June 11, 2019 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance California: “Democrats Say They Don’t Take Big Tobacco Money. But JUUL Had a Sponsorship at Convention” by Andrew Sheeler for Sacramento Bee Minnesota: “Rep. Ilhan Omar to Reimburse $3,500 in Misspent Campaign Funds” by Emily Kopp for Roll […]

Campaign Finance

California: “Democrats Say They Don’t Take Big Tobacco Money. But JUUL Had a Sponsorship at Convention” by Andrew Sheeler for Sacramento Bee

Minnesota: “Rep. Ilhan Omar to Reimburse $3,500 in Misspent Campaign Funds” by Emily Kopp for Roll Call

Elections

National: “Election Rules Are an Obstacle to Cybersecurity of Presidential Campaigns” by Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg for New York Times

Ethics

National: “NRA Money Flowed to Board Members Amid Allegedly Lavish Spending by Top Officials and Vendors” by Beth Reinhard, Katie Zezima, Tom Hamburger, and Carol Leonnig (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Chao Created Special Path for McConnell’s Favored Projects” by Tucker Doherty and Tanya Snider for Politico

Florida: “State Ethics Commission Fines Gillum, Drops Most Charges” by Mary Ellen Klas and Elizabeth Koh for Miami Herald

Lobbying

New York: “Inside the Stealth Campaign for ‘Responsible Rent Reform’” by Vivian Wang for New York Times

Oklahoma: “Stitt to End $1.5 Million in State Agency Lobbying Contracts” by Tres Savage for NonDoc

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May 30, 2019 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Arkansas: “Political Activist Sues State Over Campaign Giving” by Linda Satter for Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Elections National: “September Debate Rules Could Winnow 2020 Democratic Field” by Michael Scherer for Washington Post Ethics National: “Transportation Secretary Failed to Sever […]

Campaign Finance

Arkansas: “Political Activist Sues State Over Campaign Giving” by Linda Satter for Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Elections

National: “September Debate Rules Could Winnow 2020 Democratic Field” by Michael Scherer for Washington Post

Ethics

National: “Transportation Secretary Failed to Sever Financial Ties to Construction Company” by Eric Lipton for New York Times

National: “Freshman Lashes Out After House Ethics Rules Bar Promoting Bone Marrow Drive” by Katherine Tully McManus for Roll Call

National: “As He Exits, Mueller Suggests Only Congress Can ‘Formally Accuse a Sitting President of Wrongdoing’” by Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, and Felicia Sonmez for Washington Post

Canada: “SNC-Lavalin Headed to Trial on Corruption Charges After Judge Finds Evidence Against Company Sufficient” by Gabriel Freidman for Financial Post

Illinois: “Illinois Video Gambling Tax Hike Will Be Decided by Lawmakers with Financial Ties to the Industry” by Jason Grotto (ProPublica Illinois) and Dan Mihalopoulos (WBEZ) for ProPublica

Montana: “Court: Montana ethics complaints are public information” by Matt Volz for AP News

New Mexico: “State Closes Book on Pay-to-Play Scandal” by Mike Gallagher for Albuquerque Journal

New York: “‘So Completely Compromised’: New York watchdog agencies Have a credibility problem” by Samar Khurshid for Gotham Gazette

Tennessee: “19 Days of Turmoil: Inside Glen Casada’s fall as Tennessee House speaker” by Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison for The Tennessean

Lobbying

National: “Anti-Corruption Group Hits Congress for Ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill ‘Revolving Door’” by Mike Lillis for The Hill

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May 29, 2019 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “A Hefty Donation to Trump’s Inaugural Comes Under Scrutiny” by Richard Laudner for AP News New York: “Airport Bidding’s Unclaimed Baggage” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union West Virginia: “Elections Commission Fine-Tunes New Campaign Finance Law” […]

Campaign Finance

National: “A Hefty Donation to Trump’s Inaugural Comes Under Scrutiny” by Richard Laudner for AP News

New York: “Airport Bidding’s Unclaimed Baggage” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union

West Virginia: “Elections Commission Fine-Tunes New Campaign Finance Law” by Phil Kabler for Charleston Gazette-Mail

Elections

Texas: “Texas Secretary of State Resigns After Leading Botched Voter Purge That Questioned the Citizenship of Almost 100,000 People” by Meagan Flynn (Washington Post) for MSN

Ethics

California: “Should L.A. Curb Charitable Fundraising by Politicians? Council Members Aren’t So Sure” by Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser for Los Angeles Times

Legislative Issues

Colorado: “$120 Million in Requests and $40 Million in the Bank. How an Obscure Theory Helped Prioritize the Colorado Budget.” by Brian Eason for Colorado Sun

Lobbying

Arizona: “Chevron Executive Is Secretly Pushing Anti-Electric Car Effort in Arizona” by Ryan Randazzo for Arizona Republic

Arkansas: “Former Arkansas Senator Case Shows Gray Area in Ethics Rules” by Lisa Hammersly for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

New York: “Connections Can Mean Business for Some Lobbyists, Records Show” by Michael Gormley for Newsday

South Carolina: “SC Wildlife Agency Chief in Trouble with Governor, Regulators Over Seawalls Near Home” by Sammy Fretwell for The State

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May 28, 2019 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “FEC Approves Free Cybersecurity for Campaigns Despite Influence Concerns” by Joseph Marks (Washington Post) for Lewiston Sun Journal Elections Florida: “Deputy Filed to Run Against Osceola County Sheriff in 2020. The Next Day, He Was Fired” by […]

Campaign Finance

National: “FEC Approves Free Cybersecurity for Campaigns Despite Influence Concerns” by Joseph Marks (Washington Post) for Lewiston Sun Journal

Elections

Florida: “Deputy Filed to Run Against Osceola County Sheriff in 2020. The Next Day, He Was Fired” by David Harris for Orlando Sentiinel

Tennessee: “How a Large-Scale Effort to Register Black Voters Led to a Crackdown in Tennessee” by Amy Gardner for Washington Post

Ethics

National: “‘He Always Brings Them Up’: Trump tries to steer border wall deal to North Dakota firm” by Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Distorted Videos of Nancy Pelosi Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump” by Sarah Mervosh for New York Times

Michigan: “50 States of Financial Disclosure: How Michigan stacks up” by Lauren Gibbons and Taylor DesOrmeau for MLive

Legislative Issues

Arizona: “Hot Mic Captures GOP Lawmakers’ Frustration with Colleagues Over State Budget” by Rachel Leingang, Lily Altivina, Yvonne Winget Sanchez for Arizona Republic

Lobbying

National: “Congressional Panel Calls for Lobbying Disclosure Reforms” by Alex Gangitano for The Hill

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May 22, 2019 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “9th Circuit Rejects Challenge to Foreign-Donation Ban” by Josh Gerstein for Politico Oklahoma: “Walkingstick Disqualified as Principal Chief Candidate” by Grant Crawford (Tahlequah Daily Press) for Muskogee Phoenix Ethics National: “Judge Rules Against Trump in Fight Over […]

Campaign Finance

National: “9th Circuit Rejects Challenge to Foreign-Donation Ban” by Josh Gerstein for Politico

Oklahoma: “Walkingstick Disqualified as Principal Chief Candidate” by Grant Crawford (Tahlequah Daily Press) for Muskogee Phoenix

Ethics

National: “Judge Rules Against Trump in Fight Over President’s Financial Records” by Devlin Barrett, Spencer Hsu, Rachael Bade, and Josh Dawsey for Washington Post

National: “Cohen Told Lawmakers Trump Attorney Jay Sekulow Encouraged Him to Falsely Claim Moscow Project Ended in January” by Tom Hamburger, Ellen Nakashima, and Karoun Demirjian (Washington Post) for MSN

New Jersey: “Governor’s Feud with Party Boss Rocks New Jersey Politics” by Ryan Hutchins for Politico

Tennessee: “Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada to Resign Position After Sexually Charged Texts” by Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison (The Tennessean) for USA Today

Lobbying

National: “NRA Helps Sheriffs Fight Gun Laws in Second Amendment ‘Sanctuaries’” by Nick Penzenstadler for USA Today

National: “Women Strive to Close Gender Gap at Biz Groups” by Alex Gangitano for The Hill

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May 21, 2019 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Massachusetts: “US Supreme Court Will Not Hear Massachusetts Campaign Finance Case” by Shira Schoenberg for MassLive New York: “A Cuomo Donor’s Nonstop Connections” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union Ethics National: “‘It’s Entirely Inappropriate’: Trump shot a […]

Campaign Finance

Massachusetts: “US Supreme Court Will Not Hear Massachusetts Campaign Finance Case” by Shira Schoenberg for MassLive

New York: “A Cuomo Donor’s Nonstop Connections” by Chris Bragg for Albany Times Union

Ethics

National: “‘It’s Entirely Inappropriate’: Trump shot a political video on Air Force One” by Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Justin Amash, Tea Party Star, Earns Primary Challenge for Backing Impeachment” by Isaac Stanley-Baker for Washington Post

California: “Brawl Erupts at Convention of Local Politicians, Roils Upscale Resort” by Adam Elmahrek, Ruben Vives, and Anh Do for Los Angeles Times

Oregon: “Kate Brown’s Top Aides Went Into Overdrive Doing Campaign-Like Work During Heated Governor’s Race, Records Show” by Hillary Borrud for Portland Oregonian

Legislative Issues

Nevada: “Where Women Call the Shots” by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux for Washington Post

Lobbying

Mississippi: “How Mississippi Lawmakers Gave $1.5 Million of Education Money to Weight Watchers” by Giacomo Bologna for Jackson Clarion-Ledger

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May 17, 2019 •

News You Can Use Digest – May 17, 2019

News You Can Use

National/Federal At the N.R.A., a Cash Machine Sputtering MSN – Danny Hakim (New York Times) | Published: 5/14/2019 A review of tax records by The New York Times shows that, to steady its finances, the National Rifle Association (NRA) increasingly relied on cash […]

National/Federal

At the N.R.A., a Cash Machine Sputtering
MSN – Danny Hakim (New York Times) | Published: 5/14/2019

A review of tax records by The New York Times shows that, to steady its finances, the National Rifle Association (NRA) increasingly relied on cash infusions and other transactions involving its affiliated foundation, at least $206 million worth since 2010. The role of the foundation is among the issues being examined in a new investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status by the New York attorney general. At issue for investigators, tax experts say, would be whether that money was being used for charitable purposes, as required by law, and not to help finance the NRA’s political activities.

‘Being Governor Ain’t What It Used to Be’: How their road to the White House became an uphill climb
Governing – Alan Greenblatt | Published: 5/8/2019

Governors were once a dominant force in presidential politics, winning seven of the eight elections between 1976 and 2004. Those days appear to be over. In 2016, no fewer than 10 current or former governors ran for president. None of them came close to winning a major-party nomination. This year, the Democratic field is dominated by U.S. senators, while governors are at the back of the pack in the polls. Historically, governors fared well in national politics when voters were fed up with Washington, noted Saladin Ambar, a political scientist at Rutgers University. Yet the public’s trust in the federal government is near an all-time low, and governors are still failing to gain any traction.

Complaints Grow That Trump Staffers Are Campaigning for Their Boss
Politico – Anita Kumar | Published: 5/15/2019

A Trump appointee displayed a “Make America Great Again” hat at her Housing and Urban Development office. A top official at the Office of Management and Budget used his official Twitter account to promote President Trump’s campaign slogan. And White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway delivered a scathing and unprompted attack on Trump’s potential opponent, Joe Biden, during a television interview. Those three instances, all in the last few months, are just a few of the growing number of complaints since Trump took office that federal employees are using their platform to campaign for the president or his allies, a violation of the Hatch Act. In Trump’s first year on the job, formal complaints to the government office that oversees compliance with the 80-year-old law jumped nearly 30 percent.

Donald Trump Jr. Strikes Deal for ‘Limited’ Interview with Intelligence Committee
MSN – Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) | Published: 5/14/2019

Donald Trump Jr. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal for the president’s eldest son to return for a time-limited private interview with senators in the coming weeks, an accord that should cool a heated intraparty standoff. The terms of the compromise include an appearance by Trump Jr. in mid-June, with the questions limited to about a half-dozen topics and the time limited to no longer than two to four hours. Senate investigators are particularly interested in asking the younger Trump about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, as well as about his knowledge of a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow. Some Democrats have accused Trump Jr. of potentially misleading other congressional committees.

Duped into Making a Bogus Campaign Donation? Call a Prosecutor
Bloomberg Government – Kenneth Doyle | Published: 5/8/2019

It seems to be equally true that federal authorities are cracking down on grifters who live large on money Americans thought they gave to legitimate political campaigns, and federal authorities might be encouraging scammers by doing nothing about misleading appeals for political money. The first set of authorities work for the U.S. Justice Department. The other is the FEC, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. When their views clash, it is a tie and nothing can happen. “The Justice Department has become the primary enforcer of campaign finance laws because the FEC is unable to do its job,” said election attorney Brett Kappel. A potential downside, he said, is that prosecutors focus on the most egregious cases that can lead to a criminal conviction, so many other cases can slip through the cracks.

Evidence of Illegal Campaign Donations by Boston’s Thornton Law Firm Found, Case Dismissed Anyway
Boston Globe – Andrea Estes | Published: 5/15/2019

Staff lawyers at the FEC found Boston’s Thornton Law firm likely used a phony program to repay partners for political donations, but the case was dismissed after commissioners deadlocked on whether to pursue it. FEC staff found extensive evidence that Thornton, a major supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, illegally reimbursed partners for more than $1 million in donations. But commission voted along party lines and produced a tie vote, which dismisses the complaint instead of opening a full-scale investigation. Now, the group that filed the complaint against Thornton, the Campaign Legal Center, is considering pursuing the matter in federal court.

Federal Election Commission Lays Bare Internal Conflicts and Challenges in Letter to Congress
Center for Public Integrity – Dave Levinthal | Published: 5/9/2019

The FEC’s four leaders are offering lawmakers clashing perspectives on the agency’s very purpose. The commissioners’ comments are part of 171 pages’ worth of responses to dozens of questions Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren sent the agency. Lofgren has openly doubted the FEC’s ability to function as it struggles with deadlocked votes, internal conflict, chronic vacancies, and low morale. Her inquiries come at a time when “dark money” and the specter of foreign election interference have captured the attention of the public amid historically long and expensive federal campaign seasons.

How William Barr, Now Serving as a Powerful Ally for Trump, Has Championed Presidential Powers
Connecticut Post – Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 5/14/2019

Embracing a theory that the Constitution grants presidents sweeping authority, Attorney General William Barr is part of a group of conservative intellectuals who have been leading the charge to expand the powers of the executive branch over the past four decades. The doctrine, which gained support amid a backlash against post-Watergate constraints on the presidency, is back in the fore as President Trump and Congress are locked in a bitter fight over the bounds of executive power. Back at the helm of the Justice Department, Barr is in a singular position to put his philosophy into action. Critics say Barr is providing the intellectual framework to enable Trump’s view of an imperial presidency and stonewall legitimate requests for information from Congress.

Rudy Giuliani Cancels His Trip to Ukraine, Blaming Democrats’ ‘Spin’
MSN – Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) | Published: 5/11/2019

Facing accusations of seeking foreign assistance for President Trump’s re-election campaign, Rudolph Giuliani announced he had canceled a trip to Kiev in which he planned to push the incoming Ukrainian government to press ahead with investigations that he hoped would benefit Trump. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, explained that he felt as if he was being “set up” by Ukrainians critical of his efforts, and he blamed Democrats for trying to “spin” the trip. The Ukrainian trip raised the specter of a lawyer for Trump pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations his allies hope could help him win re-election. And it comes after Trump has spent more than half of his term facing scrutiny about whether his 2016 campaign conspired with Ukraine’s hostile neighbor, Russia.

Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry
MSN – Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) | Published: 5/14/2019

The federal prosecutor tapped to scrutinize the origins of the Russia investigation is conducting only a review for now and has not opened any criminal inquiry. U.S. Attorney John Durham is broadly examining the government’s collection of intelligence involving the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians. The additional details about the scope and limits of his role emerged a day after it was reported that Attorney General William Barr had put Durham in charge of scrutinizing the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation during the 2016 election. The distinction means Durham for now will not wield the sort of law enforcement powers that come with an open criminal investigation, such as the ability to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify.

Trump and His Allies Are Blocking More Than 20 Separate Democratic Probes in an All-Out War with Congress
MSN – Rachael Bade and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) | Published: 5/10/2019

President Trump and his allies are working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats into his actions as president, his personal finances, and his administration’s policies, according to a Washington Post analysis, amounting to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades. Trump’s noncooperation strategy has shifted from partial resistance to all-out war as he faces mounting inquiries from the Democratic-controlled House, a strategy many legal and congressional experts fear could undermine the institutional power of Congress for years to come. House Democrats say the administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information.

Trump’s Lawyers Question Congress’ Power to Investigate Him, Battle House Over Demand for Financial Records
USA Today – Bart Jansen | Published: 5/14/2019

Lawyers for President Trump and the U.S. House clashed in federal court over the extent of Congress’ power to investigate him in the first legal test of Trump’s effort to block sprawling probes of his finances and private business. Trump wants a judge to prevent a congressional committee from obtaining financial records from his longtime accountant, Mazars USA. It is the first court test of how much information the half-dozen committees conducting investigations of Trump and his businesses might be able to obtain. Trump’s personal lawyer argued Congress was seeking the president’s financial information for what is essentially a law-enforcement purpose, which was outside its authority, rather to work on legislation. Douglas Letter, the general counsel for the House, argued that Congress has broad investigative authority.

Want a Bridge? Trump Blurs Line Between Governing, Campaign
AP News – Jill Colvin | Published: 5/15/2019

President Trump stood before a Louisiana crowd at an official taxpayer-funded event and tossed out an enticing promise. “If we win this election, which is just 16 months away, we’re giving you a brand new I-10 bridge.” Trump’s commitment drew cheers from his audience. But it generated immediate criticism from ethics experts who have already sounded alarms about Trump’s apparent willingness to put the federal bureaucracy to work for his own political gain. All presidents benefit from the trappings of the office. But as Trump heads into his re-election campaign, historians and observers are wondering just how far the president might be willing to go in using the levers of presidential power to energize his supporters and help bolster his election chances, especially if the polls are tilting against him.

White House Asked McGahn to Declare Trump Never Obstructed Justice
MSN – Michael Schmidt (New York Times) | Published: 5/10/2019

White House officials asked at least twice in the past month for the key witness against President Trump in the Mueller report, Donald McGahn, to say publicly he never believed the president obstructed justice. Trump asked White House officials to make the request to McGahn, who was the president’s first White House counsel. McGahn declined. His reluctance angered the president, who believed McGahn showed disloyalty by telling investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller about Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the Russia investigation. McGahn initially entertained the White House request. But after Meuller’s report was released, detailing the range of actions Trump took to try to impede the inquiry, McGahn decided to pass on putting out a statement supportive of the president.

Canada

Canada – Watchdog Warns Lobbyists About Partisan Fundraisers, Expressing Political Views
National Observer – Carl Meyer | Published: 5/13/2019

Federal Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger warned lobbyists in Canada to be careful about participating in partisan activities such as fundraising events and expressing personal political views in public, to avoid placing themselves in a conflict-of-interest. She delivered the warning in updated guidelines for lobbyists posted a few days after a significant court ruling that also appeared to expand the scope of the federal Lobbying Act. The new guidelines shift some activities that Bélanger’s office had previously considered to hold “no risk” into a new category she said does carry risks of placing a lobbyist in a conflict-of-interest situation.

From the States and Municipalities

Florida – Former Palm Bay Deputy Manager Dave Isnardi Arrested, Charged with Racketeering, Other Felonies
Florida Today – John McCarthy | Published: 5/10/2019

Former Palm Bay Deputy City Manager Dave Isnardi was arrested on charges of racketeering and conspiracy. Isnardi is the husband of Brevard County Commission Chairperson Kristine Isnardi. A second man, Jose Aguiar, a former candidate for the Palm Bay City Council, also was arrested. The arrest warrants show the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been investigating allegations of corruption and undue influence on city officials in Palm Bay since at least 2015. Though not arrested or charged, the warrants allege city Councilperson Jeff Bailey had an addiction to oxycodone and former Councilperson Tres Holton had sex with prostitutes and used cocaine. It also alleges Holton obtained prostitutes for Mayor William Capote while the men were in Tallahassee.

Florida – NRA Pays Lobbyist Marion Hammer Big Bucks, But You Won’t Find That Disclosed in Tallahassee
Florida Bulldog – Dan Christensen | Published: 5/14/2019

The National Rifle Association (NRA) paid Tallahassee lobbyist Marion Hammer more than $250,000 last year in the wake of the Parkland school massacre. But that payment is not disclosed on quarterly compensation reports that lobbying firms and contract lobbyists are required to file with the Florida Senate. Hammer, both an NRA board member and a registered NRA lobbyist in Florida, has not filed any compensation reports with the state since at least 2007. During Hammer’s tenure with the NRA, the Florida Legislature passed the landmark “Right to Carry” law, allowing weapons, including handguns, to be carried in public in a concealed manner. She also helped secure many other pro-gun laws, including the “Firearms Preemption Law” that eliminated hundreds of gun-control ordinances in cities and counties across the state.

Georgia – Georgia Insurance Commissioner Indicted on Fraud Charges
AP News – Kate Brumback | Published: 5/14/2019

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck was indicted on federal charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering that stem from alleged crimes that preceded his election. The indictment accuses Beck of devising an elaborate fraudulent invoicing scheme to defraud his employer out of more than $2 million over a five-year period just prior to his election. The charges relate to Beck’s time as general manager of operations for the Georgia Underwriting Association. The indictment says Beck used the money for personal expenses and to fund personal investment, retirement, and savings accounts, as well as his statewide election campaign. The indictment also says he used the funds to buy and improve personal rental property and for personal state and federal income taxes.

Louisiana – Why the ‘Most Egregious’ Ethics Case in Louisiana Remains Open Nine Years Later
ProPublica – Andrea Gallo (The Advocate) | Published: 5/16/2019

In 2010, the Louisiana Board of Ethics accused former state Sen. Robert Marionneaux Jr. of failing to disclose he was being paid to represent a company in a lawsuit against Louisiana State University (LSU). The lack of transparency was only part of the problem. Marionneaux offered to get the Legislature to steer public money toward a settlement, according to charges the board later filed against him. The money would also help pay off his contingency fee, which an LSU lawyer pegged at more than $1 million. The case is pending and Marionneaux has not been punished. Watchdogs and ethics advocates say the glacial pace of the Marionneaux case and its limited scope exemplify the weaknesses of Louisiana’s ethics enforcement system.

Massachusetts – New Rules Mean Chick-fil-A Is Now a Registered Lobbyist at City Hall – Along with Many Others
Boston Globe – Milton Valencia | Published: 5/15/2019

Under a first-of-its-kind lobbying ordinance that went into effect this year, more than 230 lobbyists, firms, and their clients have registered in Boston, and the list reads like a who’s who of players in local politics. The new regulations are intended to make public those who influence city business, especially at a time when Boston has been regulating burgeoning industries, such as cannabis and short-term rentals. Prior to this, only a handful of lobbying and law firms complied with a little-known and unenforced city ordinance that required them to notify the clerk’s office that they had be doing business with the city council. Any lobbyists or advocates who dealt with the city otherwise went virtually undetected.

Massachusetts – Regulators Slash the Dollar Amount Unions Can Donate to Candidates in Mass.
Boston Globe – Matt Stout | Published: 5/9/2019

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) released a new regulation that reduces how much unions and nonprofit groups can contribute to individual candidates in Massachusetts. It limits contributions to $1,000 per candidate, $5,000 per party, and $500 per PAC. Currently, labor unions can give up to $15,000 annually to a single candidate. Derided by critics as a loophole for unions, the $15,000 cap survived a challenge before the Supreme Judicial Court when the justices upheld the longstanding ban on direct corporate gifts. But the court implied the OCPF should review the regulation about the cap. The limits take effect May 31.

Michigan – Michigan Lawmaker Indicted on Bribery Charge Over Prevailing Wage Repeal Vote
Detroit News – Jonathan Oosting | Published: 5/15/2019

Michigan Rep. Larry Inman is facing federal charges for allegedly soliciting bribes and attempted extortion ahead of a 2018 vote to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law for construction workers. A grand jury indictment includes text messages from Inman that show the him seeking campaign contributions from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights union, which opposed the initiated legislation. Authorities are accusing Inman of unlawfully and corruptly soliciting those contributions in exchange for a potential “no” vote on the legislation, which he ended up voting for instead. “We only have 12 people to block it,” Inman said in a text to a union representative. “You said all 12 will get $30,000 each to help there (sic) campaigns. That did not happen, we will get a ton of pressure on this vote.”

Missouri – St. Louis Aldermen Push New Lobbyist Gift Limits, Campaign Donation Rules
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Mark Schlinkmann | Published: 5/14/2019

A ban on lobbyist gifts of more than five dollars to elected city officials and restrictions on campaign donations from individuals or entities seeking city contracts are part of a set of ethics proposals to be introduced at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The package also bars contributions to candidates for city offices made with the intent of concealing the identity of the money’s source. The three city charter amendments, if endorsed by the board, would go before voters at the November 2020 election.

New Jersey – Will Murphy’s CV Deal a Death Blow to NJ’s Dark-Money Bill?
NJ Spotlight – Colleen O’Dea | Published: 5/14/2019

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a conditional veto of a bill that would have required certain independent expenditure committees to disclose their donors. The legislation required groups to disclose all spending over $3,000, and said donors giving over $10,000 must be listed. Murphy said because the measure applied to groups influencing legislation and regulations, it could go beyond the scope of disclosure allowed under the Constitution. The governor also said those who receive tax credits over $25,000 should be required to disclose donors, and any entity with $17,500 or more in contracts with a public body should disclose all contributions to outside advisory groups. Lawmakers can vote to agree with Murphy’s conditions, in which case it would become law. They could also try to override the veto.

South Dakota – Federal Judge Strikes Down IM 24 as Unconstitutional
Sioux Falls Argus Leader – Lisa Kaczek | Published: 5/9/2019

A federal judge struck down a ban on out-of-state contributions to South Dakota ballot question committees. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kornmann issued an order declaring Initiated Measure 24 as unconstitutional because it violates “the First Amendment rights to engage in political speech and to associate with others to fund political speech.” It is also unconstitutional because it interferes with the “free flow of money” between people and entities from another state, Kornmann wrote in his judgment. Kornmann ordered that the state is barred from implementing or enforcing the law, which was scheduled to take effect July 1.

Tennessee – After Bragging About Sex at Party Fowl, Former Chief of Staff’s Tab May Have Been Paid by Glen Casada Donors
The Tennessean – Joel Ebert | Published: 5/15/2019

When Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada’s former chief of staff boasted to his boss in 2016 about having sex with a woman at Party Fowl, the food and drink purchases made at the restaurant may have been paid for by campaign donors. The finding comes amid a larger review of spending by lawmakers, including Casada, who utilize PACs. The review highlights a loophole in state law that allows lawmakers to create PACs and spend thousands of dollars on items they would normally be prohibited from purchasing using traditional campaign funds. Casada faces calls for his resignation as he reels from a scandal involving a series of racist and misogynistic text messages sent by his former chief of staff, including the exchange about sex in a bathroom at a Nashville restaurant.

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May 16, 2019 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Ethics National: “At the N.R.A., a Cash Machine Sputtering” by Danny Hakim (New York Times) for MSN National: “Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry” by Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos […]

Ethics

National: “At the N.R.A., a Cash Machine Sputtering” by Danny Hakim (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry” by Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Complaints Grow That Trump Staffers Are Campaigning for Their Boss” by Anita Kumar for Politico

National: “Donald Trump Jr. Strikes Deal for ‘Limited’ Interview with Intelligence Committee” by Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) for MSN

Florida: “Former Palm Bay Deputy Manager Dave Isnardi Arrested, Charged with Racketeering, Other Felonies” by John McCarthy for Florida Today

Georgia: “Georgia Insurance Commissioner Indicted on Fraud Charges” by Kate Brumback for AP News

Michigan: “Michigan Lawmaker Indicted on Bribery Charge Over Prevailing Wage Repeal Vote” by Jonathan Oosting for Detroit News

Missouri: “St. Louis Aldermen Push New Lobbyist Gift Limits, Campaign Donation Rules” by Mark Schlinkmann for St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lobbying

Massachusetts: “New Rules Mean Chick-fil-A Is Now a Registered Lobbyist at City Hall – Along with Many Others” by Milton Valencia for Boston Globe

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May 15, 2019 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Maryland: “Governor Signs Bill Allowing Limits on County Developer Contributions, Now Up to County Council” by Chase Cook for Capital Gazette New Jersey: “Will Murphy’s CV Deal a Death Blow to NJ’s Dark-Money Bill?” by Colleen O’Dea for […]

Campaign Finance

Maryland: “Governor Signs Bill Allowing Limits on County Developer Contributions, Now Up to County Council” by Chase Cook for Capital Gazette

New Jersey: “Will Murphy’s CV Deal a Death Blow to NJ’s Dark-Money Bill?” by Colleen O’Dea for NJ Spotlight

Pennsylvania: “15 Years After Ordinance Passed, Allegheny County Still Doesn’t Have E-filing of Campaign Finances” by Christopher Huffaker for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Elections

National: “‘Being Governor Ain’t What It Used to Be’: How their road to the White House became an uphill climb” by Alan Greenblatt for Governing

North Carolina: “NC Elections Boss Kim Strach Is Fired and a New Director Is Named” by Will Doran for Raleigh News and Observer

Ethics

National: “Trump’s Lawyers Question Congress’ Power to Investigate Him, Battle House Over Demand for Financial Records” by Bart Jansen for USA Today

National: “How William Barr, Now Serving as a Powerful Ally for Trump, Has Championed Presidential Powers” by Tom Hamburger for Washington Post

Lobbying

Florida: “NRA Pays Lobbyist Marion Hammer Big Bucks, But You Won’t Find That Disclosed in Tallahassee” by Dan Christensen for Florida Bulldog

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May 14, 2019 •

News You Can Use Video Digest

As states adjourn their legislative sessions, new laws concerning lobbying and campaign finance take effect. Check out which states have made changes in this weeks video digest!  

As states adjourn their legislative sessions, new laws concerning lobbying and campaign finance take effect. Check out which states have made changes in this weeks video digest!

 

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May 14, 2019 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Duped into Making a Bogus Campaign Donation? Call a Prosecutor” by Kenneth Doyle for Bloomberg Government Oklahoma: “Does Citizens United Apply to Cherokee Nation Election Campaigns? Hearing Set to Consider Possible Disqualification of Cherokee Chief Candidate David […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Duped into Making a Bogus Campaign Donation? Call a Prosecutor” by Kenneth Doyle for Bloomberg Government

Oklahoma: “Does Citizens United Apply to Cherokee Nation Election Campaigns? Hearing Set to Consider Possible Disqualification of Cherokee Chief Candidate David Walkingstick” by Corey Jones for Tulsa World

Oregon: “Prosecutor’s $500 Donation to Judge’s Campaign Draws Ethics Complaint” by Aimee Green for Portland Oregonian

Ethics

National: “Rudy Giuliani Cancels His Trip to Ukraine, Blaming Democrats’ ‘Spin’” by Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) for MSN

National: “White House Asked McGahn to Declare Trump Never Obstructed Justice” by Michael Schmidt (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Trump and His Allies Are Blocking More Than 20 Separate Democratic Probes in an All-Out War with Congress” by Rachael Bade and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) for MSN

Missouri: “St. Louis Economic Development Chief Pleads Guilty in Pay-to-Play Scheme; Stenger Donor Indicted” by Robert Patrick and Jeremy Kohler for St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lobbying

Canada: “Watchdog Warns Lobbyists About Partisan Fundraisers, Expressing Political Views” by Carl Meyer for National Observer

Procurement

Mississippi: “Pay to Play? Why Did Mississippi Lawmakers Give This Company So Much Education Money?” by Giacomo Bologna for Jackson Clarion-Ledger

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May 13, 2019 •

Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Federal Election Commission Lays Bare Internal Conflicts and Challenges in Letter to Congress” by Dave Levinthal for Center for Responsive Politics California: “Some Donors Sought Out by Garcetti’s PAC Don’t Have to Be Disclosed” by Dakota Smith […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Federal Election Commission Lays Bare Internal Conflicts and Challenges in Letter to Congress” by Dave Levinthal for Center for Responsive Politics

California: “Some Donors Sought Out by Garcetti’s PAC Don’t Have to Be Disclosed” by Dakota Smith for Los Angeles Times

Massachusetts: “Regulators Slash the Dollar Amount Unions Can Donate to Candidates in Mass.” by Matt Stout for Boston Globe

South Dakota: “Federal Judge Strikes Down IM 24 as Unconstitutional” by Lisa Kaczek for Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Ethics

National: “Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump” by Kenneth Vogel for New York Times

Canada: “Lynn Beyak Suspended from Senate Over Refusal to Delete Racist Letters from Website” by Joan Bryden (Canadian Press) for Vancouver Sun

Florida: “Prolific Tallahassee Businessman J.T. Burnette Indicted in FBI Corruption Investigation” by Jeff Burlew for Tallahassee Democrat

Pennsylvania: “Former Philly City Representative Desiree Peterkin Bell Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges” by Chris Palmer for Philadelphia Inquirer

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May 10, 2019 •

Long Beach Residents Can Apply to Serve on Newly Formed Ethics Commission

Long Beach, California

City officials are accepting applications for the ethics commission approved by voters last November. The charter amendment established a seven-member ethics commission. The ethics commission will implement campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest, and governmental ethics laws. Qualified applicants may […]

City officials are accepting applications for the ethics commission approved by voters last November.

The charter amendment established a seven-member ethics commission.

The ethics commission will implement campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest, and governmental ethics laws.

Qualified applicants may not concurrently hold elective office, work as an officer for a city candidate campaign, be a city employee, or employ or be employed by anyone required to register as a city lobbyist.

The mayor and city auditor will make four appointments to be confirmed by City Council.

The remaining three members will be appointed by the confirmed commissioners.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 7.

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May 9, 2019 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “Trump Endorsed a Super PAC Supporting Him – and Here’s Why That Might Not Be a Legal Problem” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post Michigan: “Attorney General, Confused About How Nonprofit Tied to Duggan Operates” […]

Campaign Finance

National: “Trump Endorsed a Super PAC Supporting Him – and Here’s Why That Might Not Be a Legal Problem” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post

Michigan: “Attorney General, Confused About How Nonprofit Tied to Duggan Operates” by Joe Guillen and Kat Stafford for Detroit Free Press

Elections

Virginia: “Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor Threatens Virginia Democrats Over Election Fraud Allegations” by Griffin Connolly for Roll Call

Ethics

Georgia: “A Mayor Reportedly Said Her City Isn’t Ready for Black Leader. A Council Member Went Further.” by Michael Price-Sadler for Washington Post

Maryland: “UMMS Scandal: Medical system board chairman, two others resign as additional contract revealed” by Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector for Baltimore Sun

Ohio: “Ohio Ethics Commission: Five Cincinnati City Council members can’t vote on texting motion” by Nick Swartsell for Cincinnati City Beat

Tennessee: “Tennessee House Speaker’s Chief of Staff Resigns Amid Sexually Explicit Texts Scandal” by Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison (The Tennessean) for USA Today

Washington DC: “FOIA Restrictions Would Shield D.C. Officials Who Use Email for Personal Business” by Peter Jamison for Washington Post

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