October 31, 2016 •
Lobbying “It’s About to Become a Very Busy Time for K Street Headhunters” by Cartherine Ho for Washington Post Campaign Finance “Behind the Retreat of the Koch Brothers’ Operation” by Kenneth Vogel for Politico Washington: “State GOP Says PDC Chief […]
“It’s About to Become a Very Busy Time for K Street Headhunters” by Cartherine Ho for Washington Post
“Behind the Retreat of the Koch Brothers’ Operation” by Kenneth Vogel for Politico
Washington: “State GOP Says PDC Chief Is Biased for Dems, Needs to Resign” by Jim Brunner for Seattle Times
“Inside ‘Bill Clinton Inc.’: Hacked memo reveals intersection of charity and personal income” by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger for Washington Post
“FBI Agents Waited Weeks to Tell Comey About Emails Possibly Relevant to Clinton Probe” by Matt Zapotosky, Ellen Nakashima, and Rosalind Helderman for Washington Post
“Beneath Cheers at Donald Trump’s Rallies, Dark Fears Take Hold” by Ashley Parker and Nick Corasaniti for New York Times
“‘We Are in for a Pretty Long Civil War’” by Julia Ioffe for Politico
California: “Prop Prep: Californians tackle jumbo ballot with humor” by Katherine Seligman for CALmatters.org
“Company Vying for Central Park Boathouse Contract Suing City, Claiming de Blasio Donor Was Granted the Deal Unfairly” by Ginger Adams Otis for New York Daily News
October 11, 2016 •
Lobbying California: “State Lawmakers Got about $873,000 in Freebies Last Year, but the Gifts Can Be Difficult to Track” by Matt Fountain for San Louis Obispo Tribune Oklahoma: “Oklahoma Legislator Wants Lawmakers Off Lobbyist Welfare” by Barbara Hoberock for Tulsa […]
California: “State Lawmakers Got about $873,000 in Freebies Last Year, but the Gifts Can Be Difficult to Track” by Matt Fountain for San Louis Obispo Tribune
Oklahoma: “Oklahoma Legislator Wants Lawmakers Off Lobbyist Welfare” by Barbara Hoberock for Tulsa World
Missouri: “Aldermen Pass Legislation Limiting Campaign Contributions to $10,000 in St. Louis Elections” by Koran Addo for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Montana: “Can Motl Serve as State’s Campaign and Ethics Cop until 2019?” by Troy Carter for Bozeman Daily Chronicle
New York: “The New York City Campaign Finance Board and Its Scofflaws” by Samar Khurshid and Jarrett Murphy for Gotham Gazette
Illinois: “Chicago Politicians Warned on Use of Coveted Face-Value Cubs Playoff Tickets” by Hal Dardick for Chicago Tribune
New York: “At Graft Scandal’s Center, a Lobbyist with a Long History in the Cuomo Orbit” by Vivian Yee for New York Times
“Leaked Speech Excerpts Show a Hillary Clinton at Ease with Wall Street” by Amy Chozick, Nicholas Confessore, and Michael Barbaro for New York Times
“Paul Ryan Won’t Defend or Campaign for Trump Ahead of Election” by Kelsey Snell and Juliet Eilperin for Washington Post
July 21, 2016 •
Lobbying “Lobbyists Have Raised $7 Million for Hillary Clinton. For Trump? Zero” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post South Carolina: “Departing S.C. House Ethics Committee Chairman Accepts Government Affairs Consulting Job” by Maya Prabhu for Charleston Post and Courier Campaign […]
“Lobbyists Have Raised $7 Million for Hillary Clinton. For Trump? Zero” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post
South Carolina: “Departing S.C. House Ethics Committee Chairman Accepts Government Affairs Consulting Job” by Maya Prabhu for Charleston Post and Courier
“States Can Bring Political ‘Dark Money’ into the Light” by Ann Ravel for Los Angeles Times
Illinois: “Who Is Funding Group Challenging Redistricting?” by Sophia Tareen (Associated Press) for WTOP
Missouri: “Who Made the Biggest Political Donation in Missouri History? Ask After the Election” by Kevin McDermott for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Accused of Sexual Harassment, Roger Ailes Is Negotiating Exit from Fox” by John Koblin and Jim Rutenberg for New York Times
Pennsylvania: “Kathleen Kane’s Staff Gives Job Interview to Son of Key Prosecution Witness Against Her” by Steve Esack for Allentown Morning Call
“‘Just Look Around’: A Hispanic delegate doesn’t see the party she’s rooting for” by Robert Samuels for Washington Post
“How Donald Trump Picked His Running Mate” by Robert Draper for New York Times
Ohio: “In Cleveland’s Public Square, Rights Are Exercised. Loudly.” by Dan Barry for New York Times
July 18, 2016 •
Gov. Mike Pence is Donald Trump’s choice for vice president. Trump announced his running mate on July 15, 2016, via Twitter. Pence submitted his withdrawal for re-election after one term as the governor on July 15, 2016. The state GOP […]
Gov. Mike Pence is Donald Trump’s choice for vice president.
Trump announced his running mate on July 15, 2016, via Twitter. Pence submitted his withdrawal for re-election after one term as the governor on July 15, 2016.
The state GOP will meet on July 26 to vote on the party’s replacement gubernatorial candidate.
July 18, 2016 •
Lobbying New York: “Jackson Lewis Lands 39-Member Wilson Elser Lobbying Group” by Christine Simmons for New York Law Journal Campaign Finance California: “Commerce Councilwoman Faces State’s Largest-Ever Penalty Against a Local Elected Official” by Adam Elmahrek for Los Angeles Times […]
New York: “Jackson Lewis Lands 39-Member Wilson Elser Lobbying Group” by Christine Simmons for New York Law Journal
California: “Commerce Councilwoman Faces State’s Largest-Ever Penalty Against a Local Elected Official” by Adam Elmahrek for Los Angeles Times
District of Columbia: “Vincent Gray 2010 Campaign Chauffeur Sentenced to a Year’s Probation” by Keith Alexander for Washington Post
Indiana: “No Criminal Charges for Monarch Beverage in Campaign Contributions Investigation” by Jill Disis and Tony Cook for Indianapolis Star
“U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield Broke House Rules, Committee Finds” by R.G. Dunlop for Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting
Florida: “Carrie Meek’s Daughter Involved in $5 Million Land Deal Through Mom’s Foundation” by Douglas Hanks for Miami Herald
New Jersey: “David Samson, Ally of Christie, Admits to Bribery Over Airline Route” by Patrick McGeehan for New York Times
Oregon: “Court Tosses Out Subpoena in Kitzhaber Investigation” by Andrew Selsky (Associated Press) for Everett Herald
“Donald Trump Officially Picks Mike Pence as His Running Mate” by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa for Washington Post
May 31, 2016 •
Lobbying Illinois: “Rauner Board Asked Builders to Lobby Lawmakers” by The Associated Press for Crain’s Chicago Business Nevada: “Council Votes to Delay Passing Lobbyist Registration Ordinance” by Anjeanette Damon for Reno Gazette-Journal Oregon: “As Spending on Lobbying Increases, Transparency Remains Murky” […]
Illinois: “Rauner Board Asked Builders to Lobby Lawmakers” by The Associated Press for Crain’s Chicago Business
Nevada: “Council Votes to Delay Passing Lobbyist Registration Ordinance” by Anjeanette Damon for Reno Gazette-Journal
Oregon: “As Spending on Lobbying Increases, Transparency Remains Murky” by Hillary Borrud for East Oregonian
Kansas: “Amid Criticism, Kansas Launches New Campaign Finance Website” by Peter Hancock for Lawrence Journal World
Montana: “Judge Issues Stay Reinstating Campaign Contribution Limits from Political Parties” by Holly Michels for Helena Independent Record
Rhode Island: “Ethics Commission Considers Election-Season Blackout” by Matt O’Brien (Associated Press) for WJAR
“Do Sanders Supporters Favor His Policies?” by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels for New York Times
“Obama Can’t Endorse During the Democratic Primary, So He’s Just Pointing Out How Hard the Job Is Instead” by Christi Parsons and Michael Memoli for Los Angeles Times
“Trump Reaches the Magic Number to Clinch Nomination” by The Associated Press for Yahoo!News
May 6, 2016 •
National: Often-Secret Donors Spend Big to Push Elected Officials’ Pet Projects USA Today – Fredreka Schouten and Mary Troyan | Published: 4/5/2016 Nonprofit groups have become a fixture in federal politics, allowing secret donors to pump unlimited sums into advertising and […]
Often-Secret Donors Spend Big to Push Elected Officials’ Pet Projects
USA Today – Fredreka Schouten and Mary Troyan | Published: 4/5/2016
Nonprofit groups have become a fixture in federal politics, allowing secret donors to pump unlimited sums into advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in elections. But their use has spread rapidly to statehouses and city halls as another source of cash that elected officials of both parties can tap to help shape public policy. Elected officials defend their use, saying nonprofits can move more nimbly than government agencies to advance civic initiatives and are less likely to draw the public’s ire over using taxpayer funds for pet projects or quasi-political expenses, such as polling. Campaign finance watchdogs, however, said they are just another way for unregulated money to seep into the political process and give big donors a covert method to curry favor with decision makers.
Stricter Rules for Voter IDs Reshape Races
New York Times – Michael Wines and Manuel Fernandez | Published: 5/1/2016
Since their inception a decade ago, voter identification laws have been the focus of fierce political and social debate. Proponents, largely Republican, argue the regulations are essential tools to combat election fraud, while critics contend they are mainly intended to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies like minorities and students. As the general election nears, in which new or strengthened voter ID laws will be in place in 15 states for the first time in a presidential election, recent academic research indicates the requirements restrict turnout and disproportionately affect voting by minorities. The laws are also reshaping how many campaigns are run, with candidates not only spending time to secure votes, but also time to ensure those votes can be cast.
Clinton Fundraising Leaves Little for State Parties
Politico – Kenneth Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf | Published: 5/2/2016
The Hillary Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee comprised of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 32 state party committees. The set-up allows Clinton to solicit checks of $350,000 or more from her wealthy supporters. In the days before Clinton launched the unprecedented fundraising vehicle, she proclaimed “when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.” But less than one percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers. The arrangement has sparked concerns among watchdogs, who see it as a circumvention of contribution limits by a national party apparatus intent on doing whatever it takes to help Clinton win the Democratic nomination and then the White House.
Now, Dennis Hastert Seems an Architect of Dysfunction as Speaker
New York Times – Carl Hulse | Published: 5/2/2016
Dennis Hastert’s admission in federal court that he sexually molested wrestlers on the Illinois high school team he coached years before setting foot on Capitol Hill is provoking a re-evaluation of his tenure as the longest-serving Republican House speaker. Hastert emerges as a deeply flawed figure who contributed significantly to the dysfunction that defines Congress today. Even his namesake Hastert rule, the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority, has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise.
With Donald Trump in Charge, Republicans Have a Day of Reckoning
New York Times – Patrick Healy, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman | Published: 5/4/2016
For a Republican Party that usually rallies around its presumptive presidential nominee quickly, the brutal primary campaign and the questions about Donald Trump’s substance and style have fueled a remarkable level of dissatisfaction, antipathy that will not fade simply because Ted Cruz and John Kasich have ceded the race. The journey from denial and resistance to grudging acceptance, and even peace, with the Trump nomination may never be complete for some Republicans. But leaders hope to change that quickly, to save the party from splintering and to have a real shot at winning in November.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – Legislature Passes Bill to Disclose Lobbying on State Contracts
KQED – Guy Marzorati | Published: 5/3/2016
Communicating with government officials to try to win state contracts would be considered lobbying under legislation the California Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown despite opposition from the Fair Political Practices Commission. If Brown signs the Assembly Bill 1200, people who communicate with government officials about contracts enough to earn $2,000 or more a month for their efforts would have to register as lobbyists. It would apply only to people working on contracts worth at least $250,000.
California – State Senator Calls for a Ban on Private Meetings with Coastal Commissioners to ‘Level the Playing Field’
Los Angeles Times – Dan Weikel and Kim Christensen | Published: 5/3/2016
Ex-parte communications between individual members of the California Coastal Commission and developers, lobbyists, environmentalists, and other interested parties have become a major element in the way the commission presides over land use, public access, and environment protection. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson has introduced legislation to ban those communications, a move that has raised questions about who gets access to individual commissioners and the fairness of the panel’s quasi-judicial process that weighs both sides before rendering a decision.
Kentucky – FBI Agent: Illegal donations went to campaigns of Andy Beshear, Jack Conway
Lexington Herald-Leader – John Cheves | Published: 5/3/2016
Newly released court documents show former Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer, who pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge, arranged for illegal campaign donations to Andy Beshear, who was elected attorney general, and Jack Conway, who lost his bid to become governor. An affidavit states there is no indication the candidates were aware of the scheme. Court documents indicate the money came from a scheme Longmeyer had with MC Squared Consulting, which gave him kickbacks in exchange for help securing contracts with two insurers.
New York – Executive Chamber Receives Subpoena; Percoco Said to Be Under Federal Gaze
Albany Times Union – Casey Seiler | Published: 4/29/2016
The federal investigation into one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature economic development programs has come to focus on one of his former top aides, Joseph Percoco. The inquiry is also focused on several other men and a company linked to the program, called the Buffalo Billion. The governor’s office was served with a federal grand jury subpoena for documents related to the investigation. “The state has reason to believe that in certain programs and regulatory approvals they may have been defrauded by improper bidding and failures to disclose potential conflicts-of-interest by lobbyists and former state employees,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
New York – From Albany to Prison: Ex-lawmakers on life behind bars
New York Times – Vivian Yee | Published: 4/30/2016
In interviews, four former New York lawmakers that were convicted on corruption charges tell of spiritual awakenings, physical survival, and mental toughening. But what figures largest in these personal narratives – what they say has sustained them throughout – is the belief they were wrongly prosecuted. With onetime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver being sentenced to 12 years recently, along with the expected arrivals of convicted ex-Sens. Dean Skelos and John Sampson, there will be at least nine former members of the Legislature in the federal prison system. Nine more were released over the last few years.
New York – Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence
New York Times – Benjamin Weiser and Vivian Yee | Published: 5/3/2016
A federal judge sentenced former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to 12 years in prison after he was convicted of corruption charges. The judge also ordered him to forfeit more than $5 million in proceeds from his crimes and pay a $1.75 million fine. Silver was found guilty of fraud, extortion, and money laundering in dealings with real estate developers and a Columbia University cancer researcher. Prosecutors also alleged he found jobs for two women with whom he had extramarital affairs. “Silver’s crimes corrupted the institution that he led for more than 20 years,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing recommendation. “As a fixture in the legislative leadership, an entire generation of New York legislators served in an institution framed by his corrupt example.”
Pennsylvania – Guilty: Aide to former PA Gov. Rendell pleas to wire fraud
Binghamton Press & Bulletin – Marc Levy (Associated Press) | Published: 5/1/2016
An ex-chief of staff to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges in connection with an FBI undercover investigation into lobbying activities in Harrisburg. John Estey is accused of taking $20,000 from an undercover business created by the FBI five years ago. He agreed to make campaign contributions that would influence state lawmakers and to distribute the money in a way that would hide the company’s role. State law bans campaign donations from corporations. But Estey only gave $7,000 to legislators, secretly keep the rest for himself.
Utah – Donor Speed-Dating with Guv Doesn’t Sit Well with Some
Salt Lake Tribune – Robert Gehrke | Published: 4/28/2016
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s campaign is pitching a novel fundraising approach, granting one-on-one meetings with the governor in a speed-dating-style format for donors who give generously to his re-election efforts. The tactic, presented by the governor’s campaign staff at a meeting at the Alta Club in Salt Lake City to more than two dozen lobbyists and supporters, was alarming to several in attendance. “I think everyone who was there was like, ‘Too much,'” said one of several lobbyists who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to not upset the governor or his staff. “It made people cringe.”
Virginia – Fla. Businessman Paid $10K for Va. Senator’s Trip to Meet Syrian President Assad
Washington Post – Laura Vozzella | Published: 5/3/2016
A businessperson paid $10,000 for the cost of Virginia Sen. Richard Black’s recent trip to Syria, where he met with President Bashar al Assad. State ethics officials signed off on the gift, finding it complied with state ethics laws. Black will be required to report the free business-class air travel and accommodations on his financial disclosure form. But he is not sure how to put a dollar figure on something the Syrian government lavished on him during his visit: security. “When we went to Palmyra, as we were traveling some of the roads, they had a very large assault jet flying in at treetop level with ear-splitting roars, and on the other side were four assault helicopters,” Black said. Accounting for largesse of that sort will be a new one in Richmond, even after three rounds of ethics reform.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 60 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
April 27, 2016 •
Elections “Clinton Decisively Wins Democratic Primaries in 4 States” by Abby Phillip, John Wagner, and Anne Gearan for Washington Post “Voters in Eastern Seaboard Primaries Embrace Trump” by Philip Rucker and Jose DelReal for Washington Post North Carolina: “Federal Judge […]
“Clinton Decisively Wins Democratic Primaries in 4 States” by Abby Phillip, John Wagner, and Anne Gearan for Washington Post
“Voters in Eastern Seaboard Primaries Embrace Trump” by Philip Rucker and Jose DelReal for Washington Post
North Carolina: “Federal Judge Upholds North Carolina Voter Rules” by Alan Blinder and Richard Fausett for New York Times
Colorado: “Court: Ethics Commission’s Frivolous Complaint Rulings are Final” by Marianne Goodland for Colorado Independent
Kentucky: “AG Asks for Ethics Probe of Bevin Allegations” by Deborah Yetter for Louisville Courier-Journal
Missouri: “Some Progress on Missouri Ethics Reform, But Does It Go Far Enough?” by Jason Hancock for Kansas City Star
New Jersey: “Questions Raised on New N.J. Supreme Court Justice’s Role in Campaign Case” by Salvador Rizzo for Bergen Record
Virginia: “Ethics Lawyer: ‘Common Interest’ in Sports Clears Va. Officials to Accept Free Tickets” by Graham Moomaw for Richmond Times-Dispatch
New Hampshire: “Ethics Panel Calls for Broader Conflict Disclosure for State Lawmakers” by Dave Solomon for Manchester Union-Leader
“Checks: Political Money and Democracy” by Justin Miller for American Prospect
April 18, 2016 •
Lobbying Ohio: “Many GOP Lobbyists Will Go to Cleveland but the Thrill Is Gone” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post Campaign Finance “The New Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors” by Matea […]
Ohio: “Many GOP Lobbyists Will Go to Cleveland but the Thrill Is Gone” by Catherine Ho for Washington Post
“The New Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors” by Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy for Washington Post
California: “Political Fine from 2012 Mayor’s Race Sets Record” by Greg Moran for San Diego Union-Tribune
“Unsealed Document Alleges Silver Had Two Extramarital Affairs” by Coby Hamilton and Josefa Velasquez for Capital New York
“Inquiries Cloud de Blasio’s Bid to Come Off as Strong Manager Before ’17 Race” by J. David Goodman and William Neuman for New York Times
South Carolina: “SLED Report Names 2 with Ties to SC Attorney General Wilson” by John Monk for The State
Alabama: “Alabama Governor Had His Wallet Delivered to Him by Law Enforcement Helicopter” by Travis Andrews for Washington Post
Missouri: “Missouri’s Nixon Signs Bill Tightening Loose Ethics Laws” by Summer Ballentine (Associated Press) for ABC News
“Prosecutor Says He Won’t Pursue Case against Trump Campaign Manager” by Terrence Dopp for Bloomberg.com
Michigan: “Gov. Snyder Sets Elections to Fill Virgil Smith’s Senate Seat” by Kathleen Gray for Detroit Free Press
Tennessee: “Gov. Bill Haslam Vetoes Bible Bill” by Dave Boucher, Holly Meyer, and Joel Ebert for The Tennessean
April 13, 2016 •
Lobbying “Curbing Corporate Lobbyists: Easier than you think” by Lee Drutman and Christine Mahoney for American Prospect Virginia: “Jobs and Ethics: two areas where McAuliffe and GOP lawmakers disagree” by Jenna Portnoy for Washington Post Campaign Finance “Barrage of Attack […]
“Curbing Corporate Lobbyists: Easier than you think” by Lee Drutman and Christine Mahoney for American Prospect
Virginia: “Jobs and Ethics: two areas where McAuliffe and GOP lawmakers disagree” by Jenna Portnoy for Washington Post
“Barrage of Attack Ads Threatens to Undermine Donald Trump” by Nick Corasiniti and Maggie Haberman for New York Times
Alaska: “Judge Hears Arguments as GOP Supporters Try to Loosen Campaign Donation Limits” by Alex DeMarban for Alaska Dispatch News
California: “Judge Recommends $160,000 Tow Company Fine” by Greg Moran for San Diego Union-Tribune
Georgia: “Lawmakers Support Replenishment of Maine’s Public Campaign Finance Fund” by Steve Mistler for mainecentral.com
North Carolina: “When Musicians Boycott to Protest Politics” by David Graham for The Atlantic
Indiana: “Indy Council Approves Ethics Reforms” by Brian Eason for Indianapolis Star
New York: “Donald Trump and New York Tabloids Resume Their Elaborate Dance” by Michael Grynbaum for New York Times
April 11, 2016 •
Lobbying “A Cool Million Was Spent Lobbying Hawaii Lawmakers in Two Months” by Nathan Eagle for Honolulu Civil Beat “Dem Gets Free Penn State Tickets and Bills Taxpayers for the Mileage as Lobbying Soars in Pa.” by Candy Woodall for […]
“A Cool Million Was Spent Lobbying Hawaii Lawmakers in Two Months” by Nathan Eagle for Honolulu Civil Beat
“Dem Gets Free Penn State Tickets and Bills Taxpayers for the Mileage as Lobbying Soars in Pa.” by Candy Woodall for Harrisburg Patriot-News
“Unlimited Campaign Contributions in Pa. Create ‘Investments in Power’” by Candy Woodall for Harrisburg Patriot-News
“Yes, ‘Citizens United’ Gives Republicans an Electoral Edge. Here’s Proof.” by Tilman Klumpp, Hugo Mialon, and Michael Williams for Washington Post
“The Pentagon Isn’t Tracking if Former Employees Violate Revolving Door Laws” by Eric Katz for Government Executive
“Emails Raise ‘Pay to Play’ Concerns” by Chris Sikich for Indianapolis Star
“Spat Escalates over Secret Legislative Records in NM” by Morgan Lee (Associated Press) for Las Cruces Sun-News
“New Executive Director Named for OK Ethics Commission” by Rick Green for The Oklahoman
“American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party.” by Lynn Vavrick for New York Times
“The Messy Way Colorado Is Picking Its GOP Delegates May Actually Matter This Year” by Ed O’Keefe for Washington Post
“Trump’s Rise Shows Religion Is Losing Its Political Power” by Eduardo Porter for New York Times
“In Reddit’s Unruly Corners, Trump Finds Support” by John Herrman for New York Times
March 30, 2016 •
Lobbying Minnesota: “Governments Spend Millions Lobbying Government” by J. Patrick Coolican for Minneapolis Star Tribune Missouri: “State Law Murky on Who Qualifies as a Local Lobbyist” by Caitlin Campbell for Columbia Tribune Campaign Finance “Marco Rubio’s Secret (Money) Legacy” by […]
Minnesota: “Governments Spend Millions Lobbying Government” by J. Patrick Coolican for Minneapolis Star Tribune
Missouri: “State Law Murky on Who Qualifies as a Local Lobbyist” by Caitlin Campbell for Columbia Tribune
“Marco Rubio’s Secret (Money) Legacy” by Shane Goldmacher for Politico
“House Wants Campaign Finance Study” by Geoff Pender for Jackson Clarion-Ledger
“Ethics Advocates Decry Opaque Budget Negotiations” by Casey Seiler for Albany Times Union
Florida: “Opa-locka’s ‘Shadow’ Force Moves Millions in City Contracts” by Jay Weaver, Michael Sallah, and Katie Lepri for Miami Herald
Ohio: “City Hall Scandals Prompt Ginther to Propose New Ethics Rules” by Lucas Sullivan for Columbus Dispatch
South Carolina: “Solicitor David Pascoe Says He Won’t Step Down from Corruption Probe Unless Court-Ordered to Do So” by Cynthia Roldan and Glenn Smith for Charleston Post & Courier
“How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root” by Robert O’Harrow, Jr. for Washington Post
“Campaign Manager for Donald Trump Is Charged With Battery” by Maggie Haberman and for New York Times
Maryland: “Maryland Lawmakers Want Gender Pay Gap Closed. They Should Look at Their Own Payroll.” by Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post
March 28, 2016 •
Campaign Finance California: “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Legacy Could Be How He Raises Money from So Many People” by Evan Halper for Los Angeles Times Arkansas : “Ex-Judge Gets 10-Year Sentence for Taking Bribe” by John Lyon for Arkansas News Ethics […]
California: “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Legacy Could Be How He Raises Money from So Many People” by Evan Halper for Los Angeles Times
Arkansas : “Ex-Judge Gets 10-Year Sentence for Taking Bribe” by John Lyon for Arkansas News
Kentucky: “Ex-State Lawmaker Keith Hall Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison” by John Cheves for Lexington Herald-Leader
“Feeling G.O.P. Peril, Muslims Try to Get Out Vote” by Alan Rappeport for New York Times
“Bernie Sanders Seizes 3 States, Sweeping Democratic Contests” by Amy Chozick for New York Times
“Donald Trump Can’t Stop Saying Nasty Things about Women. It Could Cost Him.” by Jose DelReal and Jenna Johnson for Washington Post
Arizona: “Angry Arizona Voters Demand: Why Such Long Lines at Polling Sites?” by Fernanda Santos for New York Times
March 18, 2016 •
National: Even as Political Spending Explodes, Disclosure Remains Hazy CTNewsJunkie.com – Mary Spicuzza (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Jeremy White (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 3/15/2016 So-called dark money spending is expected to explode during this presidential election year. Congress could require more […]
Even as Political Spending Explodes, Disclosure Remains Hazy
CTNewsJunkie.com – Mary Spicuzza (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Jeremy White (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 3/15/2016
So-called dark money spending is expected to explode during this presidential election year. Congress could require more disclosure about who is financing campaigns, but it has made no move to do so. Attempts to force more disclosure from outside special interest groups have succeeded in some states. But there is a limit to what states can do, since they do not have oversight of spending on federal races, which are consistently the costliest elections. While some state election agencies have moved to make more donor information public, they often struggle to win support from lawmakers, said Denise Roth Barber of the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Donald Trump’s Presidential Run Began in an Effort to Gain Stature
New York Times – Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns | Published: 3/12/2016
During his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2011, President Obama lampooned Donald Trump. After the dinner ended, Trump quickly left, appearing upset. That evening of public abasement accelerated Trump’s efforts to gain stature within the political world. And it captured the degree to which his campaign is driven by a yearning sometimes obscured by his bluster and bragging: a desire to be taken seriously. That desire has played out over the last several years within a Republican Party that placated and indulged him, and accepted his money and support, seemingly not grasping how determined he was to become a major force in American politics. In the process, the party bestowed upon Trump the kind of legitimacy that he craved, which has helped him pursue a credible bid for the presidency.
Rubio’s Demise Marks the Last Gasp of the Republican Reboot
Washington Post – Robert Costa and Philip Rucker | Published: 3/15/2016
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the presidential race after losing the Florida primary to Donald Trump and failing to unite the Republican establishment against the front-runner. Since Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012, the Republican National Committee and leading voices at think tanks and editorial boards have charted a path back to the White House based on inclusive rhetoric and a focus on middle-class issues. Nobody embodied that vision better than Rubio, a standard-bearer for conservative orthodoxy who readily embraced the proposals of the right’s elite thinkers. But his once-promising candidacy, as well as the conservative reform movement’s playbook, was spectacularly undone by Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance. The drift toward visceral populism became an all-consuming rush, leaving Rubio and others unable to adjust.
Supreme Court Nomination Drives Groups from Left and Right to Fight
New York Times – Eric Lipton | Published: 3/16/2016
With the selection by President Obama of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, advocacy groups from the left and the right are now fully engaged in what both sides agree will be a highly contentious nomination fight, even if the Senate never formally considers the president’s choice. Part of the intensity is a reflection of the enormous and diverse range of special interest groups that have decided to engage in this fight, which will be the first in an age in which social media has become a dominant force. In many cases, the groups have set aside longstanding tensions that have prevented them from teaming up in a unified way.
Wild Card for Trump: Who gets to be a convention delegate?
Washington Post – Karen Tumulty and Jose DelReal | Published: 3/16/2016
With more than half the states having now held their nominating contests, Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz are directing their attention to a second, shadow election campaign – one that is out of sight and little understood but critical if Republicans arrive at their national convention with Trump short of a majority of delegates. This parallel campaign is to select the individual delegates who will go to Cleveland in July for what could be the first contested convention in more than 60 years. Chosen through a byzantine process in each state, most of the delegates will become free agents if no one wins a majority on the first ballot. The mere prospect that delegates could deny Trump the nomination led him to predict that violence could erupt in such a scenario.
From the States and Municipalities:
California – FPPC Votes to Tighten California Lobbying Regulations
Sacramento Bee – Taryn Luna | Published: 3/17/2016
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to narrow a regulation that allows people to avoid identifying themselves as lobbyists by attending Capitol meetings as experts. The regulation has faced scrutiny as a way for former legislators and officials to skirt state rules requiring they wait a year after leaving office to lobby their former colleagues. The changes approved by the FPPC state that the “ride-along” participant must work for the lobbyist employer and can only act as an expert on subject matter related to the legislation under discussion.
California – How a State Senator – Whose Family is in the Taxi Business – Put the Brakes on Two Uber Bills
Los Angeles Times – Liam Dillon | Published: 3/11/2016
San Diego taxi company owner Alfredo Hueso is a frustrated businessperson. He believes state regulations are helping companies like Uber and Lyft rob him of business. And as he complained in a recent letter to the state Senate president, elected leaders are not doing anything to fix the problem. In that battle, though, Hueso has one advantage over the ridesharing companies: his younger brother is state Sen. Ben Hueso, an important advocate in Sacramento for the taxi industry. Since his election to the Legislature more than five years ago, Sen. Hueso has pushed for stiffer regulation of rideshare companies amid a battle playing out all over the country. At the same time, the burgeoning industry has stepped up its attempt to influence policy in Sacramento.
Florida – FBI Agents Blow Lid Off Opa-locka City Hall Corruption Probe
Miami Herald – Jay Weaver, Michael Sallah, and Katie Lepri | Published: 3/10/2016
Federal agents raided Opa-locka City Hall to gather official records, computers, and other evidence in a public corruption probe zeroing in on top public officials, including the mayor and other city commissioners. The FBI’s search follows a two-year investigation into allegations of kickback schemes between government contractors and public officials, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the case. The crackdown comes at a time when Opa-locka, one of Miami-Dade County’s poorest cities, has been struggling with a financial crisis stemming from millions of dollars in uncollected revenue and mismanagement.
Hawaii – Honolulu Ethics Director on Leave after Internal Investigation
Honolulu Civil Beat – Anita Hofschneider | Published: 3/14/2016
Chuck Totto, the Honolulu Ethics Commission’s longtime executive director, is on leave following an independent investigation by the commissioners into the management of the agency’s staff. He has been gone since March 1 and plans to return on April 4. Totto has had a contentious relationship with Mayor Kirk Caldwell and, increasingly, the commission over the last three years.
Hawaii – Passing The Buck: When Hawaii politicians give to each other
Honolulu Civil Beat – Nathan Eagle | Published: 3/15/2016
Hawaii law prohibits candidates from using their own campaign funds to support others running for office. But some state legislators and other officeholders have long gotten around the ban through a loophole that lets them buy up to two tickets to another politician’s fundraiser for an amount often equal to the maximum allowable individual campaign contribution. Now the Legislature is considering a bill that would remove the need to hold a fundraiser and simply allow direct campaign donations between candidates, something critics contend amounts to buying influence.
Michigan – Could More Government Transparency Help Prevent Another Flint?
Christian Science Monitor – Jessica Mendoza | Published: 3/17/2016
The drinking water crisis in Flint, which left about 200 children diagnosed with dangerous levels of lead in their blood, underscored not only officials’ failure to address concerns about the city’s water quality, open government advocates say. It also reflects an overall lack of transparency in Michigan’s government, which two watchdog groups characterized as the worst in the nation. As some, but not all, e-mails related to the decision to switch Flint’s water source have been released, it also has called to question loopholes in the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which some say allowed officials to function with little public oversight. More broadly, the situation has renewed national conversation about the value of the public’s right to know and the role of accountability in effective governance.
New Mexico – Questions Raised about Martinez’s Inaugural Spending
Las Cruces Sun-News – Justin Horwath | Published: 3/14/2016
How the nearly $1 million that Susana Martinez’s inaugural committee raised was spent has remained largely a mystery and was, until recently, among the subjects of a long-running FBI investigation into Jay McCleskey, the governor’s top political adviser. McCleskey’s lawyer said the FBI has dropped its inquiry and no grand jury indictment is forthcoming. Records obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican provide details into the committee’s spending, including more than $130,000 that went to companies connected to McCleskey. The documents also provide strong evidence that, despite the committee’s promises to the contrary, some of the 2010 inaugural money was used for fundraising for Martinez’s 2014 re-election campaign. The committee had promised to donate all unspent money to charity.
New York – Suit to Close LLC Loophole Tossed
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 3/16/2016
A judge has dismissed a challenge to the New York Board of Elections’ treatment of limited liability companies (LLCs). The board treats LLCs as individuals for the purpose of determining campaign contribution limits, which allows those who control many of them give politicians far more than the caps that apply to other individuals. The Brennan Center for Justice brought a case challenging this interpretation. State Supreme Court Justice Lisa Fisher dismissed the case, finding the statute of limitations against the 1996 board decision had passed. She also wrote that the treatment of LLCs “has all the hallmarks of a political question best suited for resolution through legislative action.”
Washington – Judge Finds Grocery Group Violated Campaign Laws in 2013
Tacoma News-Tribune – Donna Gordon Blankinship (Associated Press) | Published: 3/11/2016
A judged ruled the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) violated Washington’s campaign finance disclosure laws by hiding the identities of corporate donors that were funding efforts to defeat a food labeling initiative in the state. But Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch said the case has to go to trial to determine what fine the group will pay; the amount depends on whether the violation was intentional. The GMA raised $14 million from corporations to fight Initiative 522 and then donated $11 million in the organization’s name. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the association in October 2013.
Washington – Voters Could Get $150 to Give to Candidates under Proposed Initiative
Seattle Times – Jim Brunner | Published: 3/14/2016
Washington voters would be allowed to make $150 in taxpayer-funded donations to legislative candidates every two years under a ballot initiative proposal. Backers of the measure, aimed at the November 2016 ballot, say it would curb the influence of moneyed special interests by creating the new public campaign financing system, modeled in part on a “Democracy vouchers” initiative approved by Seattle voters last year. It also would make a host of changes to state campaign finance and lobbying laws, including a $100 limit on campaign donations by government contractors and lobbyists to candidates for offices with power to benefit them.
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