February 21, 2014 •
News You Can Use Digest – February 21, 2014
Politico – Byron Tau | Published: 2/16/2014
State party officials across the country say the increase in money going to super PACs, nonprofits, and presidential campaigns has made fundraising more difficult. Some of those outside groups are starting to take over the traditional local roles state parties play, spending big on voter contact and outreach operations. The effect is that candidates can be more beholden to national organizations or single-issue groups rather than state party leaders.
Washington Post – Holly Yeager | Published: 2/17/2014
The retirements of several powerful members of Congress are affecting former aides that have moved to K Street. Across a variety of areas, the departures – more than two dozen at last count – are prompting former Capitol Hill staffers whose biographies boast of their high-level connections to try to reassure their lobbying clients that they bring more to the job than links with their old bosses.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – Ex-SF Supervisor Yaki Heads off Suit, Pays $75K
San Francisco Chronicle – John Coté | Published: 2/20/2014
Former San Francisco Supervisor Michael Yaki agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit in which the city alleged he was an unregistered lobbyist who broke the municipal lobbying law “in every way.” The proposed settlement would be the largest payment in state history to resolve allegations of unreported lobbying. Yaki also must register retroactive to 2012 and report all of his contacts with city officials from that point forward.
San Louis Obispo Tribune – Laurel Rosenhall and Christopher Cadelago (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 2/14/2014
The San Francisco 49ers fired their Sacramento lobbying firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates, after the company was fined $133,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for violating the state’s lobbying laws. Kevin Sloat acknowledged hosting elaborate fundraising parties for nearly 40 politicians, providing liquor, cigars, and other hospitality that amounted to campaign contributions that are prohibited from lobbyists.
Miami Herald – Patricia Mazzei | Published: 2/14/2014
In June, during his early days exploring Miami as a location for his expansion Major League Soccer franchise, David Beckham and his investors had meetings with local officials. Now, Miami-Dade’s ethics commission is examining whether Beckham and his partners broke any rules requiring lobbyists to register with county government before making a pitch to public officials.
New Orleans Times Picayune – Julia O’Donohue | Published: 2/18/2014
A super PAC set up to support U.S. Sen. David Vitter and his 2015 gubernatorial run is asking a federal court to rule Louisiana’s cap on donations to PACs unconstitutional. The Fund for Louisiana’s Future argues the state is restricting political speech by imposing a contribution limit on PACs of $100,000 per four-year election cycle from individuals, corporations, and unions. It wants the court to make a decision before April 5, when the next round of Louisiana’s local and state elections take place.
NJ.com – Alex Zdan and Jenna Pizzi | Published: 2/16/2014
Trenton Mayor Tony Mack has refused to step down after he was found guilty February 7 on corruption charges. His conviction in a federal court does not trigger his automatic removal from office; without a resignation, Mack will remain mayor until state prosecutors can get a judge to sign off on an order of forfeiture. Removal after a conviction in state court is automatic, but not if the official is tried by federal prosecutors as Mack was.
New York – JCOPE Returns to Waivers
Albany Times Union – Casey Seiler | Published: 2/18/2014
At a recent meeting, members of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics debated exemptions to rules that require the disclosure of donors by nonprofit groups that engage in lobbying. The controversy over the exemptions began last summer, when it was revealed the state arm of the pro-choice group NARAL had been granted an exemption, prompting Republicans to complain that the panel had created a secret path for political giving.
Raleigh News & Observer – Bruse Henderson | Published: 2/14/2014
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory denied he had any talks with Duke Energy executives or lobbyists about his administration’s now scuttled deal to settle environmental violations at two of the company’s coal ash dumps. McCrory worked at Duke 28 years before retiring to make his first run for governor in 2008. On a state disclosure form, McCrory last year indicated his investment portfolio includes holdings of Duke stock valued in excess of $10,000, though he is not obligated to disclose the specific amount.
Salem Statesman Journal – Hannah Hoffman | Published: 2/19/2014
The Oregon secretary of state’s office shut down most its public online systems after detecting an intrusion into its website. Secretary of State Kate Brown is waiving fines for missing a campaign finance reporting deadline while ORESTAR remains down.
South Carolina – SC Poised to Elect First Black Candidate to Statewide Office
The State – Adam Beam | Published: 2/18/2014
The last time South Carolinians elected an African-American to statewide office was 1872, when Richard Howell Gleaves was elected the state’s second – and last – black lieutenant governor. The black community’s political influence was squashed in 1895 when then-Gov. Ben Tillman rewrote the state constitution, which is still in place today, to virtually eliminate all black influence in state politics. Now, 142 years later, that influence appears to be returning, albeit it in small steps.
Rutland Herald – Neal Goswami (Vermont Press Bureau) | Published: 2/14/2014
The Vermont House defeated an attempt by one member to delay implementation of the state’s new campaign finance law until 2019. Rep. Cynthia Browning tried to add the delay as an amendment to a bill making a technical correction to the campaign finance law signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin in January. Browning and other critics have charged it did too little to clamp down on the influence of wealthy political donors.
Washington Post – Rosalind Helderman | Published: 2/20/2014
Thousands of recently unsealed documents link Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to a secret email system used in his office that would avoid public scrutiny when he was Milwaukee County executive. The documents show just how intertwined Walker’s campaign operation was with his taxpayer-paid county staff in the months leading to the November 2010 election. It is against state law for public employees to work for political parties and campaigns while being paid by taxpayers to provide government services.
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