November 2, 2020 •
Campaign Finance National: “Top FEC Official’s Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality” by Mike Spies and Jake Pearson for ProPublica National: “Cruz Fights to Get Back Money He Loaned Campaign” by Megan Mineiro for Courthouse News Service […]
National: “Top FEC Official’s Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality” by Mike Spies and Jake Pearson for ProPublica
National: “Cruz Fights to Get Back Money He Loaned Campaign” by Megan Mineiro for Courthouse News Service
Colorado: “Judge Denies Advocacy Group’s Attempt to Suspend Colo. Campaign Finance Enforcement” by Michael Karlick for Colorado Politics
Minnesota: “Federal Appeals Court Suggests Late-Arriving Minnesota Ballots May Be Tossed” by Zach Montellaro for Politico
Canada: “Ethics Commissioner Clears Morneau of Accepting Gift from WE Charity” by Joan Bryden (Canadian Press) for CTV
Hawaii: “Retired Hawaii Official Fined $5K for Accepting Free Meals” by Staff for Associated Press News
Maryland: “Following Pugh Scandal, UMMS Seeks a ‘Fresh Start’ in Implementing Auditor-Recommended Ethics Changes” by Ben Leonard (Baltimore Sun) for Yahoo News
Ohio: “2 Ohio Political Operatives Plead Guilty in Bribery Probe” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins for Associated Press News
National: “How the NFL’s Gridiron PAC Uses Influence in Washington” by Michael Rothstein for ESPN
Arizona: “Judge Won’t Delay Appointments to Arizona’s Redistricting Panel Despite Lawsuit” by Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) for Arizona Daily Star
August 24, 2020 •
Campaign Finance National: “Democrats Push to Revamp Political Money System That’s Boosting Their Campaigns” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call California: “Elections Watchdog OK’s Settlement Over LA County’s Measure H Advocacy” by Chris Haire for Los Angeles Daily News Pennsylvania: […]
National: “Democrats Push to Revamp Political Money System That’s Boosting Their Campaigns” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call
California: “Elections Watchdog OK’s Settlement Over LA County’s Measure H Advocacy” by Chris Haire for Los Angeles Daily News
Pennsylvania: “A Dark Money Mystery” by Angela Couloumbis, Brad Bumsted, and Sam Janesch for Spotlight PA
Missouri: “GOP Lawmakers Appeal Rebuke of ‘Unfair’ Cleaner Missouri Ballot Language They Wrote” by Austin Huguelet for Springfield News-Leader
National: “Trump Praises Baseless QAnon Conspiracy Theory, Says He Appreciates Support of Its Followers” by Colby Itkowitz, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Lori Rozsa, and Rachael Bade for Washington Post
National: “Kellyanne Conway to Leave the White House at the End of the Month, Citing the Need to Focus on Her Family” by Ashley Parker for Washington Post
New Jersey: “N.J. Man Indicted on Corruption Charges for Paying City Employee to Help Secure $350K Contract” by Joe Atmonavage (NJ Advance Media) for Newark Star Ledger
North Carolina: “N.C. Political Donor Gets 7 Years in Prison, Hayes Probation” by Staff for Associated Press News
Canada: “Conservatives Claim ‘Coverup’ After Trudeau Shuts Down Parliament” by Kathleen Harris for CBC
August 21, 2020 •
National/Federal Biden Aides Headline DNC Fundraisers with Lobbyists Politico – Theodoric Meyer | Published: 8/13/2020 When Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, he barred the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from accepting contributions from lobbyists in an attempt to […]
Biden Aides Headline DNC Fundraisers with Lobbyists
Politico – Theodoric Meyer | Published: 8/13/2020
When Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, he barred the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from accepting contributions from lobbyists in an attempt to purge their influence from his future administration. Joe Biden does not appear to have the same concerns. The DNC started accepting checks from lobbyists again in 2016 and has continued to do so as Biden accepted the Democratic nomination. While the Biden campaign has sworn off contributions from lobbyists, it has dispatched top staffers to headline at least four Zoom fundraisers benefiting the DNC and hosted by prominent Democratic lobbyists.
‘Climate Donors’ Flock to Biden to Counter Trump’s Fossil Fuel Money
New York Times – Lisa Friedman | Published: 8/18/2020
The changing climate is now a core campaign issue and a focus for fundraising. Joe Biden has raised more than $15 million in contributions from hundreds of new donors who specifically identify with climate change as a cause. That climate-specific fundraising may make up about five percent of the total he has raised so far. It is dwarfed by fossil fuel donations to President Trump, who took in $10 million from a single fundraiser held by oil billionaire Kelcy Warren. It is not known how much unregulated money is going to super PACs aligned with Democrats from other self-identified climate donors. But the hard money climate donations represent a growing counterweight to oil, gas, and coal money that has long warped the energy conversation in Washington. D.C.
Coronavirus Sidelines Lobbyists at the Influence Industry’s Super Bowl
NBC News – Ginger Gibson | Published: 8/17/2020
The absence of in-person nominating conventions this year means lobbyists have been effectively sidelined. Washington, D.C. lobbying has been turned upside because of the coronavirus pandemic. The conventions are no exception, leaving the influence industry to assess how it will operate when life returns to normal. Much of the work of lobbying generally involves making the trek up Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and their staffs to explain a client’s point of view. But with the halls of Congress closed, meetings have shifted to Zoom calls. So, with this year’s conventions, lobbyists will be grappling not only with the inability to secure face time with decision makers but also with corporate clients trying to survive the pandemic-induced recession.
Democrats, Election Watchdogs See ‘Glaring Hole’ in Postal Service Pledge to Roll Back Recent Changes
Washington Post – Tony Romm, Lisa Rein, and Jacob Bogage | Published: 8/19/2020
The U.S. Postal Service will pause its controversial cost-cutting initiatives until after the election. The about-face announced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy halted a series of cost-cutting measures, including the removal of machines that sort mail and the public boxes that collect it. But confusion persisted after the move. It is unclear whether Americans would receive their ballots on time, or if they would be able to return them easily. Nor was it clear whether DeJoy would promptly restore the sorting machines he had ordered removed from some postal facilities, or if the changes he has made across the agency under the watch of President Trump would introduce delays into one of the most consequential elections in U.S. history.
Ex-Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Charged in Border Wall Scheme
Associated Press News – Larry Neumeister, Colleen Long, and Jill Colvin | Published: 8/20/2020
Federal prosecutors arrested Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors using a crowdfunding campaign that was advertised as raising money to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. The fundraiser was headed by men who pushed their close ties to Trump, giving their effort a legitimacy that helped them raise more than $25 million. But according to the criminal charges, very little of the wall was constructed. Instead, the money lined the pockets of some of those involved. Bannon received over $1 million himself, using some to secretly pay co-defendant, Brian Kolfage, the founder of the project, and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars of Bannon’s personal expenses.
FBI Arrests Puerto Rico Lawmaker, Family in Corruption Probe
Associated Press News – Danica Coto | Published: 8/17/2020
FBI agents arrested Puerto Rico Rep. María Milagros Charbonier after the legislator who once presided over the island’s House Ethics Committee was charged in a public corruption case that officials say also involved her son, husband, and an assistant. U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow said it was a simple scheme in which Charbonier allegedly received some $100,000 in bribes and kickbacks after increasing the pay of her assistant, Frances Acevedo, from $800 every two weeks to nearly $3,000, and then received between $1,000 to $1,500 in return for every paycheck.
Financial Disclosures Reveal Postmaster General’s Business Entanglements and Likely Conflicts of Interest, Experts Say
CNN – Marshall Cohen | Published: 8/12/2020
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to hold a multimillion-dollar stake in his former company XPO Logistics, a U.S. Postal Service contractor, likely creating a major conflict-of-interest. Outside experts were shocked that ethics officials at the postal service approved this arrangement, which allows DeJoy to keep at least $30 million in XPO holdings. DeJoy and USPS have said he fully complied with the regulations. Raising further alarms, on the same day in June that DeJoy divested large amounts of Amazon shares, he purchased stock options giving him the right to buy new shares of Amazon at a price much lower than their current market price. This could lead to a separate conflict, given President Donald Trump’s disdain for Amazon.
GAO Finds Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli Are Ineligible to Serve in Their Top DHS Roles
Politico – Kyle Cheney | Published: 8/14/2020
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were invalidly appointed to their positions and are ineligible to serve, a congressional watchdog determined. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that after the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019, an improper succession occurred, with Kevin McAleenan taking on the position. McAleenan then altered the order of succession for other officials to succeed him after his departure. The GAO referred the matter to the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security for further review and potential action. The office also urged the inspector general to consider the consequences of actions taken by invalidly appointed officials.
‘Gosh, I Basically Cover the Campaign from My Couch’
Politico – Eli Okun and John Harris | Published: 8/13/2020
Four years ago, after most journalists were caught surprised by Donald Trump’s victory, there was an almost universal critique about how the profession needed to do better next time. Reporters needed to get off Twitter and cable and get into the field. Journalists needed to liberate themselves from conventional wisdom and the distorting effects of their cultural bubbles and learn what is really happening in the country. Instead, due to the coronavirus pandemic, journalists are spending more time in their own homes than ever, a phone in one hand and television remote in the other. The presidential campaign has gone remote in multiple senses of the word, the most dramatic shift in the rhythms and day-to-day logistics of newsgathering that political journalism has seen in decades.
Judge Balks at White House’s Executive Privilege Claim over Ukraine Emails
Politico – Josh Gerstein | Published: 8/10/2020
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rebuffed the Trump administration’s attempt to invoke executive privilege to withhold a batch of emails about a hold President Trump put on U.S. aid to Ukraine in 2019. Jackson said the government had failed to make a convincing case showing the messages between White House aide Robert Blair and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey were eligible for protection under legal privileges protecting the development of presidential advice or decisions made by other government officials. The messages are considered key evidence about the event that triggered Trump’s impeachment last year: his decision to halt aid to Ukraine in what critics and even some administration officials said was an attempt to pressure that country to launch an investigation into Joe Biden.
Nursing Homes with Safety Problems Deploy Trump-Connected Lobbyists
New York Times – Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Jesse Drucker | Published: 8/16/2020
Nursing homes have been the center of America’s coronavirus pandemic, with more than 62,000 residents and staff dying from Covid-19 at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, about 40 percent of the country’s virus fatalities. Now the lightly regulated industry is campaigning in Washington, D.C. for federal help that could increase its profits. Some of the country’s largest nursing-home companies, including those with long histories of safety violations and misusing public funds, have assembled a fleet of lobbyists, many with close ties to the Trump administration. It is hardly unusual for embattled industries to seek help from Washington. But the fact that individual nursing-home companies are hiring lobbyists, not just relying on trade associations, reflects the ambitious nature of the industry’s mobilization.
Senate Report Details Security Risk Posed by 2016 Trump Campaign’s Russia Contacts
Washington Post – Greg Miller, Karoun Demirjian, and Ellen Nakashima | Published: 8/18/2020
An investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee portrays Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign as posing counterintelligence risks through its contacts with Russia, eager to exploit assistance from the Kremlin and seemingly determined to conceal the extent of its conduct. The report contains new findings that appear to show more direct links between Trump associates and Russian intelligence, and it pierces the president’s attempts to dismiss the Kremlin’s intervention on his behalf as a hoax. Like the Mueller report, the Senate document does not explicitly accuse the Trump campaign of direct collusion with Russian intelligence. But it carries weight because it is the first major investigation of Russian interference in 2016 to be conducted by a Republican-controlled committee and endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats.
Staff Wants More People of Color Named to the FEC
The Fulcrom – Sarah Swann | Published: 8/18/2020
Sixty-six staff members, about one-fifth of the FEC workforce, sent a letter asking President Trump to nominate and the Senate to confirm at least one person of color for the three vacancies on the commission, which has been shut down for the past eight weeks for lack of a quorum. In its 45-year history, the FEC has had 31 commissioners – all but one of them white. The complaint from the nonpartisan civil servants suggests how beleaguered the agency is these days, and how the nation’s reckoning with systemic racism this year has taken root in most every corner of society. The letter was an outgrowth of a workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion the agency staff held this summer.
Swag, but No Luxury Suites: Big donors endure a party-less party convention
New York Times – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 8/18/2020
Democrats’ biggest donors are used to being feted at the party’s national convention, breezing through a maze of tiered luxury suites and V.I.P. rooms with free-flowing appetizers, access, and alcohol. This year, though, even those who have given $500,000 and up were stuck watching the virtual event from home. Ahead of the virtual gathering, the party and the Biden campaign mailed along a care package to tide over any forlorn financiers: notebooks embossed with the number 46 (as in the potential for Biden to be the 46th president), hats, buttons, posters, and a bag of “Cup of Joe” coffee. Like nearly everything else in American life, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the already cloistered world of political fundraising, as campaigns and contributors alike figure out how to raise tens of millions of dollars.
They Started in a D.C. Living Room. Now Money from This Grass-Roots Group Is Ending Up in Alaskan Villages.
Washington Post – Amy Gardner | Published: 8/14/2020
A grassroots fundraising group known as 31st Street Swing Left, a chapter of the national organization Swing Left, is focused on flipping red seats blue. It is one of countless such fundraising groups pouring cash and energy into potential swing races across the country this election cycle. But the group also stands out for its evolution, growing from a Washington, D.C.-area assemblage of 30 political novices knocking on doors to support Democratic candidates in Virginia into a fundraising army of nearly 1,200 members in three years.
With Democrats at Home, a Conservative Super PAC Comes Knocking
Washington Post – David Weigel | Published: 8/16/2020
With Democrats wary of traditional door-to-door canvassing in the pandemic, and with the Biden-Harris campaign discouraging it, conservatives have less competition. The Americans for Prosperity’s operation started weeks ago, at an initial cost of nearly $900,000 across the country. Their targets included U.S. Senate races in Colorado, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina. and Texas, as well as a few congressional races. Since kicking off, they had contacted 6 million voters, but unlike the GOP, they were not mentioning the president in their messaging or surveys.
Canada – Canadian Finance Minister Resigns Amid Contracting Scandal
Politico – Lauren Gardner | Published: 8/17/2020
Finance Minister Bill Morneau will resign his Cabinet post and his seat in the House of Commons amid an ethics controversy surrounding a charity with ties to his family and that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Morneau’s recent high-profile troubles are centered on his failure to recuse himself from a Cabinet decision awarding a no-bid contract to WE Charity to administer a student grant program as part of the Trudeau government’s Covid-19 response. He admitted to repaying the charity for costs incurred during a 2017 trip to Ecuador with his family just before testifying in front of a parliamentary committee.
Canada – WE Charity Registers as Lobbyist, Lays Off Dozens of Employees
HuffPost Canada – Joan Bryden and Teresa Wright (Canadian Press) | Published: 8/13/2020
WE Charity registered as a lobbyist of the federal government months after it began talks with federal officials about potential programs to help Canadian youths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization’s executive director, Dalal Al-Waheidi, disclosed the registration during testimony before the House of Commons finance committee, which is probing the controversy surrounding the government’s decision to pay WE Charity up to $43.5 million to administer a now-abandoned student grant program. The controversy has triggered investigations into potential breaches of conflict-of-interest rules by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, both of whom have close family ties to WE Charity.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Farmers Pay Arizona City Official with Goat for Outside Job
Associated Press News – Staff | Published: 8/16/2020
An Arizona city official making $107,000 a year resigned after an investigation found he used city workers for an outside job involving an attempt to secure irrigation water for farmers who paid him with a goat. The inquiry found the possibility of cash down the road also was discussed by Frank Stevens, the now-former former water resource portfolio manager for the city of Surprise. One of the farmers told an investigator they gave Stevens the goat because “he liked the animal and [Stevens said] it would keep his kids happy when they came home from school.”
California – California Ethics Agency Opens Investigation into Former CalPERS Investment Chief
Sacramento Bee – Andrew Sheeler | Published: 8/17/2020
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) confirmed it is opening an investigation into two complaints regarding former California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Chief Investment Officer Yu Ben Meng. He resigned abruptly on August 5 after being on the job overseeing the pension fund’s $412 billion investment portfolio for less than two years. Meng’s departure followed an anonymous complaint to the FPPC that Meng had approved a $1 billion deal with Blackstone Group, a financial firm in which Meng was a shareholder.
California – Did L.A. County Wrongly Promote a Tax Hike? It’ll Pay Hefty $1.35 Million to Settle Claims
Sacramento Bee – Kim Bojorquez | Published: 8/19/2020
Los Angeles County agreed to pay a $1.35 million settlement to resolve a complaint charging it misused government funds to promote a 2017 sales tax increase, marking one of the largest-ever financial penalties considered by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). The county’s potential penalties are even greater if the FPPC rejects the settlement. It faces up to $2.4 million in penalties stemming from money the county spent promoting Measure H without reporting it as a political contribution.
Colorado – Marlboro’s Owners Negotiated Colorado’s Proposed Tobacco Tax Hike – and It Could Help Them Dominate the Cigarette Market
Colorado Sun – Jesse Paul | Published: 8/12/2020
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes spent more than $16 million to block a tobacco tax increase in Colorado four years ago. Now it could benefit from the passage of a question on the November ballot that would dramatically increase the price of cigarettes, a question the company helped write. Altria was part of the negotiations that led to House Bill 1427, which placed the question on the 2020 ballot. If passed, it will raise taxes on nicotine products across the board over the next several years. The question also would require retailers to sell cigarettes for a minimum of $7 a pack, or $70 a carton, starting in January. The discount tobacco company Liggett Group is slated to contend the change will give Altria a major sales advantage and wipe away its market share.
Florida – A Florida GOP Sheriff Allegedly Ordered the Arrest of His Mistress. Now He’s the One Facing Charges.
Washington Post – Teo Armus | Published: 8/14/2020
Darryl Daniels, the sheriff of Clay County, Florida, dialed his deputy while driving with an urgent plea for backup: He was being followed by a stalker in a Jeep and appeared to be in “imminent danger.” But Daniels knew exactly who was behind him on that day in May 2019, prosecutors say: it was Cierra Smith, his former employee and mistress of six years, on her way to meet him at their regular spot. Filming the whole thing was his wife, to whom he had recently confessed the affair. Now, Smith has resigned from her job, Daniels’s wife has filed for divorce, and the sheriff is the one who ended up behind bars. Following a year-long investigation, Florida authorities filed four charges against him and booked him into jail.
Florida – Federal Appeals Court Considers Whether to Uphold Florida Felon Voting Law
Politico – Gary Fineout | Published: 8/18/2020
A federal appeals court spent more than two hours weighing whether to overturn a contentious Florida law restricting felon voting rights, with one judge suggesting doing so would paradoxically require the court to strike down a public referendum that eliminated the state’s ban on felon voting. The judges, sitting the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, peppered lawyers with questions about whether the state law constitutes an illegal poll tax because it requires people who have served time for a felony to pay off any court debts before they can register to vote. It remains unclear if the court will make a decision before the November election.
Illinois – Cook County Board of Ethics Members Ousted by Toni Preckwinkle Are Frustrated with Shakeups, Pace of Proposed Reforms
Chicago Tribune – Alice Yin | Published: 8/14/2020
Proposed revisions to Cook County’s ethics ordinance, which the ethics board voted to recommend in January, include forbidding both nepotism in county hiring and county commissioners from taking certain outside jobs. They also would mandate lobbyists disclose if they have relatives who work for the county, introduce new rules to clamp down on sexual harassment, prohibit the state’s attorney from settling ethics lawsuits without the ethics board’s approval, and increase fines for certain violations. Now, three of the board members who crafted the reforms are gone, and their recommendations have not moved forward.
Illinois – Democratic State Lawmakers Propose Series of Ethics Changes
Chicago Tribune – Jamie Munks | Published: 8/13/2020
A group of Democratic state lawmakers in Illinois issued a series of ethics proposals ahead of the fall veto session, including term limits for legislative leaders and a process for temporarily removing members from leadership posts if they are caught up in a criminal investigation. The Democrats also want to prohibit lawmakers from lobbying at other levels of government and an end to the legislator-to-lobbyist :revolving door”; a requirement for more comprehensive disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income; and a more robust Legislative Inspector General’s office. They also noted the ongoing federal corruption investigation that has ensnared several legislators makes this an opportune time to pass a large-scale ethics package.
Illinois – State Sen. Terry Link Charged with Federal Income Tax Evasion
Chicago Tribune – Jason Meisner | Published: 8/13/2020
Illinois Sen. Terry Link was charged with a federal count of income tax evasion, the third Democratic state senator to face felony charges in a little more than a year. The criminal information accused Link of failing to report income on his 2016 tax return to the IRS. Defendants are typically charged via an information if they intend to eventually plead guilty. The Chicago Tribune reported last year that Link wore a wire for the FBI in a bribery investigation of then-state Rep. Luis Arroyo. Federal prosecutors alleged Arroyo had sought an unnamed state senator’s support on legislation involving video gambling sweepstakes games that would benefit one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients.
Missouri – Missouri Judge Finds GOP Redistricting Measure Misleading
Associated Press News – David Lieb | Published: 8/17/2020
A judge rewrote the summary for a legislative redistricting measure that will appear on the November ballot, ruling Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature tried to misleadingly entice voters into repealing an anti-gerrymandering reform that voters approved two years ago. The decision by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Pat Joyce struck down the Legislature’s ballot summary for Amendment 3 as insufficient, unfair, and partly false. She replaced it with a ballot summary suggested by a group that sponsored the successful 2018 measure and is opposed to this year’s revision. Like the 2018 measure, the Legislature’s revision combines the redistricting changes with popular measures to lower campaign contribution limits and restrict lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.
Nevada – Ex-LVCVA Boss to Pay Thousands in Ethics Fines Over Gift Card Scandal
Las Vegas Review-Journal – Jeff German | Published: 8/18/2020
Former Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Chief Executive Officer Rossi Ralenkotter agreed to pay $24,406 in ethics fines for violating state laws prohibiting him from using his longtime public position to enrich himself. The fines stem from Ralenkotter’s use of LVCVA-bought airline gift cards on personal travel and his negotiation of a consulting contract with the tax-funded agency before he retired, according to a proposed agreement with the Nevada Commission on Ethics.
New Jersey – Five North Jersey Residents Charged in Alleged Scheme to Hide $239,000 in Campaign Cash
Bergen Record – Steve Janoski | Published: 8/14/2020
Five more people have been charged in a years-long corruption investigation that already ensnared a former state Assembly member and a Jersey City school board president. The new defendants allegedly gave a total of $239,000 to political parties and candidates before being secretly reimbursed by a law firm, the attorney general’s office said. The firm then claimed it had made no reportable contributions in towns where it sought lucrative contracts. New Jersey law prohibits political donations on behalf of others.
New Jersey – Trump Campaign Sues New Jersey Over Mail-In Voting
The Hill – Morgan Gstalter | Published: 8/19/2020
President Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit against New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued an executive order requiring every voter in the state receive a mail-in ballot, in addition to being allowed to vote in-person if desired, as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign claims Murphy appropriated power that belongs to the New Jersey Legislature when he overhauled the state’s election law, alleging he violated both the Elections Clause and the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also accuses Murphy of violating the 14th Amendment.
New York – Trump Must Turn Over Tax Returns to D.A., Judge Rules
New York Times – Benjamin Weiser and William Rashbaum | Published: 8/20/2020
A federal judge rejected President Trump’s latest effort to block the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns, dismissing Trump’s arguments that the prosecutor’s grand jury subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and issued in bad faith. The ruling marked another setback for the president in his yearlong legal fight to block the subpoena. The conflict has already reached the U.S. Supreme Court once and could end up there again as Trump’s lawyers quickly filed papers saying he would appeal. The district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., has been seeking eight years of Trump’s personal and business returns and other financial records as part of an investigation into the president’s business practices.
North Dakota – North Dakota to Vote in November on Top-Four Open Primaries, Ranked-Choice Voting, State Legislative Redistricting, and Other Election Changes
Ballotpedia – Jackie Mitchell | Published: 8/14/2020
North Dakota voters will decide on three constitutional amendments in November. One would amend the state constitution to make multiple changes to election and redistricting procedures. The measure would establish top-four open primaries for all statewide, legislative, and congressional races. The measure would also make the state’s ethics commission, which was created by voters through a 2018 citizen initiative, responsible for state legislative redistricting. Another provision would require a paper record for all ballots and audits of each election within 120 days by the secretary of state.
Ohio – Indicted Former Ohio House Speaker Will Remain on Ethics Panel
Dayton Daily News – Laura Bischoff | Published: 8/13/2020
Although indicted in a criminal case and removed as House speaker, state Rep. Larry Householder is still a member of the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (JLEC), the body that investigates and rules on ethics and lobbying matters for the Ohio General Assembly. Speaker Bob Cupp removed Householder as vice chairperson of JLEC, but state law prohibits removal of a member from the ethics panel. Householder was arrested in July by FBI agents and charged with racketeering.
Ohio – Ohio House Won’t Cough Up Some HB 6 Documents Under Federal Subpoena
MSN – Randy Ludlow (Columbus Dispatch) | Published: 8/14/2020
The Ohio House turned over thousands of pages of records concerning House Bill 6 under a federal subpoena but withheld 30 documents, claiming they are exempt due to attorney-client and legislative privilege. The House released some of the records in response to the subpoena and public-records requests from news organizations, but still is compiling more records for release to the U.S. Department of Justice. Many involve routine constituent correspondence, various versions of the nuclear power-plant bailout bill, and proposed amendments to the measure at the heart of a $60 million public corruption scandal. Federal authorities have charged former Speaker Larry Householder and four others with racketeering in a scheme to pass and protect House Bill 6 from repeal and advance his political power.
Rhode Island – Supreme Court Allows Rhode Island to Make Voting by Mail Easier Amid Pandemic
National Public Radio – Laura Wamsley | Published: 8/13/2020
An agreement that makes it easier for Rhode Island residents to vote by mail during the pandemic will remain in place after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an effort by Republicans to block it. The agreement allows Rhode Islanders to vote in two upcoming elections without requiring voters to fill out mail-in ballots before two witnesses or a notary. That requirement was already suspended for the presidential primary that took place June 2. The court said in this case, state officials were defending what is already the status quo from the last election, “and many Rhode Island voters may well hold that belief.”
South Dakota – Ethics Board: Third party-paid travel a ‘common practice’ by Sioux Falls city officials, despite rules
Sioux Faslls Argus Leader – Trevor Mitchell | Published: 8/14/2020
The Sioux Falls Board of Ethics recommended the city council review and update their policies after an investigation found third parties are paying for councilors’ travel expenses and it was an “apparent common practice.” In their investigation of a councilperson, the board said the accused council member “acknowledges attendance at a seminar for which travel and other expenses were paid by third parties,” noting it was hosted by “a group with an acknowledged political agenda” and there were “multiple settings for attendees to be potentially influenced by commercial or political interests.”
Tennessee – Tennessee Governor to Sign Tougher Penalties for Some Protests
Memphis Commercial Appeal – Jonathan Mattise (Associated Press) | Published: 8/14/2020
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he will sign a bill that toughens penalties on some protests in response to continued demonstrations in the state and nationwide over racial injustice. Lee also said he would have crafted some components differently than the Legislature, including the increased penalty on those who illegally camp on state property to a felony, punishable by up to six years in prison. Felony convictions in Tennessee additionally result in the revocation of an individual’s right to vote. The governor said the requirement that law enforcement offer an initial warning on camping violations strengthened the bill. He also cited the discretion of district attorneys and judges.
Virginia – Virginia Sen. L. Louise Lucas Served with Arrest Warrant over Confederate Statue Protest as Some Decry Charges
Washington Post – Emily Davies, Laura Vozzella, and Gregory Schneider | Published: 8/18/2020
Virginia Sen. L. Louise Lucas was charged with damaging a Confederate monument during protests in Portsmouth. She faces two felonies: conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument causing more than $1,000 in damage. Lucas, who is the first African American president pro tempore in the Virginia Senate, is being charged at a time when many memorials to the Confederacy are being taken down, whether by demonstrators opposed to racial injustice or by authorities seeking to dismantle them through official channels. Legal experts say the way the Portsmouth police went about pursuing felony charges against Lucas and others is highly unusual given the political nature of the incident.
Washington DC – Bowser Seeks Ethics Review of Aide Who Discussed Job at Howard After Negotiating Tax Break for University
Washington Post – Fenit Nirappil and Michael Brice-Saddler | Published: 8/15/2020
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser requested an ethics review of a freshly departed top aide who discussed taking a job with Howard University months after negotiating a deal for nearly $300 million in tax breaks and public funding for a new hospital for the university. Rashad Young abruptly left his position as city administrator after running day-to-day government operations since the mayor took office in 2015. He told on July 31 that he was in talks for a job at Howard University and sought ethics guidance. The mayor wrote that she directed her general counsel to review the circumstances of the job offer and the city ethics board’s opinion on the matter.
Washington DC – Jack Evans Is a Week Late and $20,000 Short
Patch – Mitch Ryals (Washington City Paper) | Published: 8/17/2020
Former District of Columbia Councilperson Jack Evans is now delinquent on the $20,000 fine he agreed to pay in exchange for avoiding a public hearing on ethics violations stemming from business pitches he and a member of his staff sent from his council email address. In the emails, sent to legal and lobbying firms in 2015 and 2018, Evans tried to leverage his connections and relationships made during his tenure as an elected official into a side job. The settlement allowed Evans to say publicly that he was not admitting to any wrongdoing and avoided what could have been a long hearing process. The agreement also states if Evans fails to hold up his end of the bargain, the city ethics board could seek maximum amount of the fine allowed under the law, $30,000.
June 30, 2020 •
Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020. Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, […]
Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020.
Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, wages, elections, and state of emergency procedures, to voters for their approval at the general election if the amendments are passed by the Legislature on or before July 1, 2020.
If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately as an act calling an election.
June 30, 2020 •
Campaign Finance Canada: “Alberta Local Elections Bill Gets Mixed Reaction from Experts, Former Candidates” by Madeleine Cummings and Michelle Bellfontaine for CBC Montana: “Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws” by Mary Beth Hanson for AP News Elections Texas: […]
Canada: “Alberta Local Elections Bill Gets Mixed Reaction from Experts, Former Candidates” by Madeleine Cummings and Michelle Bellfontaine for CBC
Montana: “Official Finds Montana GOP Violated Campaign Finance Laws” by Mary Beth Hanson for AP News
Texas: “U.S. Supreme Court Declines Texas Democrats’ Request to Allow All Texans to Vote by Mail” by Alexa Ura for Texas Tribune
National: “Zuckerberg Once Wanted to Sanction Trump. Then Facebook Wrote Rules That Accommodated Him.” by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg, and Tony Romm (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Devin Nunes Can’t Sue Twitter Over Statements by Fake Cow, Judge Rules” by Kate Irby for McClatchy DC
National: “Judge Sets July 14 Surrender Date, Immediate Home Confinement for Roger Stone” by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein for Politico
California: “Feds Say Tower Project Shows Toll of Bribery in Huizar Case: Less affordable housing” by Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser for Los Angeles Times
Mississippi: “Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Retire State Flag Rooted in the Confederacy” by Rick Rojas for New York Times
National: “Congressional Black Caucus Seizes on Push for Racial Justice to Wield Greater Influence” by Rachel Bade, Karoun Demirjian, and Paul Kane for Washington Post
June 29, 2020 •
Campaign Finance National: “GOP Appointee Resigns from Federal Election Commission, Once Again Leaving It Without a Quorum” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post Utah: “Lobbyists and a Utah Senate Leader Create What Critics Call a ‘Fake PAC’ to […]
National: “GOP Appointee Resigns from Federal Election Commission, Once Again Leaving It Without a Quorum” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee for Washington Post
Utah: “Lobbyists and a Utah Senate Leader Create What Critics Call a ‘Fake PAC’ to Help Friends” by Lee Davidson for Salt Lake Tribune
National: “Democrats Confirm Plans for Nearly All-Virtual Convention” by Bill Barrow for AP News
Washington DC: “Milestone House Vote on DC Statehood Is Where It Likely Ends … For Now” by Chris Cioffi for Roll Call
National: “SBA Exempted Lawmakers, Federal Officials from Ethics Rules in $660 Billion Loan Program” by Jonathan O’Connell and Aaron Gregg for Washington Post
California: “Permit Expediter Accused of Fraud to Cooperate in FBI City Hall Corruption Probe” by Michael Barber and Joseph Sabatini for San Francisco Examiner
Maryland: “Baltimore Comptroller Pratt Responds to Report Alleging She Approved Contracts for Groups on Abstention List” by Emily Opilo for Baltimore Sun
New York: “NYC Board of Elections Director Fined for Violating Ethics Law” by Brigid Bergin (WNYC) for Gothamist
National: “DOJ Files Charges Against Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff” by Theodoric Meyer for Politico
June 26, 2020 •
National/Federal A Winner on Election Day in November? Don’t Count on It New York Times – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 6/24/2020 The cliffhanger elections in Kentucky and New York did not just leave the candidates and voters in a state of […]
A Winner on Election Day in November? Don’t Count on It
New York Times – Shane Goldmacher | Published: 6/24/2020
The cliffhanger elections in Kentucky and New York did not just leave the candidates and voters in a state of suspended animation wondering who had won. Election officials, lawyers, and political strategists in both parties said the lack of results was a bracing preview of what could come after the polls close in November: no clear and immediate winner in the presidential race. With the coronavirus pandemic swelling the number of mailed-in ballots to historic highs across the nation, the process of vote-counting has become more unwieldy, and election administrators are straining to keep up and deliver timely results. The jumble of election rules and deadlines by state, including in presidential battlegrounds, all but ensure the victor in a close race will not be known on November 3.
Amid Threats and Political Pushback, Public Health Officials Are Leaving Their Posts
MSN – Rachel Weiner and Ariana Eungjun Cha (Washington Post) | Published: 6/22/2020
Public health workers are confronting waves of protest at their homes and offices in addition to pressure from politicians who favor a faster reopening. Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said more than 20 health officials have been fired, resigned, or have retired in recent weeks “due to conditions related to having to enforce and stand up for strong public health tactics during this pandemic.” Although shutdown measures are broadly popular, a vocal minority opposes them vociferously. There have been attacks on officials’ race, gender, sexual orientation, and appearance. Freeman said some of the criticisms “seem to be harsher for women.”
Appeals Court Panel Orders End to Michael Flynn Case
New York Times – Charlie Savage | Published: 6/24/2020
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed a federal judge to drop a criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The panel ruled in favor of Flynn and the Trump administration in preventing U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan from exercising his discretion on whether to grant the Justice Department’s motion to clear Flynn. The order was rare and came as a surprise, taking its place as yet another twist in the legal and political drama surrounding the prosecution of Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in the Russia investigation about his conversations in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Ex-Sens. Lott, Breaux Announce Move to Crossroads Strategies
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/15/2020
A week after exiting Squire Patton Boggs, former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and his longtime K Street colleague, ex-Sen. John Breaux, said they were joining the lobbying shop Crossroads Strategies. Both Lott and Breaux had been at Squire Patton Boggs for the past decade. Lott’s reported ousting from the firm, amid a national reckoning on racism, led some on K Street to speculate it was tied to comments he made that drove him from Senate GOP leadership in 2002. Lott, however, said the split was based on business.
Facebook Removes Trump Ads with Symbol Once Used by Nazis to Designate Political Prisoners
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020
In its online salvo against antifa and “far-left mobs,” President Trump’s reelection campaign displayed a marking the Nazis once used to designate political prisoners in concentration camps. A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, and other members of opposition parties. In response to queries from The Washington Post, Facebook deactivated ads that included the inverted red triangle. The symbol appeared in paid posts sponsored by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as by the “Team Trump” campaign page.
FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’
Center for Responsive Politics – Karl Evers-Hillstrom | Published: 6/18/2020
The FEC agreed to take public comments on a petition to close a loophole that allowed former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to transfer millions of dollars to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Bloomberg transferred $18 million from his self-funded campaign to the DNC in March, abusing a rule that allows candidates to funnel unlimited amounts of leftover campaign cash to party committees. Citizens United is seeking to limit the amount of money federal candidates can transfer to a party committee but noted the loophole could be closed in other way.
Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block
AP News – Eric Tucker | Published: 6/21/2020
A federal judge said former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed. The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security issues, even as the White House pledged to keep pursuing the onetime top aide. Lamberth also made clear his concerns that Bolton had taken it upon himself to publish his memoir without formal clearance from a White House that says it was still reviewing it for classified information.
Justice Dept. Officials Testify on Politicization Under Barr
MSN – Katie Benner, Nichokas Fandos, and Charlie Savage (New York Times) | Published: 6/24/2020
Two U.S. Justice Department officials delivered stinging congressional testimony, accusing political appointees of intervening in criminal and antitrust cases to serve the personal interests of President Trump and Attorney General William Barr. Aaron Zelinsky, a career prosecutor who worked on the Russia investigation, told the House Judiciary Committee that senior law enforcement officials intervened to seek a more lenient prison sentence for Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone for political reasons. John Elias, a senior career official in the antitrust division, charged that supervisors improperly used their powers to investigate the marijuana industry and a deal between California and four major automakers. Democrats say the hearing is part of a broader investigation into Barr’s leadership of the department.
K Street May Mostly Skip Political Conventions This Year
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/24/2020
Typically, this close to the political conventions, lobbyists would have booked hotel rooms, arranged for event spaces to host receptions, and scored passes to attend high-profile speeches, including those of the party nominees. But that has not happened this year as the influence industry faces fear of the coronavirus and fallout from location and date changes for the events. K Street’s biggest shops are among those with undetermined plans. The virus is not the only thing weighing on corporate lobbying interests. Even before COVID-19 upended Americans’ lives, many corporations, worried about associating their brands overtly in politics, had been assessing whether the large investments would be worth it.
Russia. Ukraine. China. Bolton Account Highlights Pattern of Trump Welcoming Foreign Political Help.
MSN – Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020
John Bolton’s book highlights Trump’s pattern of welcoming foreign political help and a casual comfort with what was once unthinkable in American politics – foreign intervention in U.S. elections. Experts fear Trump’s behavior may embolden nations to try to sway American voters in the 2020 campaign, particularly if foreign leaders conclude that helping lift Trump to a second term would be an effective way to curry favor with the White House. While Trump’s past outreach to foreign powers for political assistance triggered widespread condemnation, he has not suffered serious consequences. Bolton’s new allegations come as experts warn Russia, China, Iran, and other countries have been stepping up their efforts to interfere in U.S. elections.
Sign of the Times: The return of campaign door knockers
Politico – Christopher Cadelago | Published: 6/20/2020
When the pandemic forced a national quarantine, campaigns were confronted with the daunting prospect of permanently sidelining the most reliable method to reach voters: knocking on their doors. But recent days have marked a shift in that thinking as states reopen for business and more Americans venture out in public. President Trump and Republican allies have resumed some level of in-person field operations in every state where they are campaigning. GOP-paid door knockers are now back in nearly every November battleground, party officials said. While Joe Biden’s campaign is not expecting an immediate return to the field, aides are in touch with local health officials and state parties to weigh their comfort level and are making assessments on a weekly basis about when it is safe to resume in-person campaigning.
Trade Groups Make Lobbying Push to Be Included in Small Business Loan Program
The Hill – Alex Gangitano | Published: 6/19/2020
The group that represents trade associations lobbied for professional and advocacy organizations struggling through the coronavirus to be eligible to receive small business loans. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) hosted a virtual fly-in to call for changes to the Paycheck Protection Program so 501(c)(6) organizations can receive loans. The groups, which include trade associations, professional societies, and local chambers of commerce, were left out of the program when Congress passed its $2.2 trillion relief bill in March. “As the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, other revenue sources for associations are down as well, including membership dues, and things like advertising, and sponsorships,” said Chris Vest, ASAE director of public policy.
Treasury, SBA Cave to Demands for Bailout Transparency
Politico – Victoria Guida | Published: 6/19/2020
The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration bowed to congressional pressure and said they will disclose information on companies that received loans under the government’s small business rescue program. The names of companies and nonprofits that got loans larger than $150,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program will be released, along with other identifying information. Loan amounts will only be given within a certain range. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the move represents an agreement with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Small Business Committee. Those lawmakers had asked for all borrowers to be identified; the deal will cover nearly 75 percent of the more than $500 billion that has been lent out, though only a minority of the 4.5 million total beneficiaries.
Trump Crony’s Gas Deal Reignites Conflict-of-Interest Concerns
Courthouse News Service – Adam Klasfeld | Published: 6/19/2020
On the campaign trail a year before his election, Donald Trump boasted in a radio interview that his real estate holdings in Istanbul could influence U.S.-Turkish foreign policy as president. “I have a little conflict-of-interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul, and it’s a tremendously successful job,” Trump disclosed. As a second election cycle looms, Trump’s Turkish business partner on that Istanbul property is homing in on a liquefied natural gas deal that can dramatically boost the U.S.-Turkey energy trade for more than a decade. The man at the center of the gas deal is Mehmet Ali Yalçindag, chairperson of Turkey’s oldest state-sponsored trade group, who brought Trump’s real estate empire into Istanbul in 2012. He is the son-in-law of Aydin Dogan, who owns Trump Towers Istanbul.
Trump Ousts Manhattan U.S. Attorney Who Investigated President’s Associates
MSN – Rosalind Helderman, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky, and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) | Published: 6/20/2020
Attorney General William Barr said President Trump fired the top federal prosecutor in New York, ending an unprecedented standoff between Barr and U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had resisted being removed from his post. Barr informed Berman of the president’s move in a sharply worded letter, explaining that Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss, will serve as the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan until the Senate can confirm a permanent replacement. Under Berman, the office managed a number of sensitive investigations involving people close to Trump. The fight between Barr and the nation’s most powerful U.S. attorney deepened alarm among Democrats over Barr’s management of the Justice Department, generating fresh accusations the attorney general is placing the president’s interests above those of the public.
Twitter Labels Trump Video Tweet as Manipulated Media, Continuing Its Crackdown on Misinformation
MSN – Kat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) | Published: 6/18/2020
Twitter took the rare step of appending a warning label to one of President Trump’s tweets after the company determined it violated its policies on manipulated media. The president tweeted a doctored version of a popular video that went viral in 2019, which showed two toddlers, one black and one white, hugging. In the version Trump shared, the video has been edited with ominous music and a fake CNN headline that says, “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby.” The label is the latest flash point in an increasingly contentious debate over tech companies’ responsibility to police falsehoods and hoaxes spread by politicians on their platforms.
Why Obsessive K-Pop Fans Are Turning Toward Political Activism
MSN – Joe Coscarelli (New York Times) | Published: 6/22/2020
Amid a pandemic, a forthcoming presidential election, and inescapable conversations about race, K-pop fans – the typically young and diverse international enthusiasts of Korean pop music who congregate daily on social media – is trying to exert its influence in a new realm: the American political arena. Spurred at first by the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, K-pop stans made themselves known outside of music circles hen some took credit for helping to inflate expectations for President Trump’s rally in Tulsa by reserving tickets they had no plans to use. But while the Trump campaign denied he prank affected attendance, the call to action in K-pop circles revealed a growing realization that fans’ efficient social-media tactics for fundraising or making a song go viral can also be used for political activism.
Canada – Conservative Senator Victor Oh Faces Censure for Free Trip to China
The Globe and Mail – Robert Fife and Steven Chase | Published: 6/18/2020
The Senate Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee is recommending Senator Victor Oh be censured for violating the chamber’s conflict-of-interest and ethics code by accepting an all-expenses paid trip to China for himself and two of his colleagues. Senate Ethics Officer Pierre Legault criticized Oh for providing incomplete testimony and withholding information, saying his conduct “raises questions about his integrity.” Censure in Parliament is a form of severe disapproval for the ethical actions of a parliamentarian. The committee did not recommend further sanctions but urged Oh to formally apologize.
Canada – Senate Ethics Committee Recommends Rescinding Suspension of Senator Lynn
The Globe and Mail – Kristy Kirkup | Published: 6/22/2020
The Senate should rescind the suspension of Lynn Beyak ordered in February, the standing committee on ethics and conflict-of-interest for senators. The recommendation is the latest development in a drawn-out controversy for the Ontario senator who posted letters to her website the committee found contained racist content. In February, the Senate voted to suspend Beyak for a second time after it approved a previous ethics committee report on her conduct. The report recommended she be suspended without pay for the duration of the parliamentary session, apologize, and participate in educational programs.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Arizona House Ethics Chair Weighs Holding Hearings into Claims Against Lawmaker
Arizona Daily Star – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/22/2020
The House Ethics Committee chairperson is weighing whether to hold hearings into its investigation of Arizona Rep. David Cook, Rep. John Allen said he is still reviewing the evidence presented by outside investigators as well as the response submitted by Cook’s attorneys. That response demanded a full hearing to be “given the right to the fundamental protections every citizen of our country would reasonably expect to have.” Allen said there are issues to be resolved about how to handle the two basic complaints against Cook, one involving allegations of an affair with a lobbyist and the other about efforts to intervene on the lobbyist’s behalf to halt the tax sale of property.
Arizona – Scottsdale Rejects Ban on Anonymous Donations, Including GoFundMe Campaigns, to Council Members
Arizona Republic – Lorraine Lonhi | Published: 6/22/2020
What began as an effort to tweak Scottsdale’s gift policy grew complicated as some residents and council members saw an opportunity to push for campaign finance reform. A growing chorus of residents in recent years have raised concerns about developers and others who do business with the city donating to council members election campaigns. When the city proposed amending its ethics policy pertaining to gifts that might be offered to elected officials of a non-campaign nature, many advocated to extend the rules to campaign donations.
California – After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short
San Jose Mercury News – Maggie Angst | Published: 6/22/2020
Following a court-ordered recount, a controversial ballot measure to shift the San Jose’s mayoral race to presidential election years and limit campaign contributions failed to garner the required number of signatures to qualify for the November election. The Fair Elections Initiative called for aligning mayoral elections with presidential years to boost voter turnout, particularly among people of color, and placing a cap on certain political donations, including those from any person or entity that has received city contracts of at least $250,000.
California – Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending
San Jose Mercury News – Annie Sciacca | Published: 6/17/2020
Joe Canciamilla, the former Contra Costa County elections chief, was charged with 34 felony crimes for illegally spending campaign funds for several years. He was charged with perjury involving campaign disclosure statements and grand theft of campaign funds spent on a vacation in Asia, airfare, restaurants, and other personal expenses. The charges stem from conduct starting in 2010, when Canciamilla failed to report investment gains in a campaign bank account. Though the gains were legal, using the proceeds for personal use is prohibited, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen, adding that Canciamilla covered up the gains and losses from the investment account.
California – L.A. County Has Found the Cause of Its Hourslong Poll Lines. It Wasn’t the New Voting Machines.
Politico – Kim Zetter | Published: 6/17/2020
The long wait times that snarled the March 3 primary in Los Angeles County stemmed from malfunctions in the electronic tablets used to check in voters at the polls, according to an county report that adds to questions about the nation’s readiness for November. The report concludes these devices, known as electronic poll books, and not the county’s new $300 million voting machines were the source of those delays. Although the voting machines also had problems, the report faults inadequate planning, testing, and programming of the poll books that workers used to check in voters and verify they are registered, technology that has also been implicated in the recent Georgia primary.
California – LA Councilman Jose Huizar Arrested in Pay-to-Play Scheme
Los Angeles Daily News – Elizabeth Chou | Published: 6/23/2020
Los Angeles City Councilperson Jose Huizar was arrested in an investigation into corruption at City Hall. Federal prosecutors have been probing allegations that real estate developers were shaken down for cash bribes and campaign donations in exchange for Huizar’s help getting high-rise development projects through the city’s approval process. Huizar and his associates are accused of enjoying free plane travel, lavish meals, poker chips, and other perks offered by developers. In plea deals struck with the government, a former aide to the council member, one of his political fundraisers, and a real estate consultant agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Huizar and others in City Hall.
Colorado – Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals Rules
Colorado Politics – Michael Kralick | Published: 6/18/2020
A prominent attorney donated more than $200,000 against an Adams County judge’s retention election. But that did not mean the judge should have recused himself from a case involving the firm’s lawyers, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled. At trial, Lyubov Bocian attempted to disqualify Adams County District Court Judge Edward Moss from her case, alleging he was biased against her attorneys at Franklin D. Azar and Associates. The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure require a judicial substitution if there is a reasonable inference of a judge’s partiality toward either of the litigants or opposing counsel. The appellate court did not find Moss exhibited any hostility or prejudice toward the Azar firm based on his actions, nor did the panel determine Moss harbored ill will because Azar himself made a $224,000 campaign contribution against Moss’s retention election in 2018.
Florida – FBI Investigating Mayor Milissa Holland, Palm Coast Ex-Officials Say
Daytona Beach News-Journal – Matt Bruce and Erica Von Braun | Published: 6/22/2020
Two former city employees say FBI agents have interviewed them regarding Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland’s connection to Coastal Guard. The company has a unique arrangement with the city to provide some digital services. It is also Holland’s daytime employer. Michael Schottey, the city’s former communications director and now a candidate for mayor, read emails during a virtual press conference that he said show Holland used her position as mayor to solicit business for Coastal Cloud with the city of Orlando.
Florida – ‘Suspicious’ Car Rental, Other Payments by Mayor’s Campaign Not Criminal, Probe Finds
Miami Herald – Aaron Leibowitz | Published: 6/22/2020
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office investigated payments related to the 2016 mayoral campaign of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, finding a “suspicious” car rental and some “haphazard” accounting but insufficient evidence to prove any criminal activity. The investigation delved into whether Gilbert’s rental of an Infiniti QX80 constituted an unreported campaign expenditure; whether he instructed the Miami Gardens city clerk to falsify the date on an amended campaign treasurer’s report; and whether Gilbert directed his campaign to make improper payments to a for-profit company and to incorrectly label those payments as donations to a nonprofit.
Georgia – Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000
WAGA – Dale Russell | Published: 6/19/2020
A group backing Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign was fined $50,000 by Georgia’s ethics commission for failing to report the money it raised and spent to help her get elected. The independent committee, Gente4Abrams (People for Abrams), was set up out of state and raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campaign without ever registering with the commission or disclosing how much it raised.
Georgia – House Republican Leaders Condemn GOP Candidate Who Made Racist Videos
Politico – Ally Mutnick ans Stephanie Zanona | Published: 6/17/2020
The House’s highest-ranking Republicans are racing to distance themselves from a leading GOP congressional candidate in Georgia after Facebook videos were uncovered in which she expresses racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic views. The candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, suggested Muslims do not belong in government; thinks black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party”; called George Soros, a Jewish Democratic donor, a Nazi; and said she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War. Greene is entering an August runoff as the favorite to secure the Republican nomination for a district where that is tantamount to winning the general election in November.
Illinois – Rules Requiring Nonprofits to Register as Lobbyists Delayed Until 2021
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 6/18/2020
Rules requiring nonprofit organizations to register as lobbyists in Chicago were set to go into effect on January 1, 2020 but were initially delayed until April after dozens of nonprofit groups objected, saying the regulations would force them to pay costly registration fees or risk $1,000 fines. The Board of Ethics attempted to clarify the new rules, issuing three advisory opinions that exempted grassroots groups or residents who press city officials on issues they are concerned about. But that effort was still underway when the coronavirus pandemic forced City Hall to shut down, and the delay was extended until July, and will now last through the end of 2020.
Maryland – Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Pleads Guilty in State Court to Perjury in ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal
Baltimore Sun – Tim Prudente | Published: 6/19/2020
A judge sentenced former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to six months in prison for deliberately lying on financial disclosures forms to hide her lucrative “Healthy Holly” children’s book business. Under terms of Pugh’s plea deal, her time will be served concurrent with a separate, pending three-year prison sentence. Pugh pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of perjury, admitting she withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disclosure forms she filed during her years as a state senator.
Missouri – Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens
KDSK – PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey | Published: 6/20/2020
Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens filed paperwork to run for an unspecified statewide office in 2024. Elad Gross, a candidate for state attorney general, is asking the Missouri Ethics Commission to decide if Greitens should be able to do that even though he has not publicly announced any interest in running for office again. Experts say it is part of a trend of campaign committees avoiding the state law that requires them to close their accounts and distribute the leftover money as refunds or donations if they will not be running for office again.
Missouri – Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs
Columbia Missourian – Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris | Published: 6/23/2020
In Missouri, contributions for state elections have been in place off and on since 1994, when voters approved a ballot measure. The limits withstood several court tests, but the Legislature repealed them twice. State voters reinstated them in 2016 and approved slightly lower caps in 2018, through passage of Clean Missouri. Even with limits in place, candidates have found creative ways to receive large donations. PACs have no restraints on the amount they can receive in donations, which makes them an ideal way to collect large checks from millionaires and special interests such as casinos, labor unions, and tobacco companies.
New Jersey – N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner
Newark Star Ledger – Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/19/2020
Attorney Elizabeth Valandingham was charged with lying about alleged “pay-to-play” violations in New Jersey. Valandingham, was accused of falsely claiming her law firm had not made any reportable political contributions to candidates in two towns where the firm had been vying for contracts to provide legal services, when in fact it had. While the charges against Valandingham arose from a corruption investigation in which five New Jersey political figures are accused of accepting a total of $74,900 in bribes in the form of campaign donations, they are not directly related to the bribery allegations.
New York – JCOPE Commissioners Mull Filing Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Leak
Albany Times Union – Brendan Lyons | Published: 6/22/2020
Members of the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) are contemplating whether a criminal complaint should be filed in connection with a leak investigation last year by the state inspector general’s office that failed to confirm allegations Gov. Andrew Cuomo received details of JCOPE’s confidential vote on a matter involving a former top aide to the governor. The apparent leak, which would be a criminal offense, surfaced when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s top counsel, Howard Vargas, called Commissioner Julie Garcia and told her that Cuomo had complained to the speaker about how his appointees to the commission had voted on the matter.
Pennsylvania – Top Pa. GOP Lawmaker Fast-Tracking a Lucrative Gambling Expansion That Would Benefit a Major Campaign Donor
Philadelphia Inquirer – Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA), Brad Bumsted (The Caucus), and Sam Jenesh (The Caucus) | Published: 6/19/2020
The top lobbyist for a gaming company seeking a lucrative gambling expansion in Pennsylvania helped host a fundraiser in Las Vegas for the leading Republican in the state Senate, Joe Scarnati. Several months later, executives from the gaming company, Golden Entertainment, poured thousands of dollars into a campaign committee controlled by Scarnati and close associates. Now, Scarnati and other top Republicans are working to secure votes for a bill that would help Golden and others like it cash in on the next frontier of expanded gambling, potentially worth millions of dollars: video-gaming terminals, known better as VGTs.
South Carolina – Conflict of interest? Councilman with Ties to Richland Mega Church Pushed Road Project
The State – Andrew Kaplan | Published: 6/18/2020
Richland County Council member Chip Jackson voted nine times for improvements to Atlas Road in the county during the last three years, even though he worked for a church and its nonprofit arm that would benefit from the work. The popularity of the megachurch, Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, and its plans to sell surrounding property to developers, were part of the reason the road was originally slated for $17 million in improvements, according to the county’s transportation director. The money was to come from the county’s sales-tax program that voters approved. Jackson’s dual roles as a council member and consultant for the church is a potential ethics violation, according to experts.
Utah – Utah Gave Group $400,000 to Sue the Feds on Public Lands Issues. It Never Did. What Happened?
Salt Lake Tribune – Brian Maffley | Published: 6/23/2020
In 2016, the Utah Legislature opened up its wallet to a nonprofit called the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM), one of several groups that have received millions of dollars in recent years to push greater local and state control over Utah’s large expanses of federal land and imperiled wildlife. But FIRM’s taxpayer-supported charge was specific: file lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of Utah counties. The goal was to reverse restrictive land-use policies to promote “integrated” use of natural resources. Four years and $400,000 later, FIRM has yet to pursue a single legal action, according to ethics complaints filed with the IRS, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, and state auditor.
Vermont – Candidate Incomes Outpace Average Vermonter; Advocates Seek More Disclosure
VTDigger.org – Jasper Goodman and Kit Norton | Published: 6/22/2020
Most of the top candidates seeking statewide office reported substantially higher incomes than the average Vermonter. There is no tax return requirement for individuals seeking seats in the state Legislature. Those candidates only need to fill out a brief financial disclosure form which requires reporting any source of income of $5,000 or more. But the statute requiring candidates to file the forms includes no enforcement mechanism for non-compliance. Larry Novins, executive director of the Vermont Ethics Commission, said the agency has “no ability to do anything about” candidates who do not file the forms because it has “no authority” over them. The commission can review ethics complaints but has no investigative or enforcement power.
June 25, 2020 •
Campaign Finance California: “After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short” by Maggie Angst for San Jose Mercury News Missouri: “Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens” by PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey for […]
California: “After Court-Ordered Recount, Controversial San Jose Ballot Measure Falls Short” by Maggie Angst for San Jose Mercury News
Missouri: “Missouri Attorney General Candidate Files Ethics Complaint Against Former Governor Greitens” by PJ Randhawa and Erin Richey for KDSK
National: “Congress Must Act Now to Help States with Vote-by-Mail in November, Experts Say” by Gopal Ratnam for Roll Call
National: “Appeals Court Panel Orders End to Michael Flynn Case” by Charlie Savage for New York Times
National: “Justice Dept. Officials Testify on Politicization Under Barr” by Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, and Charlie Savage (New York Times) for MSN
Canada: “Senate Ethics Committee Recommends Rescinding Suspension of Senator Lynn” by Kristy Kirkup for The Globe and Mail
Arizona: “Scottsdale Rejects Ban on Anonymous Donations, Including GoFundMe Campaigns, to Council Members” by Lorraine Lonhi for Arizona Republic
New York: “JCOPE Commissioners Mull Filing Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Leak” by Brendan Lyons for Albany Times Union
Utah: “Utah Gave Group $400,000 to Sue the Feds on Public Lands Issues. It Never Did. What Happened?” by Brian Maffley for Salt Lake Tribune
National: “K Street May Mostly Skip Political Conventions This Year” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call
June 24, 2020 •
Campaign Finance Georgia: “Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000” by Dale Russell for WAGA Missouri: “Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs” by Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris for Columbia Missourian Elections National: […]
Georgia: “Ethics Commission Fines Group That Backed Stacey Abrams $50,000” by Dale Russell for WAGA
Missouri: “Missouri Politicians Get Around Contribution Limits by Using PACs” by Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal, and Spencer Norris for Columbia Missourian
National: “Why Obsessive K-Pop Fans Are Turning Toward Political Activism” by Joe Coscarelli (New York Times) for MSN
National: “Amid Threats and Political Pushback, Public Health Officials Are Leaving Their Posts” by Rachel Weiner and Ariana Eungjun Cha (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Twitter Labels Trump Video Tweet as Manipulated Media, Continuing Its Crackdown on Misinformation” by Kat Zakrzewski (Washington Post) for MSN
Arizona: “Arizona House Ethics Chair Weighs Holding Hearings into Claims Against Lawmaker” by Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) for Arizona Daily Star
California: “Los Angeles Councilman Arrested and Charged with Bribery” by Jeremy White for Politico
Florida: “FBI Investigating Mayor Milissa Holland, Palm Coast Ex-Officials Say” by Matt Bruce and Erica Von Braun for Daytona Beach News-Journal
Vermont: “Candidate Incomes Outpace Average Vermonter; Advocates Seek More Disclosure” by Jasper Goodman and Kit Norton for VTDigger.org
National: “Trade Groups Make Lobbying Push to Be Included in Small Business Loan Program” by Alex Gangitano for The Hill
June 23, 2020 •
Campaign Finance National: “FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’” by Karl Evers-Hillstrom for Center for Responsive Politics New Jersey: “N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner” by Ted Sherman […]
National: “FEC to Take Public Comments on Petition to Close ‘Bloomberg Loophole’” by Karl Evers-Hillstrom for Center for Responsive Politics
New Jersey: “N.J. Corruption Scheme Involving Pay-to-Play Contracts Leads to Charges Against Law Firm Partner” by Ted Sherman (NJ Advance Media) for Newark Star Ledger
National: “Sign of the Times: The return of campaign door knockers” by Christopher Cadelago for Politico
California: “L.A. County Has Found the Cause of Its Hourslong Poll Lines. It Wasn’t the New Voting Machines.” by Kim Zetter for Politico
National: “Treasury, SBA Cave to Demands for Bailout Transparency” by Victoria Guida for Politico
National: “Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block” by Eric Tucker for AP News
Maryland: “Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Pleads Guilty in State Court to Perjury in ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal” by Tim Prudente for Baltimore Sun
South Carolina: “Conflict of interest? Councilman with Ties to Richland Mega Church Pushed Road Project” by Andrew Kaplan for The State
National: “Ex-Sens. Lott, Breaux Announce Move to Crossroads Strategies” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call
June 22, 2020 •
Campaign Finance California: “Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending” by Annie Sciacca for San Jose Mercury News Colorado: “Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals […]
California: “Former East Bay Elections Chief Charged with 34 Felony Counts Related to Illegal Campaign Spending” by Annie Sciacca for San Jose Mercury News
Colorado: “Campaign Contribution Not a Reason to Disqualify Judge from Case, Court of Appeals Rules” by Michael Kralick for Colorado Politics
National: “Russia. Ukraine. China. Bolton Account Highlights Pattern of Trump Welcoming Foreign Political Help.” by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “House Republican Leaders Condemn GOP Candidate Who Made Racist Videos” by Ally Mutnick ans Stephanie Zanona for Politico
National: “Trump Ousts Manhattan U.S. Attorney Who Investigated President’s Associates” by Rosalind Helderman, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky, and Seung Min Kim (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Facebook Removes Trump Ads with Symbol Once Used by Nazis to Designate Political Prisoners” by Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) for MSN
Canada: “Conservative Senator Victor Oh Faces Censure for Free Trip to China” by Robert Fife and Steven Chase for The Globe and Mail
Illinois: “Rules Requiring Nonprofits to Register as Lobbyists Delayed Until 2021” by Heather Cherone for WTTW
Pennsylvania: “Top Pa. GOP Lawmaker Fast-Tracking a Lucrative Gambling Expansion That Would Benefit a Major Campaign Donor” by Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA), Brad Bumsted (The Caucus), and Sam Jenesh (The Caucus) for Philadelphia Inquirer
June 19, 2020 •
National/Federal Appeals Judges Reluctant to Force Immediate End to Flynn Case Politico – Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney | Published: 6/12/2020 A federal appeals court panel appears poised to reject, at least for now, Michael Flynn’s effort to force a judge […]
Appeals Judges Reluctant to Force Immediate End to Flynn Case
Politico – Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney | Published: 6/12/2020
A federal appeals court panel appears poised to reject, at least for now, Michael Flynn’s effort to force a judge to dismiss the criminal case against him. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, is urging the courts to swiftly toss out his case after Attorney General William Barr moved to drop the prosecution. But the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit expressed serious reservations about cutting short the typical process and forcing the trial judge assigned to Flynn’s case, Emmet Sullivan, to act before he has a chance to consider his options.
As Trump Warns of Leftist Violence, a Dangerous Threat Emerges from the Right-Wing Boogaloo Movement
MSN – Craig Timberg (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2020
A far-right extremist movement born on social media and fueled by anti-government rhetoric has emerged as a real-world threat in recent weeks, with federal authorities accusing some of its adherents of working to spark violence at largely peaceful protests roiling the nation. At a time when President Trump and other top U.S. officials have claimed, with little evidence, that leftist groups were fomenting violence, federal prosecutors have charged various supporters of a right-wing movement called the “boogaloo bois” with crimes related to plotting to firebomb a U.S. Forest Service facility, preparing to use explosives at a peaceful demonstration, and killing a security officer at a federal courthouse.
Bolton Says Trump Impeachment Inquiry Missed Other Troubling Episodes
MSN – Peter Baker (New York Times) | Published: 6/17/2020
John Bolton, the former national security adviser, says in his new book the U.S. House in its impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Trump not just for pressuring Ukraine but for a variety of instances when he sought to use trade negotiations and criminal investigations to further his political interests. While other books by journalists and lower-level former aides have revealed much about the Trump White House, Bolton’s volume is the first tell-all memoir by such a high-ranking official who participated in major foreign policy events and has a lifetime of conservative credentials. It is a portrait of a president ignorant of basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him, and prone to false statements, and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse.
Ethics Probe into Rep. Alcee Hastings Ends After Disclosure He Married Aide
Politico – John Bresnahan | Published: 6/12/2020
An investigation into whether U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings had an improper relationship with one of his aides was dropped after it was disclosed the Florida Democrat has been married to the staffer since January 2019. The House ethics committee also announced it was creating a special investigative subcommittee to investigate allegations Del. Michael San Nicolas of Guam had an improper sexual relationship with a congressional staffer, broke campaign finance laws, and lied to governments. San Nicolas’ former chief of staff has accused the delegate of having an affair with the woman in question and then hiring her in his congressional office.
Justice Department Seeks Emergency Order to Block Publication of Bolton’s Book
MSN – Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman, Devlin Barrett, and Spencer Hsu (Washington Post) | Published: 6/17/2020
The Justice Department sought an emergency order from a judge to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming White House memoir, escalating a legal battle against him. The move came after the Trump administration filed a civil suit against Bolton, targeting the proceeds of the book and asking a court to order him to delay its scheduled June 23 release. Less than 24 hours later, The Wall Street Journal released an excerpt of the memoir, and lengthy accounts were published by other news organizations. The latest action sought to formally enjoin Bolton from allowing his book to be published, a legal strategy experts said was unlikely to succeed, particularly given the book has already been printed and shipped to warehouses and copies distributed to the media for review.
K Street Backrooms Morph Into ‘the Zoom Where It Happens’
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 6/15/2020
The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic along with the wave of protests for racial justice and equality will leave a lasting imprint on the lobbying sector – on the strategies for influencing lawmakers and on the policy agenda. This moment also has expedited the long-running, but slow-to-change conversations about spurring diversity on K Street and in its pipeline for personnel, Capitol Hill. Some of the permanent transformations, like more Zoom conferences and fewer in-person meetings even after the pandemic ends, may appear minor adaptations. For an industry, like politics itself, built around face-to-face relationships with conversations sparked at high-dollar fundraising events, even some of the seemingly little shifts may galvanize a larger metamorphosis in the long run.
Members of Congress Took Small-Business Loans – and the Full Extent Is Unknown
Politico – Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and Zachary Warmbrodt | Published: 6/16/2020
A group of lawmakers acknowledged close ties to companies that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, businesses that are either run by their families or employ their spouse as a senior executive. There are almost certainly more, according to aides and lawmakers. But only the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department have that information, and the Trump administration is refusing to provide any details. That leaves it entirely up to business owners, including elected officials, to decide whether to come forward about a loan, which can be as large as $10 million. The program is being dogged by growing transparency complaints, with Treasury and SBA refusing to disclose recipients.
New Generation of Activists, Deeply Skeptical of Democratic Party, Resists Calls to Channel Energy into the 2020 Campaign
MSN – Cleve Wootson Jr. (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2020
George Floyd’s killing ignited protests in more than 750 U.S. cities, with participants of all races in every corner of the country. The uprising is also a potential boon for Democrats, inspiring thousands of new grassroots organizers just as the party seeks to mobilize young voters and other core liberals to defeat President Trump and retake the U.S. Senate. Many of the country’s top Democrats have exhorted the activists to channel their energy toward the election. But the Democrats have so far failed to tap into the newly emerging protest movement, even turning off some activists who see early outreach efforts as hollow gestures. Many said they remain skeptical of the political system and the Democratic Party, which they said has a history of promising change and falling short.
Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook
New York Times – Mike Isaac | Published: 6/16/2020
Facebook said it would allow people in the U.S. to opt out of seeing social issue, electoral, or political ads from candidates or PACs in their Facebook or Instagram feeds. The ability to hide those ads will begin with a small group of users, before rolling out to the rest of the United States and later to several other countries. The move allows Facebook to play both sides of a complicated debate about the role of political advertising on social media ahead of the November election. With the change, Facebook can continue allowing political ads to flow across its network, while also finding a way to reduce the reach of those ads and to offer a concession to critics who have said the company should do more to moderate noxious speech on its platform.
Police Unions Face Lobbying Fights at All Levels of Government
The Hill – Alex Gangitano | Published: 6/12/2020
Police unions are gearing up for their biggest lobbying fights in years as lawmakers at all levels of government push to reform law enforcement practices and protections. In Congress, the brewing battle comes as House Democrats have introduced sweeping legislation to overhaul aspects of the criminal justice system, with Senate Republicans expected to unveil their proposal soon. The National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police group that represents over 330,000 officers, is expected to play a major role. Police unions also have to prepare for fights outside the Beltway.
QAnon Marches Toward the Halls of Congress
Politico – Tina Nguyen | Published: 6/15/2020
QAnon adherents are now filtering into electoral politics. According to Media Matters, there are 51 candidates running for Congress who have promoted the messages of “Q” – a mysterious internet figure who drops digital “crumbs” about a secret war President Trump is waging against a cabal of pedophile political elites in Washington, D.C. Seven of them emerged recently in congressional Republican primaries. One, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, is favored to eventually end up in Congress. Trump invited one of Qanon’s top promoters to pose with him in the Oval Office, and retweeting over 130 tweets that directly reference QAnon-related claims. Now the president is seeing a tangible political benefit from the relationship, the GOP candidates who reference QAnon are also those who cling most closely to Trump.
Senate Aides Say There’s Work to Be Done on Staffer Diversity, After Tim Scott Airs Criticism
Roll Call – Katherine Tully-McManus and Kathryn Lyons | Published: 6/11/2020
Sen. Tim Scott called out the lack of racial diversity among staff in certain U.S. Senate offices, which highlighted how little data is available on staffer demographics. It also got staff and senators talking about how to tackle the problem. Although there are varying opinions on how to boost diversity, many agree that a major problem is a lack of data on diversity of race, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds among staff. Scott, the only black Republican in the chamber, said he would like the Senate to conduct a study of staff member demographics and pay.
Senate Ethics Panel Dismisses Insider-Trading Inquiry into Sen. Loeffler
Washington Post – Colby Itkowitz | Published: 6/16/2020
The Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its investigation into U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler for alleged insider trading ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, notifying her it found “no evidence” she violated the law or chamber rules. The panel’s decision follows the Justice Department, which closed its probe of Loeffler’s stock sales before the pandemic crashed the markets. The Justice Department dismissed similar probes into U.S. Sens. James Inhofe and Dianne Feinstein but is still looking into U.S. Sen. Richard Burr for alleged insider trading.
‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest
Courthouse News Service – Tim Ryan | Published: 6/16/2020
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Neil Jacobs violated the agency’s ethics policy when he contradicted and silenced a local National Weather Service office about a hurricane’s path. President Trump wrote on Twitter that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service office in Birmingham posted on Twitter: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian.” Days later, Jacobs’ office issued an unsigned statement calling the Birmingham office’s posting “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.” That statement turned out to be the result of pressure from the White House on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who threatened to fire the political staff at the agency unless the contradiction of Trump was addressed.
The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate
New York Times – Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul | Published: 6/15/2020
In 2013, a lawyer named William Consovoy appeared on a Brookings Institution panel to discuss his leading role in a recently decided voting-rights case. Days earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled certain states, particularly in the South, would no longer need Justice Department approval before redrawing districts, moving polling places or making other electoral changes. Consovoy’s work on voting cases across the country is drawing increased attention in this presidential election year roiled by pandemic and protest. In recent weeks, his firm, Consovoy McCarthy, has fought against extending the deadline for mail-in voting in Wisconsin, sought to thwart felons from being re-enfranchised in Florida, and sued to block California’s plan to send absentee ballots to all registered voters.
Trump Health Official’s Approach to Contracts Faces Scrutiny
Roll Call – Emily Kopp | Published: 6/10/2020
A company that won a $628 million contract from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one that Robert Kadlec, the official who leads the agency’s pandemic response, knows well. Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, served as a consultant to Emergent Biosolutions until 2015. Since Kadlec’s 2017 confirmation, the company has received more than $1.2 billion from the division Kadlec oversees, including a part of HHS known as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The contract raises questions because a complaint by former BARDA Director Rick Bright alleges Kadlec and other officials may have broken the law by awarding lucrative contracts to former business acquaintances and friends.
Trump Rally Attendees Must Agree Not to Sue Campaign Over Potential Coronavirus Exposure
Politico – Caitlin Oprysko | Published: 6/11/2020
Supporters of President Trump will soon be able to attend one of his signature, raucous campaign rallies again after a months-long hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, but first, they must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus after the event. The Trump campaign sent out registration information for the president’s first rally since March, with the campaign’s chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, proclaiming there is “no better place” to restart rallies than Tulsa, Oklahoma. But the fine print on the registration page for the event that has been rescheduled for June 20 underscores the continued health risks associated with reviving the “Make America Great Again” rallies, which pack thousands of supporters into arenas for hours at a time.
Canada – Canada’s Ethics Czar Investigates Former Canadian Envoy to Washington Over His Work for Palantir
Politico – Abby Blatchford | Published: 6/13/2020
Canada’s ethics watchdog is investigating David MacNaughton, Ottawa’s former envoy to the U.S., to determine if he broke conflict-of-interest laws after taking a senior role last year with the data analytics firm Palantir. Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion says he launched a probe into MacNaughton’s interactions with senior government officials since he became president of Palantir’s Canadian branch. MacNaughton, who has close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, took the job shortly after leaving the ambassador’s post. Dion said he will explore whether MacNaughton violated a rule that prohibits him from “taking improper advantage” of his previous public office and another forbidding him from making representations to anyone with whom he had “direct and significant official dealings” during his last year in public office.
Canada – Lobbying Watchdog Seeks Budget Hike Amid Pandemic-Induced Surge in Lobbying
Yahoo Finance – Canadian Press | Published: 6/11/2020
The federal lobbying watchdog is asking for a budget increase to enable her office to modernize the way it registers lobbyists and keeps track of their activities in Canada, just as it is seeing a surge in lobbying sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lobbying commissioner Nancy Belanger says 441 lobbyists have registered with her office to make their case to the federal government on matters related to the pandemic. Belanger’s request for a budget hike is not directly related to the pandemic-induced increase in lobbying. She said she put in the request before COVID-19 began wreaking havoc on the global economy.
From the States and Municipalities
Alabama – Judge Rules Birmingham Airport Authority Employees Not Under Ethics Law
AL.com – Mike Cason | Published: 6/15/2020
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Brooke Reid agreed with lawyers for the Birmingham Airport Authority, who argued airport employees are not public employees because they are not paid from taxpayer funds. Their salaries come from fees that airlines, car rental companies, and other vendors pay to use the airport. The ruling rejected an advisory opinion from the Alabama Ethics Commission. The ethics law is intended to prevent public officials and public employees from using their public positions for personal gain and to require them to disclose conflicts of interest. Airport Authority attorney Mark White said it was not meant to cover employees for public corporations like the authority.
Alaska – Alaska Supreme Court Approves Election-Reform Ballot Measure
Anchorage Daily News – James Brooks | Published: 6/13/2020
In November, Alaskans will decide whether to impose ranked-choice voting, nonpartisan primary elections, and tough new rules on campaign finance disclosure. The Alaska Supreme Court upheld a lower-court decision and confirmed the legality of a proposed multipart ballot measure including all three topics. The state had argued the measure violated a constitutional requirement that ballot measures be limited to one subject.
Arizona – Arizona Asks Appeals Court to Block Laws That Regulate Campaign Finance
KAWC – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/10/2020
An attorney for the state asked the Court of Appeals to block the Citizens Clean Elections Commission from enforcing certain laws that regulate how much candidates and others in Arizona can spend on campaigns and what the public must be told about it. Tim Berg said the Legislature was within its power in crafting exceptions to campaign finance laws. He said the changes were not directly part of the Clean Elections Act which voters enacted. But commission attorney Joseph Roth said the changes violated the Voter Protection Act, which bars legislators from tinkering with what voters enacted because it effectively nullified what voters approved because of the way lawmakers crafted the proposal. He said that unconstitutionally undermined the intent of the law which was designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.
Arizona – House Committee Report Says Globe Lawmaker Had Romantic Relationship with Lobbyist
Arizona Daily Star – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 6/12/2020
A report by the Arizona House Ethics Committee accuses state Rep. David Cook of having an undisclosed relationship with a lobbyist, one that the investigators said was romantic. The report prepared by outside lawyers hired to investigate Cook also says he called Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb about plans to seize property in which the lobbyist, AnnaMarie Knorr, had an interest and Lamb subsequently called off the sale. It also says there is evidence of Cook’s “use of alcohol while conducting official business, including a meeting at the governor’s office.”
California – Public Health Funds Are Needed More Than Ever but Lack ‘Lobbying Muscle’ in California
Los Angeles Times – Angela Hart (California Healthline) | Published: 6/15/2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature are expected to reject a plea from local public health officials for an additional $150 million a year to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and protect against future threats. Public health officials vow to continue making their case. Persuading lawmakers to increase spending in a time of cuts will be difficult because public health does not carry the same political clout in the Capitol as power players such as hospitals, doctors, or public employee unions, which plow millions of dollars into lobbying each year. “I’ve not met anybody who is a lobbyist for public health,” said Assemblyperson Jim Wood, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee.
Colorado – Ethics Panel Fines Former Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper $2,750
AP News – Staff | Published: 6/13/2020
The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission fined U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper $2,750 for ethics violations he committed as governor that included accepting a private jet flight to an official event and receiving benefits he did not pay for at a meeting of government, business, and financial leaders in Italy. Hickenlooper insisted his intent was to promote Colorado’s economy as governor. But he acknowledged that on several occasions he did not seek an opinion from the commission on individual gifts. He also acknowledged he did not get formal training on the state’s ethics law.
Connecticut – Family Investments, Coronavirus Pandemic Put Gov. Ned Lamont on Ethical Tightrope
Hartford Courant – Edmund Mahoney | Published: 6/14/2020
As the first Connecticut governor married to a venture capitalist with a $1.9 billion portfolio, Ned Lamont anticipated conflict between his decisions about where to spend the state’s billions and his wife’s about where to invest hers. Ann Lamont is a successful financier – one whose business has its investments divided between the health care industry during a viral pandemic and financial technology while married to a governor pledging to drag the state government into the digital age. The torrent of state money poured into coronavirus mitigation has produced at least one convergence of state and family money, much as Gov. Lamont anticipated. But it also shows the Lamonts expected such an eventuality and, early in the new administration, drafted an ethics plan they believe insulates them from a variety of personal and state business decisions that could otherwise create an appearance of self-dealing.
Florida – Could Potential for Conflicts Influence Review of Miami’s Powerful Zoning Code?
Miami Herald – Andres Viglucci | Published: 6/15/2020
Should three prominent Miami developers’ attorneys be permitted to participate in a new task force that is revising the city’ Miami 21 zoning code? That is the question that kept the three lawyers specializing in land use from joining eight other experts at the task force’s inaugural meeting. All three attorneys are registered to act as lobbyists for dozens of developers seeking waivers and city zoning and development approvals under Miami 21, including some proposing controversial projects.
Iowa – Kim Reynolds Confirms She Will Sign Felon Voting Rights Executive Order
Des Moines Register – Stephen Miller-Gruber and Ian Richardson | Published: 6/16/2020
Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will sign an executive order restoring voting rights to people with past felony convictions, a move that will address Iowa’s status as the last state in the country with a lifetime ban on felon voting. More than 60,000 Iowans, including nearly one in ten African American adults, are barred from voting in the state due to a prior felony conviction. Reynolds has pushed the Legislature to approve an amendment to the state constitution to make the process of regaining voting rights automatic once felons have completed their sentences. But Republicans in the Iowa Senate killed the proposal each year. The Legislature this year without the Senate voting on the measure.
Maine – Would-Be Clean Elections Candidates Find It Harder to Qualify During Pandemic
Portland Press Herald – Scott Thistle | Published: 6/17/2020
Officials at the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Campaign Finance said fewer candidates who wanted to participate in the state’s clean elections program were able to qualify. To qualify, candidates must collect qualifying five-dollar contributions from at least 60 registered voters in their district. Two candidates said physical distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic made it far more difficult to collect the qualifying funds. “The law is designed for legislative candidates to meet their neighbors in their districts and ask for … contributions documented with a signature on a form,” Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne said. “That was much harder because candidates could not go door-to-door, as they had in years past.”
Maryland – Payments by Auto Insurer for Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh Were Illegal, State Review Finds
Baltimore Sun – Meredith Cohn | Published: 6/17/2020
Payments made by Maryland’s quasi-governmental auto insurer to then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh for her Healthy Holly children’s books violated state law, according to a letter that state regulators sent to the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. The ruling by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) is likely among the last of the outstanding reviews into the book deals that led to Pugh’s resignation and guilty plea for a fraud scheme that brought her hundreds of thousands of dollars. The MIA had said it was investigating at least three insurers that acknowledged making payments for the books, but officials deferred action until other law enforcement agency investigations were complete.
Nebraska – Nebraska Democrats Renounce Their Senate Pick Over Comments
AP News – Grant Schulte | Published: 6/17/2020
The Nebraska Democratic Party called on its U.S. Senate nominee to drop out of the race after he made graphic sexual comments about a campaign staff member in a group text with her and other staffers. The party said its state executive committee voted unanimously to withdraw all of its resources from Chris Janicek’s campaign. Janicek tried walk back those comments as “a joke,” and texted an apology to the group. The female staffer texted back that she was appalled by his comments and could no longer support his campaign.
New Jersey – Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill
Newark Star Ledger – Samantha Marcus (NJ Advance Media) | Published: 6/15/2020
Legislation passed by the New Jersey Senate would bar candidates for public office from using campaign money to settle allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment and bar the state from entering into non-disclosure agreements. #MeToo movement advocates say these nondisclosure agreements have kept workplace disputes under wraps and mask the pervasiveness of the sexual harassment problem in the workplace.
North Dakota – Judge Nixes North Dakota Group’s Call for Online Signatures
AP News – Staff | Published: 6/16/2020
A federal judge said he will not waive North Dakota’s ban on electronic signature gathering for a group attempting to get a wide-ranging measure on the November ballot. North Dakota Voters First asked to allow online signature gathering because of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Court Judge Peter Welte said the group was not likely to succeed on a First Amendment rights violation because petitioners have up to a year to collect signatures. The judge added that the state did not issue any stay-at-home orders and Gov. Doug Burgum on May 1 “revoked nearly all the previously imposed pandemic-related restrictions.”
Ohio – Ex-Cuyahoga County Jail Director Lied to Investigators to ‘Protect Armond Budish and Those in His Inner Circle,’ Prosecutors Say
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Cory Shaffer | Published: 6/15/2020
The indicted former director of the Cuyahoga County Jail lied to criminal investigators in 2018 to protect County Executive Armond Budish and his cabinet from scrutiny over a failed attempt to privatize healthcare delivery in the county’s lock-up, prosecutors said. The court filing did not include copies of all of the evidence that prosecutors referenced in it, but it marks the most extensive disclosure yet of the case investigators have built against the man Budish tapped in 2015 to run the county’s jail complex and oversee a plan for the county to house prisoners from the city of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs despite having no experience in corrections.
South Carolina – Special Prosecutor Pascoe Under Fire, and Firing Back, in SC Supreme Court
The State – John Monk | Published: 6/11/2020
At a recent hearing, South Carolina Supreme Court justices peppered special prosecutor David Pascoe and opposing attorney Bobby Stepp with questions about whether Pascoe’s conviction of a former lawmaker on public corruption charges should be overturned. State Rep. Jim Harrison’s guilt or innocence was not argued. The jury that convicted him heard overwhelming evidence that showed Harrison illegally taken nearly $900,000 from the influential consulting firm of Richard Quinn and Associates. What was in dispute was whether Pascoe had exceeded his lawful authority as a special prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Alan Wilson to investigate potential targets named in a confidential section of a State Law Enforcement Division report on allegations of financial wrongdoing in the General Assembly.
Tennessee – Audits: Glen Casada failed to report contributions, keep expense receipt
The Tennessean – Joel Ebert | Published: 6/10/2020
Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada failed to accurately report $26,000 in campaign contributions and expenditures and lacked receipts for $104,000 in expenses during a nearly 18-month period, making it difficult to determine their legitimacy, according to a pair of audits. Casada also accepted money during a period when lawmakers are banned from receiving contributions. The Registry of Election Finance indicated it planned to levy just $10,500 in penalties and show significant leniency to Casada, who vowed to maintain better campaign records.
Tennessee – State Election Finance Committee Grants Rep. Staples ‘Grace’ in Campaign Spending Complaint
The Tennessean – Tyler Whetstone | Published: 6/11/2020
Tennessee Rep. Rick Staples’ plea earlier this year for “grace and mercy” from state regulators is closer to being granted and forgiveness is likely on the way. Staples opened his portion of the meeting with the state Registry of Election Finance by admitting he had some $11,000 in unallowable campaign expenditures. He asked for the opportunity to pay them back. The panel, in return, praised Staples’ openness and opted to defer a ruling until July. These conversations followed a number of reports in recent months that uncovered more than $10,000 in questionable campaign spending.
Texas – Texas Democrats Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Voting by Mail
Texas Tribune – Alexa Ura | Published: 6/16/2020
After a series of losses in state and federal courts, Texas Democrats are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to expand voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. The Texas Democratic Party asked the high court to immediately lift the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ block on a ruling that would allow all Texas voters who are seeking to avoid becoming infected at in-person polling places to instead vote by mail. Under existing law, mail-in ballots are available only if voters are 65 or older, cite a disability or illness, will be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.
Virginia – Rep. Riggleman Ousted in Virginia GOP Convention After Presiding Over Same-Sex Marriage
Beaumont Enterprise – Jenna Portnoy (Washington Post) | Published: 6/14/2020
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, who drew criticism from within his party for presiding over a same-sex wedding, lost the GOP nomination to challenger Bob Good, a former Liberty University fundraiser who describes himself as a “biblical conservative.” The defeat of Riggleman puts the Virginia seat potentially within reach for Democrats in the general election for the first time in more than a decade, analysts say.
Washington – Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Kennewick Mayor. Should Ethics Code Cover Personal Life?
The Tri-City Herald – Annette Cary | Published: 6/15/2020
The ethics officer for the city of Kennewick, Washington, reversed his finding that there should be a hearing to consider evidence that Mayor Don Britain may have violated the city’s ethics code. Attorney Thomas Atwood, who serves as the ethics officer on an as-needed basis, was convinced to change his recommendation based on the mayor’s argument the ethics policy for city council members should only apply to conduct directly related to city activities or council business. Atwood said an exception could be made to consider personal conduct if there were egregious behavior outside of city business, such as a felony conviction or conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, neither of which applies to Britain’s case, Atwood wrote in his decision.
Washington – Tim Eyman’s Lawyer Says Anti-Tax Activist Is Victim of ‘Judicial Lynching’
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 6/12/2020
Tim Eyman’s lawyer said the gubernatorial candidate and longtime anti-tax activist is the victim of a “judicial lynching.” It is the latest incident in recent weeks in which Eyman, or his team, has used inflammatory language to compare himself to victims of racism. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, in a case that has dragged on for years, has charged Eyman with violating campaign finance law to enrich himself, laundering political donations and accepting kickbacks. Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled Eyman has been in violation of campaign finance laws for at least the last seven years, concealing nearly $800,000 in political contributions. Ferguson asked Dixon to impose unspecified sanctions on Sanders, accusing him of filing a “repetitive, unfounded, misleading, and offensive” brief.
June 18, 2020 •
Campaign Finance National: “Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook” by Mike Isaac for New York Times New Jersey: “Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill” by […]
National: “Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook” by Mike Isaac for New York Times
New Jersey: “Candidates Would Not Be Able to Use Campaign Cash to Settle Sexual Harassment Claims Under Bill” by Samantha Marcus (NJ Advance Media) for Newark Star Ledger
National: “New Generation of Activists, Deeply Skeptical of Democratic Party, Resists Calls to Channel Energy into the 2020 Campaign” by Cleve Wootson Jr. (Washington Post) for MSN
Iowa: “Kim Reynolds Confirms She Will Sign Felon Voting Rights Executive Order” by Stephen Miller-Gruber and Ian Richardson for Des Moines Register
Nebraska: “Nebraska Democrats Renounce Their Senate Pick Over Comments” by Grant Schulte for AP News
North Dakota: “Judge Nixes North Dakota Group’s Call for Online Signatures” by Staff for AP News
Texas: “Texas Democrats Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Voting by Mail” by Alexa Ura for Texas Tribune
National: “Senate Ethics Panel Dismisses Insider-Trading Inquiry into Sen. Loeffler” by Colby Itkowitz for Washington Post
National: “Justice Department Asks Court to Order Bolton to Stop the Release of His Book” by Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey for Washington Post
Maryland: “Payments by Auto Insurer for Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh Were Illegal, State Review Finds” by Meredith Cohn for Baltimore Sun
Washington: “Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Kennewick Mayor. Should Ethics Code Cover Personal Life?” by Annette Cary for The Tri-City Herald
June 17, 2020 •
Elections National: “The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate” by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul for New York Times Ethics National: “‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest” by Tim Ryan for Courthouse News Service National: “Members of Congress […]
National: “The Rising Trump Lawyer Battling to Reshape the Electorate” by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul for New York Times
National: “‘Sharpiegate’ Controversy Laid to Uneasy Rest” by Tim Ryan for Courthouse News Service
National: “Members of Congress Took Small-Business Loans – and the Full Extent Is Unknown” by Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and Zachary Warmbrodt for Politico
Canada: “Canada’s Ethics Czar Investigates Former Canadian Envoy to Washington Over His Work for Palantir” by Abby Blatchford for Politico
Alabama: “Judge Rules Birmingham Airport Authority Employees Not Under Ethics Law” by Mike Cason for AL.com
Florida: “Could Potential for Conflicts Influence Review of Miami’s Powerful Zoning Code?” by Andres Viglucci for Miami Herald
Ohio: “Ex-Cuyahoga County Jail Director Lied to Investigators to ‘Protect Armond Budish and Those in His Inner Circle,’ Prosecutors Say” by Cory Shaffer for Cleveland Plain Dealer
National: “K Street Backrooms Morph Into ‘the Zoom Where It Happens’” by Kate Ackley for Roll Call
California: “Public Health Funds Are Needed More Than Ever but Lack ‘Lobbying Muscle’ in California” by Angela Hart (California Healthline) for Los Angeles Times
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