News You Can Use Digest - November 26, 2014 - State and Federal Communications

November 26, 2014  •  

News You Can Use Digest – November 26, 2014



Governors and Oil Industry Work Hand in Hand in Offshore Drilling Group
Center for Public Integrity – Nicholas Kusnitz | Published: 11/24/2014

For the past three years, a group of eight, mostly Republican governors from coastal states has been lobbying the Obama administration to expand access to the nation’s offshore oil and gas deposits, working through an organization called the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. A review public documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows much of the coalition’s work has been carried out by HBW Resources and the Consumer Energy Alliance, a group that has channeled millions of dollars in corporate funding to become a leading advocate at the state level for drilling.

Unions Rethink Strategy after Election Losses
Governing – Alan Greenblatt | Published: 11/21/2014

Some union officials want to rethink the labor movement’s approach to politics in the wake of the midterm elections. Having long tied their fortunes to Democrats, at least some union leaders are thinking about returning to the basics of providing professional services to members and emphasizing issues, rather than candidates. “Unions have to be aggressively pushing for the issues we really believe in,” said Gabe Morgan, a Service Employees International Union director in Pennsylvania, referring to the success of minimum wage increases on several state ballots.


Meet the New Super Donors
Campaigns & Elections – Kevin Bogardus | Published: 11/24/2014

Lobbyists and other donors can give to as many candidates and groups as they want with no aggregate cap in place as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling. The Center for Responsive Politics has found this campaign season that roughly 20 K federal lobbyists have exceeded the now vanquished limit with their political donations for the 2014 elections. Yet lobbyists only make up a portion of this new class of super donor. It has found nearly 500 contributors overall who have passed the old limit, donating $83.7 million to candidates and political committees, about $22.5 million over what they could give under the previous cap.

Some in G.O.P. Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Latino Voters
New York Times – Jackie Calmes | Published: 11/21/2014

Some Republicans say their party faces a challenge in framing their opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration in a way that does not antagonize Latinos and other minority groups like Asian-Americans, much as Republicans lost African-Americans’ support in the civil-rights era. Many GOP candidates who won in the midterm elections took stands against “amnesty” for those here illegally with little fear of political penalty because few close contests were in places with significant Latino populations.

Survey Says: Constituents lobby best
The Hill – Vickie Needham | Published: 11/20/2014

The Congressional Management Foundation, in a three-year survey of Capitol Hill staffers, found constituent visits to the Washington office (97 percent) and to the district office (94 percent) have “some” or “a lot” of influence on undecided lawmakers, more than any other strategy. The group is releasing a research-based guide for individuals and groups on how to schedule, conduct, and follow-up on meetings with lawmakers. The report explores issues such as the best time to request a meeting, what to discuss, and what are the preferred locations.

From the States and Municipalities:

Alaska – Bill Walker, Next Governor for Alaska, Traversed Unlikely Path
New York Times – Kirk Johnson | Published: 11/24/2014

Earlier this year, Bill Walker was running for governor of Alaska as an independent candidate with no party, little money, and almost no chance of victory two months before Election Day. Incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican in a right-leaning state, was facing two opponents on the ballot – Walker and Democrat Byron Mallott – who would most likely split the state’s moderates and liberals. Mallott concluded neither he nor Walker had any hope of winning alone, but together they might have a chance. Mallott forfeited the Democratic Party nomination for governor and joined forces with Walker on the independent ballot line as the lieutenant governor candidate. Walker won the election by about 6,200 votes out of 285,000 cast, one of the closest gubernatorial elections in state history.

Arizona – Horne Pays $10,000 Settlement in Campaign-Violations Case
Arizona Republic – Julia Shumway | Published: 11/20/2014

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) approved a settlement with Attorney General Tom Horne over allegations he used his office staff to work on his failed re-election campaign. Horne did not admit guilt by agreeing to the settlement, but personally paid a $10,000 fine. CCEC Executive Director Thomas Collins said Horne used more than $300,000 worth of state employee time and rent in his unsuccessful race. That amount was not reported on his campaign finance forms.

Connecticut – Lawmakers Look to Close ‘Kennedy Loophole’
The News-Times – Neil Vigdor | Published: 11/20/2014

When Connecticut lawmakers reconvene for the new legislative session in January, the General Assembly is expected to discuss new limits on how much state parties can contribute to individual candidates. The push comes after Ted Kennedy, Jr. received $207,000 in aid from the Democratic State Central Committee for his victorious state Senate campaign, despite being bound by spending limits as a taxpayer-funded candidate.

District of Columbia – Marion Barry, Washington’s ‘Mayor for Life,’ Even After Prison, Dies at 78
New York Times – David Stout | Published: 11/23/2014

Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, who overcame an embarrassing public drug arrest while in office to return as mayor and city council member, died on November 23 at the age of 78. On January 18, 1990, Mayor Barry was arrested in a Washington hotel room while smoking crack cocaine. The arrest, videotaped in an undercover operation, caused a sensation. While his arrest and his public declaration that he had been set up defined Barry for the nation, his role in the city as the pre-eminent political leader and champion of the underclass continued to thrive. The former civil rights activist remained beloved as an advocate of what he called the “last, the least, and the lost” and of the city’s continuing struggle for self-determination.

New York – Text Me the Money: New form of donations coming to city campaign finance program
Gotham Gazette – Kristen Meriwether | Published: 11/24/2014

The New York City Campaign Finance Board is expected to pass new rules that will govern how campaigns accept contributions via text message. A 2013 law allows candidates running for local offices to accept contributions through what is typically a cell-phone-based format. If a text-message donor is a New York City resident, the given funds will be eligible for public matching dollars. The proposed rules will limit text message contributions to $99. There was no objection to the donation limit at a recent hearing, but there was discussion about the rules regarding the timing of texted contributions.

Rhode Island – Rhode Island Investigating Former State Attorney General
New York Times – Eric Lipton | Published: 11/21/2014

The Rhode Island secretary of state’s office said it has asked ex-state Attorney General Patrick Lynch for more information about his interactions with his former office in an attempt to determine whether he should have registered as a lobbyist. Lynch has told the Associated Press he was not lobbying and had complied with all laws. The investigation of comes in response to an article in The New York Times that examined the surge in lobbying of state attorneys general across the country, much of it by former officials like Lynch.

Virginia – Va. State Senators Propose No Gifts More Than $100 for Officials
WUSA; Staff –   | Published: 11/24/2014

Two Virginia senators have written a bill that would eliminate gifts of more than $100 for officials or employees of state government agencies. The bill would also require review of any intangible gifts, including compensated travel or event ticket, by the Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.

Washington – Washington’s Lobbying Corps Populated By Former Lawmakers, Staffers
KUOW – Austin Jenkins | Published: 11/19/2014

Unlike 32 other states, Washington does not require a waiting period to slow the “revolving door” from state service to lobbying. The New York Times recently reported that former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna was lobbying his former office less than a year after he left his position. There are 960 registered lobbyists and lobbying firms in Washington state; among them are several former government insiders such as lawmakers, agency directors, and key staffers. Rep. Reuven Carlyle announced his intention to introduce legislation in January to require a waiting period.

Wisconsin – John Doe Froze Conservative Speech, Targets Say
Wisconsin Reporter – M.D. Kittle | Published: 11/23/2014

Targets of Milwaukee County District Attorney’s John Chisholm’s investigation of Wisconsin conservatives say the probe effectively chilled conservative donors and volunteers during the midterm elections. “We spent, but we didn’t spend like we did in the last couple of cycles, and I believe a good part of that was related to the John Doe investigation,’ said one source, whose organization has been targeted in the politically charged inquiry.

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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