May 13, 2022 •
The South Carolina Legislature adjourned on Thursday, May 12. Passed bills included early voting procedures and expanded access to birth control. The Legislature will meet again in a special session scheduled to be held June 15 focusing on the state […]
The South Carolina Legislature adjourned on Thursday, May 12.
Passed bills included early voting procedures and expanded access to birth control.
The Legislature will meet again in a special session scheduled to be held June 15 focusing on the state budget and any bills vetoed by the governor.
May 13, 2022 •
National/Federal A 49-Year Crusade: Inside the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade MSN – Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Caroline Kitchener, and Rachel Roubein (Washington Post) | Published: 5/7/2022 Soon after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Leonard Leo, the head of […]
A 49-Year Crusade: Inside the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade
MSN – Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Caroline Kitchener, and Rachel Roubein (Washington Post) | Published: 5/7/2022
Soon after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Leonard Leo, the head of the conservative Federalist Society, met with the president-elect and his advisers with a list of six potential conservative nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. Leo laid out a road map for Trump on the federal court system, potentially transforming the foundational understanding of rights in America. It was a moment that antiabortion activists had been working toward for decades: The highest reaches of Republican power finally focused, in unison, on achieving the once implausible goal of revisiting the jurisprudence of the 1960s and 1970s, including Roe v. Wade.
Congressman Probing Commanders Cancels Fundraiser Over Ethics Question
MSN – Daniel Lippman (Politico) | Published: 5/10/2022
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi has been investigating the Washington Commanders as chairperson of a House oversight subcommittee. He is also raising money for his reelection. Those two facts collided when Krishnamoorthi canceled a fundraiser after a reporter questioned the event. The issue was whether it was inappropriate for a pair of lobbyists, Mike Manatos and Tom Manatos, to explicitly invite donors to the event to discuss with Krishnamoorthi the probe of the football team and its owner, Dan Snyder. Linking pleas for campaign money to specific legislative actions is not allowed.
Dem AGs Pledge to Hold the Line If Roe Falls
Politico – Alice Miranda Ollstein | Published: 5/9/2022
While attorney general races tend to have lower turnout and spending than gubernatorial contests, the state’s chief law enforcement office has long been a springboard for politicians. In this year’s races, the possible overturning of Roe v, Wade has become a central issue. Those running in red and purple states have pledged not to prosecute people under whatever abortion bans their legislators or governors impose, while those in blue states are vowing to keep local prosecutors at bay and preserve access to the procedure.
Elon Musk Says He Would Reverse Twitter Ban on Donald Trump
MSN – Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 5/10/2022
Elon Musk said he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban of former President Trump if the Tesla chief executive follows through with his plan to buy the social media company. Twitter banned Trump in the wake of the January 6 riots, citing the risk of further violence. Musk said the decision to ban Trump from the platform was a mistake. The decision to do so alienated much of the country, and Trump still has a voice, Musk said. Twitter has said its efforts have been aimed at minimizing harm and improving the user experience by limiting exposure to hate speech and harassment.
GOP State Legislators Move to Police Social Media
Yahoo News – Reid Wilson (The Hill) | Published: 5/11/2022
Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have considered bills that would impose penalties on social media companies for censorship or content limits based on ideological viewpoints. The specifics vary, but many of the proposals would allow users who believe their views have been censored or silenced to bring lawsuits in state courts. One industry insider said forcing social media outlets to justify their decisions to moderate specific instances of content, the bulk of which are made by computer algorithms, would open those companies to legal harassment.
Inside Mark Meadows’s Final Push to Keep Trump in Power
MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 5/9/2022
A review of Mark Meadows’ actions in a crucial three-week period culminating in the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021 – based on interviews, depositions, text messages, emails, congressional documents, recently published memoirs by key players and other material – shows how Meadows played a pivotal role in advancing Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Meadows’ moves are at the center of probes by both the House committee investigating the attack and the Justice Department, which is examining whether to press contempt-of-Congress charges against him and is conducting its own inquiry.
Judge Dismisses Trump’s Lawsuit Against Twitter
MSN – Cat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 5/6/2022
A California judge dismissed a lawsuit that Donald Trump filed against Twitter, the latest blow to the former president’s battles with major tech companies over their decisions to suspend his accounts in the fallout of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The lawsuit, which Trump initially filed last year along with suits targeting Google and Facebook, was viewed as part of a broader strategy to appeal to conservatives who have long argued social media companies unfairly censor their viewpoints.
Pelosi Sets $45,000 Minimum Yearly Salary for House Staff
MSN – Associated Press | Published: 5/6/2022
Addressing concerns about the working conditions for some Capitol Hill aides, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a $45,000 minimum annual salary for House staff and teed up for a vote a resolution that would pave the way for aides to join a union. While jobs on Capitol Hill are highly coveted and can lead to big salaries down the road, the work often involves grueling hours and low pay in a region where steep housing costs can leave little money for other necessities.
Supreme Court Leak Inquiry Exposes Gray Area of Press Protections
MSN – Jeremy Peters (New York Times) | Published: 5/7/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 ruled the government could not prevent The New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers while the source of that leak, Daniel Ellsberg, was indicted by a federal grand jury for theft. The court is now grappling with the release of a draft opinion that sets the framework for overturning Roe v. Wade. Only this time the leak came from inside the building, and there is no law or code of conduct that suggests how an investigation into such a breach should proceed, or whether the journalists who brought the draft to light will be swept up in the kind of criminal investigation that top Republican lawmakers have demanded.
With High Court in Spotlight, Democrats Push Judicial Ethics Overhaul
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 5/10/2022
In the wake of revelations related to the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of liberal House and Senate Democrats is introducing new legislation to tighten judicial ethics laws, reflecting the rising anger on the left over the recent conduct of the high court’s conservative majority. A draft proposal calls for more disclosure, a binding code of conduct for the Supreme Court, and a new judicial recusal process. The Supreme Court is the only court in the country that is not required to abide by a judicial code of ethics.
Canada – MLA’s Motions to Improve Alberta Lobbyist Act Rejected by Committee
MSN – Michelle Bellefontaine (CBC) | Published: 5/8/2022
A committee of lawmakers reviewing Alberta’s Lobbyist Act voted against changes proposed by the province’s ethics commissioner, including the establishment of a registry to track meetings between lobbyists and public officeholders. The only motion accepted by the committee was a recommendation that government “take into account the importance of public transparency” when changing the act, which must be reviewed every five years. The provincial government will ultimately decide what it will accept when moving forward with changes to the law.
From the States and Municipalities
California – CalPERS Board Violated Open Meetings Law, Judge Rules. Ex-Board Member Wants More Information
Sacramento Bee – Wes Venteicher | Published: 5/9/2022
A judge ruled California Public Employees Retirement System’s Board of Administration violated open meetings law when it excluded the public from a discussion two years ago related to the exit of Ben Ming, its former investment chief. Meng quit after a conflict-of-interest complaint was filed over his personal investments in Blackstone, a private equity firm in which the pension fund also was invested. A notice published by the board said the meeting, held 12 days after Meng’s resignation, was closed so board members could discuss a “chief executive officer’s briefing on performance, employment, and personnel items.”
Colorado – Election-Denying Clerk Tina Peters, Deputy Belinda Knisley Barred from Overseeing 2022 Elections in Mesa County
MSN – Saja Hindi (Denver Post) | Published: 5/10/2022
For the second year in a row, a judge has ruled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley are barred from overseeing an election – this time, the June primaries and November general election. Peters, who disputes the 2020 presidential election result and is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state, is also facing multiple investigations surrounding allegations of an election equipment security breach and campaign finance violations, including 10 criminal counts. Knisley was also indicted by the grand jury and was suspended from her role at the county for a workplace investigation.
Florida – Appeals Court Reinstates Florida’s 2021 Election Law Provisions Struck Gown by Judge
MSN – Steven Lemongello (Orlando Sentinel) | Published: 5/6/2022
A federal appeals court overruled a judge who struck down much of Florida’s controversial 2021 election law, allowing the provisions to go into effect while a lawsuit makes its way through the courts. Judge Mark Walker ruled in March the Legislature intentionally discriminated against Black voters in drafting the law and ordered the state not to make any future changes to those provisions without his court’s approval. But three judges on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state’s request to appeal and overturn Walker’s ruling. The judges wrote the upcoming primary elections were too imminent for Walker to make such changes to the law.
Georgia – Challenge Over Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Eligibility Fails
Yahoo News – Kate Brumback (Associated Press) | Published: 5/6/2022
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accepted a judge’s findings and said U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is qualified to run for reelection despite claims by a group of voters that she had engaged in insurrection. Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot said Greene was eligible to run, finding the voters had not produced sufficient evidence to back their claims. After Raffensperger adopted the judge’s decision, the group that filed the complaint on behalf of the voters vowed to appeal.
Hawaii – Will Former Lawmakers’ Bribery Charges Lead to Broader Government Reform?
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 5/9/2022
There has been a renewed focus this year in Hawaii on government ethics and corruption in the wake of criminal charges involving two former lawmakers. J. Kalani English and Ty Cullen both pleaded guilty accepting bribes as part of a scheme to influence legislation. The charges also led to the creation of a group to address government conduct. Now, lawmakers and many in the public will be looking to the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct for proposals on how to tighten up ethics laws and increase government transparency ahead of the 2023 legislative session, which opens in January.
Kentucky – Andy Beshear Sues Over GOP Plan to Reduce His Power Over Ethics Commission Appointments
Yahoo News – Morgan Watkins (Louisville Courier-Journal) | Published: 5/6/2022
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear sued over legislation the Republican-run General Assembly passed that reduces his authority to appoint members to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. The bill shifts Beshear’s power to the state’s constitutional officers, who are all Republicans. Beshear wants a judge to nix House Bill 334, which expands the ethics commission from five members to seven and gives the governor two appointments to the board while granting five other state officeholders one appointment each.
Maryland – Exclusive: U.S. congressman’s campaign may violate state election law
Yahoo News – Eric Cortellessa (Time) | Published: 5/8/2022
U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown wants to be Maryland’s top law enforcement officer, but his own campaign’s spending may violate state election law, according to campaign finance experts. Brown announced on October 25 that he would retire from Congress and run for state attorney general. Since then, he has used funds from his congressional campaign account to bankroll his bid for statewide office, a review of his financial disclosures shows. Meanwhile, Brown spent nothing from his state account to compensate the campaign’s staff in its first months of operation, the review found.
Michigan – ‘Massive Forgery Scheme’ Claims Rock Michigan Elections, Governor’s Race
Bridge Michigan – Jonathan Oosting | Published: 5/5/2022
A petition fraud scandal threatening the candidacy of Republican gubernatorial front-runner James Craig has spread to at least three other Michigan candidates accused of submitting forged signatures from the same circulators in their quest to make the primary ballot. Gubernatorial, congressional, and judicial candidates are required to submit voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, but experts say unusually high demand for paid circulators this spring led to a price spike that may have incentivized cheating or sloppy collections. State canvassers will soon decide who makes the ballot.
Michigan – Michigan Legislature Puts Term Limits Proposal on Ballot
MSN – David Eggert (Associated Press) | Published: 5/10/2022
The Michigan Legislature voted to put before voters a constitutional amendment to revise the state’s legislative term limits law and require state elected officials to disclose their personal financial information. Supporters of amending term limits say it would enable new lawmakers to focus on their job instead of immediately looking to run for higher office or find work outside the Legislature. Opponents say it is being mischaracterized as a proposal to improve term limits when it would double how many terms a House member could serve.
Mississippi – No More Anonymity, No Complaints During Election Season: Changes to city ethics complaints process coming
Yahoo News – Angele Latham (Jackson Sun) | Published: 5/5/2022
Changes may soon be coming to the way ethics complaints are handled against elected city officials in Jackson after council members voted on first reading to amend portions of the code of ethics to allow for the creation of an ethics board. Most notably, constituents may soon be unable to file complaints anonymously, and may only be able to file them outside of election season. The changes will become official if it is passed on second reading at the June city council meeting.
Nebraska – Pillen Beats Trump’s Candidate in Nebraska Governor Primary
ABC News – Grant Schulte (Associated Press) | Published: 5/11/2022
Republican voters in Nebraska picked Jim Pillen as their nominee for governor, siding with the University of Nebraska regent backed by the state’s outgoing governor over a rival supported by former President Trump and accused of groping multiple women. While Trump-endorsed candidates won primary races in West Virginia for the U.S. House, the statewide loss in Nebraska was a setback for the former president. Charles Herbster’s loss raises the stakes on other high-profile races in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where Trump has also intervened in campaigns.
New Jersey – Murphy Vetoes Bill Closing Bribery ‘Loopholes,’ Wants to Make the Law Tougher
MSN – Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 5/10/2022
Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill intended to close what its sponsors called a “loophole” in New Jersey’s corruption laws, which would make it clear it is illegal even for candidates to accept a bribe in the state. Murphy called for amendments that would make the bill even tougher. Those amendments would include charging anyone who facilitated or served as a go-between in setting up a bribe or payoff. The state Legislature voted unanimously to change the law to unequivocally state that bribery laws apply not only to public officials, but to candidates for public office as well.
New York – Ethics Commission Hits Back at Cuomo, Seeking $5M Book Repayment
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 5/9/2022
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) countersued ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, filing a court action seeking to force the repayment of $5.1 million in book proceeds paid to the former governor. In March, JCOPE ordered Cuomo to repay the money, but he has taken no steps to repay the book’s publisher. In the counterclaim, attorneys representing the commission asked that Cuomo be forced to repay the funds, and for an injunction barring Cuomo from disbursing the money in the meantime.
New York – For Nonprofits, a Voice in Lobbying Is Often Out of Reach Due to Rules
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 5/9/2022
Small nonprofit and other grassroots organizations are pushing for a $10,000 registration threshold in New York for lobbying-related spending. Doubling the current limit would enable many of those organizations and individuals to engage in trying to influence public policy without the need to expend resources or money to comply with the state’s reporting requirements. Nonprofit New York compiled a policy brief that found only three percent of nonprofit groups engage in lobbying with many dissuaded to participate because they are not equipped to handle the complex lobbying reporting requirements and fear the penalties that result from missteps.
New York – Judge Lifts Contempt Ruling Against Trump, with Conditions
Yahoo News – Graham Kates (CBS News) | Published: 5/11/2022
A New York State judge lifted a civil contempt ruling levied against Donald Trump, but said the former president still needs to pay $110,000 in fines accrued and satisfy other conditions. Trump was held in contempt on April 25 after failing to comply with a subpoena requiring that he turn over documents to investigators conducting a financial fraud probe for New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump was fined $10,000 per day through May 6, the date of his most recent filing in the case.
Ohio – City Worker Who Helped Convicted Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson in Corruption Scheme Spared Prison Time
MSN – Corey Shaffer (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 5/10/2022
A federal judge spared a former city of Cleveland employee from prison for his role in helping then-council member Kenneth Johnson carry out a long-running corruption scheme. U.S. District Court Judge John Adams sentenced Robert Fitzpatrick to three years of probation. Fitzpatrick cooperated with the FBI investigation into Johnson, who took Fitzpatrick in to live with him as a teenager and then manipulated him to fall in line with the corruption scheme.
Oregon – Candidates, Others Have to Reset Passwords to Oregon Campaign Finance System After Hack
Oregon Capital Journal – Lynne Terry | Published: 5/10/2022
About 1,100 people who use the Oregon secretary of state’s online campaign finance tracking system must reset their passwords following a ransomware attack against a web provider. The office said the hack did not affect state election data. Those affected account for roughly 6% of the database users, the office said. The office is notifying those affected they have to create new passwords. The ORESTAR system is separate from other electoral databases.
Oregon – Prison Club for Oregon’s Convicted Killers Investigated for Financial ‘Discrepancies’
MSN – Noelle Crombie (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 5/8/2022
The newsletters provide updates on the wholesome pursuits of a civic-minded club: barbecues, toy drives, and backpacks filled with school supplies for children in need. The group spearheads an annual holiday gift giveaway, ensuring those without families of their own do not feel left out. Its members oversee a six-figure fundraising juggernaut. But this is no Rotary Club. It is the Lifers’ Unlimited Club at the Oregon State Penitentiary where only convicted killers need apply, and now it is in trouble. State Department of Corrections officials confirmed they have halted club activities while they investigate “discrepancies” in its finances.
South Carolina – SC GOP Lawmaker Settles 133 Alleged Campaign Finance Violations for Fine, Public Reprimand
MSN – Zak Koeske (The State) | Published: 5/5/2022
A state lawmaker who faced more than 100 ethics charges related to his use of campaign money settled the accusations with the South Carolina House Ethics Committee. Rep. Jonathon Hill, who is not seeking reelection, entered into a consent order with the committee. Under the terms of the settlement, Hill will be fined $12,000 and receive a public reprimand. He has not been criminally charged. An outside audit of Hill’s campaign disclosure reports over a three-year period turned up numerous alleged violations of South Carolina ethics code.
Tennessee – Titans Stadium Push Shows Family Connections on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill
WTVF – Phil Williams | Published: 5/9/2022
The Tennessee Titans wanted a new stadium – a domed facility that could cost more than $2 billion – to replace the aging structure that opened almost 23 years ago. It put together a team of 15 lobbyists, including the wife of the powerful chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee and the daughter of the state’s Commissioner of Tourist Development. The lobbying effort is the latest example that reveals how the lines between public interest and personal interest can get blurred at the Capitol.
Virginia – Battling Yard Signs on a Quiet Corner in Alexandria
MSN – Emily Davies (Washington Post) | Published: 5/7/2022
Old Town Alexandria has in many ways stayed above the cultural fray that has dominated other parts of Northern Virginia over the past few years – avoiding explosive rallies over critical race theory like in nearby Loudoun County, for example. But dueling yard signs that appeared recently have brought the debate to the neighborhood. Many neighbors said the signs made public a sort of tension that is rarely articulated in an area proud of its understated brand of liberalism.
Virginia – State Supreme Court Vacancies Remain Unfilled During Political Standoff
Virginia Mercury – Allison Winter | Published: 5/9/2022
Two vacant seats in the Virginia Supreme Court that opened in the past year hang in the balance in the political standoff in the Legislature. State lawmakers said their negotiations continue but indicated they are no closer to resolution. Selecting justices is a constitutional duty of the General Assembly, which elects the justices by a majority vote. Once elected, a justice can serve for a 12-year term. In recent history Republican Legislatures have elected justices as a matter of course. But this year, the appointments are one of many political deadlocks in the current divided Legislature.
Virginia – Youngkin Retracts Job Offer to Indiana Official to Run Virginia DMV
MSN – Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) | Published: 5/10/2022
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration retracted a job offer to a former Indiana state official to run the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles after the chosen candidate was the subject of an exposé in The Indianapolis Star about allegations of drinking on the job and making inappropriate comments. The Star reported Peter Lacy “abruptly” resigned in April from his job as head of Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles a day after he allegedly appeared intoxicated at a departmental meeting.
May 12, 2022 •
The 73rd Colorado General Assembly adjourned sine die May 11. During the session, legislation related to campaign finance was introduced. House Bill 1060 was passed, creating aggregate limits on candidates for school district director from persons other than small donor […]
The 73rd Colorado General Assembly adjourned sine die May 11.
During the session, legislation related to campaign finance was introduced. House Bill 1060 was passed, creating aggregate limits on candidates for school district director from persons other than small donor committees for any regular biennial or special school election of $2,500. Further, a $25,000 limit was established for contributions to candidates for school district director from small donor committees for any regular biennial or special school election. The bill takes effect July 1.
Additionally, Senate Bill 237 relating to ballot measure expenditures was introduced and passed through both chambers as of May 10. The bill would expand the definition of earmark for purposes of the Fair Campaign Practices Act to include contributions or expenditures greater than $1,000 to support or oppose a specified ballot issue or ballot question. Further, the bill would modify the process to determine whether an organization is an issue committee to include an examination of the organization’s pattern of conduct. Additionally, any person who makes a expends $5,000 in aggregate in a calendar year on direct ballot issue or ballot question expenditure expenditures must report to the secretary of state, and any person who makes a direct ballot issue or ballot question expenditure must disclose their name in certain communications about a ballot issue or ballot question. If passed, portions of the bill would become effective immediately and the section providing for disclosure to the secretary of state of $5,000 spent by an individual in a calendar year would become effective September 1.
This does not affect lobbyist reporting.
May 12, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Oregon: “Candidates, Others Have to Reset Passwords to Oregon Campaign Finance System After Hack” by Lynne Terry for Oregon Capital Journal Elections Colorado: “Election-Denying Clerk Tina Peters, Deputy Belinda Knisley Barred from Overseeing 2022 Elections in Mesa County” […]
Oregon: “Candidates, Others Have to Reset Passwords to Oregon Campaign Finance System After Hack” by Lynne Terry for Oregon Capital Journal
Colorado: “Election-Denying Clerk Tina Peters, Deputy Belinda Knisley Barred from Overseeing 2022 Elections in Mesa County” by Saja Hindi (Denver Post) for MSN
Michigan: “‘Massive Forgery Scheme’ Claims Rock Michigan Elections, Governor’s Race” by Jonathan Oosting for Bridge Michigan
Nebraska: “Pillen Beats Trump’s Candidate in Nebraska Governor Primary” by Grant Schulte (Associated Press) for ABC News
National: “GOP State Legislators Move to Police Social Media” by Reid Wilson (The Hill) for Yahoo News
National: “With High Court in Spotlight, Democrats Push Judicial Ethics Overhaul” by Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) for MSN
New York: “Judge Lifts Contempt Ruling Against Trump, with Conditions” by Graham Kates (CBS News) for Yahoo News
Ohio: “City Worker Who Helped Convicted Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson in Corruption Scheme Spared Prison Time” by Corey Shaffer (Cleveland Plain Dealer) for MSN
Virginia: “Youngkin Retracts Job Offer to Indiana Official to Run Virginia DMV” by Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) for MSN
May 11, 2022 •
Oregon’s campaign finance system web provider, Opus Interactive, is asking all users to change passwords following a ransomware attack Sunday night. Hackers infiltrated Opus Interactive, granting them access to a C&E Systems database. C&E Systems handles campaign finance compliance and […]
Oregon’s campaign finance system web provider, Opus Interactive, is asking all users to change passwords following a ransomware attack Sunday night.
Hackers infiltrated Opus Interactive, granting them access to a C&E Systems database.
C&E Systems handles campaign finance compliance and is used by Oregon candidates, treasurers, political parties, and committees.
The attackers encrypted the database, which included login credentials to ORESTAR.
Only about 6% of C&E Systems users were affected by the hack, but all users are recommended to change passwords.
No sensitive data was accessed, but data was blocked from being accessed by the Opus Interactive team.
Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is currently working with cyber security experts to remedy the situation.
May 11, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Congressman Probing Commanders Cancels Fundraiser Over Ethics Question” by Daniel Lippman (Politico) for MSN Elections National: “Dem AGs Pledge to Hold the Line If Roe Falls” by Alice Miranda Ollstein for Politico Michigan: “Michigan Legislature Puts Term […]
National: “Congressman Probing Commanders Cancels Fundraiser Over Ethics Question” by Daniel Lippman (Politico) for MSN
National: “Dem AGs Pledge to Hold the Line If Roe Falls” by Alice Miranda Ollstein for Politico
Michigan: “Michigan Legislature Puts Term Limits Proposal on Ballot” by David Eggert (Associated Press) for MSN
National: “Elon Musk Says He Would Reverse Twitter Ban on Donald Trump” by Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell, and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) for MSN
New Jersey: “Murphy Vetoes Bill Closing Bribery ‘Loopholes,’ Wants to Make the Law Tougher” by Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) for MSN
New York: “Ethics Commission Hits Back at Cuomo, Seeking $5M Book Repayment” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union
Virginia: “State Supreme Court Vacancies Remain Unfilled During Political Standoff” by Allison Winter for Virginia Mercury
Tennessee: “Titans Stadium Push Shows Family Connections on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill” by Phil Williams for WTVF
May 10, 2022 •
The impeachment trial of Gov. Ralph Torres of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands begins on May 13. The House voted in favor of six articles of impeachment in January, including two felony charges, two corruption charges, and two […]
The impeachment trial of Gov. Ralph Torres of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands begins on May 13.
The House voted in favor of six articles of impeachment in January, including two felony charges, two corruption charges, and two charges of neglect. Six of the nine senators will have to vote affirmatively to convict Torres and remove him from office.
Torres was also arraigned in superior court on criminal charges alleging 12 counts of misconduct in public office and one count of theft.
The court scheduled an evidentiary hearing for May 31.
May 10, 2022 •
The second regular session of the 130th Maine Legislature adjourned sine die on May 9. Two campaign finance bills were passed during the session and signed by the governor. Legislative Document 1782, effective January 1, 2023, permits business entities to […]
The second regular session of the 130th Maine Legislature adjourned sine die on May 9.
Two campaign finance bills were passed during the session and signed by the governor.
Legislative Document 1782, effective January 1, 2023, permits business entities to contribute the paid staff time of its employees to the entity’s separate segregated fund committee.
Legislative Document 1754 amends the state’s major contributor disclosure law and will take effect on August 8.
This does affect lobbyist reporting.
A registered lobbyist who anticipates no further lobbying for a client may file a request for a non-session waiver with their final monthly report for the session due June 15.
May 10, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Maryland: “Exclusive: U.S. congressman’s campaign may violate state election law” by Eric Cortellessa (Time) for Yahoo News Elections National: “Inside Mark Meadows’s Final Push to Keep Trump in Power” by Michael Kranish (Washington Post) for MSN Ethics Hawaii: […]
Maryland: “Exclusive: U.S. congressman’s campaign may violate state election law” by Eric Cortellessa (Time) for Yahoo News
National: “Inside Mark Meadows’s Final Push to Keep Trump in Power” by Michael Kranish (Washington Post) for MSN
Hawaii: “Will Former Lawmakers’ Bribery Charges Lead to Broader Government Reform?” by Blaze Lovell for Honolulu Civil Beat
Mississippi: “No More Anonymity, No Complaints During Election Season: Changes to city ethics complaints process coming” by Angele Latham (Jackson Sun) for Yahoo News
Oregon: “Prison Club for Oregon’s Convicted Killers Investigated for Financial ‘Discrepancies’” by Noelle Crombie (Portland Oregonian) for MSN
Virginia: “Battling Yard Signs on a Quiet Corner in Alexandria” by Emily Davies (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Pelosi Sets $45,000 Minimum Yearly Salary for House Staff” by Associated Press for MSN
New York: “For Nonprofits, a Voice in Lobbying Is Often Out of Reach Due to Rules” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union
May 9, 2022 •
The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) has issued a notice of proposed changes to Alaska’s campaign disclosure regulations. The changes seek to clarify and define different aspects of the current law stemming from passage of the 2020 Initiative Measure 2. […]
The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) has issued a notice of proposed changes to Alaska’s campaign disclosure regulations.
The changes seek to clarify and define different aspects of the current law stemming from passage of the 2020 Initiative Measure 2.
The changes include a clearer definition of a prohibited contribution, a clarification of contribution disclosure requirements for charitable organizations, and additional requirements for political communications with video components.
APOC is seeking comments on the proposed changes and will accept them no later than end of business day on June 8.
Once the comment period ends, APOC will either adopt, amend, or take no action in regards to the proposed regulations.
May 9, 2022 •
Campaign Finance South Carolina: “SC GOP Lawmaker Settles 133 Alleged Campaign Finance Violations for Fine, Public Reprimand” by Zak Koeske (The State) for MSN Elections Florida: “Appeals Court Reinstates Florida’s 2021 Election Law Provisions Struck Gown by Judge” by Steven […]
South Carolina: “SC GOP Lawmaker Settles 133 Alleged Campaign Finance Violations for Fine, Public Reprimand” by Zak Koeske (The State) for MSN
Florida: “Appeals Court Reinstates Florida’s 2021 Election Law Provisions Struck Gown by Judge” by Steven Lemongello (Orlando Sentinel) for MSN
Georgia: “Challenge Over Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Eligibility Fails” by Kate Brumback (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
National: “Judge Dismisses Trump’s Lawsuit Against Twitter” by Cat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Supreme Court Leak Inquiry Exposes Gray Area of Press Protections” by Jeremy Peters (New York Times) for MSN
Kentucky: “Andy Beshear Sues Over GOP Plan to Reduce His Power Over Ethics Commission Appointments” by Morgan Watkins (Louisville Courier-Journal) for Yahoo News
National: “A 49-Year Crusade: Inside the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade” by Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Caroline Kitchener, and Rachel Roubein (Washington Post) for MSN
Canada: “MLA’s Motions to Improve Alberta Lobbyist Act Rejected by Committee” by Michelle Bellefontaine (CBC) for MSN
May 6, 2022 •
The Hawaii Legislature adjourned its regular session sine die May 5. During the session, several bills related to campaign finance were introduced. House Bill 1423, with its last action on March 18, was introduced but has not passed. The bill […]
The Hawaii Legislature adjourned its regular session sine die May 5.
During the session, several bills related to campaign finance were introduced.
House Bill 1423, with its last action on March 18, was introduced but has not passed.
The bill set out to increase the fine for campaign spending law violations against a noncandidate committee making only independent expenditures and that has received at least one contribution of more than $10,000, or spent more than $10,000 in an election period.
House Bill 1423 would have allowed the campaign spending commission to order that the fine be up to three times the amount of the unlawful contribution or expenditure, and that the payment of the fine assessed against a noncandidate committee, or any portion thereof, be paid from the personal funds of an officer of the noncandidate committee.
This does not affect lobbyist reporting.
May 6, 2022 •
The 2022 session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourned on May 4. Lawmakers passed a state budget including more than $600 million in tax cuts, made Juneteenth a state holiday, and dedicated $300 million toward fighting the opioid epidemic. Bills […]
The 2022 session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourned on May 4.
Lawmakers passed a state budget including more than $600 million in tax cuts, made Juneteenth a state holiday, and dedicated $300 million toward fighting the opioid epidemic.
Bills related to campaign consultants, municipal campaign finance filings, and banning foreign money in state elections were introduced but not passed.
This does affect lobbyist reporting dates.
The monthly employer activity report required any month the General Assembly is in regular session is due June 10
May 6, 2022 •
National/Federal A Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade Might Upend the Midterms MSN – Dan Balz, Colby Itkowitz, and Caroline Kitchener (Washington Post) | Published: 5/3/2022 Supporters of abortion rights and their Democratic allies predicted that Politico’s publication of a leaked […]
A Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade Might Upend the Midterms
MSN – Dan Balz, Colby Itkowitz, and Caroline Kitchener (Washington Post) | Published: 5/3/2022
Supporters of abortion rights and their Democratic allies predicted that Politico’s publication of a leaked draft opinion by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. would reverberate through to the fall campaign. They said it could make the election a choice between Democratic and Republican governance that could ultimately hold down expected GOP gains. Countering that view were assertions by Republicans and opponents of abortion who said their supporters would be energized by a decision and issues such as inflation and crime will continue to influence voters’ decisions as much or more than abortion rights.
Draft Abortion Opinion Puts New Spotlight on Confirmation Hearings
MSN – Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) | Published: 5/4/2022
In the wake of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, there is fresh scrutiny of the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process, in which nominees say as little as possible and senators are left to parse their language on how they would rule. It is not just the increasingly predictable and evasive answers of nominees that are prodding some senators to conclude the hearings have become empty theater. More and more, the confirmation votes themselves seem a foregone conclusion, with senators hewing to the party line and many using their allotted time to launch political broadsides rather than seek information.
Former Top State Official to Plead Guilty for Helping Qatar
Yahoo News – Alan Sunderman and Jim Mustian (Associated Press) | Published: 4/27/2022
A former top-ranking State Department official will plead guilty for improperly helping Qatar influence U.S. policy and not disclosing on an ethics form gifts he received from a disgraced political fundraiser. Richard Olson, who was the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the end of the Obama administration, provided “aid and advice” to Qatar on lobbying activities in violation of a “revolving door” prohibition against such behavior for one year after leaving public service.
Gas Giants Have Been Ghostwriting Letters of Support from Elected Officials
Yahoo Finance – Chris D’Angelo (HuffPost) | Published: 5/2/2022
For the past several months, local officials in Virginia and North Carolina, primarily elected Republicans, have been peppering federal regulators with glowing letters in support of gas projects in their states. Internal emails show these letters all had something in common – they were ghostwritten by lobbyists and consultants of the two major pipeline firms behind those projects. The communications show how Williams Companies and TC Energy Corporation worked to boost political support for a number of natural gas infrastructure projects currently under federal review.
How a Billionaires Boys’ Club Came to Dominate the Public Square
MSN – Michael Scherer and Sarah Ellison (Washington Post) | Published: 5/1/2022
Technological change and the fortunes it created have given a small club of wealthy individuals the ability to play arbiter, moderator, and bankroller of not only the information that feeds the nation’s discourse but also the architecture that undergirds it. The information that courses over these networks is increasingly produced by publications controlled by fellow billionaires and other wealthy dynasties, who have filled the void of the collapsing profit-making journalism market with varying combinations of self-interest and altruism. It is a situation that has alarmed policy experts at both ends of the increasingly vicious ideological and partisan divides.
Jan. 6 Panel Wants Testimony from GOP Lawmakers Brooks, Biggs, Jackson
Yahoo News – Rebecca Beitsch (The Hill) | Published: 5/2/2022
The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking voluntary testimony from three additional members of Congress who appeared to have some coordination with rioters and efforts to block President Biden’s electoral victory both before and after the attack. The letter to Rep. Mo Brooks notes former President Trump asked him to help keep him in office even after January 6. A letter to Rep. Andy Biggs references his involvement in discussions to secure presidential pardons in connection with efforts to unwind the 2020 election. A letter to Rep. Ronny Jackson points to exchanges between members of the Oath Keepers militia group citing the need to protect the lawmaker.
Judge Upholds Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena for RNC Records
Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney (Politico) | Published: 5/2/2022
A judge supported a House select committee’s effort to obtain internal Republican National Committee (RNC) data. In rejecting the RNC lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Kelly said the committee had demonstrated its need for the party’s data on its fundraising emails between November 3, 2020, and January 6, 2021, when the RNC and Trump campaign sent supporters messages falsely suggesting the election was stolen. The committee contends those emails helped sow the seeds of the violence that erupted on January 6. The decision is a major victory for the panel and could open the doors to reams of internal RNC data held by Salesforce, a vendor the RNC used to run email fundraising campaigns.
Panel Sends FEC Nominee Dara Lindenbaum to Senate Floor
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 5/3/2022
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee approved the nomination of Dara Lindenbaum to the FEC. Lindenbaum, an election lawyer, would fill the seat of Steven Walther, an independent who was picked by Democrats. Lindenbaum said she would recuse herself for two years from cases involving her own clients or those of her firm. Her client roster includes Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor this year and ran in 2018, as well as other federal, state, and local candidates and political committees.
Trump Officials Muzzled CDC on Church Covid Guidance, Emails Confirm
MSN – Dan Diamond (Washington Post) | Published: 4/28/2022
Trump White House officials in May 2020 removed public health advice urging churches to consider virtual religious services as the coronavirus spread, delivering a messaging change sought by the president’s supporters, according to emails from former top officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released reports saying the virus had killed three and infected dozens at church events in Arkansas and health experts had warned houses of worship had become hot spots for virus transmission. But Trump officials wrote they were frustrated by “problematic” advice the CDC had already posted. The guidance published by CDC did not include recommendations about offering virtual or drive-in options for religious services.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – A Top Ducey Aide Raised Nearly $13k from Lobbyists Whose Cash He Promised to Shun
Arizona Mirror – Dillon Rosenblatt | Published: 5/3/2022
When Matt Gress, the budget director for Gov. Doug Ducey, launched his campaign for the Arizona House in December, he promised not to accept any contributions from lobbyists during the legislative session to avoid the appearance his campaign might influence his work for the state. His first campaign finance report in 2022 shows he did not follow through on that promise.
California – ‘Pay to Play’ Governor Behest Payment Contracting Bill Killed by Senate Democrats
California Globe – Evan Symon | Published: 4/29/2022
A bill that would have prohibited state agencies in California from awarding contracts to companies that made behest payments on the governor’s behalf failed to pass the Senate Governmental Organization Committee. Senate Bill 1367 would have specifically prohibited state agencies from awarding a contract for which the agency had not secured at least three competitive bids or proposals to a company that made a payment at the behest of the governor in the preceding 12 months.
Colorado – Colorado Lawmakers Define ‘Major Purpose’ in Campaign Finance Laws, Clarify Who Must File Reports
Colorado Politics – Marianne Goodland | Published: 5/4/2022
A bill in the Colorado Senate would change campaign finance laws pertaining to issue committees, which deal with ballot measures. The bill’s main purpose is to define “major purpose” in campaign finance statutes and the parameters under which it would apply, particularly when it comes to issue committees. Senate Bill 237 would establish clear thresholds on spending, above which an organization would qualify as having a “major purpose” of supporting a ballot measure and which would trigger registration as an issue committee, as well as a requirement to file campaign finance reports.
Florida – Disney’s Special Tax District Pushes Back Against Law That Would Dissolve It
MSN – Lori Rozsa and Beth Reinhard (Washington Post) | Published: 4/28/2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis assailed Disney for siding with the LGBTQ community over a controversial law. But if DeSantis is looking to reshape Disney’s operations and its uniquely powerful control in the state, he may come up short. The details of the state’s dissolution of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District are still being hashed out behind closed doors. But Reedy Creek is not waiting. The special taxing district, which encompasses most of Disney’s Central Florida properties and allows Disney to effectively self-govern, is already pushing back, indicating it plans to fight the dissolution of a 1967 compact with the state.
Georgia – City Fires Longtime Officials Who Were Mentioned During Bicker’s Corruption Trial
WSB – Richard Belcher | Published: 5/4/2022
The city of Atlanta fired two longtime city officials whose names came up in testimony during the Mitzi Bickers’ bribery trial. The star prosecution witness testified that Bickers, a former campaign aide to then-Mayor Kasim Reed, who later worked for his administration, told the witness that Cotena Alexander and Rita Braswell were “our people” at City Hall. Bickers was convicted of eight counts of bribery, money laundering.
Georgia – Stacey Abrams Switches Gears from Campaign Fundraising to Aiding Abortion Rights
MSN – Eugene Scott (Washington Post) | Published: 5/4/2022
Stacey Abrams, one of the Democratic Party’s most notable fundraisers, paused fundraising for her Georgia gubernatorial race to redirect funds to abortion rights groups after a draft Supreme Court opinion signaling the end to a constitutional right to abortion was made public. Abrams’ ability to temporarily redirect funds to groups working to expand abortion access is thought to be possible in part because she regularly beats her main GOP competitors, Gov. Brian Kemp and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, in fundraising.
Georgia – Trump Election Probe Special Grand Jury Selected in Atlanta
MSN – Kate Brumback (Associated Press) | Published: 5/2/2022
A special grand jury was selected for the investigation into whether former President Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia. The investigation has been underway since early last year, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took this unusual step to help it along. She noted in a letter to the chief judge that the special grand jury would be able to issue subpoenas to people who have refused to cooperate otherwise.
Idaho – Experts: Lawmaker rape case a ‘rare victory’ for sexual assault survivors
Idaho Press – Rebecca Boone (Associated Press) | Published: 4/30/2022
When a legislative intern came forward with rape allegations against an Idaho lawmaker last year, she was subjected to months of online harassment and abuse. She later testified about the attack at an ethics hearing, and some of the lawmaker’s supporters filmed her and chased her through the statehouse. The young woman took the stand to testify in his criminal trial and became so distraught she fled the courtroom. Aaron von Ehlinger’s rape conviction was a rare victory for prosecutors in a criminal justice system that can be fraught with trauma for sexual assault survivors, experts say.
Illinois – New Chicago IG Asked to Investigate City Clerk Anna Valencia’s Lobbying Connections
MSN – Mary Ann Ahern (WMAQ) | Published: 4/27/2022
For the first time in months, the city of Chicago has a new inspector general as Deborah Witzburg was unanimously approved for the position. Witzburg now officially replaces Joe Ferguson, who resigned after publicly criticizing Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. One of her first acts in office will be to potentially look into City Clerk Anna Valencia’s office, with Ald. Silvana Tabares asking the new inspector general to investigate allegations the secretary of state candidate and her husband Reyahd Kazmi violated state lobbying rules.
Kansas – Kansas Ethics Panel to Redo Hearing After Questions Over Director’s Law License, Statehouse Probe
Yahoo News – Andrew Bahl (Topeka Capital-Journal) | Published: 4/27/2022
The Kansas Government Ethics Commission moved to grant a new hearing in a case involving an Overland Park civic group, after questions were raised about the law license of the agency’s director, Mark Skoglund. The move comes weeks after Skoglund’s law license was used as pretense by legislators to make a policy change that would have effectively removed him from office. While lawmakers eventually backed off on the plan, it was later revealed the proposal was offered as the ethics panel was investigating one of the state’s most high-profile groups and, potentially, Republican legislators.
Kentucky – Supreme Court Denies Former Top KY Dem’s Request to Overturn Campaign Finance Conviction
MSN – Austin Horn (Lexington Herald Leader) | Published: 5/4/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Jerry Lundergan’s request to overturn his conviction for illegally funneling $200,000 to his daughter’s 2014 political campaign. The former Kentucky Democratic Party chairperson was convicted in 2018 for the contributions made through a corporation to daughter Alison Lundergan Grimes in her 2014 challenge against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. Lundergan’s petition argued the federal ban on corporate contributions is unconstitutional when applied to donations from a close family member.
Louisiana – ‘I See How This Looks’: Council grills top Cantrell official over ‘smart cities’ deal
The Lens – Michael Isaac Stein | Published: 4/27/2022
New Orleans City Council members grilled a top city official, Jonathan Rhodes, over a now-abandoned “smart cities” project he played a central role in developing, and which has become the subject of a formal council investigation over potential contract-rigging and conflicts-of-interest. The council formally requested the city’s inspector general to open an investigation into New Orleans’ bidding process. Questions have mounted about the process that led the city to award the project to a consortium of companies called Smart+Connected NOLA. Rhodes had been in contact with the consortium for months before the request for proposals was released and worked with a consultant that is partnered with those same companies.
Maryland – Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement from Annapolis Campaign Committee
Baltimore Sun – Dan Belson (Capital Gazette) | Published: 5/4/2022
The Office of the State Prosecutor in Maryland announced it filed embezzlement charges against the treasurer of a Democratic political committee for Annapolis-area candidates, alleging she deposited more than $4,000 in campaign funds into a personal bank account. Prosecutors allege Alexandra Gilbreath, treasurer of Team 30 Slate, deposited funds from the committee into her personal Venmo account for an almost three-month span in 2018. She then used the funds for personal expenses, charging papers say. Prosecutors also accuse Gilbreath of failing to file or amend four campaign finance reports for the committee.
Massachusetts – Former State Police Head and Three Others Violated Ethics Law by Altering Arrest Report for Judge’s Daughter, Ethics Commission Alleges
MSN – Andrea Estes (Boston Globe) | Published: 4/29/2022
Richard McKeon, the former head of the Massachusetts State Police, violated the state’s conflict-of-interest law when he ordered a trooper to remove embarrassing remarks from the arrest report of a judge’s daughter, lawyers for the state Ethics Commission charged. Commission lawyers also allege Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., as well as his First Assistant Jeffrey Travers, and State Police Major Susan Anderson abused their positions to help the judge after his daughter was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They asked the Ethics Commission’s hearing officer to find the four violated the law and impose fines up to $20,000 apiece.
Michigan – FBI Raids Home in New Public Corruption Probe in Metro Detroit
Detroit News – Robert Snell and Mike Martindale | Published: 5/3/2022
Federal agents arrested two Wayne County employees accused of using taxpayer money to buy power equipment worth more than $1.7 million they later sold for personal profit. The allegations against Wayne County Roads Division manager Kevin Gunn and foreman John Gibson involved 596 generators and other power equipment that was never supplied or used by the county. The alleged scheme involved Gunn soliciting county vendors to buy generators, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and backpack blowers from area retailers. The case marks the latest federal investigation of corruption within the ranks of government in Metro Detroit.
Minnesota – Minneapolis City Council Blocks Chamber Consulting Gift to Improve Mayor Frey’s Office Efficiency
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Liz Navratil | Published: 4/28/2022
Mayor Jacob Frey cannot receive consulting services from the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce after a city council vote fell one short of the number that he needed to accept the gift. The chamber intended to loan a staffer to the mayor’s office for several weeks in hopes she could advise the office on how to improve their efficiency. Some council members raised concerns about the arrangement, noting the chamber supported a ballot initiative last fall that granted the mayor more power over the city’s daily operations.
Mississippi – Governor Vetoes Bill Tweaking Campaign Finance Law
Daily Journal – Taylor Vance | Published: 5/4/2022
The way Mississippi holds its politicians accountable for skirting state campaign finance law is convoluted with large gaps in the enforcement process. It appears that will not change anytime soon. Gov. Tate Reeves vetoed legislation that would have transferred the power to levy fines against candidates who fail to file campaign finance reports on time from the state Ethics Commission to the Mississippi secretary of state’s office. The snag in the current process is that it forces three different state organizations to share responsibilities for issuing fines, leading to a confusing process.
New Jersey – A Toxic Culture Exists in N.J. Politics, Campaigns, Experts Say. This Lesson Aims to Prevent Harassment.
MSN – Susan Livio (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 4/29/2022
Three out of four people who are targeted with unwelcome sexual remarks or physical contact at work never file a sexual harassment complaint, according to experts who have studied the issue. For people who work on a political campaign or have a job in New Jersey politics, the YWCA of Northern New Jersey and New Jersey State Bar Association Foundation created a video tutorial to let everyone to know that “toxic culture” is not acceptable. The video, made with the help of some of the state’s most prominent women in politics, will be sent to every campaign and political body that can be located, beginning in June.
New York – Gov. Hochul Taps Rep. Antonio Delgado as New Lieutenant Governor
Gotham Gazette – Brigid Bergin | Published: 5/3/2022
U.S. Gov. Kathy Hochul moved to fill the vacant lieutenant governor position, tapping U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado to take the role. Hochul is the first woman to serve as governor of New York. Delgado is the first person of color to represent the 19th Congressional District. He is the first person of African American and Hispanic descent to be the state’s lieutenant governor. A representative of a predominantly white and rural congressional district, Delgado has emphasized his ability to work across the aisle. His campaign website touts the two awards he won for his bipartisanship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
New York – Hochul Pens Legal Path for Former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin to Drop Off Primary Ballot
Yahoo News – Rob Hackford (WGRZ) | Published: 5/2/2022
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation that gives disgraced former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin a legal path to get off the state’s primary ballot. Hochul’s signature came almost immediately after the Legislature got it passed despite a limited timeline and political criticism. The law allows any candidate for local, state, or federal office to remove themselves from a ballot if they have had an accusatory instrument filed against them in state court; had a criminal complaint or indictment filed against them in federal court; been convicted at any time after they are designated or nominated.
New York – Judge Won’t Revive NY Political Maps That Favored Democrats
Yahoo News – Marina Villeneuve (Associated Press) | Published: 5/4/2022
A federal judge refused to order New York to hold its congressional and state Senate primaries this spring using district maps declared unconstitutional by state judges, saying a legal effort by Democrats to revive the maps looked unlikely to succeed. Replacement maps are now being drawn by an independent scholar at Carnegie Mellon University under the supervision of a state judge. The judge ordered the state’s primaries for Congress and state Senate moved from June to August so the redistricting process would have enough time to play out.
New York – Trump Grand Jury Ending in N.Y. with No Charges Against Ex-President
MSN – Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell (Washington Post) | Published: 4/29/2022
A New Yor City grand jury that was convened late last year to hear evidence against Donald Trump was set to expire, closing a chapter in a lengthy criminal investigation that appears to be fizzling out without charges against the former president, people familiar with matter said. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who took office in January, inherited a probe launched by his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., who was convinced there was a case against Trump for crimes related to manipulating the value of property assets to secure tax advantages or better loan rates.
North Carolina – Federal Court Considers Ruling That Blocked Madison Cawthorn Eligibility Challenge
Yahoo News – Gary Robertson (Associated Press) | Published: 5/4/2022
A federal appeals court questioned whether a lower court got it right when it blocked a challenge of U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s candidacy by voters who cited a section of the Constitution addressing insurrection as disqualifying him. Three judges on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a lawsuit that Cawthorn filed to derail the formal challenge sent to the State Board of Elections in North Carolina from going forward. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Myers ruled for Cawthorn in March and prevented the board from formally examining whether he should remain on ballots, and the voters appealed.
Ohio – A Limited Ban on Developer Campaign Donations Goes into Effect This Month
WVXU – Becca Costello | Published: 5/4/2022
A ban on some campaign donations to Cincinnati City Council members and the mayor takes effect on May 26. Interim City Manager John Curp recently approved regulations for the “solicitation ban” the council passed last year. The rules prohibit sitting council members and the mayor from soliciting or accepting campaign donations from someone with active business at the council, starting from the day the ordinance is filed with the council clerk. A new Office of Ethics and Good Government has been working on the regulations since last fall.
Ohio – Election 2022: JD Vance wins Ohio’s GOP Senate primary
MSN – Jill Colvin and Julie Carr Smyth (Associated Press) | Published: 5/4/2022
“Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance won Ohio’s contentious Republican U.S. Senate primary on, buoyed by Donald Trump’s endorsement in a race that was an early test of the former president’s hold on his party as the midterm season kicks into high gear. A onetime critic of Trump, Vance spent much of the campaign behind in the polls. But an endorsement from Trump pushed him to frontrunner status and the two men downplayed Vance’s past scathing criticism of the former president, with Vance saying he was wrong. He now faces Democrat Tim Ryan in the general election race to fill the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
Tennessee – Campaign Finance Reform Bill Passes After McNally Issues Rebuke of Dark-Money Groups
Yahoo News – Adam Friedman (Tennessean) | Published: 4/28/2022
Tennessee lawmakers passed House Bill 1201, which requires 501(c)4s, often considered “dark money” organizations, to disclose any expenses over $5,000 in the 60 days leading up to an election when using candidate names and images. The bill’s final version would enhance several disclosure laws around campaign service companies and make various changes to increase transparency with the Registry of Election Finance. Some of the provisions directly respond to actions by former speaker and current Rep. Glen Casada and former Rep. Robin Smith. In March, Smith pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge.
Texas – Lobby Ordinance Needs Revision to Cover Virtual Meetings
Austin Monitor – Jo Clifton | Published: 5/4/2022
Auditors have found that while Austin’s registered lobbyists are largely complying with city regulations, there is one significant gap in the reporting requirements. Although lobbyists are required to report their in-person meetings, no such requirement exists for virtual meetings, according to a report discussed at a city council committee. Some offices use an electronic form while others use the electronic calendars to keep up with virtual lobbyist meetings, but nothing in city code requires either the lobbyist or the person being lobbied to keep a record.
Vermont – After Years in Committee Limbo, a Statewide Ethics Code Is Finally Adopted in Vermont
VTDigger.org – Sarah Mearhoff | Published: 5/4/2022
Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill that establishes a code of ethics in Vermont. Senate Bill 171 establishes baseline ethics rules for public officials in state government. It sets boundaries around conflicts-of-interest, preferential treatment, gifts, outside employment, the use of state employment for personal gain, among other provisions. It also protects whistleblowers from retaliation. Before the bill passed, Vermont was one of only five states without statewide codes of ethics for officials.
Virginia – Youngkin’s Move to Force Loudoun School Board Elections Called ‘Troubling’
MSN – Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella (Washington Post) | Published: 4/30/2022
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s attempt to force the entire Loudon County School Board to face new elections this fall, shortening the terms of most of its members, stunned many political observers as an intrusion into local election integrity without modern precedent in Virginia. The plan, aimed at a school board that Youngkin has made a constant political target, initially won approval from the Republican-controlled House. But the Democratic-controlled Senate killed it, with one Republican senator joining the vote against a measure he called “troubling.”
Washington – Republican Spokane County Commissioner Candidate Gets Partial Exemption from Campaign Finance Requirements
Yahoo News – Colin Tiernan (Spokane Spokesman-Review) | Published: 4/29/2022
The Public Disclosure Commission voted to allow Kim Plese, a Republican candidate for Spokane County commissioner, to withhold the names of clients who spent more than $12,000 at her printing business for a one-year time-period, so long as those clients are not governmental entities or candidates for elected office. Washington law requires candidates for elected office to disclose a wide range of financial information. In Plese’s case, that means sharing recent transaction records for the business she owned for more than 30 years, Plese Printing and Marketing. Plese did not want to share records of sales greater than $12,000.
Washington DC – Trump Organizations Agree to Pay $750,000 to Settle Lawsuit with District
MSN – Keith Alexander (Washington Post) | Published: 5/3/2022
The Trump Organization and Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee agreed to pay the District of Columbia $750,000 to settle a lawsuit the city filed alleging the organizations misused nonprofit funds to benefit the former president and his family. The city filed a lawsuit in 2020 alleging the Inaugural Committee, a nonprofit corporation, coordinated with Trump’s family to overpay for event space in the Trump International Hotel and even paid for space on days when it did not hold events, among other malfeasance.
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