News You Can Use Digest – August 2, 2013 - State and Federal Communications

August 2, 2013  •  

News You Can Use Digest – August 2, 2013

News You Can Use


Heiresses Apparent: Daughters take their turn for the political dynasty

Washington Post – Emily Heil | Published: 7/26/2013

Perhaps more than any previous year, the 2014 midterm campaigns feature a wave of daughters eager to embrace their fathers’ political legacies while forging their own political futures. And at a time when the 2016 presidential field appears likely to include both the son of a prominent politician (Rand Paul) and the wife of a president (Hillary Clinton), it is no surprise that daughters are forming a political class of their own.

State Republican Parties Mired in Dysfunction

The Associated Press – Steve Peoples | Published: 7/25/2013

Several state Republican leaders have been forced out or resigned in recent months, and many state parties face financial problems and skeptical national leaders. The conflicts highlight the tug of war over the GOP’s future as national leaders work to improve the party’s brand. At the same time, the dysfunction raises questions about the GOP’s ability to coordinate political activities in key battleground states ahead of the midterm elections.


Next Citizens United? McCutcheon Supreme Court Case Targets Campaign Contribution Limits

Huffington Post – Paul Blumenthal | Published: 7/31/2013

Electrical engineer and budding political donor Shaun McCutcheon, now joined by the Republican National Committee, is bringing the biggest campaign finance case before the U.S. Supreme Court since the controversial 2010 Citizens United decision. If the justices rule in their next term for McCutcheon, it would mark the first time the court had found a federal contribution limit unconstitutional and would open the door for even more money to flood the political system.

Women Lobbyists May Be Worth More

National Journal – Elahe Izadi | Published: 7/30/2013

While men outnumber women on K Street, an analysis by LegisStorm shows individual lobbying contracts held by women are worth more on average than those held by men. The study, one of the first of its kind, offers a window on Washington’s roughly $3 billion lobbying industry and how it is evolving.

From the States and Municipalities:

Alabama – Corporations Can Make Unlimited Campaign Contributions

Gadsden Times – Philip Rawls (Associated Press) | Published: 8/1/2013

Companies can now give unlimited amounts to candidates in Alabama. The end of the $500 limit on August 1 means Alabama will become the fifth state with no cap on campaign donations. Lobbyist Bob Geddie said some companies may contribute directly to candidates now that the limit is off, but most will keep donating to PACs. He said if their corporate name ends up on a candidate’s campaign finance report, they know others will call for donations.

Arizona – Supporters Ask Judge to Block Higher Campaign Limits

Arizona Daily Sun – Howard Fischer (Capitol News Services) | Published: 7/31/2013

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission asked Maricopa County Superior Court to block an increase in state campaign contribution limits. The state Supreme Court declined to consider the commission’s special-action lawsuit in the matter. The plaintiffs were allowed to start over by filing the lawsuit anew with a lower court.

California – Cupid’s Work Gets Complicated as California Lawmaker Dates Lobbyist

Sacramento Bee – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 7/31/2013

State Assemblyperson Brian Maienschein is dating Carolyn Ginno, a lobbyist for the California Medical Association. While the romance does not violate any rules, it has raised concerns among some good government groups. Watchdogs said Maienschein should step down from committees that routinely vote on bills the association lobbies, such as the health and business panels.

Colorado – Chieftain Newsroom Execs Sign Giron Recall Petitions, Blasted for ‘Ethics Conflict’

Huffington Post – John Tomasic (Colorado Independent) | Published: 7/30/2013

A local activist group reported Pueblo Chieftain General Manager Ray Stafford and at least two other newsroom executives signed petitions to have Colorado Sen. Angela Giron recalled over her support for gun-control laws. The group said the signatures amount to a breach of professional ethics. Stafford also wrote Giron an e-mail that many viewed as a threat.

Illinois – Scandal Puts Focus on ‘Toothless’ Ill. Ethics Law

Chicago Tribune – Kerry Lester (Associated Press) | Published: 7/30/2013

The Legislative Ethics Commission has agreed to look into whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and two of his fellow Democrats tried to use clout to interfere with personnel matters at Metra, the Chicago-area transit agency. But the committee is working under a law that critics say is too vague on what constitutes a conflict-of-interest and lacks sufficient enforcement powers.

Indiana – Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor’s School’s Grade

Huffington Post – Tony LoBianco (Associated Press) | Published: 7/29/2013

Tony Bennett, the then-head of the Indiana department of Education, pressed for changes to the state’s school grading formula to help a campaign donor’s charter school. According to e-mails obtained by The Associated Press, Bennett demanded the changes when it appeared a charter school backed by influential Republican donor Christel DeHaan was going to earn a “C” in the state’s grading system.

Missouri – In Missouri, Campaign Donors Fund Phones, Sports Tickets, Golf Balls

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Elizabeth Crisp | Published: 7/31/2013

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch analysis shows lawmakers and statewide officials often turn to their campaign funds to pay for a wide range of personal expenses that, they argue, are associated with their official or campaign duties. Meals, travel, and fundraising events – including costs associated with popular golf tournaments – were among the major expenses for candidates and elected officials.

New York – Exemption Rules under Review

Albany Times Union – Jimmy Vielkind | Published: 7/30/2013

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is putting off a decision on applications from lobbying groups hoping to shield their donors from public view as it debates tweaks to its regulations. Emergency rules that will become permanent in August allow the commission to exempt donors that face “harm, threats, harassment, or reprisals” if it became known they were contributing to a cause. Commissioners agreed to have a public discussion on amending the exemption, possibly in early September.

North Carolina – McCrory Not Up On Voter Law He Signed

Charlotte Post – Michael Biesecker (Associated Press) | Published: 8/1/2013

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that makes extensive changes to the state’s election law, even though he admitted he was not familiar with key provisions on preventing voter fraud. At a press conference, the governor did single out the section of the bill that prohibits lobbyists from passing campaign donations directly to lawmakers.

South Carolina – State House for Sale: SC’s unregistered lobbyists profit in ‘gray area’

The State – Jamie Self | Published: 7/27/2013

Many companies and groups in South Carolina seek state money each year. To press their cases, they employ hundreds of lobbyists. But not everyone trying to influence lawmakers registers with the state as a lobbyist as required by the ethics law.

Tennessee – Ethics Panel Stalls on Tom Ingram Lobbying Hearing; Dismissal Vote Falls Short

Knoxville News Sentinel – Tom Humphrey | Published: 8/1/2013

A vote to scuttle penalties against prominent political operative Tom Ingram fell short in the Tennessee Ethics Commission. The panel voted three-to-one to drop the cases against Ingram, his colleague Marcille Durham, and client Hillsborough Resources for failing to register to lobby for three years on behalf of a coal company seeking to mine on public lands. That is one vote short of the minimum needed to pass, so members agreed to hear the cases again at a September meeting.

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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