October 7, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
National: Drinks, Dinners, Junkets and Jobs: How the insurance industry courts state commissioners Center for Public Integrity – Michael Mishak | Published: 10/2/2016 An investigation by the Center for the Public Integrity found half of the 109 state insurance commissioners who […]
Drinks, Dinners, Junkets and Jobs: How the insurance industry courts state commissioners
Center for Public Integrity – Michael Mishak | Published: 10/2/2016
An investigation by the Center for the Public Integrity found half of the 109 state insurance commissioners who have left their posts in the last decade have gone on to work for the industry they used to regulate, many leaving before their terms expire. Just two moved into consumer advocacy. The “revolving door” also swings in the other direction. For almost a year, Connecticut’s insurance commissioner was overseeing a merger involving a company where she had been a lobbyist. She recused herself recently amid a state ethics review. Consumer advocates and some commissioners say the tight bond between regulators and industry – reinforced by campaign contributions, lavish dinners, and the prospect of future employment – diminishes consumers’ voices.
How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media
New York Times Magazine – Robert Draper | Published: 9/29/2016
The conservative media has always been a playground for outsize personalities with even more outsize political ambitions. Alongside the institution-builders like William F. Buckley, the landscape has also produced a class of rowdy entrepreneurs who wield their influence in more personal ways. If these figures defied the stuffy ceremony of think tanks, opinion journals, and columnists who traditionally defined the conservative intelligentsia, they rarely challenged the ideological principles of conservatism as they had existed since the Reagan era. What they mostly did was provide the Republican Party with a set of exceptionally loud megaphones, which liberals have often envied and tried unsuccessfully to emulate. Then came Donald Trump. In a sense, the divide that Trump has opened among conservative media figures is simply a function of the heartburn his ascent has caused among Republicans more generally.
Democrats Rake in Money, Thanks to Suit by Republicans
New York Times – Nicholas Confessore and Rachel Shorey | Published: 9/30/2016
Democrats denounced it as an assault on democracy and a sop to billionaires when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling two years ago that loosened limits on campaign giving. But Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party leaders are now exploiting the decision, funneling tens of millions of dollars from their wealthiest donors into a handful of presidential swing states. The money followed a legal but circuitous route turbocharged by the 2014 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down limits on the combined amount one person could donate at all federal candidates and parties in an election cycle.
Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found
New York Times – David Barstow, Susanne Craig, Russ Buettner, and Megan Twohey | Published: 10/1/2016
Donald Trump reported a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns and could therefore have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years. Trump’s refusal to release any tax returns has been one of the larger clouds hanging over his campaign and one that Hillary Clinton has sought to exploit. It now appears as though the GOP nominee’s failure to come clean has backfired, with The New York Times article drawing one of the same conclusions that Clinton offered as a possible explanation for Trump’s secrecy in the first presidential debate – that he has paid little or no federal income tax for some time.
How Hillary Clinton Grappled with Bill Clinton’s Infidelity, and His Accusers
New York Times – Megan Twohey | Published: 10/2/2016
Donald Trump has criticized Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s affairs and her response to them, and said he might talk more about the issue in the final weeks before the election. That could be a treacherous strategy for Trump, given his own past infidelity and questionable treatment of women. Many voters, particularly women, might see Hillary Clinton being blamed for her husband’s conduct. It could also remind voters of a searing period in American history, and in Mrs. Clinton’s life. Outwardly, she remained stoic and defiant, defending her husband. But privately, she embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Bill Clinton would become targets of investigation and discrediting, tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce.
Want to be a ‘Foreign Agent’? Serve in US Congress First
Politico – Joseph Schatz and Benjamin Oreskes | Published: 10/2/2016
Of the 1,009 members of Congress who have left Capitol Hill since 1990, 114 of them lobbied for or otherwise represented a foreign government, foreign-owned company, or think tank. The favorable treatment these former lawmakers seek for their clients often bumps against U.S. foreign policy or the interests of the constituents they once served, and, in some cases, they are putting foreign companies over American businesses. While a former lawmaker’s relationships do not always yield concrete results, they can open doors for foreign leaders looking to burnish their country’s reputation – or their own.
From the States and Municipalities:
Florida – Two Years Later, Curbelo Still Keeps List of Past Clients Secret
Miami Herald – Patricia Mazzei | Published: 10/3/2016
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo shut down his government and public affairs consulting company after he won a seat in Congress. He closed the office to comply with a rule that bans federal lawmakers from holding outside employment. That rule, however, does not require former private consultants like Curbelo to disclose who hired them in the past. A loophole in federal disclosure requirements exempted Curbelo from listing his private clients because his firm, Capitol Gains, had been registered under the name of his wife, though she had stopped working there in 2009. Curbelo was always the firm’s principal, drawing a six-figure salary.
Kentucky – Democratic Party Insider Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Role in Kickback Scheme
Lexington Herald-Leader – Bill Estep | Published: 9/29/2016
Rebuked for further eroding public confidence in government, a former high-ranking official in Kentucky government was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for orchestrating a kickback scheme. Tim Longmeyer’s sentencing came after he pleaded guilty to a bribery charge for using his influence as head of the Personnel Cabinet to steer contracts to a consulting firm in 2014 and 2015. He admitted to receiving more than $200,000 in kickbacks from the firm. The judge also ordered Longmeyer to pay $203,500 in restitution.
Maryland – Top Lobbyist Represents Winner of Controversial Medical Marijuana License
Baltimore Sun – Michael Dresser | Published: 10/3/2016
The top-earning lobbyist in Annapolis, Gerald Evans, represents a company that was awarded a lucrative marijuana-growing license after a state commission pulled it from the ranks of losers and gave it a winning slot. As a result of the controversial switch, Evans’ son-in-law stands to make a lot of money. Evans represents Holistic Industries LLC, which counts Evans’ son-in-law Richard Polansky among its equity investors. Polansky is married to Evans’ daughter and lobbying partner, Hayley Evans. The commission has stressed it used a process in which evaluators did not know the identities of any of the applicants. The head of the State Ethics Commission said the law does not require a lobbyist to disclose a spouse’s stake in a business the lobbyist represents.
New York – Ethics Panel Investigating de Blasio’s Nonprofit Is Said to Issue Broad Subpoena
New York Times – William Rashbaum | Published: 10/5/2016
A state ethics panel investigating New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political nonprofit organization has served a sweeping subpoena on City Hall seeking communications among the mayor, his aides, the nonprofit, its donors, and consulting firms that worked for it, people with knowledge of the matter said. The scope of the subpoena suggests a widening of the investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has been focused on whether the group, the Campaign for One New York, illegally lobbied the city in 2015. At the same time, several lawyers representing donors to the group who have been contacted by the panel said the inquiry also appeared to be focused on whether some donations from lobbyists or their clients who have business before the city actually constituted undisclosed gifts to the mayor. Any such undisclosed gifts would violate state lobbying laws.
Ohio – Ohio, Long a Bellwether, Is Fading on the Electoral Map
New York Times – Jonathan Martin | Published: 9/29/2016
After decades as one of America’s most reliable political bellwethers, an inevitable presidential battleground that closely mirrored the mood and makeup of the country, Ohio is suddenly fading in importance this year. Ohio has failed to keep up with the demographic changes transforming the U.S., growing older, whiter, and less educated than the nation at large. And the two parties have made different wagers about how to win the White House in this election: Donald Trump is relying on a demographic coalition that, while well-tailored for Ohio even in the state’s Democratic strongholds, leaves him vulnerable in the more diverse parts of the country where Hillary Clinton is spending most of her time.
Pennsylvania – State Rep. Sims’ Travel, Speaking Fees Raise Questions
City & State Pennsylvania – Ryan Briggs | Published: 10/3/2016
An investigation found Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims failed to properly report thousands of dollars in travel reimbursements last year while collecting more than $53,000 in speaking fees since his election in 2012. State lawmakers are banned from collecting speaking fees or other honoraria. In some cases, Sims appears to have belatedly compensated for free trips by paying for his excursions with campaign funds well after the fact, which experts say also skirts an ethical gray area. A spokesperson for Sims, Dan Siegel, defended the numerous paid speaking engagements, asserting they do not violate the state’s honorarium ban because Sims’ “speeches do not address his legislative role.”
Tennessee – Ex-Lobbyist Paid for Private Plane for Beth Harwell, Karl Dean
WBIR – Dave Boucher and Joel Ebert (The Tennessean) | Published: 9/29/2016
On the heels of news that voucher advocate Mark Gill took a group of Tennessee lawmakers on a beach trip, a different voucher advocate, attorney and former lobbyist Lee Barfield, flew legislators and politicians – including House Speaker Beth Harwell, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick – to North Carolina on a private plane in 2015. Barfield is on the board of directors for the American Federation for Children, a pro-voucher advocacy group. He has registered as a lobbyist in the past, but he was not registered at the time he paid for Harwell and Dean to go on the trip. “My understanding of the law, and the rules at the time, is that as a citizen, I am permitted to take these officials if they want to go on a fact-finding trip,” Barfield said.
Wisconsin – U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Walker Case
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Patrick Marley | Published: 10/3/2016
The U.S. Supreme Court turned away without comment an appeal in a case arising from an investigation into campaign spending in Wisconsin. Last year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down a secret probe into spending to oppose an effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker. The Guardian recently disclosed about 1,500 pages of the documents which seemed to show substantial coordination between candidates and ostensibly independent groups. The public version of the prosecutors’ request for a U.S. Supreme Court review was redacted but appeared to address two main questions: whether the Wisconsin Supreme Court had been too lax in policing coordination between candidates and independent groups, and whether two state Supreme Court justices who had benefited from campaign spending should have recused themselves.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
October 6, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying “Lobby Firm Hires Republican Who Resigned After Ethics Investigation” by Megan Wilson for The Hill Maryland: “Top Lobbyist Represents Winner of Controversial Medical Marijuana License” by Michael Dresser for Baltimore Sun New York: “Ethics Panel Investigating de Blasio’s Nonprofit […]
“Lobby Firm Hires Republican Who Resigned After Ethics Investigation” by Megan Wilson for The Hill
Maryland: “Top Lobbyist Represents Winner of Controversial Medical Marijuana License” by Michael Dresser for Baltimore Sun
New York: “Ethics Panel Investigating de Blasio’s Nonprofit Is Said to Issue Broad Subpoena” by William Rashbaum for New York Times
Washington: “AG’s Office Files Election-Finance Complaint against Kim Wyman” by David Gutman for Seattle Times
“Donald Trump Would Have Trouble Winning a Suit Over the Times’s Tax Article” by Adam Liptak for New York Times
Kentucky: “Democratic Party Insider Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Role in Kickback Scheme” by Bill Estep for Lexington Herald-Leader
Michigan: “11th Detroit Principal Gets 15 Months in Prison for Corruption” by Tresa Baldas for Detroit Free Press
Missouri: “Rowden Aims to Strengthen Ethics in Missouri Legislature” by Janie Matthews for Columbia Missourian
Tennessee: “New Calls for Probe over Staffer Firing in Jeremy Durham Report” by Dave Boucher and Joel Ebert for The Tennessean
“Tim Kaine and Mike Pence Clash Sharply Over Their Running Mates” by Jonathan Martin and Patrick Healy for New York Times
North Carolina: “Indicted Senator Retains Role Running Committees” by Craig Jarvis for Raleigh News & Observer
October 5, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying “Want to be a ‘Foreign Agent’? Serve in US Congress First” by Joseph Schatz and Benjamin Oreskes for Politico Florida: “Two Years Later, Curbelo Still Keeps List of Past Clients Secret” by Patricia Mazzei for Miami Herald Campaign Finance […]
“Want to be a ‘Foreign Agent’? Serve in US Congress First” by Joseph Schatz and Benjamin Oreskes for Politico
Florida: “Two Years Later, Curbelo Still Keeps List of Past Clients Secret” by Patricia Mazzei for Miami Herald
“They Gave to Trump’s GOP Rivals. Now 95% Are Sitting Out the General Election” by Seema Metha, Anthony Pesce, and Maloy Moore for Los Angeles Times
Maryland: “Company Run by David Trone Broke Campaign Contribution Limits, State Prosecutors Say” by Bill Turque for Washington Post
Alabama: “Bentley Says Impeachment Committee’s Tactics ‘Frightening’” by Mike Cason for AL.com
Hawaii: “Caldwell Aide Works Campaign for Free but Gets City Contracts” by Nick Grube for Honolulu Civil Beat
Pennsylvania: “State Rep. Sims’ Travel, Speaking Fees Raise Questions” by Ryan Briggs for City & State Pennsylvania
“In Bruce Springsteen’s America, Many Turn Toward Donald Trump” by Nick Corasaniti and Giovanni Russonello for New York Times
California: “Ballot Selfie Bill by Assemblyman Levine Signed into Law” by Richard Halstead for Marin Independent Journal
October 4, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Campaign Finance Wisconsin: “U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Walker Case” by Patrick Marley for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Ethics “Drinks, Dinners, Junkets and Jobs: How the insurance industry courts state commissioners” by Michael Mishak (Center for Public Integrity) for Washington […]
Wisconsin: “U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Walker Case” by Patrick Marley for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Drinks, Dinners, Junkets and Jobs: How the insurance industry courts state commissioners” by Michael Mishak (Center for Public Integrity) for Washington Post
California: “Brown Signs Bills to Reform CPUC, Urges Administrative Fixes Too” by Jeff McDonald for San Diego Union-Tribune
District of Columbia: “Ethics Opinion: D.C.’s Vincent Orange didn’t break rules by seeking chamber job” by Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post
New York: “State Attorney General Orders Trump Foundation to Cease Raising Money in New York” by Steve Eder for New York Times
“How Hillary Clinton Grappled with Bill Clinton’s Infidelity, and His Accusers” by Megan Twohey for New York Times
Ohio: “Ohio, Long a Bellwether, Is Fading on the Electoral Map” by Jonathan Martin for New York Times
Wisconsin: “Federal Judge Orders Investigation into Wisconsin’s Voter ID System” by Matt Zapotosky for Washington Post
Hawaii: “Hawaii Candidates Are Getting Flooded with Surveys This Year” by Nathan Eagle for Honolulu Civil Beat
October 3, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying “Evan Bayh’s Shadow Lobbying” by Maggie Severns and Isaac Arnsdorf for Politico Tennessee: “Ex-Lobbyist Paid for Private Plane for Beth Harwell, Karl Dean” by Dave Boucher and Joel Ebert (The Tennessean) for WBIR Campaign Finance “Democrats Rake in Money, […]
“Evan Bayh’s Shadow Lobbying” by Maggie Severns and Isaac Arnsdorf for Politico
Tennessee: “Ex-Lobbyist Paid for Private Plane for Beth Harwell, Karl Dean” by Dave Boucher and Joel Ebert (The Tennessean) for WBIR
“Democrats Rake in Money, Thanks to Suit by Republicans” by Nicholas Confessore and Rachel Shorey for New York Times
California: “More California Cities Can Have Publicly Financed Election Campaigns” by Jeremy White for Sacramento Bee
Maine: “Maine Lawmakers Could No Longer Pay Themselves from PACs” by Marina Villeneuve (Associated Press) for Washington Times
Alabama: “Roy Moore, Alabama Chief Justice, Suspended Over Gay Marriage Order” by Campbell Robertson for New York Times
California: “Upgrade to Campaign and Lobbying Database Approved” by Samantha Young for Techwire.net
Kentucky: “Political Consultant Is Second to Plead Guilty in State Corruption Probe” by Bill Estep for Lexington Herald-Leader
Nevada: “Political Firm Tied to Corruption Investigation of Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow” by Jeff German for Las Vegas Review-Journal
“Memo to Obama Aides: Don’t prank Trump or Clinton on your way out” by Elise Viebeck for Washington Post
“How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media” by Robert Draper for New York Times Magazine
“Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found” by David Barstow, Susanne Craig, Russ Buettner, and Megan Twohey for New York Times
September 30, 2016 • Written by Katlin Newman, J.D.
Brian Spano, chairman of the Denver Board of Ethics, has resigned due to a potential conflict of interest. Spano is a law partner with Kristin Bronson, the newly appointed city attorney. Mayor Michael Hancock appointed Bronson in mid-August, and she […]
Brian Spano, chairman of the Denver Board of Ethics, has resigned due to a potential conflict of interest.
Spano is a law partner with Kristin Bronson, the newly appointed city attorney. Mayor Michael Hancock appointed Bronson in mid-August, and she will begin her position with the city on October 17.
Because the city attorney occasionally appears before the Board of Ethics, Spano is stepping down to avoid any questions about future conflicts of interest, real or perceived. His term was set to end in April. His resignation is effective October 19.
September 30, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
National: Big Business Continues Trend Toward Political Transparency Center for Public Integrity – Dave Levinthal | Published: 9/28/2016 About one-in-10 of the nation’s largest companies volunteer almost no information about their political activity, according to a new study on corporate transparency. […]
Big Business Continues Trend Toward Political Transparency
Center for Public Integrity – Dave Levinthal | Published: 9/28/2016
About one-in-10 of the nation’s largest companies volunteer almost no information about their political activity, according to a new study on corporate transparency. Across 24 categories, the study awards points to companies that, for example, voluntarily disclose contributions to certain nonprofit groups, publish policies that govern political expenditures from its corporate treasury, and reveal money spent to influence state-level ballot initiatives. The authors say there is a trend toward increased corporate political transparency, despite calls from prominent business groups for corporations to not reveal more information than what is legally required of them. But plenty of companies show little interest in revealing more about how they are attempting to influence politics.
For Cuomo and Christie, Parallel Paths to the Top, and Trouble When They Got There
New York Times – Vivian Yee | Published: 9/25/2016
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were once lionized for relentlessly prosecuting bad behavior in government. Cuomo is now reeling after the arrest of one of his closest friends, confidants, and former aides, as well as the arrests of several other close advisers and donors in a bribery scheme, while a former top aide and a former political ally to Christie are on trial over their roles in the scandal that elevated a traffic jam on access lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge into a symbol of political payback. Neither governor is accused of breaking the law. But for two men who once prided themselves on managing spick-and-span administrations, claiming to have been blind to alleged acts of petty revenge and bribery at the highest levels of state government seems bad enough.
Republican Lawmakers Under Fire for Racially Insensitive Comments after Charlotte Unrest
Washington Post – Elise Viebeck | Published: 9/24/2016
Republican lawmakers are under increasing fire for racially insensitive comments after the fatal police shootings of black men sparked unrest in two states. Remarks by U.S. Reps. Robert Pittenger, Tim Huelskamp, and Steve King, along with the GOP nominee for vice president, Mike Pence, underscored to some observers Republicans’ tone-deafness on issues of race in a year of unprecedented attention to police bias against African-Americans. With the November elections barely six weeks away, the responses also seemed a sign of Republicans deepening alienation from black voters. The GOP rhetoric could help mobilize African Americans to oppose Republicans in a year when Hillary Clinton is relying on heavy black turnout to win the White House.
D.C. Circuit Decision Limiting Political Ad Disclosure Will Stand
Bloomberg BNA – Kenneth Doyle | Published: 9/28/2016
A federal appellate panel ruling that limits disclosure requirements for groups sponsoring political ads will stand, as the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said it will not review the decision. The long-running litigation challenged as too lax current FEC disclosure rules for ‘electioneering communications” – targeted television and radio ads that refer to a federal candidate in the final weeks before an election. The FEC rules in most circumstances do not require disclosure of those funding such ads. A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling that contended a broader FEC disclosure rule would violate free speech rights. The panel acknowledged previous court decisions supporting disclosure but suggested such rulings conflicted with other precedents giving broad First Amendment protection to political speech.
New Debate Strategy for Donald Trump: Practice, practice, practice
New York Times – Patrick Healy, Ashley Parker, and Maggie Haberman | Published: 9/28/2016
Even as Donald Trump’s advisers publicly backed him after the first presidential debate and praised his performance, they were privately awash in second-guessing about why he stopped attacking Hillary Clinton on trade and character issues and instead grew erratic, impatient, and subdued as the night went on. In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers to Trump expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance. Advisors plan to more rigorously prepare him for the next debate; whether he is open to practicing meticulously is a major concern, however, according to some of these advisers and others close to Trump.
Will ‘Saturday Night Live’ Take Down Trump?
Politico – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 9/29/2016
While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton argue over who won the first presidential debate, inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the winner in the all-important satirical showdown is still being scripted. That is where the cast and crew of “Saturday Night Live” gathered to watch the debate, and it is where they are still sketching out portrayals that will shape how Americans see their presidential candidates. Historically, SNL’s political satire has penetrated the national consciousness. It was Will Ferrell as George W. Bush who coined “strategery,” and it was Tina Fey as Sarah Palin who claimed, “I can see Russia from my house.” The skewering tradition dates all the way back to Chevy Chase’s 1976 portrayal of President Gerald Ford as a klutz. In 2000, Al Gore’s own advisers made him watch Darrell Hammond’s stilted impersonation of his debate performances to show Gore how poorly he was coming off to others.
From the States and Municipalities:
Alabama – Ala. PAC-to-PAC Transfer Ban Upheld by Appeals Court
Montgomery Advertiser – Brian Lyman | Published: 9/28/2016
A federal appeals court upheld Alabama’s ban on money transfers between PACs. The three-judge panel ruled the law did not prevent the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), which sued to overturn it, from raising the funds to support its activities. State lawmakers passed the ban in order to restrict donors’ ability to hide contributions by shuffling them through multiple PACs. After the law passed, the ADC created two separate bank accounts, one dealing with independent expenditures and the other for political contributions. Attorneys for the state argued Alabama’s interests were promoting transparency and preventing corruption. The ADC said because it kept its expenditures in separate bank accounts, and because the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision said independent expenditures do not create the appearance of corruption, the state had no compelling interest in its accounts tied to campaign expenditures.
California – Ex-LAPD Sergeant Defends Himself Against Ethics Charge Over Controversial Stop of ‘Django Unchained’ Actress
Los Angeles Times – Kate Mather | Published: 9/26/2016
A judge heard arguments over whether a Los Angeles police sergeant violated city ethics rules by leaking a recording of his controversial encounter with actress Daniele Watts to the media. No one questions whether Parker released the recording – he has admitted that in interviews with reporters, at a Police Commission meeting, and again while testifying in court. Instead, the case hinges on whether that recording was confidential and thus, whether Parker violated city rules by making it public. Ethics officials allege he did just that, accusing Parker of unlawfully sharing confidential information without authorization and doing so to “create a private advantage for himself.” Sergio Perez, the Ethics Commission’s director of enforcement, accused Parker of releasing the tape because he faced criticism over the encounter.
Illinois – Donation Lifts Fundraising Caps in Illinois Comptroller Race
State Journal-Register – Sophia Tareen (Associated Press) | Published: 9/26/2016
A $260,000 donation to Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger’s campaign has lifted the caps on political contributions and guarantees a big-money race between the incumbent and challenger Susana Mendoza. The loan is from Munger’s husband, attorney John Munger. State campaign finance law limits contributions, but it also says if a candidate or family member gives more than $250,000 to his or her own race, the limits come off for all candidates.
Mississippi – Hosemann Launches ‘Searchable’ Campaign Finance Reports
Hattiesburg American – Geoff Pender (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) | Published: 9/27/2016
Mississippi is becoming the last state to allow electronic filing of campaign finance reports, a step toward easier public access to information about who is spending money to influence elections. The National Institute on Money in State Politics says all 49 other states already had either mandatory or voluntary electronic filing of finance reports. The Mississippi secretary of state’s staff has scanned candidates’ paper forms and posted them online for years. But those documents are not searchable and it is burdensome to calculate, for example, how much money a group or person gives to multiple candidates. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he will ask the Legislature to make electronic filing mandatory for statewide and district candidates starting in 2020, after the current four-year term.
New York – Preet Bharara Wields Ax in Albany Corruption Scandal
Albany Times-Union – Chris Bragg and Mathhew Hamilton | Published: 9/22/2016
Federal corruption charges were levied against two former close aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a senior state official, and six other people, in a blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of the way his prized upstate economic development programs were managed. The charges against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, and the state official, Alain Kaloyeros, were the culmination of a long-running federal investigation into the Cuomo administration’s efforts to lure jobs and businesses to upstate New York’s limping economy by furnishing billions of dollars in state funds to developers from Buffalo to Albany.
North Carolina – Sen. Fletcher Hartsell Accused of Money Laundering, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud
Raleigh News & Observer – Anne Blythe | Published: 9/27/2016
North Carolina Sen. Fletcher Hartsell was indicted on multiple counts related to fraudulent campaign fundraising and expenditures. The charges in federal court escalate the legal woes for Hartsell nearly three months after a county grand jury indicted him in state court on allegations he certified three campaign finance documents as correct, while knowing they were not. The federal indictment alleges he spent campaign money on a trip to South Carolina with his wife’s choir, on haircuts, tickets to the musical “Jersey Boys,” his granddaughter’s birthday party, and getting his driver’s license renewed, among other things.
Rhode Island – Councilman’s Proposal to Reform Providence Lobbying Ordinance Hits Roadblock
WPRI – Dan McGowan | Published: 9/26/2016
Providence Councilperson Sam Zurier wants to amend the city’s existing lobbying ordinance to force members of what he considers “financially active” organizations to register as lobbyists, a plan he acknowledges is designed to force members of the Providence Apartment Association to wear badges in City Hall and file quarterly reports with the clerk’s office. But several members of the Ordinance Committee said they are concerned the proposal would deter other community groups from participating in city government, even though the policy focuses on organizations whose members make campaign contributions to the mayor or city council.
Tennessee – Voucher Advocate Hosted Tennessee Lawmakers at Seaside Condo
The Tennessean – Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher | Published: 9/26/2016
In 2014, five state legislators went on an undisclosed vacation with Mark Gill, one of the leaders of the pro-voucher Tennessee Federation for Children. In 2016, all five lawmakers who went to Gill’s condominium co-sponsored legislation to allow vouchers in Tennessee. As Gill is not a registered lobbyist, he is legally allowed to host in this manner due to a loophole in the law. House Speaker Beth Harwell said such trips need to be disclosed, but she is likely to face pushback from legislators like Rep. Andy Holt, who attended the event, “There’s a time and a place for transparency, but my rights as a U.S. citizen didn’t end when I became a lawmaker,” said Holt.
Virginia – In Virginia’s Capital, a Political ‘Bad Boy’ Upends Race for Mayor
Washingtpn Post – Paul Schwartzman | Published: 9/28/2016
Everyone in Richmond knows about Joe Morrissey Myrna Watson, as do many across Virginia, having read salacious stories three years ago about the then-55-year-old state lawmaker who went to jail for cavorting with his 17-year-old receptionist. Warren is now Morrissey’s wife, and she has become a centerpiece of his unlikely quest to become Richmond’s next mayor. Morrissey’s career includes more than a few headline-grabbing stories, including an eight-year disbarment that prevented him from practicing law until 2011, two fistfights that resulted in jail time, and brandishing an unloaded AK-47 during a gun debate in the House of Delegates. Yet polls show Morrissey with an imposing lead over six opponents. One candidate dropped out recently, citing concern that the size of the field would split the vote and ensure Morrissey’s victory.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
September 29, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying EU: “Lobbying to Face Greater Scrutiny in European Commission Proposals” by Jennnifer Rankin for The Guardian Campaign Finance “Democratic Convention Committee Obliterated Fundraising Goal” by Carrie Levine for Center for Public Integrity “D.C. Circuit Decision Limiting Political Ad Disclosure […]
EU: “Lobbying to Face Greater Scrutiny in European Commission Proposals” by Jennnifer Rankin for The Guardian
“Democratic Convention Committee Obliterated Fundraising Goal” by Carrie Levine for Center for Public Integrity
“D.C. Circuit Decision Limiting Political Ad Disclosure Will Stand” by Kenneth Doyle for Bloomberg BNA
Alabama: “Ala. PAC-to-PAC Transfer Ban Upheld by Appeals Court” by Brian Lyman for Montgomery Advertiser
Mississippi: “Hosemann Launches ‘Searchable’ Campaign Finance Reports” by Geoff Pender (Jackson Clarion-Ledger) for Hattiesburg American
North Carolina: “Sen. Fletcher Hartsell Accused of Money Laundering, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud” by Anne Blythe for Raleigh News & Observer
New York: “JCOPE Chief: Staff to pay ‘closer attention’ to disclosures in wake of scandal” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times-Union
“New Debate Strategy for Donald Trump: Practice, practice, practice” by Patrick Healy, Ashley Parker, and Maggie Haberman for New York Times
Virginia: “In Virginia’s Capital, a Political ‘Bad Boy’ Upends Race for Mayor” by Paul Schwartzman for Washington Post
September 28, 2016 • Written by Katlin Newman, J.D.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed emergency legislation yesterday creating a City Council Ethics Policy. The ethics policy aligns with state ethics law as well as with an executive order signed by Ginther in May 2016. Ginther’s executive order was immediately […]
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed emergency legislation yesterday creating a City Council Ethics Policy. The ethics policy aligns with state ethics law as well as with an executive order signed by Ginther in May 2016.
Ginther’s executive order was immediately effective for executive branch public officials and employees. The new City Council policy has nearly identical provisions on prohibited conduct and financial disclosure, but is applicable to all public officials and city employees.
Effective immediately, public officials and employees may not solicit or accept gifts or employment from anyone doing business with the city. They also must wait at least one year after leaving public service before representing any person or entity before any city department or division with respect to a matter they personally participated in while serving with the city.
Designated officials and employees must also file financial disclosure statements each year. The statements must include a description of each gift, or aggregate of gifts, exceeding $75 from certain sources during the previous calendar year.
Photo of Mayor Andrew Ginther by David Paul on Wikimedia Commons.
September 28, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying Rhode Island: “Councilman’s Proposal to Reform Providence Lobbying Ordinance Hits Roadblock” by Dan McGowan for WPRI Campaign Finance Delaware: “Judge: Christine O’Donnell violated campaign finance laws” by Randall Chase (Associated Press) for Philadelphia Inquirer Illinois: “Donation Lifts Fundraising Caps […]
Rhode Island: “Councilman’s Proposal to Reform Providence Lobbying Ordinance Hits Roadblock” by Dan McGowan for WPRI
Delaware: “Judge: Christine O’Donnell violated campaign finance laws” by Randall Chase (Associated Press) for Philadelphia Inquirer
Illinois: “Donation Lifts Fundraising Caps in Illinois Comptroller Race” by Sophia Tareen (Associated Press) for State Journal-Register
Washington: “Ferguson: ‘Shoddy’ accounting, ‘improper disclosure’ by Eyman” by Joel Connelly for Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Trump Directed $2.3 Million Owed to Him to His Tax-Exempt Foundation Instead” by David Fahrenthold for Washington Post
“2008 Crisis Deepened the Ties Between Clintons and Goldman Sachs” by Nicholas Confessore and Susanne Craig for New York Times
California: “Ex-LAPD Sergeant Defends Himself Against Ethics Charge Over Controversial Stop of ‘Django Unchained’ Actress” by Kate Mather for Los Angeles Times
California: “State Auditor Calls for CPUC Reforms” by Jeff McDonald for San Diego Union-Tribune
New York: “Physicist in Albany Corruption Case Was a Geek with Big Goals” by Vivian Yee for New York Times
September 27, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Lobbying Florida: “Homestead Developer Off the Hook for Accepting Illegal Contingency Fee” by Monique Madan for Miami Herald Tennessee: “Voucher Advocate Hosted Tennessee Lawmakers at Seaside Condo” by Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher for The Tennessean Campaign Finance New York: […]
Florida: “Homestead Developer Off the Hook for Accepting Illegal Contingency Fee” by Monique Madan for Miami Herald
Tennessee: “Voucher Advocate Hosted Tennessee Lawmakers at Seaside Condo” by Joel Ebert and Dave Boucher for The Tennessean
New York: “City Council Drafting Bills to Regulate Political Nonprofits Like Campaign for One New York” by Samar Khurshid for Gotham Gazette
“For Cuomo and Christie, Parallel Paths to the Top, and Trouble When They Got There” by Vivian Yee for New York Times
“Sunlight Foundation Scales Down, May Merge” by Josh Gerstein for Politico
Colorado: “Denver Ethics Chairman Resigns, Cites Potential Conflict” by Jon Murray for Denver Post
Indiana: “Ethics Office Reflects Shift for Indiana Lawmakers” by Niki Kelly for Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette
Maryland: “Del. Dan Morhaim Faces Ethics Probe Inquiry Over Dual Medical Marijuana Roles” by Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post
New York: “Preet Bharara Wields Ax in Albany Corruption Scandal” by Chris Bragg and Mathhew Hamilton for Albany Times-Union
Rhode Island: “Approval of Question 2 Would Restore Ethics Panel Oversight of R.I. Assembly” by Alisha Pina for Providence Journal
“Trump vs. Clinton: Her jabs put him on the defensive in first debate” by Philip Rucker and Anne Gearan for Washington Post
September 26, 2016 • Written by Jim Sedor
Campaign Finance “Former Ohio Lawmaker’s Case Shows Flaws in Campaign Finance Law Enforcement” by Deirdre Shesgreen for USA Today California: “Political Watchdog Launches Probe into California Democratic Party over Jerry Brown Donations” by Taryn Luna for Sacramento Bee Missouri: “Candidates […]
“Former Ohio Lawmaker’s Case Shows Flaws in Campaign Finance Law Enforcement” by Deirdre Shesgreen for USA Today
California: “Political Watchdog Launches Probe into California Democratic Party over Jerry Brown Donations” by Taryn Luna for Sacramento Bee
Missouri: “Candidates and Donated Campaign Cars – Practical or Unethical?” by Jason Hancock for Kansas City Star
Washington: “Labor Council to Pay $16,000 for Alleged Public-Disclosure Violations” by Joseph O’Sullivan for Seattle Times
New York: “Ex-Cuomo Aides Charged in Federal Corruption Inquiry” by Benjamin Weiser, William Rashbaum, and Vivian Yee for New York Times
Texas: “Analysis: ‘Smitty,’ a Texas lobbyist for the small fry, retiring after 31 years” by Ross Ramsey for Texas Tribune
“Republican Lawmakers Under Fire for Racially Insensitive Comments after Charlotte Unrest” by Elise Viebeck for Washington Post
Ohio: “Federal Appeals Court Rules against Ohio Voter-Roll Purges” by Sean Sullivan and Sari Horwitz for Washington Post