News You Can Use Digest - November 16, 2018 - State and Federal Communications

November 16, 2018  •  

News You Can Use Digest – November 16, 2018





Banner Year for Female Candidates Doesn’t Extend to Republican Women
MSN – Susan Chira (New York Times) | Published: 11/15/2018

The number of Republican women in Congress next year will drop, even as the ranks of Democratic women swell to record heights. With a few races still undecided, the new Congress will have at least 105 Democratic women and 19 Republican women. From Congress to governor to state Legislatures, far more Democratic women ran in this cycle than Republican women. And that means fewer Republican women on the bench, gathering experience and credentials to move up to the next level. With fewer women as candidates and officeholders, Republicans risk further widening a gender gap already at historic levels, since far more women vote Democratic than Republican, said Mirya Holman of Tulane University.

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s leaders fought through crisis
MSN – Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg, and Jack Nicas (New York Times) | Published: 11/14/2018

Facebook has reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business, and daily life around the world. But as evidence mounted that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda, and inspire campaigns of hate, founder Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. Sandberg has overseen a lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics and ward off regulation. Allies of Facebook in Washington, D.C. intervened on its behalf. But trust in the company has sunk, while its growth has slowed. Regulators and law enforcement officials are investigating Facebook’s conduct with Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

House Democrats’ Win Fuels K Street Hiring
Politico – Theodoric Meyer and Marianne Levine | Published: 11/7/2018

The Democratic takeover of the U.S. House, even as Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate, ends two years of unified GOP control of Washington in which corporate America and its lobbyists saw major victories, including a tax bill that slashed the corporate rate and extensive deregulation. Washington offices of major corporations now are grappling with how to work a Democratic House full of newly elected members, many of whom ran on promises to resist special interests and who are generally younger and more diverse than the denizens of K Street. Some lobbying firms, the biggest of which are typically bipartisan and pride themselves on their ability to thrive no matter which party is in power, and companies have already hired new Democratic lobbyists in anticipation the party might take back the House.

Trump Involved in ‘Nearly Every Step’ of Hush-Money Payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal: WSJ
CNBC – Kevin Brueniger and Dan Mangan | Published: 11/9/2018

President Trump was heavily involved during his presidential campaign in silencing the stories of women who claimed to have extramarital affairs with him, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal that contradicts repeated denials from Trump. Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence that Trump worked with his friend and media executive David Pecker to use the National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump was allegedly involved in nearly every step of the process to prevent Daniels and McDougal from publicizing their stories and worked with his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to coordinate the deals.

Trump Seeks to Land Blow Against Media in Court Fight with CNN
Politico – Jason Schwartz and Michael Calderone | Published: 11/14/2018

Trump administration lawyers asserted in court that the president could bar “all reporters” from the White House complex for any reason he sees fit. The sweeping claim, which came in the first public hearing over CNN’s lawsuit to restore correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House credentials, could have a dramatic impact on news organizations’ access to government officials if it is upheld in court. CNN argued in its lawsuit that the White House infringed on Acosta’s First Amendment rights by revoking his access in response to a dispute at a recent press conference. The arguments represented an escalation in Trump’s fight against the media, with more than a dozen news organizations weighing in on CNN’s side.

From the States and Municipalities:

Alabama: How a Top Official Landed in Criminal Trouble
E&E News – Sean Reilly | Published: 11/14/2018

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official in the Trump administration was indicted on charges stemming from a previous job. Trey Glenn, director for the agency’s southeast region, helped a law firm fight potential EPA actions to clean up contaminated sites in Alabama on behalf of Drummond Co., which could be responsible for the cleanups. A grand jury indicted Glenn and former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner Scott Phillips for their roles in the controversial efforts. A federal jury earlier this year convicted Balch partner Joel Gilbert and Drummond vice president David Roberson for bribing an Alabama lawmaker as part of the effort to stop the cleanup effort. Glenn and Phillips were both called as witnesses in that trial, and evidence showed they were closely with Balch on the effort to stop the cleanups.

California: SoccerCity Document Leak by San Diego Councilman Prompts Tougher Restrictions
San Diego Union Tribune – David Garrick | Published: 11/13/2018

Prompted by Councilperson Chris Cate’s sharing of confidential documents with SoccerCity investors last year, the San Diego City Council approved tighter restrictions on the handling of such documents. The tougher guidelines aim to prevent future disclosures and make it easier to prosecute leakers. In case a leak still occurs despite the new rules, the council also voted to make it illegal for lobbyists who may receive confidential documents from “using, accepting, or disclosing” them in any way. To avoid potential loopholes, the council added language saying a lobbyist also cannot disseminate a confidential document and cannot use intermediaries to disseminate it, such as a relative.

Florida: Inside the Republican Strategy to Discredit the Florida Recount
MSN – Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 11/13/2018

Republicans’ strategy in Florida this year to discredit the recount in the close U.S. Senate race reflects their experience in the 2000 presidential election in the state. GOP strategists say they prevailed then largely because they approached the recount as they did the race itself, with legal, political, and public relations components that allowed them to outmaneuver Democrats. The effort Gov. Rick Scott and allies are waging today is similar to that multifront war in 2000 led by the George W. Bush campaign and an army of party consultants. Lawyers are filing complaints in Tallahassee; surrogates for Scott are holding news conference calls with journalists and sitting for interviews on television, blaming Democrats for tarnishing the integrity of the electoral process; and party officials are encouraging demonstrators to gather at sites where the recounts are taking place.

Missouri: Despite Election Night Victory, Fight Over Ethics Overhaul in Missouri May Not Be Over
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kurt Erickson | Published: 11/11/2018

Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment to change ethics laws and overhaul the way the state’s political maps are drawn. But with the changes scheduled to start going into effect December 6, the initiative could face another round of scrutiny in a courtroom and at the Capitol. The same groups of opponents who tried to keep the “Clean Missouri” initiative off the ballot say they are mulling further legal action aimed at stopping the reforms. “We fully intend to oppose Clean Missouri any way we can,” said Dan Mehan, executive director of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Senate President Pro Tem-elect Dave Schatz said the Legislature may want to tinker with certain parts of the initiative.

New Jersey: Bankers’ Group Seeks End to Ban on Gifts to Local Candidates
Yahoo! Finance – Charles Toutant ( | Published: 11/11/2018

A century-old law barring banks from making contributions to candidates in local and state elections is being challenged by the New Jersey Bankers Association. The bankers filed suit seeking a declaration that the ban is unconstitutional, and asking for an order enjoining enforcement. The lawsuit claims banks’ First Amendment rights are violated by the inability to make campaign contributions. Banks are banned from making contributions of any kind or amount to, or in support of, political parties or candidates for any state or local office under the New Jersey statute. But nonbank corporations are not subject to any such prohibition, with a few exceptions, according to the plaintiff.

North Dakota: Victorious North Dakota Measure 1 Supporters Expect More Work, Lawsuits
Bismarck Tribune – Tru-Uyen Tran (Forum News Service) | Published: 11/8/2018

Voters may have approved North Dakota’s Measure 1 aimed at combating corruption but the group behind it has no plans to break up anytime soon. Being a constitutional amendment, the measure relies on lawmakers to implement it, which creates opportunities for supporters and opponents to influence that process. Ellen Chaffee, one of the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, said her group will also stay together because it is anticipating legal challenges by opponents. Passage means that, among other things, the “ultimate and true source” of money spent on media to influence politics must be disclosed, lobbyists can no longer give gifts to public officials, and a state ethics commission must be formed to investigate violations.

Oregon: Oregon Lawmaker Under Scrutiny for Posting Home Addresses of Ballot Measure Petitioners
Governing – Maxine Bernstein (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 11/15/2018

A gun control advocacy group called on the Oregon House to investigate state Rep. Bill Post for putting online the phone numbers and home addresses of the chief petitioners of a ballot measure to ban assault weapons. In a Facebook post, Post encouraged gun rights supporters to personally contact three Portland clergy leading the initiative campaign to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in Oregon. He posted the message on the Facebook page of a group called “The Heirs of Patrick Henry, Northwest.” The post led to harassing emails and phone calls to the petitioners, and it has had a chilling effect on others challenging the gun rights lobby, said Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director Penny Okamoto.

Virginia: U.S. Supreme Court to Take Up Virginia Redistricting Case on Racial Gerrymandering
Washington Post – Gregory Schneider and Robert Barnes | Published: 11/13/2018

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of redistricting in Virginia, agreeing to hear an appeal filed by Republican legislators after a lower court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts must be redrawn to correct racial gerrymandering. The action does not appear to halt the redistricting process, though, which is underway at the hands of a special master. It will be the second time the high court has heard the case. It sided with challengers in demanding further review of the districts, drawn by Virginia Republicans to ensure that 55 percent of eligible voters were black. What remains to be seen is whether the Supreme Court will again take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, which it has never found to be unconstitutional.

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