News You Can Use Digest – October 11, 2013 - State and Federal Communications

October 11, 2013  •  

News You Can Use Digest – October 11, 2013

News You Can Use


A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

New York Times – Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mike McIntire | Published: 10/5/2013

A New York Times article detailed a plan among conservative activists to derail the Affordable Care Act. The outside groups believed the GOP could stop the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans into cutting off financing for the entire federal government. The report said the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort.

Supreme Court Skeptical of Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions

Washington Post – Robert Barnes | Published: 10/8/2013

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed prepared to strike down a part of federal campaign finance law left intact by its decision in Citizens United in 2010: overall limits on direct contributions from individuals to candidates. The justices seemed to divide along familiar ideological lines, and they expressed different understandings of the role of money and free speech in American politics.

From the States and Municipalities:

Arizona – Portion of Campaign Finance Law Overturned

Arizona Republic – Edward Gately | Published: 10/4/2013

U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg ruled the part of Arizona’s campaign finance law that defines political committees is unconstitutional. But the law will remain in effect pending an injunction or until lawmakers can address the problems. “We will likely file an injunction to basically put everything on hold until the Legislature can convene in January,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office.

California – Assemblyman Offers to Suit up Campaign Donors

Sacramento Bee – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 10/8/2013

California Assemblyperson Henry Perea is raising campaign money by offering donors a custom suit in exchange for a $2,000 contribution. A number of lobbyists said the fundraiser puts participants in an ethical quandary, leaving them with a valuable gift, while some women said it is excluding them by only offering suits for men.

California – California Strategies Walks Line between Lobbying and Public Affairs

Sacramento Bee – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 10/6/2013

California Strategies is not the only public affairs firm in Sacramento that offers clients a variety of services requiring a careful dance along the line that separates lobbying from less regulated forms of advocacy. But it has been a target of competitors who say the firm’s approach creates an uneven playing field – it has a long list of partners who have deep connections inside government but do not register as lobbyists.

Colorado – Complaint: Free weed
at rally not reported

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel – Charles Ashby | Published: 10/8/2013

No Over Taxation has given out free marijuana at rallies in Denver and Boulder to convince voters to oppose Proposition AA, a ballot measure that would impose taxes on recreational pot when it becomes available for sale in Colorado next year. Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint contending the donors that contributed the marijuana should have been identified in No Over Taxation’s campaign finance reports as providing in-kind donations, but were not.

Florida – Hays and Ring: Forget auditing lobbyists; repeal the law

Orlando Sentinel – Aaron Deslatte | Published: 10/7/2013

After media attention to lobbyists’ pay, Florida legislative leaders agreed to kick-start legally required audits of those paid to influence lawmakers and state officials. The Legislature’s joint auditing committee was told the random audits of some two-dozen firms could cost in excess of $1 million, sparking criticism from some on the panel.

Georgia – Ex-Ethics Commission Employee in Georgia Says Docs Altered

Chattanooga Times Free Press; Associated Press –   | Published: 10/9/2013

John Hair, a former Georgia ethics commission computer specialist, said he removed, changed, and condensed documents from the investigative file of complaints accusing Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal of misusing campaign funds in the 2010 election. Hair said he was fulfilling orders from commission Executive Secretary Holly LaBerge and her top aide, Lisa Dentler.

Massachusetts – Cardinal O’Malley Invites Lawmakers to a Get-Together

Boston Globe – Jim O’Sullivan and Lisa Wagsness | Published: 10/9/2013

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, will meet with the Massachusetts lawmakers who represent cities and towns within the archdiocese in what one of his aides described as “relationship building.” The church does not command the presence on Beacon Hill that it did years ago, when it played a much more prominent role in society. Some lawmakers remain angry at what they viewed as overly aggressive lobbying techniques that church lobbyists and some priests used in opposing same-sex marriage

Michigan – Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Corruption

Washington Post; Associated Press –   | Published: 10/10/2013

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison on his conviction for public corruption charges including bribery and extortion that prosecutors said exacerbated the city’s financial crisis. Kilpatrick spent lavishly at the helm of a conspiracy that damaged Detroit’s reputation and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds said, adding that the sentence was intended to send a message that corruption would not be tolerated.

New York – Cuomo’s Office Is Said to Rein in Ethics Board He Created

New York Times – Jesse McKinley and Thomas Kaplan | Published: 10/8/2013

According to people familiar with the work of the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, its effort is burdened by resistance from the New York Legislature, which has refused requests for information about lawmakers’ outside income, and by unexpected involvement by the governor’s office, which has leaned on the commission to limit the scope of its probes.

North Carolina – Plain-Clothes Officer Attended Moral Monday Planning Meetings

WRAL – Michael Biesecker (Associated Press) | Published: 10/8/2013

About 940 people were arrested at weekly “Moral Monday” rallies opposing Republican-backed policies at the North Carolina Legislature that protesters said damaged public education, voting rights, and working people. The Raleigh Police Department conducted undercover surveillance at meetings of the North Carolina chapter of the NACCP held to organize the mass protests.

South Carolina – State House for Sale: SC ethics law a muddled mess

The State – Adam Beam | Published: 10/5/2013

While South Carolina has strict rules on who can donate to political campaigns, and how much they can give, state law has little to say about how legislators can spend that money. And what it does say is in dispute. Critics say South Carolina needs to follow the lead of 26 other states and have one independent ethics commission set the rules for all candidates. But most lawmakers say that would violate the state constitution.

Texas – Red River Rivalry Fundraising a Growing Trend

Texas Tribune – David Maly | Published: 10/9/2013

The annual football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is increasingly becoming a fundraising hotspot for lawmakers in both parties. Deborah Ingersoll, a lobbyist who has worked in Texas politics for more than 20 years, organizes an annual guide of legislative fundraising surrounding the game and said this is the biggest year she has seen.

Virginia – Reforming Va. Laws a Priority for Politicians

Richmond Times Dispatch – Olympia Meola and Jim Nolan | Published: 10/6/2013

Recognizing the public reaction to the scandal involving Gov. Robert McDonnell, both major party candidates to succeed him have proposed reforms to Virginia’s gift and disclosure laws. Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox is leading a working group of House Republicans studying various reforms ahead of the legislative session. Cox said the changes could include more frequent reporting than the current annual filing, and synchronizing the reporting dates for elected officials and lobbyists.

Jim SedorState and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.

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