April 18, 2014 •
News You Can Use Digest – April 18, 2014
New York Times – Jeremy Peters | Published: 4/17/2014
Online gun sweepstakes are one of the fastest growing and most useful tools for campaign outreach in the 2014 Republican primaries. Across the country, from a race for sheriff in California to the U.S. Senate primary in South Carolina, candidates are using high-powered pistols and rifles as a lure to build up their donor lists and expand their base of support. But as a lot of candidates have learned, giving a gun away is not easy.
Washington Post – Rosalind Helderman | Published: 4/13/2014
The State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bypassed ethics guidelines to take a $2 million donation from Boeing, just a month after Clinton helped the company secure a multi-billion dollar contract with Russia. Clinton was attempting to resuscitate the dismal fundraising for the privately-sponsored U.S. pavilion planned for the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai. State Department officials had told planners to skip soliciting some firms with major business ties to the government, including Boeing, to avoid the appearance of a conflict-of-interest.
Politico – Byron Tau | Published: 4/16/2014
Dan Backer, the attorney who won a landmark ruling when the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the overall limit on how much any donor can give to federal campaigns each election cycle, has filed a lawsuit looking to strike some of the restrictions still on the books. The latest lawsuit seeks to open the door for more money to flow from a PAC to a candidate or party committee. The suit objects to federal restrictions on transfers out of PACs based on the amount of time they have been registered.
From the States and Municipalities:
Connecticut – Rowland Indicted In Two Alleged Campaign Finance Schemes
Hartford Courant – Edmund Mahoney and Jon Lender | Published: 4/10/2014
Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, who resigned 10 years ago in a corruption scandal that sent him to prison, was indicted recently on charges he tried to hide his role in two congressional campaigns, one of them involving a sham contract written to conceal $35,000 he was paid for political advice to candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Rowland is also accused of pitching a similar phony consulting deal to Mark Greenberg during his unsuccessful 2010 race for Congress.
South Florida Sun Sentinel – Andy Reid | Published: 4/12/2014
Donation records show lobbyists, developers, and others potentially vying to do business with local government were some of the biggest donors at the Palm Beach County Mayor’s Ball fundraiser. Many local elected officials, led by Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor, were the main attraction at the fundraiser to help the homeless. It also tested new ethics rules which seek to limit opportunities for attendees at such events to curry favor with elected officials by contributing to a cause they support.
Topeka Capital-Journal; Staff – | Published: 4/11/2014
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed Senate Bill 99, which would have raised the expenditure threshold triggering the requirement to register as a lobbyist from $100 to $500. A news release from the governor’s office said the bill was vetoed in the interest of promoting continued transparency in government.
WFPL – Jonathan Meador | Published: 4/14/2014
Two legislative staff members who filed sexual harassment charges against former Kentucky Rep. John Arnold said they were also subjected to crude behavior by state Rep. Jim Gooch at the Southern Legislative Conference. Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner said Gooch approached a group they were sitting with, pulled a pair of panties out of his pocket, and tossed them on the table. Gooch said his actions were harmless and the two women are retaliating against him.
Baltimore Sun – Luke Broadwater | Published: 4/10/2014
Maryland election officials said they would not enforce the state’s $10,000 limit on aggregate campaign contributions during a four-year election cycle in the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The State Board of Elections announced that no person may donate more than $4,000 to any individual campaign, but may give that amount to an unlimited number of candidates.
Newark Star Ledger – Salvador Rizzo | Published: 4/13/2014
Three former New Jersey Ethics Commission officials are accusing Gov. Chris Christie’s office of unprecedented interference with an agency set up to be free of political influence. They say Christie pushed the commissioners to replace the executive director at a time when she was investigating a member of his own staff, thus crossing a line no other governor had before. The Christie administration called the charges without merit and denied any interference with the commission.
New Mexico – Controversial Audio Leaked of Governor and Her Staff
KRQE – Gabrielle Burkhart | Published: 4/16/2014
Leaked audio recordings reveal New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez used profanity and offensive names to describe political opponents during her 2010 campaign. The tapes were part of an unflattering profile of Martinez by Mother Jones magazine. Martinez’s re-election campaign sent an email supporters noting she had referred to her general election opponent, then-Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, “using the B-word four years ago in a private conversation with close advisers.”
New York Times – William Rashbaum and Susanne Craig | Published: 4/9/2014
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, took control of confidential records of the commission probing public corruption that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down following a budget deal with the Legislature. Bharara’s move on the Moreland Commission files was motivated by his interest in the unfinished probes, unexplored leads, and abrupt close to business of the panel that Cuomo or his aides reportedly interfered with through back channels.
The Oklahoman – Nolan Clay | Published: 4/13/2014
The state Ethics Commission voted to investigate the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) for alleged violations of lobbying disclosure rules. Commissioners acted after The Oklahoman reported the association has provided free football and basketball playoff tickets to legislators for years. Records show the OSSAA has not reported those gifts to the Ethics Commission as required by law.
New York Times – Manny Fernandez | Published: 4/16/2014
A judge seated a grand jury to look into the threat that Texas Gov. Rick Perry carried out to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit under Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Perry last year said he would veto money for the unit, which prosecutes wrongdoing by public officials, unless Lehmberg resigned in the wake of a drunken-driving arrest. Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with prosecutors over the threat, contending Perry abused his power.
The Olympian – Brad Shannon | Published: 4/15/2014
Washington lawmakers can accept free meals on an “infrequent’ basis during the course of doing their jobs. But the law it does not say what is infrequent. The Legislative Ethics Board held a public hearing to get comments on a proposal to clarify the statue. In addition, a staff proposal going before the Public Disclosure Commission would raise the threshold for itemizing spending on lawmakers from $25 for an event to $50.
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