy for himself and a few hours later sent a message to one of the witnesses that the witness took as a threat. Patrick Bray was interviewed by investigators looking into claims that Cook had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist at the same time he was supporting her legislation. The investigation also looked into allegations Cook intervened to stop a local sheriff from seizing property belonging to the lobbyist’s family.

California Feds Say Tower Project Shows Toll of Bribery in Huizar Case: Less affordable housing
Los Angeles Times – Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser | Published: 6/26/2020

In 2018, a real estate developer received the blessing of the Los Angeles City Council for a new high-rise in the Arts District. The real estate executive said the council had approved the tallest building yet in the Arts District, and with “minimal” requirements for affordable housing, according to federal prosecutors. Now l investigators are describing the Arts District project as one of the real estate developments entangled in an alleged criminal scheme headed by Los Angeles City Councilperson Jose Huizar. U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna cited it as an example of “the harm that comes with bribery.”

California Huizar, Facing Felony Charge, Will No Longer Receive L.A. Council Salary, Official Says
Los Angeles Times – David Zahniser | Published: 6/29/2020

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin moved to have the city stop paying Councilperson Jose Huizar his salary, saying it would be “unacceptable” for Huizar to continue receiving taxpayer funds while facing a felony charge in a federal corruption case. Huizar had been earning nearly $214,000 per year. Galperin said Huizar’s last day receiving a city salary was June 23, the day he was charged with racketeering in a case in which he is accused of receiving $1.5 million in bribes and other improper financial benefits. A Galperin spokesperson said the City Charter allows the controller to stop salary payments when a council member is not “devoting his time to duties related to his office.”

California Nuru Scandal Prompts New Rules for Public Works to Prevent Corruption
San Francisco Examiner – Joshua Sabatini | Published: 6/29/2020

The alleged public corruption engaged in by former San Francisco Public Works head Mohammed Nuru was able to go on unchecked for years due to gaps in city contracting and gift rules he exploited, according to a new report. The city controller’s investigation of the Public Works department resulted in eight recommendations to reform its operations to prevent the sort of behavior for which Nuru is accused. Federal prosecutors have accused Nuru of trading favors for city contractors and developers in exchange for gifts. Nuru also created a culture conducive to public corruption, the report said.

California Permit Expediter Accused of Fraud to Cooperate in FBI City Hall Corruption Probe
San Francisco Examiner – Michael Barber and Joseph Sabatini | Published: 6/25/2020

A San Francisco permit expediter is facing criminal charges for allegedly engaging in “pay-to-play” schemes with public officials including former Public Works head Mohammed Nuru for more than a decade. Prosecutors charged Walter Wong with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. He has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the FBI investigation into public corruption at City Hall. Wong has helped developers navigate San Francisco’s complicated permitting process for more than a decade and is also a building contractor. He is the seventh person to be charged as a result of the expanding FBI corruption probe.

Florida A Lawsuit to Kick Carlos Gimenez Off the Ballot for Congress Continues – For Now
Miami Herald – Alex Daugherty | Published: 6/25/2020

A typographical error led to a two-month legal fight between Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and firefighter Omar Blanco, and the dispute that began with a misspelled check now has Blanco accusing Gimenez of using illegal funds to qualify for the ballot in Florida’s 26th Congressional District. The back-and-forth will continue, at least for now, after a judge denied Gimenez’s motion to dismiss Blanco’s lawsuit. An attorney for Blanco said Gimenez’s candidacy is illegal if his $10,400 check, written in April to qualify for the primary ballot, was paid for with funds from a PAC instead of Gimenez’s campaign account. The bank that issued Gimenez’s check said it did not have any records of a campaign account bearing Gimenez’s name, or the misspelled version – “Giminez” – that appeared on his qualifying check.

Florida Conflict-of-Interest Issues Spark Conflict Among Tourism Development Council Members
Florida Today – Dave Berman | Published: 6/25/2020

A behind-the-scenes dispute involving members of the Brevard County Tourist Development Council over perceived conflicts-of-interest has become public, as Giles Malone and Bob Baugher repeatedly sniped at one another during a recent meeting. Their debate focused on Malone’s role in helping bring the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games to Brevard County and his involvement in linking athletes with hotels. The debate could lead to a larger examination of how the council handles business dealings involving its members and their companies. That includes when members must abstain from voting on certain matters and when they must formally declare they have a conflict of interest.  County officials plan to ask the Florida Commission on Ethics to help sort things out.

Georgia Georgia Lawmakers Pass New DeKalb Ethics Bill
The Champion – Asia Ashley | Published: 6/28/2020

On the final day of the legislative session, Georgia lawmakers passed a new proposal to the DeKalb County ethics laws. The county’s ethics board has been dormant and unable to make recommendations on complaints received since August 2018 when the state Supreme Court ruled the board was unconstitutional due to its members being appointed by non-elected entities. If House Bill 1243 is approved by voters in November, the new ethics board would begin their roles on January 1, 2020.

Maryland Baltimore Comptroller Pratt Responds to Report Alleging She Approved Contracts for Groups on Abstention List
Baltimore Sun – Emily Opilo | Published: 6/24/2020

Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt asked the city inspector general to correct a report on her voting history, saying it may have left a misleading impression that she approved contracts in which she had a conflict-of-interest. In her response to the report, Pratt said she maintains a long “abstentions list” – organizations that she has worked with, belonged to, or filed tax returns for as a private accountant – in an effort to be transparent as a member of the city’s powerful Board of Estimates. Inspector General Isabel Cumming said she stood by the report.

Mississippi Mississippi Governor Signs Bill Changing State’s Flag, Abandoning Confederate Symbol
Philadelphia Inquirer – Mark Berman and Ben Guarino (Washington Post) | Published: 6/30/2020

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill that retires the only state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem. The new flag’s design will be determined later, but lawmakers have barred it from including the most recognizable icon of the Confederacy, which many people associate with racism, slavery, and oppression. Mississippi voters chose to keep the flag in a 2001 election, with supporters saying they saw it as a symbol of Southern heritage. But a growing number of cities and all the state’s public universities have abandoned it. The issue was still broadly considered too volatile for legislators to touch until the death of George Floyd set off protests against racial injustice, followed by calls to take down Confederate symbols.

Montana Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws
AP News – Mary Beth Hanson | Published: 6/26/2020

The Montana Republican Party and two minor party qualification committees violated state campaign finance laws in a successful effort to qualify the Green Party of Montana for the primary ballot without the Green Party’s knowledge. The Montana GOP has acknowledged paying Advanced Micro Targeting $100,000 to gather signatures to certify the Green Party for the ballot. The money was also listed as an in-kind contribution to a group called Montanans for Conservation, which did not register as a minor party qualifying committee until after the Green Party was certified for the ballot on March 6. The Legislature passed a law in 2019 requiring groups to report any spending for paid signature gatherers to qualify issues or parties for the ballot to ensure transparency.

New Jersey Buried in N.J.’s Budget Cuts: A break for a billionaire
New York Times – Tracey Tully | Published: 7/2/2020

New Jersey lawmakers passed a stopgap three-month budget that included $4 billion in cuts. It was fast-tracked to meet the July 1 deadline, leaving watchdogs and advocacy organizations largely in the dark about key details during a time when most traditional lobbying and legislative activities have been sidelined by the virus. Somewhere along the way a one-paragraph clause was quietly inserted. The wording could clear the way for private development in Liberty State Park, which has been eyed for decades by developers. Liberty National, an exclusive private golf club, has been pressing for years to expand into a nearby section of the park. Key lawmakers said they were blindsided by the maneuver that would likely reward the wealthy at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is exposing the nation’s economic and racial divide.

New York NYC Board of Elections Director Fined for Violating Ethics Law
Gothamist – Brigid Bergin (WNYC) | Published: 6/25/2020

New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan was fined $2,500 for violating the city’s ethics law. In 2016, Ryan served as an unpaid member of an advisory board for Election Systems and Software (ES&S), a vendor the board purchases its election machines and other supplies from. In 2018, it was revealed Ryan took nine trips paid for by ES&S. Ryan sought guidance from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board who advised him ES&S could pay for his travel expenses to attend board meetings as needed for him to fulfill his city duties. But Ryan committed an ethics violation while attending a meeting in Manhattan in 2016.

North Carolina NC Legislators Notified After a Lobbyist Tests Positive for Coronavirus
Raleigh News and Observer – Lucille Sherman, Danielle Battaglia, and Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan | Published: 7/1/2020

A lobbyist who met with as many as five members of the North Carolina General Assembly tested positive for COVID-19. “I am told no legislators who met with the lobbyists have symptoms or have tested positive,” House Speaker Tim Moore said in a text message. Moore said the lobbyist went to meetings and did not linger in the building. This is the second time a person who was in the Legislative Building has been reported as testing positive for COVID-19. In March, a cafeteria staff member tested positive one day after working in the building.

Ohio Federal Agents Charge Four Toledo City Council Members in Bribery Probe
Toledo Blade – Allison Dunn and Sarah Elms | Published: 6/30/2020

Four Toledo City Council members and a private attorney were arrested on charges of accepting cash and other things of value from business owners in exchange for favorable votes on issues before the council, federal prosecutors said. Council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Garrick Johnson, along with Keith Mitchell, an attorney who Harper allegedly used to solicit and funnel bribe payments, all face bribery and extortion charges. Details in the complaint suggest up to $34,260 changed hands between business owners, the council members, and Mitchell during the two-year investigation.

Ohio ‘The World Will Never Break Me.’ Tamaya Dennard Pleads Guilty; Sentencing Coming Later.
Cincinnati Enquirer – Sharon Coolidge and Kevin Grasha | Published: 6/28/2020

Former Cincinnati City Councilperson Tamaya Dennard pleaded guilty to accepting $15,000 as part of a scheme to exchange her votes for money. According to court documents, on two separate days in September 2019, Dennard requested and received a $10,000 cashier’s check, then $5,000 in cash from an attorney to pay for her personal expenses. In exchange for the money, documents say, “Dennard promised and did provide favorable official action on behalf of” the lawyer’s unnamed client. After receiving the $15,000, Dennard continued to solicit additional money from the attorney.

Texas U.S. Supreme Court Declines Texas Democrats’ Request to Allow All Texans to Vote by Mail
Texas Tribune – Alexa Ura | Published: 6/26/2020

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an initial bid by state Democrats to expand voting by mail to all Texas voters during the coronavirus pandemic. The high court denied the Texas Democratic Party’s request to let U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order to expand mail-in voting take effect while the case is on appeal. Biery ruled in May that Texas must allow all voters fearful of becoming infected at polling places to vote by mail even if they would not ordinarily qualify for mail-in ballots under state election law. The decision means the state’s strict rules to qualify for ballots that can be filled out at home will remain in place for the July 14 primary runoff election. Under current law, mail-in ballots are available only if voters are 65 or older, cite a disability or illness, will be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

Utah Lobbyists and a Utah Senate Leader Create What Critics Call a ‘Fake PAC’ to Help Friends
Salt Lake Tribune – Lee Davidson | Published: 6/27/2020

Lobbyist Spencer Stokes and Utah Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert were upset when the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Term Limits attacked two state Senate candidates they like, including the cousin of Hemmert’s wife. So, they helped form a new local PAC, called Utah Term Limits, to send competing mailers. They created it one day after deadlines that would have required disclosing its donors and expenses before the June 30 primary election. So, the source of the money remains hidden. Senate candidate and former Utah Rep. Rich Cunningham said it appears to have little if any membership beyond lobbyists who use dark money and late ads to muddy up who in his race really favors limiting the terms of politicians.

Washington DC Milestone House Vote on DC Statehood Is Where It Likely Ends … For Now
Roll Call – Chris Cioffi | Published: 6/26/2020

A U.S. House approved a bill to admit the District of Columbia as the 51st state, the first time a such legislation passed either chamber of Congress. It is also expected to be the bill’s last stop, at least until next year. The bill has little chance of making it to the floor in the Republican-controlled Senate. The vote does mark a milestone for many who have spent years fighting for statehood, and if Democrats keep their focus, it might one day become reality if the party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Continue Reading - 33 min read Close

July 2, 2020 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Elections National: “Hickenlooper Rolls to Victory in Colorado Senate Primary” by James Arkin and Ally Mutnick for Politico Florida: “A Lawsuit to Kick Carlos Gimenez Off the Ballot for Congress Continues – For Now” by Alex Daugherty for Miami Herald […]

Elections

National: “Hickenlooper Rolls to Victory in Colorado Senate Primary” by James Arkin and Ally Mutnick for Politico

Florida: “A Lawsuit to Kick Carlos Gimenez Off the Ballot for Congress Continues – For Now” by Alex Daugherty for Miami Herald

Ethics

National: “A Common Thread Among Many Trump Press Staffers: They’re related to other Trump staffers” by Paul Fahri (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “A Dozen Donors Paid Nearly $480,000 in Legal Fees for Pence in Mueller Inquiry, New Filing Shows” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Human Rights Groups Turn Their Sights on Trump’s America” by Nahal Toosi for Politico

Ohio: “Federal Agents Charge Four Toledo City Council Members in Bribery Probe” by Allison Dunn and Sarah Elms for Toledo Blade

Ohio: “‘The World Will Never Break Me.’ Tamaya Dennard Pleads Guilty; Sentencing Coming Later.” by Sharon Coolidge and Kevin Grasha for Cincinnati Enquirer

Lobbying

North Carolina: “NC Legislators Notified After a Lobbyist Tests Positive for Coronavirus” by Lucille Sherman, Danielle Battaglia, and Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan for Raleigh News and Observer

Procurement

Canada: “Records Show Charity Closely Linked to Trudeau Has Received Multiple Sole-Source Contracts from Liberal Government” by Christopher Nardi for Canada.com

California: “Nuru Scandal Prompts New Rules for Public Works to Prevent Corruption” by Joshua Sabatini for San Francisco Examiner

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

July 1, 2020 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Elections National: “The Lincoln Project Is Trolling Trump. But Can It Sway Voters?” by Tina Nguyen and Elena Schneider for Politico National: “For Months, Trump Allies Hunted for Tapes of Biden in Ukraine. Now They’re Turning Up.” by Paul Sonne, […]

Elections

National: “The Lincoln Project Is Trolling Trump. But Can It Sway Voters?” by Tina Nguyen and Elena Schneider for Politico

National: “For Months, Trump Allies Hunted for Tapes of Biden in Ukraine. Now They’re Turning Up.” by Paul Sonne, Rosalind Helderman, Josh Dawsey, and David Stern for Washington Post

Alabama: “Alabama Asks Supreme Court to Review COVID-19 Election Ruling” by Todd Ruger for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “Reddit Closes Long-Running Forum Supporting President Trump After Years of Policy Violations” by Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin (WashingtonPost) for MSN

National: “As Support for Mask-Wearing Grows, So Do Political Risks for Forgoing Them” by Annie Linskey and Cobly Itkowitz for MSN

California: “Huizar, Facing Felony Charge, Will No Longer Receive L.A. Council Salary, Official Says” by David Zahniser for Los Angeles Times

Georgia: “Georgia Lawmakers Pass New DeKalb Ethics Bill” by Asia Ashley for The Champion

Lobbying

Arizona: “Witness in Rep. David Cook Investigation Says Lawmaker Sent Threatening Message” by Andrew Oxford for Arizona Republic

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 30, 2020 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Canada: “Alberta Local Elections Bill Gets Mixed Reaction from Experts, Former Candidates” by Madeleine Cummings and Michelle Bellfontaine for CBC Montana: “Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws” by Mary Beth Hanson for AP News Elections Texas: […]

Campaign Finance

Canada: “Alberta Local Elections Bill Gets Mixed Reaction from Experts, Former Candidates” by Madeleine Cummings and Michelle Bellfontaine for CBC

Montana: “Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws” by Mary Beth Hanson for AP News

Elections

Texas: “U.S. Supreme Court Declines Texas Democrats’ Request to Allow All Texans to Vote by Mail” by Alexa Ura for Texas Tribune

Ethics

National: “Zuckerberg Once Wanted to Sanction Trump. Then Facebook Wrote Rules That Accommodated Him.” by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg, and Tony Romm (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Devin Nunes Can’t Sue Twitter Over Statements by Fake Cow, Judge Rules” by Kate Irby for McClatchy DC

National: “Judge Sets July 14 Surrender Date, Immediate Home Confinement for Roger Stone” by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein for Politico

California: “Feds Say Tower Project Shows Toll of Bribery in Huizar Case: Less affordable housing” by Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser for Los Angeles Times

Mississippi: “Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Retire State Flag Rooted in the Confederacy” by Rick Rojas for New York Times

Legislative Issues

National: “Congressional Black Caucus Seizes on Push for Racial Justice to Wield Greater Influence” by Rachel Bade, Karoun Demirjian, and Paul Kane for Washington Post

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 29, 2020 •

Federal Election Commission Loses Quorum Again

Caroline Hunter announced that she will resign from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on July 3, 2020, leaving the agency without a quorum. Hunter was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush for a six-year term, but stayed on […]

Caroline Hunter announced that she will resign from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on July 3, 2020, leaving the agency without a quorum.

Hunter was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush for a six-year term, but stayed on for another six years due to a replacement not being appointed.

After her retirement, Hunter will be joining the philanthropic group Stand Together.

President Trump has nominated Allen Dickerson, the legal director for the conservative non-profit Institute of Free Speech, to replace Hunter.

The FEC, however, had only just regained a quorum this May after nine months of being unable to conduct business.

This delay was due to having only three of the agency’s six seats filled.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

June 29, 2020 •

Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “GOP Appointee Resigns from Federal Election Commission, Once Again Leaving It Without a Quorum” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post Utah: “Lobbyists and a Utah Senate Leader Create What Critics Call a ‘Fake PAC’ to […]

Campaign Finance

National: “GOP Appointee Resigns from Federal Election Commission, Once Again Leaving It Without a Quorum” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post

Utah: “Lobbyists and a Utah Senate Leader Create What Critics Call a ‘Fake PAC’ to Help Friends” by Lee Davidson for Salt Lake Tribune

Elections

National: “Democrats Confirm Plans for Nearly All-Virtual Convention” by Bill Barrow for AP News

Washington DC: “Milestone House Vote on DC Statehood Is Where It Likely Ends … For Now” by Chris Cioffi for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “SBA Exempted Lawmakers, Federal Officials from Ethics Rules in $660 Billion Loan Program” by Jonathan O’Connell and Aaron Gregg for Washington Post

California: “Permit Expediter Accused of Fraud to Cooperate in FBI City Hall Corruption Probe” by Michael Barber and Joseph Sabatini for San Francisco Examiner

Maryland: “Baltimore Comptroller Pratt Responds to Report Alleging She Approved Contracts for Groups on Abstention List” by Emily Opilo for Baltimore Sun

New York: “NYC Board of Elections Director Fined for Violating Ethics Law” by Brigid Bergin (WNYC) for Gothamist

Lobbying

National: “DOJ Files Charges Against Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff” by Theodoric Meyer for Politico

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 26, 2020 •

News You Can Use Digest – June 26, 2020

News You Can Use

National/Federal A Winner on Election Day in November? Don’t Count on It New York Times – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 6/24/2020 The cliffhanger elections in Kentucky and New York did not just leave the candidates and voters in a state of […]

National/Federal

A Winner on Election Day in November? Don’t Count on It
New York Times – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 6/24/2020

The cliffhanger elections in Kentucky and New York did not just leave the candidates and voters in a state of suspended animation wondering who had won. Election officials, lawyers, and political strategists in both parties said the lack of results was a bracing preview of what could come after the polls close in November: no clear and immediate winner in the presidential race. With the coronavirus pandemic swelling the number of mailed-in ballots to historic highs across the nation, the process of vote-counting has become more unwieldy, and election administrators are straining to keep up and deliver timely results. The jumble of election rules and deadlines by state, including in presidential battlegrounds, all but ensure the victor in a close race will not be known on November 3.

Amid Threats and Political Pushback, Public Health Officials Are Leaving Their Posts
MSN – Rachel Weiner and Ariana Eungjun Cha (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2020

Public health workers are confronting waves of protest at their homes and offices in addition to pressure from politicians who favor a faster reopening. Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said more than 20 health officials have been fired, resigned, or have retired in recent weeks “due to conditions related to having to enforce and stand up for strong public health tactics during this pandemic.” Although shutdown measures are broadly popular, a vocal minority opposes them vociferously. There have been attacks on officials’ race, gender, sexual orientation, and appearance. Freeman said some of the criticisms “seem to be harsher for women.”

Appeals Court Panel Orders End to Michael Flynn Case
New York Times – Charlie Savage | Published: 6/24/2020

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed a federal judge to drop a criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The panel ruled in favor of Flynn and the Trump administration in preventing U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan from exercising his discretion on whether to grant the Justice Department’s motion to clear Flynn. The order was rare and came as a surprise, taking its place as yet another twist in the legal and political drama surrounding the prosecution of Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in the Russia investigation about his conversations in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Ex-Sens. Lott, Breaux Announce Move to Crossroads Strategies
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/15/2020

A week after exiting Squire Patton Boggs, former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and his longtime K Street colleague, ex-Sen. John Breaux, said they were joining the lobbying shop Crossroads Strategies. Both Lott and Breaux had been at Squire Patton Boggs for the past decade. Lott’s reported ousting from the firm, amid a national reckoning on racism, led some on K Street to speculate it was tied to comments he made that drove him from Senate GOP leadership in 2002. Lott, however, said the split was based on business.

Facebook Removes Trump Ads with Symbol Once Used by Nazis to Designate Political Prisoners
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020

In its online salvo against antifa and “far-left mobs,” President Trump’s reelection campaign displayed a marking the Nazis once used to designate political prisoners in concentration camps. A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, and other members of opposition parties. In response to queries from The Washington Post, Facebook deactivated ads that included the inverted red triangle. The symbol appeared in paid posts sponsored by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as by the “Team Trump” campaign page.

FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’
Center for Responsive Politics – Karl Evers-Hillstrom | Published: 6/18/2020

The FEC agreed to take public comments on a petition to close a loophole that allowed former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to transfer millions of dollars to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Bloomberg transferred $18 million from his self-funded campaign to the DNC in March, abusing a rule that allows candidates to funnel unlimited amounts of leftover campaign cash to party committees. Citizens United is seeking to limit the amount of money federal candidates can transfer to a party committee but noted the loophole could be closed in other way.

Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block
AP News – Eric Tucker | Published: 6/21/2020

A federal judge said former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed. The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security issues, even as the White House pledged to keep pursuing the onetime top aide. Lamberth also made clear his concerns that Bolton had taken it upon himself to publish his memoir without formal clearance from a White House that says it was still reviewing it for classified information.

Justice Dept. Officials Testify on Politicization Under Barr
MSN – Katie Benner, Nichokas Fandos, and Charlie Savage (New York Times) | Published: 6/24/2020

Two U.S. Justice Department officials delivered stinging congressional testimony, accusing political appointees of intervening in criminal and antitrust cases to serve the personal interests of President Trump and Attorney General William Barr. Aaron Zelinsky, a career prosecutor who worked on the Russia investigation, told the House Judiciary Committee that senior law enforcement officials intervened to seek a more lenient prison sentence for Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone for political reasons. John Elias, a senior career official in the antitrust division, charged that supervisors improperly used their powers to investigate the marijuana industry and a deal between California and four major automakers. Democrats say the hearing is part of a broader investigation into Barr’s leadership of the department.

K Street May Mostly Skip Political Conventions This Year
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/24/2020

Typically, this close to the political conventions, lobbyists would have booked hotel rooms, arranged for event spaces to host receptions, and scored passes to attend high-profile speeches, including those of the party nominees. But that has not happened this year as the influence industry faces fear of the coronavirus and fallout from location and date changes for the events. K Street’s biggest shops are among those with undetermined plans. The virus is not the only thing weighing on corporate lobbying interests. Even before COVID-19 upended Americans’ lives, many corporations, worried about associating their brands overtly in politics, had been assessing whether the large investments would be worth it.

Russia. Ukraine. China. Bolton Account Highlights Pattern of Trump Welcoming Foreign Political Help.
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020

John Bolton’s book highlights Trump’s pattern of welcoming foreign political help and a casual comfort with what was once unthinkable in American politics – foreign intervention in U.S. elections. Experts fear Trump’s behavior may embolden nations to try to sway American voters in the 2020 campaign, particularly if foreign leaders conclude that helping lift Trump to a second term would be an effective way to curry favor with the White House. While Trump’s past outreach to foreign powers for political assistance triggered widespread condemnation, he has not suffered serious consequences. Bolton’s new allegations come as experts warn Russia, China, Iran, and other countries have been stepping up their efforts to interfere in U.S. elections.

Sign of the Times: The return of campaign door knockers
Politico – Christopher Cadelago | Published: 6/20/2020

When the pandemic forced a national quarantine, campaigns were confronted with the daunting prospect of permanently sidelining the most reliable method to reach voters: knocking on their doors. But recent days have marked a shift in that thinking as states reopen for business and more Americans venture out in public. President Trump and Republican allies have resumed some level of in-person field operations in every state where they are campaigning. GOP-paid door knockers are now back in nearly every November battleground, party officials said. While Joe Biden’s campaign is not expecting an immediate return to the field, aides are in touch with local health officials and state parties to weigh their comfort level and are making assessments on a weekly basis about when it is safe to resume in-person campaigning.

Trade Groups Make Lobbying Push to Be Included in Small Business Loan Program
The Hill – Alex Gangitano | Published: 6/19/2020

The group that represents trade associations lobbied for professional and advocacy organizations struggling through the coronavirus to be eligible to receive small business loans. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) hosted a virtual fly-in to call for changes to the Paycheck Protection Program so 501(c)(6) organizations can receive loans. The groups, which include trade associations, professional societies, and local chambers of commerce, were left out of the program when Congress passed its $2.2 trillion relief bill in March. “As the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, other revenue sources for associations are down as well, including membership dues, and things like advertising, and sponsorships,” said Chris Vest, ASAE director of public policy.

Treasury, SBA Cave to Demands for Bailout Transparency
Politico – Victoria Guida | Published: 6/19/2020

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration bowed to congressional pressure and said they will disclose information on companies that received loans under the government’s small business rescue program. The names of companies and nonprofits that got loans larger than $150,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program will be released, along with other identifying information. Loan amounts will only be given within a certain range. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the move represents an agreement with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Small Business Committee. Those lawmakers had asked for all borrowers to be identified; the deal will cover nearly 75 percent of the more than $500 billion that has been lent out, though only a minority of the 4.5 million total beneficiaries.

Trump Crony’s Gas Deal Reignites Conflict-of-Interest Concerns
Courthouse News Service – Adam Klasfeld | Published: 6/19/2020

On the campaign trail a year before his election, Donald Trump boasted in a radio interview that his real estate holdings in Istanbul could influence U.S.-Turkish foreign policy as president. “I have a little conflict-of-interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul, and it’s a tremendously successful job,” Trump disclosed. As a second election cycle looms, Trump’s Turkish business partner on that Istanbul property is homing in on a liquefied natural gas deal that can dramatically boost the U.S.-Turkey energy trade for more than a decade. The man at the center of the gas deal is Mehmet Ali Yalçindag, chairperson of Turkey’s oldest state-sponsored trade group, who brought Trump’s real estate empire into Istanbul in 2012. He is the son-in-law of Aydin Dogan, who owns Trump Towers Istanbul.

Trump Ousts Manhattan U.S. Attorney Who Investigated President’s Associates
MSN – Rosalind Helderman, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky, and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) | Published: 6/20/2020

Attorney General William Barr said President Trump fired the top federal prosecutor in New York, ending an unprecedented standoff between Barr and U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had resisted being removed from his post. Barr informed Berman of the president’s move in a sharply worded letter, explaining that Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss, will serve as the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan until the Senate can confirm a permanent replacement. Under Berman, the office managed a number of sensitive investigations involving people close to Trump. The fight between Barr and the nation’s most powerful U.S. attorney deepened alarm among Democrats over Barr’s management of the Justice Department, generating fresh accusations the attorney general is placing the president’s interests above those of the public.

Twitter Labels Trump Video Tweet as Manipulated Media, Continuing Its Crackdown on Misinformation
MSN – Kat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020

Twitter took the rare step of appending a warning label to one of President Trump’s tweets after the company determined it violated its policies on manipulated media. The president tweeted a doctored version of a popular video that went viral in 2019, which showed two toddlers, one black and one white, hugging. In the version Trump shared, the video has been edited with ominous music and a fake CNN headline that says, “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby.” The label is the latest flash point in an increasingly contentious debate over tech companies’ responsibility to police falsehoods and hoaxes spread by politicians on their platforms.

Why Obsessive K-Pop Fans Are Turning Toward Political Activism
MSN – Joe Coscarelli (New York Times) | Published: 6/22/2020

Amid a pandemic, a forthcoming presidential election, and inescapable conversations about race, K-pop fans – the typically young and diverse international enthusiasts of Korean pop music who congregate daily on social media – is trying to exert its influence in a new realm: the American political arena. Spurred at first by the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, K-pop stans made themselves known outside of music circles hen some took credit for helping to inflate expectations for President Trump’s rally in Tulsa by reserving tickets they had no plans to use. But while the Trump campaign denied he prank affected attendance, the call to action in K-pop circles revealed a growing realization that fans’ efficient social-media tactics for fundraising or making a song go viral can also be used for political activism.

Canada

Canada Conservative Senator Victor Oh Faces Censure for Free Trip to China
The Globe and Mail – Robert Fife and Steven Chase | Published: 6/18/2020

The Senate Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee is recommending Senator Victor Oh be censured for violating the chamber’s conflict-of-interest and ethics code by accepting an all-expenses paid trip to China for himself and two of his colleagues. Senate Ethics Officer Pierre Legault criticized Oh for providing incomplete testimony and withholding information, saying his conduct “raises questions about his integrity.” Censure in Parliament is a form of severe disapproval for the ethical actions of a parliamentarian. The committee did not recommend further sanctions but urged Oh to formally apologize.

Canada Senate Ethics Committee Recommends Rescinding Suspension of Senator Lynn
The Globe and Mail – Kristy Kirkup | Published: 6/22/2020

The Senate should rescind the suspension of Lynn Beyak ordered in February, the standing committee on ethics and conflict-of-interest for senators. The recommendation is the latest development in a drawn-out controversy for the Ontario senator who posted letters to her website the committee found contained racist content. In February, the Senate voted to suspend Beyak for a second time after it approved a previous ethics committee report on her conduct. The report recommended she be suspended without pay for the duration of the parliamentary session, apologize, and participate in educational programs.

From the States and Municipalities

Arizona Arizona House Ethics Chair Weighs Holding Hearings into Claims Against Lawmaker
Arizona Daily Star – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/22/2020

The House Ethics Committee chairperson is weighing whether to hold hearings into its investigation of Arizona Rep. David Cook, Rep. John Allen said he is still reviewing the evidence presented by outside investigators as well as the response submitted by Cook’s attorneys. That response demanded a full hearing to be “given the right to the fundamental protections every citizen of our country would reasonably expect to have.” Allen said there are issues to be resolved about how to handle the two basic complaints against Cook, one involving allegations of an affair with a lobbyist and the other about efforts to intervene on the lobbyist’s behalf to halt the tax sale of property.

Arizona Scottsdale Rejects Ban on Anonymous Donations, Including GoFundMe Campaigns, to Council Members
Arizona Republic – Lorraine Lonhi | Published: 6/22/2020

What began as an effort to tweak Scottsdale’s gift policy grew complicated as some residents and council members saw an opportunity to push for campaign finance reform. A growing chorus of residents in recent years have raised concerns about developers and others who do business with the city donating to council members election campaigns. When the city proposed amending its ethics policy pertaining to gifts that might be offered to elected officials of a non-campaign nature, many advocated to extend the rules to campaign donations.

California After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short
San Jose Mercury News – Maggie Angst | Published: 6/22/2020

Following a court-ordered recount, a controversial ballot measure to shift the San Jose’s mayoral race to presidential election years and limit campaign contributions failed to garner the required number of signatures to qualify for the November election. The Fair Elections Initiative called for aligning mayoral elections with presidential years to boost voter turnout, particularly among people of color, and placing a cap on certain political donations, including those from any person or entity that has received city contracts of at least $250,000.

California Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending
San Jose Mercury News – Annie Sciacca | Published: 6/17/2020

Joe Canciamilla, the former Contra Costa County elections chief, was charged with 34 felony crimes for illegally spending campaign funds for several years. He was charged with perjury involving campaign disclosure statements and grand theft of campaign funds spent on a vacation in Asia, airfare, restaurants, and other personal expenses. The charges stem from conduct starting in 2010, when Canciamilla failed to report investment gains in a campaign bank account. Though the gains were legal, using the proceeds for personal use is prohibited, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen, adding that Canciamilla covered up the gains and losses from the investment account.

California L.A. County Has Found the Cause of Its Hourslong Poll Lines. It Wasn’t the New Voting Machines.
Politico – Kim Zetter | Published: 6/17/2020

The long wait times that snarled the March 3 primary in Los Angeles County stemmed from malfunctions in the electronic tablets used to check in voters at the polls, according to an county report that adds to questions about the nation’s readiness for November. The report concludes these devices, known as electronic poll books, and not the county’s new $300 million voting machines were the source of those delays. Although the voting machines also had problems, the report faults inadequate planning, testing, and programming of the poll books that workers used to check in voters and verify they are registered, technology that has also been implicated in the recent Georgia primary.

California LA Councilman Jose Huizar Arrested in Pay-to-Play Scheme
Los Angeles Daily News – Elizabeth Chou | Published: 6/23/2020

Los Angeles City Councilperson Jose Huizar was arrested in an investigation into corruption at City Hall. Federal prosecutors have been probing allegations that real estate developers were shaken down for cash bribes and campaign donations in exchange for Huizar’s help getting high-rise development projects through the city’s approval process. Huizar and his associates are accused of enjoying free plane travel, lavish meals, poker chips, and other perks offered by developers. In plea deals struck with the government, a former aide to the council member, one of his political fundraisers, and a real estate consultant agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Huizar and others in City Hall.

Colorado Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals Rules
Colorado Politics – Michael Kralick | Published: 6/18/2020

A prominent attorney donated more than $200,000 against an Adams County judge’s retention election. But that did not mean the judge should have recused himself from a case involving the firm’s lawyers, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled. At trial, Lyubov Bocian attempted to disqualify Adams County District Court Judge Edward Moss from her case, alleging he was biased against her attorneys at Franklin D. Azar and Associates. The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure require a judicial substitution if there is a reasonable inference of a judge’s partiality toward either of the litigants or opposing counsel. The appellate court did not find Moss exhibited any hostility or prejudice toward the Azar firm based on his actions, nor did the panel determine Moss harbored ill will because Azar himself made a $224,000 campaign contribution against Moss’s retention election in 2018.

Florida FBI Investigating Mayor Milissa Holland, Palm Coast Ex-Officials Say
Daytona Beach News-Journal – Matt Bruce and Erica Von Braun | Published: 6/22/2020

Two former city employees say FBI agents have interviewed them regarding Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland’s connection to Coastal Guard. The company has a unique arrangement with the city to provide some digital services. It is also Holland’s daytime employer. Michael Schottey, the city’s former communications director and now a candidate for mayor, read emails during a virtual press conference that he said show Holland used her position as mayor to solicit business for Coastal Cloud with the city of Orlando.

Florida ‘Suspicious’ Car Rental, Other Payments by Mayor’s Campaign Not Criminal, Probe Finds
Miami Herald – Aaron Leibowitz | Published: 6/22/2020

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office investigated payments related to the 2016 mayoral campaign of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, finding a “suspicious” car rental and some “haphazard” accounting but insufficient evidence to prove any criminal activity. The investigation delved into whether Gilbert’s rental of an Infiniti QX80 constituted an unreported campaign expenditure; whether he instructed the Miami Gardens city clerk to falsify the date on an amended campaign treasurer’s report; and whether Gilbert directed his campaign to make improper payments to a for-profit company and to incorrectly label those payments as donations to a nonprofit.

Georgia Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000
WAGA – Dale Russell | Published: 6/19/2020

A group backing Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign was fined $50,000 by Georgia’s ethics commission for failing to report the money it raised and spent to help her get elected.  The independent committee, Gente4Abrams (People for Abrams), was set up out of state and raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campaign without ever registering with the commission or disclosing how much it raised.

Georgia House Republican Leaders Condemn GOP Candidate Who Made Racist Videos
Politico – Ally Mutnick ans Stephanie Zanona | Published: 6/17/2020

The House’s highest-ranking Republicans are racing to distance themselves from a leading GOP congressional candidate in Georgia after Facebook videos were uncovered in which she expresses racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic views. The candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, suggested Muslims do not belong in government; thinks black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party”; called George Soros, a Jewish Democratic donor, a Nazi; and said she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War. Greene is entering an August runoff as the favorite to secure the Republican nomination for a district where that is tantamount to winning the general election in November.

Illinois Rules Requiring Nonprofits to Register as Lobbyists Delayed Until 2021
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 6/18/2020

Rules requiring nonprofit organizations to register as lobbyists in Chicago were set to go into effect on January 1, 2020 but were initially delayed until April after dozens of nonprofit groups objected, saying the regulations would force them to pay costly registration fees or risk $1,000 fines. The Board of Ethics attempted to clarify the new rules, issuing three advisory opinions that exempted grassroots groups or residents who press city officials on issues they are concerned about. But that effort was still underway when the coronavirus pandemic forced City Hall to shut down, and the delay was extended until July, and will now last through the end of 2020.

Maryland Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Pleads Guilty in State Court to Perjury in ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal
Baltimore Sun – Tim Prudente | Published: 6/19/2020

A judge sentenced former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to six months in prison for deliberately lying on financial disclosures forms to hide her lucrative “Healthy Holly” children’s book business. Under terms of Pugh’s plea deal, her time will be served concurrent with a separate, pending three-year prison sentence. Pugh pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of perjury, admitting she withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disclosure forms she filed during her years as a state senator.

Missouri Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens
KDSK – PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey | Published: 6/20/2020

Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens filed paperwork to run for an unspecified statewide office in 2024. Elad Gross, a candidate for state attorney general, is asking the Missouri Ethics Commission to decide if Greitens should be able to do that even though he has not publicly announced any interest in running for office again. Experts say it is part of a trend of campaign committees avoiding the state law that requires them to close their accounts and distribute the leftover money as refunds or donations if they will not be running for office again.

Missouri Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs
Columbia Missourian – Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris | Published: 6/23/2020

In Missouri, contributions for state elections have been in place off and on since 1994, when voters approved a ballot measure. The limits withstood several court tests, but the Legislature repealed them twice. State voters reinstated them in 2016 and approved slightly lower caps in 2018, through passage of Clean Missouri. Even with limits in place, candidates have found creative ways to receive large donations. PACs have no restraints on the amount they can receive in donations, which makes them an ideal way to collect large checks from millionaires and special interests such as casinos, labor unions, and tobacco companies.

New Jersey N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner
Newark Star Ledger – Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/19/2020

Attorney Elizabeth Valandingham was charged with lying about alleged “pay-to-play” violations in New Jersey. Valandingham, was accused of falsely claiming her law firm had not made any reportable political contributions to candidates in two towns where the firm had been vying for contracts to provide legal services, when in fact it had. While the charges against Valandingham arose from a corruption investigation in which five New Jersey political figures are accused of accepting a total of $74,900 in bribes in the form of campaign donations, they are not directly related to the bribery allegations.

New York JCOPE Commissioners Mull Filing Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Leak
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 6/22/2020

Members of the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) are contemplating whether a criminal complaint should be filed in connection with a leak investigation last year by the state inspector general’s office that failed to confirm allegations Gov. Andrew Cuomo received details of JCOPE’s confidential vote on a matter involving a former top aide to the governor. The apparent leak, which would be a criminal offense, surfaced when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s top counsel, Howard Vargas, called Commissioner Julie Garcia and told her that Cuomo had complained to the speaker about how his appointees to the commission had voted on the matter.

Pennsylvania Top Pa. GOP Lawmaker Fast-Tracking a Lucrative Gambling Expansion That Would Benefit a Major Campaign Donor
Philadelphia Inquirer – Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA), Brad Bumsted (The Caucus), and Sam Jenesh (The Caucus) | Published: 6/19/2020

The top lobbyist for a gaming company seeking a lucrative gambling expansion in Pennsylvania helped host a fundraiser in Las Vegas for the leading Republican in the state Senate, Joe Scarnati. Several months later, executives from the gaming company, Golden Entertainment, poured thousands of dollars into a campaign committee controlled by Scarnati and close associates. Now, Scarnati and other top Republicans are working to secure votes for a bill that would help Golden and others like it cash in on the next frontier of expanded gambling, potentially worth millions of dollars: video-gaming terminals, known better as VGTs.

South Carolina Conflict of interest? Councilman with Ties to Richland Mega Church Pushed Road Project
The State – Andrew Kaplan | Published: 6/18/2020

Richland County Council member Chip Jackson voted nine times for improvements to Atlas Road in the county during the last three years, even though he worked for a church and its nonprofit arm that would benefit from the work. The popularity of the megachurch, Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, and its plans to sell surrounding property to developers, were part of the reason the road was originally slated for $17 million in improvements, according to the county’s transportation director. The money was to come from the county’s sales-tax program that voters approved. Jackson’s dual roles as a council member and consultant for the church is a potential ethics violation, according to experts.

Utah Utah Gave Group $400,000 to Sue the Feds on Public Lands Issues. It Never Did. What Happened?
Salt Lake Tribune – Brian Maffley | Published: 6/23/2020

In 2016, the Utah Legislature opened up its wallet to a nonprofit called the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM), one of several groups that have received millions of dollars in recent years to push greater local and state control over Utah’s large expanses of federal land and imperiled wildlife. But FIRM’s taxpayer-supported charge was specific: file lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of Utah counties. The goal was to reverse restrictive land-use policies to promote “integrated” use of natural resources. Four years and $400,000 later, FIRM has yet to pursue a single legal action, according to ethics complaints filed with the IRS, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, and state auditor.

Vermont Candidate Incomes Outpace Average Vermonter; Advocates Seek More Disclosure
VTDigger.org – Jasper Goodman and Kit Norton | Published: 6/22/2020

Most of the top candidates seeking statewide office reported substantially higher incomes than the average Vermonter. There is no tax return requirement for individuals seeking seats in the state Legislature. Those candidates only need to fill out a brief financial disclosure form which requires reporting any source of income of $5,000 or more. But the statute requiring candidates to file the forms includes no enforcement mechanism for non-compliance. Larry Novins, executive director of the Vermont Ethics Commission, said the agency has “no ability to do anything about” candidates who do not file the forms because it has “no authority” over them. The commission can review ethics complaints but has no investigative or enforcement power.

Continue Reading - 32 min read Close

June 25, 2020 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance California: “After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short” by Maggie Angst for San Jose Mercury News Missouri: “Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens” by PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey for […]

Campaign Finance

California: “After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short” by Maggie Angst for San Jose Mercury News

Missouri: “Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens” by PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey for KDSK

Elections

National: “Congress Must Act Now to Help States with Vote-by-Mail in November, Experts Say” by Gopal Ratnam for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “Appeals Court Panel Orders End to Michael Flynn Case” by Charlie Savage for New York Times

National: “Justice Dept. Officials Testify on Politicization Under Barr” by Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, and Charlie Savage (New York Times) for MSN

Canada: “Senate Ethics Committee Recommends Rescinding Suspension of Senator Lynn” by Kristy Kirkup for The Globe and Mail

Arizona: “Scottsdale Rejects Ban on Anonymous Donations, Including GoFundMe Campaigns, to Council Members” by Lorraine Lonhi for Arizona Republic

New York: “JCOPE Commissioners Mull Filing Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Leak” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union

Utah: “Utah Gave Group $400,000 to Sue the Feds on Public Lands Issues. It Never Did. What Happened?” by Brian Maffley for Salt Lake Tribune

Lobbying

National: “K Street May Mostly Skip Political Conventions This Year” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 24, 2020 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Georgia: “Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000” by Dale Russell for WAGA Missouri: “Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs” by Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris for Columbia Missourian Elections National: […]

Campaign Finance

Georgia: “Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000” by Dale Russell for WAGA

Missouri: “Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs” by Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris for Columbia Missourian

Elections

National: “Why Obsessive K-Pop Fans Are Turning Toward Political Activism” by Joe Coscarelli (New York Times) for MSN

Ethics

National: “Amid Threats and Political Pushback, Public Health Officials Are Leaving Their Posts” by Rachel Weiner and Ariana Eungjun Cha (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Twitter Labels Trump Video Tweet as Manipulated Media, Continuing Its Crackdown on Misinformation” by Kat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) for MSN

Arizona: “Arizona House Ethics Chair Weighs Holding Hearings into Claims Against Lawmaker” by Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) for Arizona Daily Star

California: “Los Angeles Councilman Arrested and Charged with Bribery” by Jeremy White for Politico

Florida: “FBI Investigating Mayor Milissa Holland, Palm Coast Ex-Officials Say” by Matt Bruce and Erica Von Braun for Daytona Beach News-Journal

Vermont: “Candidate Incomes Outpace Average Vermonter; Advocates Seek More Disclosure” by Jasper Goodman and Kit Norton for VTDigger.org

Lobbying

National: “Trade Groups Make Lobbying Push to Be Included in Small Business Loan Program” by Alex Gangitano for The Hill

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 23, 2020 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’” by Karl Evers-Hillstrom for Center for Responsive Politics New Jersey: “N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner” by Ted Sherman […]

Campaign Finance

National: “FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’” by Karl Evers-Hillstrom for Center for Responsive Politics

New Jersey: “N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner” by Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) for Newark Star Ledger

Elections

National: “Sign of the Times: The return of campaign door knockers” by Christopher Cadelago for Politico

California: “L.A. County Has Found the Cause of Its Hourslong Poll Lines. It Wasn’t the New Voting Machines.” by Kim Zetter for Politico

Ethics

National: “Treasury, SBA Cave to Demands for Bailout Transparency” by Victoria Guida for Politico

National: “Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block” by Eric Tucker for AP News

Maryland: “Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Pleads Guilty in State Court to Perjury in ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal” by Tim Prudente for Baltimore Sun

South Carolina: “Conflict of interest? Councilman with Ties to Richland Mega Church Pushed Road Project” by Andrew Kaplan for The State

Lobbying

National: “Ex-Sens. Lott, Breaux Announce Move to Crossroads Strategies” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 22, 2020 •

Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance California: “Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending” by Annie Sciacca for San Jose Mercury News Colorado: “Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals […]

Campaign Finance

California: “Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending” by Annie Sciacca for San Jose Mercury News

Colorado: “Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals Rules” by Michael Kralick for Colorado Politics

Elections

National: “Russia. Ukraine. China. Bolton Account Highlights Pattern of Trump Welcoming Foreign Political Help.” by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) for MSN

Georgia: “House Republican Leaders Condemn GOP Candidate Who Made Racist Videos” by Ally Mutnick ans Stephanie Zanona for Politico

Ethics

National: “Trump Ousts Manhattan U.S. Attorney Who Investigated President’s Associates” by Rosalind Helderman, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky, and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Facebook Removes Trump Ads with Symbol Once Used by Nazis to Designate Political Prisoners” by Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) for MSN

Canada: “Conservative Senator Victor Oh Faces Censure for Free Trip to China” by Robert Fife and Steven Chase for The Globe and Mail

Lobbying

Illinois: “Rules Requiring Nonprofits to Register as Lobbyists Delayed Until 2021” by Heather Cherone for WTTW

Pennsylvania: “Top Pa. GOP Lawmaker Fast-Tracking a Lucrative Gambling Expansion That Would Benefit a Major Campaign Donor” by Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA), Brad Bumsted (The Caucus), and Sam Jenesh (The Caucus) for Philadelphia Inquirer

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 19, 2020 •

News You Can Use Digest – June 19, 2020

News You Can Use

National/Federal Appeals Judges Reluctant to Force Immediate End to Flynn Case Politico – Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney | Published: 6/12/2020 A federal appeals court panel appears poised to reject, at least for now, Michael Flynn’s effort to force a judge […]

National/Federal

Appeals Judges Reluctant to Force Immediate End to Flynn Case
Politico – Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney | Published: 6/12/2020

A federal appeals court panel appears poised to reject, at least for now, Michael Flynn’s effort to force a judge to dismiss the criminal case against him. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, is urging the courts to swiftly toss out his case after Attorney General William Barr moved to drop the prosecution. But the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit expressed serious reservations about cutting short the typical process and forcing the trial judge assigned to Flynn’s case, Emmet Sullivan, to act before he has a chance to consider his options.

As Trump Warns of Leftist Violence, a Dangerous Threat Emerges from the Right-Wing Boogaloo Movement
MSN – Craig Timberg (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2020

A far-right extremist movement born on social media and fueled by anti-government rhetoric has emerged as a real-world threat in recent weeks, with federal authorities accusing some of its adherents of working to spark violence at largely peaceful protests roiling the nation. At a time when President Trump and other top U.S. officials have claimed, with little evidence, that leftist groups were fomenting violence, federal prosecutors have charged various supporters of a right-wing movement called the “boogaloo bois” with crimes related to plotting to firebomb a U.S. Forest Service facility, preparing to use explosives at a peaceful demonstration, and killing a security officer at a federal courthouse.

Bolton Says Trump Impeachment Inquiry Missed Other Troubling Episodes
MSN – Peter Baker (New York Times) | Published: 6/17/2020

John Bolton, the former national security adviser, says in his new book the U.S. House in its impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Trump not just for pressuring Ukraine but for a variety of instances when he sought to use trade negotiations and criminal investigations to further his political interests. While other books by journalists and lower-level former aides have revealed much about the Trump White House, Bolton’s volume is the first tell-all memoir by such a high-ranking official who participated in major foreign policy events and has a lifetime of conservative credentials. It is a portrait of a president ignorant of basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him, and prone to false statements, and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse.

Ethics Probe into Rep. Alcee Hastings Ends After Disclosure He Married Aide
Politico – John Bresnahan | Published: 6/12/2020

An investigation into whether U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings had an improper relationship with one of his aides was dropped after it was disclosed the Florida Democrat has been married to the staffer since January 2019. The House ethics committee also announced it was creating a special investigative subcommittee to investigate allegations Del. Michael San Nicolas of Guam had an improper sexual relationship with a congressional staffer, broke campaign finance laws, and lied to governments. San Nicolas’ former chief of staff has accused the delegate of having an affair with the woman in question and then hiring her in his congressional office.

Justice Department Seeks Emergency Order to Block Publication of Bolton’s Book
MSN – Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman, Devlin Barrett, and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2020

The Justice Department sought an emergency order from a judge to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming White House memoir, escalating a legal battle against him. The move came after the Trump administration filed a civil suit against Bolton, targeting the proceeds of the book and asking a court to order him to delay its scheduled June 23 release. Less than 24 hours later, The Wall Street Journal released an excerpt of the memoir, and lengthy accounts were published by other news organizations. The latest action sought to formally enjoin Bolton from allowing his book to be published, a legal strategy experts said was unlikely to succeed, particularly given the book has already been printed and shipped to warehouses and copies distributed to the media for review.

K Street Backrooms Morph Into ‘the Zoom Where It Happens’
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/15/2020

The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic along with the wave of protests for racial justice and equality will leave a lasting imprint on the lobbying sector – on the strategies for influencing lawmakers and on the policy agenda. This moment also has expedited the long-running, but slow-to-change conversations about spurring diversity on K Street and in its pipeline for personnel, Capitol Hill. Some of the permanent transformations, like more Zoom conferences and fewer in-person meetings even after the pandemic ends, may appear minor adaptations. For an industry, like politics itself, built around face-to-face relationships with conversations sparked at high-dollar fundraising events, even some of the seemingly little shifts may galvanize a larger metamorphosis in the long run.

Members of Congress Took Small-Business Loans – and the Full Extent Is Unknown
Politico – Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and Zachary Warmbrodt | Published: 6/16/2020

A group of lawmakers acknowledged close ties to companies that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, businesses that are either run by their families or employ their spouse as a senior executive. There are almost certainly more, according to aides and lawmakers. But only the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department have that information, and the Trump administration is refusing to provide any details. That leaves it entirely up to business owners, including elected officials, to decide whether to come forward about a loan, which can be as large as $10 million. The program is being dogged by growing transparency complaints, with Treasury and SBA refusing to disclose recipients.

New Generation of Activists, Deeply Skeptical of Democratic Party, Resists Calls to Channel Energy into the 2020 Campaign
MSN – Cleve Wootson Jr. (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2020

George Floyd’s killing ignited protests in more than 750 U.S. cities, with participants of all races in every corner of the country. The uprising is also a potential boon for Democrats, inspiring thousands of new grassroots organizers just as the party seeks to mobilize young voters and other core liberals to defeat President Trump and retake the U.S. Senate. Many of the country’s top Democrats have exhorted the activists to channel their energy toward the election. But the Democrats have so far failed to tap into the newly emerging protest movement, even turning off some activists who see early outreach efforts as hollow gestures. Many said they remain skeptical of the political system and the Democratic Party, which they said has a history of promising change and falling short.

Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook
New York Times – Mike Isaac | Published: 6/16/2020

Facebook said it would allow people in the U.S. to opt out of seeing social issue, electoral, or political ads from candidates or PACs in their Facebook or Instagram feeds. The ability to hide those ads will begin with a small group of users, before rolling out to the rest of the United States and later to several other countries. The move allows Facebook to play both sides of a complicated debate about the role of political advertising on social media ahead of the November election. With the change, Facebook can continue allowing political ads to flow across its network, while also finding a way to reduce the reach of those ads and to offer a concession to critics who have said the company should do more to moderate noxious speech on its platform.

Police Unions Face Lobbying Fights at All Levels of Government
The Hill – Alex Gangitano | Published: 6/12/2020

Police unions are gearing up for their biggest lobbying fights in years as lawmakers at all levels of government push to reform law enforcement practices and protections. In Congress, the brewing battle comes as House Democrats have introduced sweeping legislation to overhaul aspects of the criminal justice system, with Senate Republicans expected to unveil their proposal soon. The National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police group that represents over 330,000 officers, is expected to play a major role. Police unions also have to prepare for fights outside the Beltway.

QAnon Marches Toward the Halls of Congress
Politico – Tina Nguyen | Published: 6/15/2020

QAnon adherents are now filtering into electoral politics. According to Media Matters, there are 51 candidates running for Congress who have promoted the messages of “Q” – a mysterious internet figure who drops digital “crumbs” about a secret war President Trump is waging against a cabal of pedophile political elites in Washington, D.C. Seven of them emerged recently in congressional Republican primaries. One, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, is favored to eventually end up in Congress. Trump invited one of Qanon’s top promoters to pose with him in the Oval Office, and retweeting over 130 tweets that directly reference QAnon-related claims. Now the president is seeing a tangible political benefit from the relationship, the GOP candidates who reference QAnon are also those who cling most closely to Trump.

Senate Aides Say There’s Work to Be Done on Staffer Diversity, After Tim Scott Airs Criticism
Roll Call – Katherine Tully-McManus and Kathryn Lyons | Published: 6/11/2020

Sen. Tim Scott called out the lack of racial diversity among staff in certain U.S. Senate offices, which highlighted how little data is available on staffer demographics. It also got staff and senators talking about how to tackle the problem. Although there are varying opinions on how to boost diversity, many agree that a major problem is a lack of data on diversity of race, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds among staff. Scott, the only black Republican in the chamber, said he would like the Senate to conduct a study of staff member demographics and pay.

Senate Ethics Panel Dismisses Insider-Trading Inquiry into Sen. Loeffler
Washington Post – Colby Itkowitz | Published: 6/16/2020

The Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its investigation into U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler for alleged insider trading ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, notifying her it found “no evidence” she violated the law or chamber rules. The panel’s decision follows the Justice Department, which closed its probe of Loeffler’s stock sales before the pandemic crashed the markets. The Justice Department dismissed similar probes into U.S. Sens. James Inhofe and Dianne Feinstein but is still looking into U.S. Sen. Richard Burr for alleged insider trading.

‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest
Courthouse News Service – Tim Ryan | Published: 6/16/2020

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Neil Jacobs violated the agency’s ethics policy when he contradicted and silenced a local National Weather Service office about a hurricane’s path. President Trump wrote on Twitter that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service office in Birmingham posted on Twitter: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian.” Days later, Jacobs’ office issued an unsigned statement calling the Birmingham office’s posting “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.” That statement turned out to be the result of pressure from the White House on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who threatened to fire the political staff at the agency unless the contradiction of Trump was addressed.

The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate
New York Times – Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul | Published: 6/15/2020

In 2013, a lawyer named William Consovoy appeared on a Brookings Institution panel to discuss his leading role in a recently decided voting-rights case. Days earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled certain states, particularly in the South, would no longer need Justice Department approval before redrawing districts, moving polling places or making other electoral changes. Consovoy’s work on voting cases across the country is drawing increased attention in this presidential election year roiled by pandemic and protest. In recent weeks, his firm, Consovoy McCarthy, has fought against extending the deadline for mail-in voting in Wisconsin, sought to thwart felons from being re-enfranchised in Florida, and sued to block California’s plan to send absentee ballots to all registered voters.

Trump Health Official’s Approach to Contracts Faces Scrutiny
Roll Call – Emily Kopp | Published: 6/10/2020

A company that won a $628 million contract from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one that Robert Kadlec, the official who leads the agency’s pandemic response, knows well. Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, served as a consultant to Emergent Biosolutions until 2015. Since Kadlec’s 2017 confirmation, the company has received more than $1.2 billion from the division Kadlec oversees, including a part of HHS known as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The contract raises questions because a complaint by former BARDA Director Rick Bright alleges Kadlec and other officials may have broken the law by awarding lucrative contracts to former business acquaintances and friends.

Trump Rally Attendees Must Agree Not to Sue Campaign Over Potential Coronavirus Exposure
Politico – Caitlin Oprysko | Published: 6/11/2020

Supporters of President Trump will soon be able to attend one of his signature, raucous campaign rallies again after a months-long hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, but first, they must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus after the event. The Trump campaign sent out registration information for the president’s first rally since March, with the campaign’s chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, proclaiming there is “no better place” to restart rallies than Tulsa, Oklahoma. But the fine print on the registration page for the event that has been rescheduled for June 20 underscores the continued health risks associated with reviving the “Make America Great Again” rallies, which pack thousands of supporters into arenas for hours at a time.

Canada

Canada Canada’s Ethics Czar Investigates Former Canadian Envoy to Washington Over His Work for Palantir
Politico – Abby Blatchford | Published: 6/13/2020

Canada’s ethics watchdog is investigating David MacNaughton, Ottawa’s former envoy to the U.S., to determine if he broke conflict-of-interest laws after taking a senior role last year with the data analytics firm Palantir. Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion says he launched a probe into MacNaughton’s interactions with senior government officials since he became president of Palantir’s Canadian branch. MacNaughton, who has close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, took the job shortly after leaving the ambassador’s post. Dion said he will explore whether MacNaughton violated a rule that prohibits him from “taking improper advantage” of his previous public office and another forbidding him from making representations to anyone with whom he had “direct and significant official dealings” during his last year in public office.

Canada Lobbying Watchdog Seeks Budget Hike Amid Pandemic-Induced Surge in Lobbying
Yahoo Finance – Canadian Press | Published: 6/11/2020

The federal lobbying watchdog is asking for a budget increase to enable her office to modernize the way it registers lobbyists and keeps track of their activities in Canada, just as it is seeing a surge in lobbying sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lobbying commissioner Nancy Belanger says 441 lobbyists have registered with her office to make their case to the federal government on matters related to the pandemic. Belanger’s request for a budget hike is not directly related to the pandemic-induced increase in lobbying. She said she put in the request before COVID-19 began wreaking havoc on the global economy.

From the States and Municipalities

Alabama Judge Rules Birmingham Airport Authority Employees Not Under Ethics Law
AL.com – Mike Cason | Published: 6/15/2020

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Brooke Reid agreed with lawyers for the Birmingham Airport Authority, who argued airport employees are not public employees because they are not paid from taxpayer funds. Their salaries come from fees that airlines, car rental companies, and other vendors pay to use the airport. The ruling rejected an advisory opinion from the Alabama Ethics Commission. The ethics law is intended to prevent public officials and public employees from using their public positions for personal gain and to require them to disclose conflicts of interest. Airport Authority attorney Mark White said it was not meant to cover employees for public corporations like the authority.

Alaska Alaska Supreme Court Approves Election-Reform Ballot Measure
Anchorage Daily News – James Brooks | Published: 6/13/2020

In November, Alaskans will decide whether to impose ranked-choice voting, nonpartisan primary elections, and tough new rules on campaign finance disclosure. The Alaska Supreme Court upheld a lower-court decision and confirmed the legality of a proposed multipart ballot measure including all three topics. The state had argued the measure violated a constitutional requirement that ballot measures be limited to one subject.

Arizona Arizona Asks Appeals Court to Block Laws That Regulate Campaign Finance
KAWC – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/10/2020

An attorney for the state asked the Court of Appeals to block the Citizens Clean Elections Commission from enforcing certain laws that regulate how much candidates and others in Arizona can spend on campaigns and what the public must be told about it. Tim Berg said the Legislature was within its power in crafting exceptions to campaign finance laws. He said the changes were not directly part of the Clean Elections Act which voters enacted. But commission attorney Joseph Roth said the changes violated the Voter Protection Act, which bars legislators from tinkering with what voters enacted because it effectively nullified what voters approved because of the way lawmakers crafted the proposal. He said that unconstitutionally undermined the intent of the law which was designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.

Arizona House Committee Report Says Globe Lawmaker Had Romantic Relationship with Lobbyist
Arizona Daily Star – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/12/2020

A report by the Arizona House Ethics Committee accuses state Rep. David Cook of having an undisclosed relationship with a lobbyist, one that the investigators said was romantic. The report prepared by outside lawyers hired to investigate Cook also says he called Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb about plans to seize property in which the lobbyist, AnnaMarie Knorr, had an interest and Lamb subsequently called off the sale. It also says there is evidence of Cook’s “use of alcohol while conducting official business, including a meeting at the governor’s office.”

California Public Health Funds Are Needed More Than Ever but Lack ‘Lobbying Muscle’ in California
Los Angeles Times – Angela Hart (California Healthline) | Published: 6/15/2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature are expected to reject a plea from local public health officials for an additional $150 million a year to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and protect against future threats. Public health officials vow to continue making their case. Persuading lawmakers to increase spending in a time of cuts will be difficult because public health does not carry the same political clout in the Capitol as power players such as hospitals, doctors, or public employee unions, which plow millions of dollars into lobbying each year. “I’ve not met anybody who is a lobbyist for public health,” said Assemblyperson Jim Wood, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee.

Colorado Ethics Panel Fines Former Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper $2,750
AP News – Staff | Published: 6/13/2020

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission fined U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper $2,750 for ethics violations he committed as governor that included accepting a private jet flight to an official event and receiving benefits he did not pay for at a meeting of government, business, and financial leaders in Italy. Hickenlooper insisted his intent was to promote Colorado’s economy as governor. But he acknowledged that on several occasions he did not seek an opinion from the commission on individual gifts. He also acknowledged he did not get formal training on the state’s ethics law.

Connecticut Family Investments, Coronavirus Pandemic Put Gov. Ned Lamont on Ethical Tightrope
Hartford Courant – Edmund Mahoney | Published: 6/14/2020

As the first Connecticut governor married to a venture capitalist with a $1.9 billion portfolio, Ned Lamont anticipated conflict between his decisions about where to spend the state’s billions and his wife’s about where to invest hers. Ann Lamont is a successful financier – one whose business has its investments divided between the health care industry during a viral pandemic and financial technology while married to a governor pledging to drag the state government into the digital age. The torrent of state money poured into coronavirus mitigation has produced at least one convergence of state and family money, much as Gov. Lamont anticipated. But it also shows the Lamonts expected such an eventuality and, early in the new administration, drafted an ethics plan they believe insulates them from a variety of personal and state business decisions that could otherwise create an appearance of self-dealing.

Florida Could Potential for Conflicts Influence Review of Miami’s Powerful Zoning Code?
Miami Herald – Andres Viglucci | Published: 6/15/2020

Should three prominent Miami developers’ attorneys be permitted to participate in a new task force that is revising the city’ Miami 21 zoning code? That is the question that kept the three lawyers specializing in land use from joining eight other experts at the task force’s inaugural meeting. All three attorneys are registered to act as lobbyists for dozens of developers seeking waivers and city zoning and development approvals under Miami 21, including some proposing controversial projects.

Iowa Kim Reynolds Confirms She Will Sign Felon Voting Rights Executive Order
Des Moines Register – Stephen Miller-Gruber and Ian Richardson | Published: 6/16/2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will sign an executive order restoring voting rights to people with past felony convictions, a move that will address Iowa’s status as the last state in the country with a lifetime ban on felon voting. More than 60,000 Iowans, including nearly one in ten African American adults, are barred from voting in the state due to a prior felony conviction. Reynolds has pushed the Legislature to approve an amendment to the state constitution to make the process of regaining voting rights automatic once felons have completed their sentences. But Republicans in the Iowa Senate killed the proposal each year. The Legislature this year without the Senate voting on the measure.

Maine Would-Be Clean Elections Candidates Find It Harder to Qualify During Pandemic
Portland Press Herald – Scott Thistle | Published: 6/17/2020

Officials at the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Campaign Finance said fewer candidates who wanted to participate in the state’s clean elections program were able to qualify. To qualify, candidates must collect qualifying five-dollar contributions from at least 60 registered voters in their district. Two candidates said physical distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic made it far more difficult to collect the qualifying funds. “The law is designed for legislative candidates to meet their neighbors in their districts and ask for … contributions documented with a signature on a form,” Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne said. “That was much harder because candidates could not go door-to-door, as they had in years past.”

Maryland Payments by Auto Insurer for Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh Were Illegal, State Review Finds
Baltimore Sun – Meredith Cohn | Published: 6/17/2020

Payments made by Maryland’s quasi-governmental auto insurer to then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh for her Healthy Holly children’s books violated state law, according to a letter that state regulators sent to the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. The ruling by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) is likely among the last of the outstanding reviews into the book deals that led to Pugh’s resignation and guilty plea for a fraud scheme that brought her hundreds of thousands of dollars. The MIA had said it was investigating at least three insurers that acknowledged making payments for the books, but officials deferred action until other law enforcement agency investigations were complete.

Nebraska Nebraska Democrats Renounce Their Senate Pick Over Comments
AP News – Grant Schulte | Published: 6/17/2020

The Nebraska Democratic Party called on its U.S. Senate nominee to drop out of the race after he made graphic sexual comments about a campaign staff member in a group text with her and other staffers. The party said its state executive committee voted unanimously to withdraw all of its resources from Chris Janicek’s campaign. Janicek tried walk back those comments as “a joke,” and texted an apology to the group. The female staffer texted back that she was appalled by his comments and could no longer support his campaign.

New Jersey Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill
Newark Star Ledger – Samantha Marcus (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/15/2020

Legislation passed by the New Jersey Senate would bar candidates for public office from using campaign money to settle allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment and bar the state from entering into non-disclosure agreements. #MeToo movement advocates say these nondisclosure agreements have kept workplace disputes under wraps and mask the pervasiveness of the sexual harassment problem in the workplace.

North Dakota Judge Nixes North Dakota Group’s Call for Online Signatures
AP News – Staff | Published: 6/16/2020

A federal judge said he will not waive North Dakota’s ban on electronic signature gathering for a group attempting to get a wide-ranging measure on the November ballot. North Dakota Voters First asked to allow online signature gathering because of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Court Judge Peter Welte said the group was not likely to succeed on a First Amendment rights violation because petitioners have up to a year to collect signatures. The judge added that the state did not issue any stay-at-home orders and Gov. Doug Burgum on May 1 “revoked nearly all the previously imposed pandemic-related restrictions.”

Ohio Ex-Cuyahoga County Jail Director Lied to Investigators to ‘Protect Armond Budish and Those in His Inner Circle,’ Prosecutors Say
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Cory Shaffer | Published: 6/15/2020

The indicted former director of the Cuyahoga County Jail lied to criminal investigators in 2018 to protect County Executive Armond Budish and his cabinet from scrutiny over a failed attempt to privatize healthcare delivery in the county’s lock-up, prosecutors said. The court filing did not include copies of all of the evidence that prosecutors referenced in it, but it marks the most extensive disclosure yet of the case investigators have built against the man Budish tapped in 2015 to run the county’s jail complex and oversee a plan for the county to house prisoners from the city of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs despite having no experience in corrections.

South Carolina Special Prosecutor Pascoe Under Fire, and Firing Back, in SC Supreme Court
The State – John Monk | Published: 6/11/2020

At a recent hearing, South Carolina Supreme Court justices peppered special prosecutor David Pascoe and opposing attorney Bobby Stepp with questions about whether Pascoe’s conviction of a former lawmaker on public corruption charges should be overturned. State Rep. Jim Harrison’s guilt or innocence was not argued. The jury that convicted him heard overwhelming evidence that showed Harrison illegally taken nearly $900,000 from the influential consulting firm of Richard Quinn and Associates. What was in dispute was whether Pascoe had exceeded his lawful authority as a special prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Alan Wilson to investigate potential targets named in a confidential section of a State Law Enforcement Division report on allegations of financial wrongdoing in the General Assembly.

Tennessee Audits: Glen Casada failed to report contributions, keep expense receipt
The Tennessean – Joel Ebert | Published: 6/10/2020

Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada failed to accurately report $26,000 in campaign contributions and expenditures and lacked receipts for $104,000 in expenses during a nearly 18-month period, making it difficult to determine their legitimacy, according to a pair of audits. Casada also accepted money during a period when lawmakers are banned from receiving contributions. The Registry of Election Finance indicated it planned to levy just $10,500 in penalties and show significant leniency to Casada, who vowed to maintain better campaign records.

Tennessee State Election Finance Committee Grants Rep. Staples ‘Grace’ in Campaign Spending Complaint
The Tennessean – Tyler Whetstone | Published: 6/11/2020

Tennessee Rep. Rick Staples’ plea earlier this year for “grace and mercy” from state regulators is closer to being granted and forgiveness is likely on the way. Staples opened his portion of the meeting with the state Registry of Election Finance by admitting he had some $11,000 in unallowable campaign expenditures. He asked for the opportunity to pay them back. The panel, in return, praised Staples’ openness and opted to defer a ruling until July. These conversations followed a number of reports in recent months that uncovered more than $10,000 in questionable campaign spending.

Texas Texas Democrats Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Voting by Mail
Texas Tribune – Alexa Ura | Published: 6/16/2020

After a series of losses in state and federal courts, Texas Democrats are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to expand voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. The Texas Democratic Party asked the high court to immediately lift the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ block on a ruling that would allow all Texas voters who are seeking to avoid becoming infected at in-person polling places to instead vote by mail. Under existing law, mail-in ballots are available only if voters are 65 or older, cite a disability or illness, will be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

Virginia Rep. Riggleman Ousted in Virginia GOP Convention After Presiding Over Same-Sex Marriage
Beaumont Enterprise – Jenna Portnoy (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2020

U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, who drew criticism from within his party for presiding over a same-sex wedding, lost the GOP nomination to challenger Bob Good, a former Liberty University fundraiser who describes himself as a “biblical conservative.” The defeat of Riggleman puts the Virginia seat potentially within reach for Democrats in the general election for the first time in more than a decade, analysts say.

Washington Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Kennewick Mayor. Should Ethics Code Cover Personal Life?
The Tri-City Herald – Annette Cary | Published: 6/15/2020

The ethics officer for the city of Kennewick, Washington, reversed his finding that there should be a hearing to consider evidence that Mayor Don Britain may have violated the city’s ethics code. Attorney Thomas Atwood, who serves as the ethics officer on an as-needed basis, was convinced to change his recommendation based on the mayor’s argument the ethics policy for city council members should only apply to conduct directly related to city activities or council business. Atwood said an exception could be made to consider personal conduct if there were egregious behavior outside of city business, such as a felony conviction or conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, neither of which applies to Britain’s case, Atwood wrote in his decision.

Washington Tim Eyman’s Lawyer Says Anti-Tax Activist Is Victim of ‘Judicial Lynching’
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 6/12/2020

Tim Eyman’s lawyer said the gubernatorial candidate and longtime anti-tax activist is the victim of a “judicial lynching.” It is the latest incident in recent weeks in which Eyman, or his team, has used inflammatory language to compare himself to victims of racism. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, in a case that has dragged on for years, has charged Eyman with violating campaign finance law to enrich himself, laundering political donations and accepting kickbacks. Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled Eyman has been in violation of campaign finance laws for at least the last seven years, concealing nearly $800,000 in political contributions. Ferguson asked Dixon to impose unspecified sanctions on Sanders, accusing him of filing a “repetitive, unfounded, misleading, and offensive” brief.

Continue Reading - 33 min read Close

June 18, 2020 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook” by Mike Isaac for New York Times New Jersey: “Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill” by […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook” by Mike Isaac for New York Times

New Jersey: “Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill” by Samantha Marcus (NJ Advance Media) for Newark Star Ledger

Elections

National: “New Generation of Activists, Deeply Skeptical of Democratic Party, Resists Calls to Channel Energy into the 2020 Campaign” by Cleve Wootson Jr. (Washington Post) for MSN

Iowa: “Kim Reynolds Confirms She Will Sign Felon Voting Rights Executive Order” by Stephen Miller-Gruber and Ian Richardson for Des Moines Register

Nebraska: “Nebraska Democrats Renounce Their Senate Pick Over Comments” by Grant Schulte for AP News

North Dakota: “Judge Nixes North Dakota Group’s Call for Online Signatures” by Staff for AP News

Texas: “Texas Democrats Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Voting by Mail” by Alexa Ura for Texas Tribune

Ethics

National: “Senate Ethics Panel Dismisses Insider-Trading Inquiry into Sen. Loeffler” by Colby Itkowitz for Washington Post

National: “Justice Department Asks Court to Order Bolton to Stop the Release of His Book” by Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey for Washington Post

Maryland: “Payments by Auto Insurer for Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh Were Illegal, State Review Finds” by Meredith Cohn for Baltimore Sun

Washington: “Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Kennewick Mayor. Should Ethics Code Cover Personal Life?” by Annette Cary for The Tri-City Herald

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

June 17, 2020 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Elections National: “The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate” by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul for New York Times Ethics National: “‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest” by Tim Ryan for Courthouse News Service National: “Members of Congress […]

Elections

National: “The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate” by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul for New York Times

Ethics

National: “‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest” by Tim Ryan for Courthouse News Service

National: “Members of Congress Took Small-Business Loans – and the Full Extent Is Unknown” by Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and Zachary Warmbrodt for Politico

Canada: “Canada’s Ethics Czar Investigates Former Canadian Envoy to Washington Over His Work for Palantir” by Abby Blatchford for Politico

Alabama: “Judge Rules Birmingham Airport Authority Employees Not Under Ethics Law” by Mike Cason for AL.com

Florida: “Could Potential for Conflicts Influence Review of Miami’s Powerful Zoning Code?” by Andres Viglucci for Miami Herald

Ohio: “Ex-Cuyahoga County Jail Director Lied to Investigators to ‘Protect Armond Budish and Those in His Inner Circle,’ Prosecutors Say” by Cory Shaffer for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Lobbying

National: “K Street Backrooms Morph Into ‘the Zoom Where It Happens’” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call

California: “Public Health Funds Are Needed More Than Ever but Lack ‘Lobbying Muscle’ in California” by Angela Hart (California Healthline) for Los Angeles Times

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close