March 3, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – March 3, 2023
National/Federal Indian Americans Rapidly Climbing Political Ranks DNyuz – Maggie Astor and Jill Cowan (New York Times) | Published: 2/27/2023 Despite being one of the largest immigrant groups in the U.S., Americans of Indian descent in 20123 were barely represented in politics. […]
Indian Americans Rapidly Climbing Political Ranks
DNyuz – Maggie Astor and Jill Cowan (New York Times) | Published: 2/27/2023
Despite being one of the largest immigrant groups in the U.S., Americans of Indian descent in 20123 were barely represented in politics. Ten years later, the 118th Congress includes five Indian Americans; nearly 50 are in state Legislatures. Vice President Kamala Harris is Indian American. Nikki Haley’s campaign announcement makes 2024 the third consecutive cycle in which an Indian American has run for president, and Vivek Ramaswamy’s newly announced candidacy makes it the first cycle with two.
Student Loan Case Could Redefine Limits of Presidential Power
DNyuz – Michael Shear and Adam Liptak (New York Times) | Published: 3/1/2023
One of President Biden’s most ambitious proposals, a $400 billion program to forgive student loan debt for 40 million Americans, could become the latest victim of a legal tug of war with the U.S. Supreme Court over the powers of the presidency. The case has the potential to curtail Biden just as newly empowered Republicans in the House have vowed to block his every move in Congress. It will set additional legal precedents, potentially defining new limits for presidential power.
Rep. Scott Perry Fights to Keep Phone from Team Probing Jan. 6 Attack
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 2/23/2023
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry is asking an appeals court to block a search of his cellphone by the special counsel investigating the insurrection at the Capitol. He is supported by bipartisan House leadership in arguing the speech or debate clause of the Constitution bars the Justice Department from seeing the phone contents. After the 2020 election, Perry pushed the White House and Justice Department to investigate implausible election fraud claims. He was also involved in the effort to install as acting attorney general Jeffrey Clark, who backed plans to block Biden from taking office.
Trump White House Pressured Disney to Censor … Jimmy Kimmel
MSN – Asawin Suebsaeng (Rolling Stone) | Published: 2/26/2023
In early 2018, then-President Trump was so upset by late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic jabs he directed his White House staff to call up one of Disney’s top executives in Washington, D.C., to complain and demand action. Disney owns ABC, on which Jimmy Kimmel Live! has long aired. The following year, Trump directed his staff and attorneys to see whether the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department could retaliate against late night shows critical of him after he was incensed by the jokes about him on SNL.
Murdoch Admits Some Fox Hosts ‘Were Endorsing’ Election Falsehoods
MSN – Jeremy Barr, Sarah Ellison, and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 2/27/2023
Embattled Rep. Ogles Acknowledges Misrepresenting His College Major
MSN – John Wagner (Washington Post) | Published: 2/27/2023
Showdown Before the Raid: FBI agents and prosecutors argued over Trump
MSN – Carol Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein, and Aaron Davis (Washington Post) | Published: 3/1/2023
Months of disputes between Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents over how best to try to recover classified documents from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence led to a tense showdown near the end of July last year. It was one of several previously unreported clashes in a tug of war between two arms of the Justice Department over how aggressively to pursue a criminal investigation of a former president. The FBI conducted an unprecedented raid and recovered more than 100 classified items.
Dark Money and Special Deals: How Leonard Leo and his friends benefited from his judicial activism
MSN – Heidi Przybyla (Politico) | Published: 3/1/2023
A network of political nonprofits formed by judicial activist Leonard Leo moved at least $43 million to a new firm he is leading, raising questions about how his conservative legal movement is funded. Leo’s own personal wealth appeared to have ballooned as his fundraising prowess accelerated since his efforts to cement the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority helped to bring about its decision to overturn abortion rights. Most recently, Leo reaped a $1.6 billion windfall from a single donor in what is likely the biggest single political gift in U.S. history.
Judge Won’t Unseal Details of Trump’s Privilege Fight Over Jan. 6 Grand Jury
MSN – Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney (Politico) | Published: 2/23/2023
U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell rejected a bid to obtain access to details of former President Trump’s efforts to block testimony by aides to a grand jury investigating his effort to derail the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Howell said a federal court rule mandating grand jury secrecy precluded the release of court opinions and other filings about disputes she has ruled on behind closed doors. The New York Times and Politico petitioned Howell to unseal portions of the grand jury proceedings in October, citing the historic nature of the secret rulings she had issued. The Justice Department opposed the unsealing, prompting Howell’s decision.
New Indictment Details Bankman-Fried’s Illegal Campaign Contributions
Yahoo News – Declan Harty and Sam Sutton (Politico) | Published: 2/23/2023
Yahoo News – Lisa Lerer and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 3/1/2023
For decades, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) occupied a center ring in Republican politics. This year, Donald Trump will be back at the four-day gathering, joined by a long list of right-wing media provocateurs, culture-war activists, and a smattering of senators. Missing from the agenda: many of the Republicans seen as the future of the party. Some Republicans say the CPAC gathering has increasingly become more like a sideshow than a featured act, one that seems made almost exclusively for conservative media.
From the States and Municipalities
Alabama – AG Steve Marshall Accuses Alabama Ethics Director Tom Albritton of ‘Self-Dealing’ from Charitable Trust
AL.com – Mike Cason | Published: 3/1/2023
State Attorney General Steve Marshall accused Alabama Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton of improperly benefiting from a charitable trust for which Albritton was a board member because Albritton’s children received more than $100,000 in scholarship money from the fund. The accusation came in a civil case and is not a criminal allegation. Marshall alleged Albritton and two other members of the board breached their duties by engaging in “self-dealing” or by failing to prevent it.
Arizona – Pro-Lake PAC Didn’t Fabricate Its Source of $2.1 Million, Officials Concluded Last Year
Arizona Mirror – Jim Small | Published: 2/27/2023
A campaign finance complaint accusing a super PAC that spent $2.1 million boosting Kari Lake’s bid for Arizona governor of inventing the source of its funding was quietly dismissed last year after elections officials determined a media report questioning the money’s origin was inaccurate. In July 2022, the Arizona Republic reported on the mysterious source of more than $2 million that had been spent on television ads to help Lake win her Republican primary contest against wealthy developer Karrin Taylor Robson.
Arizona – Arizona Governor Seeks Ethics Review of Former Attorney General
MSN – Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 2/25/2023
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is seeking a review of what her office alleges was “likely unethical conduct” by the state’s former attorney general, Mark Brnovich. A letter sent from the governor’s office to the State Bar of Arizona follows the disclosure of records showing Brnovich, a Republican, withheld findings by his own investigators refuting claims of fraud in the 2020 election and mischaracterized his office’s probe of voting in the state’s largest county. The letter signed calls the conduct “harmful to our democracy, our State, and the legal profession itself.”
California – California Business Groups File Lawsuit Seeking to Block New Campaign Finance Law
MSN – Theresa Clift (Sacramento Bee) | Published: 2/24/2023
A new lawsuit seeks to block a state law that requires city and county elected officials to recuse themselves from certain decisions that would financially benefit any entity or person that donated over $250 to that official’s campaign in the past year. It allows the official to return the money to cast a vote. The law applies to permits, licenses, and contracts, and might also be expanded to things like rezoning for development projects, said the bill’s author. The suit alleges lawmakers never had the authority to amend the Political Reform Act of 1974 in such a significant way.
California – Anaheim Officials Reverse Course and Fully Fund an Independent City Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Spencer Custodio and Hosam Elattar | Published: 3/1/2023
The Anaheim City Council decided to fully fund an independent, city-commissioned corruption probe after hesitating earlier in February, which fueled outcry amongst many residents and activist groups. Council members also voted to allow investigators to share information about possible criminal misconduct with the district attorney’s office. The investigation was launched in August after revelations of an FBI corruption probe, in which federal agents allege Disneyland resort area interests and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce wielded outsized influence on policy making at City Hall. They help fund city council campaigns.
Colorado – A Piece of Colorado Capitol History Is for Sale on eBay for $9,000. State Officials Want It Back.
Colorado Sun – Jessie Paul | Published: 3/1/2023
Sage Naumann, a former staffer at the Colorado Legislature, was conducting his occasional nerd search of state relics on eBay when an item caught his eye: “ORIGINAL BRONZE WALL SCONCE FROM THE COLORADO STATE CAPITOL BLDG. IN DENVER COLO.” The list price was $8,995. The Capitol Building Advisory Committee determined it wants the sconce – a decorative light fixture – back. The eBay listing has prompted a larger discussion about how to get missing Capitol relics back when they are discovered.
Florida – Jason Brodeur Wants Pay-to-Play Blog Posts About Elected Officials Reported with the State
Florida Politics – Jacob Ogles | Published: 3/1/2023
Florida could require blogs paid to produce content about elected officials to register and report that activity. Senate Bill 1316 requires reporting with the state “if a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post.” Under the bill, bloggers must file monthly reports that list what posts mention those officials, along with disclosing any individual who paid for the posts and the amount paid.
Florida – DeSantis Takes Over Disney District, Punishing Company
MSN – Anthony Izaguirre (Associated Press) | Published: 2/27/2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that gives him control of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district, punishing the company over its opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The bill requires DeSantis to appoint a five-member board to oversee the government services the Disney district provides in its theme park properties in Florida. The signing came as DeSantis gears up for an expected presidential run and marks a high-profile legislative victory for a governor whose leveraging of cultural and political divides has pushed him to the front of national Republican politics.
Florida – Federal Judge Blocks Part of Florida Law Banning Elected Officials from Lobbying Other Governments
MSN – Anthony Man (South Florida Sun Sentinel) | Published: 2/28/2023
U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom struck down part of Florida’s ban on paid lobbying by elected officials. The temporary injunction prohibits enforcement of the provision that bars elected officials from paid lobbying on behalf of clients before any other government entity. The judge let stand a six-year ban on certain lobbying activities by former government officials once they leave office. The law has already had an impact. Some elected officials who have worked as lobbyists stopped. Others resigned their government posts.
Florida – DeSantis Wants to Roll Back Press Freedoms – with an Eye Toward Overturning Supreme Court Ruling
Yahoo News – Matt Dixon (Politico) | Published: 2/23/2023
At the Gov. Ron DeSantis’s urging, Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature is pushing to weaken state laws that have long protected journalists against defamation suits and frivolous lawsuits. The proposal is part DeSantis’s ongoing feud with media companies he claims are biased against Republicans as he prepares for a likely 2024 presidential bid. The proposal is being positioned to spark a larger legal battle with the goal of eventually overturning New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits public officials’ ability to sue publishers for defamation.
Georgia – Judge Overseeing Trump Georgia Grand Jury Speaks After Foreperson’s Controversial Interviews
Yahoo News – Olivia Rubin (ABC News) | Published: 2/27/2023
After the foreperson of the grand jury investigating former President Trump and a push to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia spoke out in several headline-making interviews, the judge overseeing the case said jurors “can talk about the final report.” But Judge Robert McBurney noted the matter can get “problematic” if jurors start to “synthesize the testimony” and the group’s thoughts on it. The foreperson, Emily Kohrs, gave interviews to news outlets regarding her work as a juror, including that the panel had recommended indictments against multiple people.
Illinois – In 4 Years, Lori Lightfoot Went from Breakout Political Star to Divisive Mayor of a Chicago Beset by Pandemic and Crime
MSN – Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 3/1/2023
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s failure to advance to a runoff election represents an astonishing fall from power four years after she was ushered into City Hall with a promise of reform. Instead, Lightfoot struggled through a storm of skyrocketing crime, the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of personality conflicts that left her labeled as a divisive leader who was unable to build political coalitions or maintain relationships.
Massachusetts – Several Thorny Political Corruption Cases Await New Attorney General Andrea Campbell
MSN – Samantha Gross (Boston Globe) | Published: 2/26/2023
Among the many different types of crimes that the Massachusetts attorney general’s office investigates, none present quite the minefield as the prosecution of another politician. Some previous state prosecutors pursued such cases with vigor. Others, less so. And either way, they usually got criticized, for being too zealous or too timid. The newly elected attorney general, Andrea Campbell, inherited several high-profile political cases, including allegations of illegal campaign finance activity by a sitting state senator and the former head of the Massachusetts GOP and pending criminal charges against a former state senator and congressional candidate.
Montana – Lawmakers Look to Define Investigative Authority After Judicial Conflict
Helena Independent Record – Seaborn Larson | Published: 3/1/2023
After the Montana Legislature’s investigation into the judiciary last session was blocked by the courts’ finding they had lacked authority to do so, Republicans worked to fill that gap. Senate Bill 490 would provide a scope and use of the Legislature’s “investigative powers.” The state Supreme Court in 2021 found lawmakers needed a legislative purpose to investigate the judiciary.
New Jersey – Assembly Postpones Vote on Bill That Could Gut Some NJ Campaign Finance Rules
MSN – Ashley Balcerzak (Bergen Record) | Published: 2/27/2023
The New Jersey Assembly postponed a vote on an overhaul of the state’s campaign finance system that would eviscerate “pay-to-play” rules, give the governor more control over the agency that polices election law, and increase what individuals and companies can donate. Assemblyperson Carol Murphy confirmed the chamber did not have enough votes to pass the measure and pulled the bill to take a closer look at the last-minute amendments.
New Mexico – Bill to End Gag on Ethics Complainants Clears Committee
NM Political Report – Susan Dunlap | Published: 2/25/2023
The Senate Rules Committee passed a bill that would allow someone who files an ethics complaint in New Mexico to speak publicly on the matter. The current law prohibits both the complainant and committee staff from speaking publicly about a complaint. House Bill 169 generated a discussion around the constitutional right to free speech.
New Mexico – Trump Cowboy Found Not Guilty of Campaign Finance Charge
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 3/1/2023
Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin was found not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to register a political committee in New Mexico. Cowboys for Trump staged horseback parades to spread Donald Trump’s conservative message on issues. Griffin invoked free speech protections in declining to register and disclose donors the group, while expressing concern that contributors might be harassed.
New York – Democrats Seek to Close Lobbying Loophole on Nominations Exposed by LaSalle Fight
Albany Times Union – Joshua Solomon | Published: 2/27/2023
New York Senate Democratic leaders are seeking to close an apparent lobbying loophole for nominations to statewide positions that require confirmation. The loophole allows for individuals or groups seeking to influence the vote of senators on a nominee without having to report their activities to the state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. “The danger in people trying to influence judicial appointments is just as great, if not greater, than for those trying to influence legislation,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. “To somehow allow that influence to be exerted in secrecy makes absolutely no sense.”
New York – Could Public Campaign Finance Unlaunch in New York?
City & State – Rebecca Lewis | Published: 2/28/2023
It has been reported that despite the new statewide public campaign finance system’s official launch in November, legislative leaders in New York may push to postpone payouts for two years even as lawmakers and other candidates have begun to sign up. Good government advocates have touted the program as a way to reduce corruption by reducing the influence of big-dollar donors. Opponents have argued that taxpayer money should not pay for lawmakers’ elections.
North Carolina – Federal Court of Appeals Rules NC’s Ag-Gag Law Is Unconstitutional, Signals a Win for Whistleblowers
NC Policy Watch – Lisa Sorg | Published: 2/24/2023
A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that North Carolina’s “ag-gag law” is unconstitutional and infringes on free speech. The Property Protection Act allows courts to assess civil fines on employees who took videos or photos, or even took handwritten notes, of a business’s non-public areas to document alleged wrongdoing, and then passed that information to anyone besides the employer or law enforcement. The fines were $5,000 per day, plus attorney’s fees.
Ohio – A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Ohio Enacted the Most Restrictive Voter Photo ID Law in America
Ohio Capital Journal – Zurie Pope | Published: 3/1/2023
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 458 in January, enacting what has been called one of the most restrictive voter-ID laws in the country. Public records show how the law moved through the process, with lawmakers often ignoring moderation suggestions proposed by the secretary of state’s office and a law firm that lobbied on the measure. Republican leaders insist the new voting restrictions were necessary, despite no evidence of significant voter fraud.
Ohio – Norfolk Southern Plied Ohio Politicians with Campaign Cash, Extensive Lobbying
WSYX – Darrell Rowland | Published: 2/23/2023
Almost exactly a month before a Norfolk Southern train derailed and spewed hazardous materials in East Palestine, Ohio, the company gave the maximum $10,000 to help bankroll Gov. Mike DeWine’s inaugural festivities. The railway company contributed about $98,000 during the past six years to Ohio statewide and legislative candidates. It also filed more than 200 quarterly reports disclosing the lobbying of state officials or legislators in the same period. Most of the lobbying was on generic transportation issues. Some efforts were devoted to defeating legislation that would have established tougher safety standards for train operations.
Pennsylvania – Shapiro Admin Contends Taking Super Bowl Tickets Didn’t Violate Governor’s Own Gift Ban
MSN – Kate Huangpu and Stephen Caruso (Spotlight PA) | Published: 2/22/2023
Under a policy instituted in January, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and executive branch employees are not allowed to accept tickets to recreational events such as football games. The ban states these employees cannot accept such a gift from any “person or entity” that “has financial relations with the Commonwealth.” But Team Pennsylvania – a public-private partnership that works to improve the state’s “competitiveness and economic prosperity” – paid for Shapiro and his staff’s flights, lodging, and tickets for the Super Bowl in Arizona this year. The state has given the group over $17.2 million in contracts since 2007.
Pennsylvania – Ex-Philly Councilmember Bobby Henon Sentenced to 3 1/2 Years in Union Bribery Case
MSN – Jeremy Roebuck and Oona Goodin-Smith (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 3/1/2023
A federal judge sentenced former city council member Bobby Henon to three-and-one-half years in prison, calling his conviction on bribery charges a case that “exposed the dirty underbelly of how Philadelphia politics works.” U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Schmehl said Henon deserved his prison term for essentially selling his office to labor leader John Dougherty in exchange for a $70,000-a-year union salary.
Pennsylvania – Lobbyist Says She Was Sexually Harassed by Pa. Lawmaker Mike Zabel, Calls on Him to Resign
Spotlight PA – Stephen Caruso | Published: 3/1/2023
Andi Perez a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union 32BJ, says Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Zabel sexually harassed her and called for him to resign. Perez did not name Zabel when she publicly shared her story in January. She said an unnamed lawmaker harassed her while they discussed a bill outside of the Capitol. Spotlight PA spoke to a woman who was with Perez at the time of the incident and corroborated Perez’s story. Spotlight PA also viewed a text message Zabel sent to Perez the day after she said the harassment occurred, in which he confirmed the two met and apologized for his “bad manners at times.”
Pennsylvania – McClinton Voted Pa. Speaker; First Black Woman to Win Post
Yahoo News – Mark Scolforo (Associated Press) | Published: 2/28/2023
State Rep. Joanna McClinton became the first woman to serve as speaker of the Pennsylvania House, ascending to the chamber’s top position on the strength of a fresh one-vote Democratic majority. The leadership reshuffling came nearly two months after Rep. Mark Rozzi became the surprise choice for speaker. Democrats flipped a net of 12 seats in November to retake majority control by the narrowest of margins after more than a decade, but their control did not become effective until their candidates won three special elections in February.
South Carolina – SC House Freedom Caucus Takes Colleagues to Federal Court on Free Speech Grounds
MSN – Joseph Bustos (The State) | Published: 2/28/2023
The South Carolina House Freedom Caucus is taking its colleagues to federal court. The caucus, an ultra-conservative wing of House Republicans, filed a lawsuit against Ethics Committee members over free speech grounds. The group is asking the court to equal the playing field for legislative caucuses, allowing them, most importantly, to solicit donations similar to the two main party caucuses in the lower chamber. State ethics law only allows the Republican, Democratic, Legislative Black Caucus, and Women’s caucuses to raise money, openly advocate for candidates and hire staff.
Tennessee – Gov. Bill Lee Will Sign Drag Bill, Reacts to Yearbook Photo Showing Him Dressed as a Woman
MSN – Josh Keefe (Tennessean) | Published: 2/27/2023
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he intends to sign an antidrug show bill into law when it reaches his desk, the first time he has publicly taken a position on the legislation. Lee also said comparisons between the performances targeted in the bill and an old yearbook picture of him dressed in woman’s clothes were “ridiculous.” In 2019, Lee said he regretted attending “Old South” parties while an undergraduate student at Auburn University after a yearbook photo showed him dressed as a Confederate soldier.
Texas – Two GOP Legislators in Harris County Want to Let the State Replace Local Elections Administrators
Texas Tribune – Natalia Contreras (Votebeat) | Published: 2/27/2023
Bills filed by Republican lawmakers in response to Harris County’s mismanagement of its recent elections could give the Texas secretary of state the authority to step in, suspend county election administrators when a complaint is filed and appoint a replacement administrator. Election administration experts said the legislation was an overreaction to the desire to hold Harris County accountable for years of election mismanagement and would disrupt the state’s ability to help county election offices improve and address systemic problems.
Wyoming – Bouchard Reprimanded by Senate Leadership; Lawmaker Doubles Down on Social Media
Wyoming Tribune Eagle – Jasmine Hall | Published: 3/1/2023
Wyoming Senate leaders issued a formal letter of reprimand against Sen. Anthony Bouchard for his behavior that led to a second ethics complaint in less than a year. The most recent complaint was filed by nurse practitioner Jennifer James, who had testified in the House Appropriations Committee on a bill sponsored by Bouchard. He used an obscenity in a text message to James for her comments on the bill regarding the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
March 2, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance National: “Dark Money and Special Deals: How Leonard Leo and his friends benefited from his judicial activism” by Heidi Przybyla (Politico) for MSN Elections Illinois: “In 4 Years, Lori Lightfoot Went from Breakout Political Star to Divisive Mayor of a Chicago […]
March 1, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Arizona: “Pro-Lake PAC Didn’t Fabricate Its Source of $2.1 Million, Officials Concluded Last Year” by Jim Small for Arizona Mirror Elections National: “Murdoch Admits Some Fox Hosts ‘Were Endorsing’ Election Falsehoods” by Jeremy Barr, Sarah Ellison, and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) […]
Arizona: “Pro-Lake PAC Didn’t Fabricate Its Source of $2.1 Million, Officials Concluded Last Year” by Jim Small for Arizona Mirror
National: “Murdoch Admits Some Fox Hosts ‘Were Endorsing’ Election Falsehoods” by Jeremy Barr, Sarah Ellison, and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “Judge Overseeing Trump Georgia Grand Jury Speaks After Foreperson’s Controversial Interviews” by Olivia Rubin (ABC News) for Yahoo News
National: “Embattled Rep. Ogles Acknowledges Misrepresenting His College Major” by John Wagner (Washington Post) for MSN
Florida: “DeSantis Takes Over Disney District, Punishing Company” by Anthony Izaguirre (Associated Press) for MSN
Tennessee: “Gov. Bill Lee Will Sign Drag Bill, Reacts to Yearbook Photo Showing Him Dressed as a Woman” by Josh Keefe (Tennessean) for MSN
Pennsylvania: “McClinton Voted Pa. Speaker; First Black Woman to Win Post” by Mark Scolforo (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
South Carolina: “SC House Freedom Caucus Takes Colleagues to Federal Court on Free Speech Grounds” by Joseph Bustos (The State) for MSN
February 28, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance New Jersey: “Assembly Postpones Vote on Bill That Could Gut Some NJ Campaign Finance Rules” by Ashley Balcerzak (Bergen Record) for MSN Elections National: “Indian Americans Rapidly Climbing Political Ranks” by Maggie Astor and Jill Cowan (New York Times) for DNyuz Texas: “Two […]
February 27, 2023 •
Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance California: “California Business Groups File Lawsuit Seeking to Block New Campaign Finance Law” by Theresa Clift (Sacramento Bee) for MSN National: “New Indictment Details Bankman-Fried’s Illegal Campaign Contributions” by Declan Harty and Sam Sutton (Politico) for Yahoo News Elections Arizona: “Arizona Governor Seeks […]
February 24, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – February 24, 2023
National/Federal Trump Spent $10 Million From His PAC on His Legal Bills Last Year DNyuz – Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 2/21/2023 Former President Trump spent roughly $10 million from his PAC, Save America, on his own legal fees last […]
Trump Spent $10 Million From His PAC on His Legal Bills Last Year
DNyuz – Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 2/21/2023
Former President Trump spent roughly $10 million from his PAC, Save America, on his own legal fees last year. The money that went to Trump’s legal bills was part of more than $16 million that Save America spent for legal-related payments in 2021 and 2022. Some campaign finance experts are raising questions about whether, as an announced candidate for president, Trump can continue to use the PAC to pay for his personal legal bills.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Subpoenaed in Jan. 6 Investigation
DNyuz – Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt (New York Times) | Published: 2/22/2023
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been subpoenaed by the special counsel to testify before a federal grand jury about Trump’s efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election and his role in a pro-Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol. The decision by the special counsel, Jack Smith, to subpoena Ivanka Trump and Kushner underscores how deeply into the former president’s inner circle that Smith is reaching and is the latest sign no potential high-level witness is off limits.
Months After Her Trump Indignity, U.S. Judge Aileen Cannon Catches Another Political Hot Potato
Florida Bulldog – Dan Christensen | Published: 2/19/2023
Former U.S. Rep. Rivera was ordered to pay a $456,000 civil penalty to the FEC after the agency showed he secretly financed the primary campaign of another candidate to “weaken” his likely 2012 general election opponent. Rivera has a motion pending before U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon asking her to declare the penalty enhancement provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act as unconstitutional. Cannon’s ruling in the case of missing classified documents found at Donald Trump’s residence was vacated on appeal and questions are likely to arise about her ability to impartially handle another politically charged case.
McCarthy Gives Tucker Carlson Exclusive Access to Jan. 6 Riot Video
MSN – Meryl Kornfield and Jacqueline Alemany (Washington Post) | Published: 2/21/2023
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy provided exclusive access to a trove of U.S. Capitol surveillance footage from the insurrection to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has played down the deadly violence that occurred and claimed it was a “false flag” operation. The decision by McCarthy to provide the video to Carlson raised serious questions about whether the release of the footage would force U.S. Capitol Police to change the location of security cameras and why the speaker would give the material to a Fox News host who has peddled conspiracy theories about the attack and not share it with other news organizations.
50 Years Ago, Depression Ended a Campaign. That’s Changed, Politicians Say.
MSN – Jonathan Edwards and Praveena Somasundaram (Washington Post) | Published: 2/17/2023
When it was revealed that U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, a vice-presidential nominee in 1972, had been hospitalized three times for depression and undergone electroshock therapy, it derailed his chance to be on the Democratic ticket that year. Fifty years later, when U.S. Sen. John Fetterman’s office announced he had voluntarily sought treatment for clinical depression, the reaction was far different, signaling a shift in the way those holding public office talk about mental health.
When Chiefs Play, Lobbyists Pay to Get Missouri and Kansas Politicians into Big Games
MSN – Jonathan Shorman, Kevin Hardy, and Katie Bernard (Kansas City Star) | Published: 2/17/2023
Public officials in Missouri and Kansas have accepted more than $30,000 in football tickets from special interests to Kansas City Chiefs games and related gifts, like parking, since 2017 when the Patrick Mahomes era began, a period capped by the team’s Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Missouri voters in 2018 voted to ban most gifts to state lawmakers. But other public officials like mayors and city council members were not included, leaving lobbyists free to continue giving them tickets, meals, and other items.
Before Ohio Derailment, Norfolk Southern Lobbied Against Safety Rules
MSN – Ian Duncan, Luz Lazo, and Michael Laris (Washington Post) | Published: 2/18/2023
Three months before one of his railroad’s trains derailed and burned in Ohio, Norfolk Southern chief executive Alan Shaw shared a picture of him and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg smiling together after a meeting in Washington. It was an opportunity for Norfolk Southern to raise concerns about a proposed federal rule that would require trains, in most cases, to have two crew members. Federal regulators have argued that two workers could better respond to derailments and other emergencies. Labor leaders say Norfolk Southern resists proposed regulation, opposing new safety standards while searching for loopholes through existing rules.
Fox News Hosts, Execs Privately Doubted 2020 Conspiracy Claims Shared on Air
MSN – Jeremy Barr and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 2/16/2023
George Santos Reported Spreading Campaign Cash to Other Republicans. The Money Never Showed Up.
Yahoo News – Jessica Piper (Politico) | Published: 2/22/2023
One of George Santos’s first acts as a candidate for Congress in 2019, according to his campaign finance filings, was making a series of four-figure contributions from his campaign to a pair of local Republican groups and former President Trump’s reelection committee. But according to those groups’ own filings, the contributions were never received and may not have been donated. The purported donations included $2,800 to Trump’s campaign that is not reflected in his campaign finance disclosures and would have exceeded contribution limits if it did happen as Santos’s campaign reported it.
Canada – Lobbying Commissioner Proposes New Rules – but Critics Aren’t Happy
MSN – Darren Major (CBC) | Published: 2/19/2023
Canada’s lobbying commissioner is proposing a new set of guidelines on how lobbyists should conduct themselves when engaging with public officials. Some critics say the changes would eviscerate the guidelines, while others say they go too far. The proposed changes would set monetary limits on what lobbyists should offer officials in the way of gifts and food. They would also reduce the period of time after a person leaves a politician’s employ when they are not supposed to lobby that politician.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – Alaska House Censures Rep. Eastman for Comments About the Economic ‘Benefit’ of Child Abuse Deaths
KTOO – James Brooks (Alaska Beacon) | Published: 2/22/2023
The Alaska House voted to reprimand state Rep. David Eastman for speculating the state could financially benefit if child abuse victims died of their abuse. Eastman’s remarks, which he said were intended to criticize some arguments in favor of abortion rights, spread on social media, contributing to the public outcry. A censure has no consequences other than putting a formal statement of disapproval or reprimand on the record. But some lawmakers said their vote should be considered an action, not mere words.
Arizona – Arizona’s Top Prosecutor Concealed Records Debunking Election Fraud Claims
MSN – Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 2/22/2023
An investigation found virtually all claims of error and malfeasance in Maricopa County, Arizona, in the 2020 election were unfounded, according to documents. Then-state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican who launched the probe, kept the findings private. He released an “Interim Report” claiming his office had discovered “serious vulnerabilities.” He left out edits from his own investigators refuting his assertions. The innuendo and inaccuracies, circulated not just in the far reaches of the internet but with the imprimatur of the state’s attorney general, helped make Arizona an epicenter of distrust in the democratic process.
Arizona – ‘Dark Money’ Opponents Want to Block Effort to Quash Law
Sierra Vista Herald Review – Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) | Published: 2/15/2023
The group that convinced voters last year to outlaw “dark money” in Arizona is asking a judge to block a bid by two special interest groups to keep the law from taking effect. In new legal filings, attorney Chanele Reyes told a Superior Court judge there is nothing unconstitutional about ensuring that voters know who is trying to influence elections. Approved by voters in November by a wide margin, Proposition 211 says any organization that spends more than $50,000 on a statewide race – half that for other contests – must publicly disclose anyone who has given at least $5,000.
California – Family Business: Meet the legacy caucus in the California Legislature
CalMatters – Ben Christopher | Published: 2/8/2023
Of the 120 state lawmakers in California, twelve have current or former members in their immediate family. At least 10 percent of the Legislature has been related to at least one current or former state lawmaker since 2001. The ubiquity of political families can shape the culture at the Capitol. At best, it provides a way for institutional knowledge to pass from one generation to the next despite term limits. At worst, it can provide fodder for cynics who believe that political power is only available to those who know the right people.
California – Ethics Commission Set to Recommend Tougher Lobbying Rules
Long Beach Post – Jason Ruiz | Published: 2/19/2023
The Long Beach Ethics Commission could propose dramatic changes to the city’s lobbying rules that would redefine who has to register their activities with the city, lower the threshold for when activity needs to be reported, and require politicians and other officials to self-report contacts with people advocating for policies or projects. The commissioners could formally refer them to the city council for approval at its March 8 meeting.
California – Trial Begins for Former LA Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan on Corruption Charges
Los Angeles Daily News – Fred Shuster (City News Service) | Published: 2/21/2023
A former Los Angeles deputy mayor played a key role in a complex City Hall-based bribery scheme run by ex-city council member José Huizar designed to “get money, keep power, and avoid the feds,” a prosecutor told jurors in Raymond Chan’s trial on corruption charges. Chan is accused of being a member of what prosecutors dubbed the Council District 14 “enterprise,” a conspiracy which operated as a “pay-to-play” scheme in which Huizar, assisted by others, unlawfully used his office to give favorable treatment to real estate developers who financed and facilitated bribes and other illicit benefits.
California – San Jose Mayor’s Chief of Staff Accused of Conflict of Interest
San Jose Spotlight – Jane Kadah | Published: 2/17/2023
While working in the top offices of city government, Jim Reed helped raise six figures to elect San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. Then he went to work for him. Many say that could be considered a conflict-of-interest. Some in are considering a call to demand Reed step down as Mahan’s chief of staff or at least be investigated by the city’s ethics commission. Government employees such as Reed cannot intermingle official resources with political campaigns, or use public resources including their time or city offices for lobbying or political activities.
Colorado – Denver City Councilmember Forced to Crawl onto Debate Stage Due to Lack of Wheelchair Access
Denver Gazette – Alex Andrews | Published: 2/15/2023
A Denver City Council member who relies on a wheelchair says he was humiliated after being forced to crawl onto a stage to take part in an election debate because the venue did not have a ramp. Hinds participates in the city’s Fair Election Fund program, in which candidates who agree to raise money in lower amounts get a matching disbursement from the city. The program requires candidates to participate in debates or forfeit the funding. Hind’s campaign said he stands to lose $125,000. “People often think that the [Americans with Disabilities Act] solved accessibility problems, but here is a stark reminder that serious issues still persist,” Hinds said.
Florida – Mayor Jane Castor’s Partner Vowed Not to Lobby the City. How’d That Go?
MSN – Charlie Frago and Sue Carlton (Tampa Bay Times) | Published: 2/22/2023
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s partner, lobbyist Ana Cruz, has helped run Florida campaigns for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. On Twitter, she goes by Tampa’s 1st Lady. When Castor announced she would run for mayor, questions were raised about her connection to Cruz, who is a managing partner at Ballard Partners. The firm, which specializes in governmental and public affairs, has represented clients to the city of Tampa.
Georgia – Georgia Grand Jury: ‘Perjury may have been committed’ in Trump election probe
MSN – Holly Bailey (Washington Post) | Published: 2/16/2023
An special grand jury investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia concluded some witnesses may have lied under oath during their testimony and recommended charges be filed. But those witnesses were not identified in the excerpt of the grand jury report that was made public. The unsealed document offered no major clues about the grand jury’s other findings, although the panel noted it unanimously agreed that Georgia’s 2020 presidential vote had not been marred by “widespread fraud,” contrary to what Trump and many of his allies have claimed.
Hawaii – Should Hawaii’s Legislature Meet Year-Round?
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 2/21/2023
When Sen. Stanley Chang was elected to the Hawaii Senate in 2016 after serving for four years on the Honolulu City Council, he was surprised by the pace of the legislative session. The council’s schedule of weekly committee hearings and twice-monthly council meetings throughout the year “permitted time for deliberation, consultation with stakeholders and accessibility for the public,” Chang said. On the other hand, “[the Legislature is] just four months of chaos …,” he said. Chang introduced a bill that would eliminate the current 60-day limit on legislative sessions and require lawmakers to meet at least once monthly instead.
Illinois – Lightfoot’s Campaign Sent 9,900 Emails Seeking Support from CPS and City Colleges Staff, Documents Show
WBEZ – Nader Issa (Chicago Sun-Times), Sarah Karp, Tessa Weinberg, and Mariah Woelfel | Published: 2/21/2023
When news broke in January that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign had solicited help from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago educators to recruit student volunteers, the incumbent candidate apologized, calling the effort a “bad mistake” by one young staffer. But the campaign had for months been sending CPS and City Colleges staff thousands of other emails unrelated to the student volunteer solicitation, some from multiple campaign staffers. The emails ranged from generic fundraising appeals to invitations to private town halls and requests for help gathering petitions.
Illinois – How Admittedly Corrupt Ex-Illinois Lawmakers Get to Keep Their Pensions
WBEZ – Dave McKinney | Published: 2/16/2023
A media investigation found nearly $2 million in state retirement checks sent to a mix of federally charged, convicted, and self-admitted felons who once served at the Illinois Legislature. In some cases, loved ones were the beneficiaries. All these cases won sign-off from an obscure state panel, often on the advice of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. His office found the criminal wrongdoing did not disqualify them from their pensions because it was not linked to their work as public officials. That is a legal standard Illinois pension boards rely on to decide who gets a pension.
Illinois – Chicago Board of Ethics Cracks Down on Use of City Property in Campaign Ads
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 2/20/2023
The Chicago Board of Ethics determined there is probable cause to believe a candidate running in the February 28 election violated the ethics ordinance by using city property in their campaign advertisements. The candidate, who was not named, will have a chance to challenge the board’s determination in March. The board voted to give eight other candidates for city offices 10 days to refute allegations they also violated the city’s ethics law by using city property in their campaign ads.
Illinois – Red-Light Camera Officials Caught on FBI Wire Talking About Giving Perks to Suburban Mayor, Unsealed Document Shows
Yahoo News – Jason Meisner and Joe Mahr (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 2/17/2023
An unsealed court document reveals for the first time that two top officials at a red-light camera company were caught on undercover FBI recordings talking about giving a suburban Chicago mayor campaign contributions and other perks at the same time their firm was pressuring the mayor to increase ticket revenue. The search warrant was part of an investigation into corruption surrounding cameras operated by SafeSpeed LLC, a probe that has netted charges against more than half a dozen public officials, businesspeople, and political operatives.
Indiana – Indiana Secretary of State Hires Brother-in-Law for Top Post
MSN – Associated Press | Published: 2/16/2023
New Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales has hired his brother-in-law for a top position paying a six-figure salary, in a move that has drawn criticism as crossing an ethical line. Shawn Grady is now the co-director of the office’s Auto Dealer Services Division. Grady previously worked as a sales consultant at a car dealership and is married to Morales’ sister. While critics raised questions of nepotism, state law does not prohibit state employees from hiring brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law.
Kansas – Kansas Legislature Considers Bill to Overhaul Ethics Commission as It Probes GOP Officials
MSN – Andrew Bahl (Topeka Capital-Journal) | Published: 2/17/2023
Amid a Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission probe into activities of prominent legislators and state Republican Party officials, lawmakers are considering a massive overhaul of the agency that could limit its ability to conduct future investigations. The agency’s leader said the bill would make Kansas’ ethics laws among the weakest in the nation. House Bill 2391, which was debated in committee would end the agency’s subpoena power unless it has already established probable cause. Its consideration comes after revelations that subpoenas had been issued to prominent interest groups, Republican Party officials and lawmakers.
Maine – Maine Lawmaker Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud Charges, Says He’ll Resign
Yahoo News – Edward Murphy (Portland Press Herald) | Published: 2/16/2023
Maine Rep. Clinton Collamore Sr., who pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded the state’s clean elections program, announced he is resigning from his seat. His attorney said Collamore filled in the signatures of donors to qualify for matching campaign funds from the state after he neglected to get them to sign, but he did not intend to defraud the program. Collamore also said he will return to the state the salary he has collected since being sworn into office and would reimburse the more than $14,000 in public campaign funding he received.
Maryland – Former Baltimore County Official Charged with Stealing $140k from Campaign Accounts for Councilmember, Slate
Maryland Matters – William Zorzi | Published: 2/16/2023
A former Baltimore County official was charged with stealing more than $140,000 from two campaign accounts, one for a former county councilmember and the other a slate controlled by a former county executive, while he served as their treasurer. William McCollum was charged with felony theft, embezzlement, and perjury. McCollum allegedly took money to pay his personal credit card bill and to travel with a “romantic partner” in Puerto Rico and for flights to Palm Beach.
Massachusetts – The Mass. GOP May Have $600,000 in Debts, Misreported Hundreds of Thousands in Spending, Memo Says
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 2/22/2023
The Massachusetts Republican Party misreported hundreds of thousands of dollars to state campaign finance officials, and may owe vendors more than $600,000, a sum that would far eclipse what party officials had previously disclosed, according to a memo its new leader, Amy Carnevale, sent to party officials. Carnevale, who was recently elected to replace Jim Lyons as party chair, described a party that had fallen in fiscal disarray under her predecessor, telling Republican State Committee members in a letter she and others are trying “get our financial house in order.”
Michigan – New Landlord for Michigan Lawmakers Surfaces, Raising Questions About Secret Deals
GNT News – Craig Mauger (Detroit News) | Published: 2/17/2023
A Michigan lobbyist rented a house across the street from the Capitol to six lawmakers, according to amended disclosures the lobbyist filed weeks after The Detroit News revealed a separate interest group had been former House Speaker Lee Chatfield’s landlord. In less than three months, two different rental arrangements involving lobbyists and seven lawmakers have come to light in Lansing, raising questions about the enforcement of the state’s lobbying requirements and the possibility of other deals between advocates and policymakers remaining hidden.
Mississippi – Miss. Bill Would Create Unelected Court System in Majority-Black Jackson
MSN – Emmanuel Felton (Washington Post) | Published: 2/16/2023
The Washington Post found Jackson, Mississippi, had the highest murder rate in the country. About a quarter of its residents live in poverty, among the highest rates for American cities with more than 100,000 residents. Local officials recently warned the periodic water outages residents have been suffering through for years could continue for another decade. Republicans are now pushing legislation they say is designed to provide needed resources by giving the state more control of an affluent part of the city. But leaders of this majority-Black city are calling it a power grab, rather than a helping hand.
New Jersey – Morristown Mayor’s Wife Stripped of Real Estate License for Her Role in Bribery Scandal
Yahoo News – Kyle Morel (New Jersey Herald) | Published: 2/20/2023
The wife of Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty has been banned from practicing real estate for at least a year after accepting illegal campaign funds during her 2018 run for county office. Mary Dougherty, who eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of falsifying campaign records, will be subject to a two-year probationary period if she obtains another license, and her employer must notify the commission within 72 hours if there is reason to believe she violated the law again.
New York – How Public Money Goes to Support a Hasidic Village’s Private Schools
DNyuz – Jay Root (New York Times) | Published: 2/19/2023
Kiryas Joel, a village near New York City, is populated almost entirely by Hasidic Jews. The village’s unique public school system immediately drew concerns that a school district created for members of a single faith could never separate itself from their religious institutions. In 2009, state auditors found two of the school district’s board members voted to use tens of millions of tax dollars to lease a building from a private religious school organization they also helped run. Since then, the conflicts have grown, with millions in public education dollars continuing to flow into the same religious school organization and its affiliates.
North Dakota – North Dakota House Backs Bill That Would Shine Light on Burgum-Funded Campaign Group
Grand Forks Herald – Jeremy Turley (Forum News Service) | Published: 2/21/2023
The North Dakota House passed legislation that would require multicandidate committees to disclose how they spend their money. House Bill 1441 now moves to the Senate. Multicandidate committees must report their donor list, but they are not legally required to reveal which candidates they support or oppose. The majority of the groups registered under the designation are affiliated with a political party or a series of candidates, but the Dakota Leadership PAC, which derives nearly all of its funding from Gov. Doug Burgum, is a notable exception.
Oklahoma – Pro-Cockfighting Group Has Spent More Than $70K on Effort to Decriminalize Sport in Oklahoma
Yahoo News – Ben Felder (The Oklahoman) | Published: 2/22/2023
A pro-cockfighting organization has donated more than $70,000 to Oklahoma lawmakers in a push to decrease penalties for participating in the illegal sport, although the group does not report the source of its funds. The Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission, a PAC, has donated to dozens of state lawmakers. But because some individuals associated with the organization have been accused of fighting and breeding roosters for cockfighting, which is illegal, opponents of the sport say lawmakers should be skeptical about where the money is coming from.
Oregon – Gunshot Detection Company Investigated for Possible Violations of Portland Lobbying Laws
OPB – Jonathan Levinson | Published: 2/17/2023
The city auditor in Portland has opened an investigation into ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection technology company, for possibly violating lobbying laws. Portland requires private companies to register as a lobbyist once they have spent a minimum of either $1,000 or eight hours on lobbying within a quarter. The law defines lobbying as “attempting to influence the official action of City Officials.” There are a number of exceptions, including the time it takes to submit a bid, respond to information requests, and negotiate the terms of a contract. Much of ShotSpotter’s activity over the past 15 months appears to fall outside those carveouts.
Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes Campaign, Lobbying Reform Bills
WHTM – George Stockburger | Published: 2/21/2023
State Rep. Joe Webster is proposing a new ethics package in the Pennsylvania House focused on campaign and lobbying reform. Webster said current state laws allow for unlimited donations for state and local candidates, the ability for lawmakers to accept gifts, and just a one year prohibition on former lawmakers becoming lobbyists. “Current ethics laws are riddled with loopholes, which leads to corruptive influences controlling our state government,” said Webster.
Pennsylvania – Top Gaming Regulators in Pa. Met with Industry Lobbyists Before Coming Out Against a Casino Competitor
Yahoo News – Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA) | Published: 2/16/2023
Lobbyists for Parx Casino met privately with top officials at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board about unregulated slots-like machines called skill games that were a major competitor. Within weeks, the board shed its neutral stance and aligned with Parx and others in a court fight to declare skill games illegal. Emails and other documents provide a glimpse into the lobbying of public officials in Pennsylvania that the public rarely sees. State law requires lobbyists to disclose only a bare minimum of information about their activities. The emails raise questions about whether the Gaming Control Board should have disclosed the meeting to the public.
Texas – State Rep. Chris Paddie to Stop Lobbying After Regulators Crack Down on Loophole He Used
Texas Tribune – Patrick Svitek | Published: 2/16/2023
Former Texas Rep. Chris Paddie said he will stop lobbying after the state Ethics Commission cracked down on a “revolving-door” loophole in the lobbying law he was using, potentially exposing him to fines. The law says a former lawmaker cannot register to lobby until two years after they last used campaign funds to donate to another politician. Paddie sought to get around that earlier this year by reimbursing his campaign account with personal money to cover political donations that were implicated by the law.
Wisconsin – Strong Democratic Showing in Wisconsin Court Race Sets Up a Frenzied Finish
DNyuz – Reid Epstein (New York Times) | Published: 2/22/2023
The Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election was a triumph for the state’s liberals. Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal Circuit Court judge in Milwaukee County, will face off against Daniel Kelly, a conservative former State Supreme Court justice who lost a 2020 election for his seat by nearly 11 percentage points. With an opportunity to retake a majority on the state Supreme Court that could undo Wisconsin’s ban on nearly all abortions and throw out the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps, Democrats have the general election matchup they wanted.
February 23, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance National: “George Santos Reported Spreading Campaign Cash to Other Republicans. The Money Never Showed Up.” by Jessica Piper (Politico) for Yahoo News Massachusetts: “The Mass. GOP May Have $600,000 in Debts, Misreported Hundreds of Thousands in Spending, Memo Says” by Matt Stout […]
February 22, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance National: “Months After Her Trump Indignity, U.S. Judge Aileen Cannon Catches Another Political Hot Potato” by Dan Christensen for Florida Bulldog National: “Trump Spent $10 Million From His PAC on His Legal Bills Last Year” by Maggie Haberman […]
National: “Months After Her Trump Indignity, U.S. Judge Aileen Cannon Catches Another Political Hot Potato” by Dan Christensen for Florida Bulldog
National: “Trump Spent $10 Million From His PAC on His Legal Bills Last Year” by Maggie Haberman (New York Times) for DNyuz
Illinois: “Chicago Board of Ethics Cracks Down on Use of City Property in Campaign Ads” by Heather Cherone for WTTW
Indiana: “Indiana Secretary of State Hires Brother-in-Law for Top Post” by Associated Press for MSN
New York: “How Public Money Goes to Support a Hasidic Village’s Private Schools” by Jay Root (New York Times) for DNyuz
California: “Family Business: Meet the legacy caucus in the California Legislature” by Ben Christopher for CalMatters
Canada: “Lobbying Commissioner Proposes New Rules – but Critics Aren’t Happy” by Darren Major (CBC) for MSN
Texas: “State Rep. Chris Paddie to Stop Lobbying After Regulators Crack Down on Loophole He Used” by Patrick Svitek for Texas Tribune
February 21, 2023 •
Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Maryland: “Former Baltimore County Official Charged with Stealing $140k from Campaign Accounts for Councilmember, Slate” by William Zorzi for Maryland Matters Elections National: “Fox News Hosts, Execs Privately Doubted 2020 Conspiracy Claims Shared on Air” by Jeremy Barr […]
Maryland: “Former Baltimore County Official Charged with Stealing $140k from Campaign Accounts for Councilmember, Slate” by William Zorzi for Maryland Matters
National: “Fox News Hosts, Execs Privately Doubted 2020 Conspiracy Claims Shared on Air” by Jeremy Barr and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) for MSN
Illinois: “Red-Light Camera Officials Caught on FBI Wire Talking About Giving Perks to Suburban Mayor, Unsealed Document Shows” by Jason Meisner and Joe Mahr (Chicago Tribune) for Yahoo News
Kansas: “Kansas Legislature Considers Bill to Overhaul Ethics Commission as It Probes GOP Officials” by Andrew Bahl (Topeka Capital-Journal) for MSN
Maine: “Maine Lawmaker Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud Charges, Says He’ll Resign” by Edward Murphy (Portland Press Herald) for Yahoo News
National: “Before Ohio Derailment, Norfolk Southern Lobbied Against Safety Rules” by Ian Duncan, Luz Lazo, and Michael Laris (Washington Post) for MSN
Michigan: “New Landlord for Michigan Lawmakers Surfaces, Raising Questions About Secret Deals” by Craig Mauger (Detroit News) for GNT News
Oregon: “Gunshot Detection Company Investigated for Possible Violations of Portland Lobbying Laws” by Jonathan Levinson for OPB
February 20, 2023 •
Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Arizona: “‘Dark Money’ Opponents Want to Block Effort to Quash Law” by Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) for Sierra Vista Herald Review Elections Georgia: “Georgia Grand Jury: ‘Perjury may have been committed’ in Trump election probe” by Holly […]
Arizona: “‘Dark Money’ Opponents Want to Block Effort to Quash Law” by Howard Fischer (Capitol Media Services) for Sierra Vista Herald Review
Georgia: “Georgia Grand Jury: ‘Perjury may have been committed’ in Trump election probe” by Holly Bailey (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “50 Years Ago, Depression Ended a Campaign. That’s Changed, Politicians Say.” by Jonathan Edwards and Praveena Somasundaram (Washington Post) for MSN
Colorado: “Denver City Councilmember Forced to Crawl onto Debate Stage Due to Lack of Wheelchair Access” by Alex Andrews for Denver Gazette
Illinois: “How Admittedly Corrupt Ex-Illinois Lawmakers Get to Keep Their Pensions” by Dave McKinney for WBEZ
Mississippi: “Miss. Bill Would Create Unelected Court System in Majority-Black Jackson” by Emmanuel Felton (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “When Chiefs Play, Lobbyists Pay to Get Missouri and Kansas Politicians into Big Games” by Jonathan Shorman, Kevin Hardy, and Katie Bernard (Kansas City Star) for MSN
Pennsylvania: “Top Gaming Regulators in Pa. Met with Industry Lobbyists Before Coming Out Against a Casino Competitor” by Angela Couloumbis (Spotlight PA) for Yahoo News
February 17, 2023 •
News You Can Use Digest – February 17, 2023
National/Federal After Helping Prince’s Rise, Trump and Kushner Benefit from Saudi Funds MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 2/11/2023 The day after leaving the White House, Jared Kushner created a company he transformed months later into a private equity firm with […]
After Helping Prince’s Rise, Trump and Kushner Benefit from Saudi Funds
MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 2/11/2023
The day after leaving the White House, Jared Kushner created a company he transformed months later into a private equity firm with $2 billion from a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kushner’s firm structured those funds in such a way that it did not have to disclose the source. A year after his presidency, Donald Trump’s golf courses began hosting tournaments for the Saudi fund-backed LIV Golf. The Trump Organization secured an agreement with a Saudi real estate company that plans to build a Trump hotel as part of a $4 billion golf resort in Oman.
Biden Fires Architect of the Capitol Over Alleged Abuses
Yahoo News – Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long (Associated Press) | Published: 2/13/2023
President Biden fired the embattled Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, following a scathing inspector general report on his personal and professional management and calls for his removal. An inspector general report found “administrative, ethical and policy violations” by Blanton, a Trump-era appointee, including that he abused his government vehicle and misrepresented himself as a law enforcement official.
Combating Disinformation Wanes at Social Media Giants
DNyuz – Steven Lee Myers and Nico Grant (New York Times) | Published: 2/14/2023
YouTube, like other social media platforms, spent years expanding its efforts to tackle misinformation after the 2016 election. Not anymore. The company quietly reduced its small team of policy experts in charge of handling misinformation. The cuts, part of the reduction of 12,000 employees by Google’s parent company left only one person in charge of misinformation policy worldwide. The cuts reflect a trend across the industry that threatens to undo many of the safeguards that social media platforms put in place in recent years to ban or tamp down on disinformation.
Election Deniers Face a Nationwide Wave of Pushback
MSN – Amy Gardner, Patrick Marley, and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) | Published: 2/15/2023
There is a growing effort among state election officials, lawmakers, and private-sector advocates to push back against the wave of misinformation and mistrust of elections that sprang from Donald Trump’s false claim that his 2020 defeat was rigged. Since that vote more than two years ago, election administrators have regularly found themselves fending off false accusations, baseless lawsuits, and violent threats. Election administrators and their advocates say they are motivated to act because election denialism does not appear to be going away, even as the evidence has grown that most Americans have grown tired of it.
FBI Finds One Additional Document with Classified Markings at Pence Home
MSN – Perry Stein and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 2/10/2023
The FBI found one additional document with classified markings during a five-hour search of former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home. The planned search follows revelations in January that Pence had turned over to the FBI “a small number” of documents bearing classified markings that his lawyers discovered at his home. Pence is the latest politician to face scrutiny for potentially mishandling classified materials after leaving elected office.
FEC Tells George Santos to Name Campaign Treasurer or Face Ban on Fundraising and Spending
CNBC – Kevin Breuninger | Published: 2/15/2023
The campaign of scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. George Santos will lose its ability to raise donations or make payments if it fails to appoint a treasurer, the FEC warned. The agency told Santos it “has received no information regarding a new treasurer” since the former person in that role, Nancy Marks, resigned in January. “… Failure to appoint a treasurer will result in the inability of the committee to accept contributions and make disbursements,” the FEC wrote to Santos.
Former FBI Agent’s Side Work Puts Bureau Under New Scrutiny
MSN – Shane Harris, Rosalind Helderman, and Catherine Belton (Washington Post) | Published: 2/13/2023
In January, Charles McGonigal, special agent in charge of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office, was indicted on federal charges of money laundering, violating U.S. sanctions, and making false statements. He is one of the most senior FBI officials ever charged with criminal offenses, and his case has deeply concerned national security professionals, given the extraordinary access he had to sensitive government secrets.
Free Speech vs. Disinformation Comes to a Head
Seattle Times – Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) | Published: 2/9/2023
The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, both Republicans, have sued the White House and dozens of officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing them of forcing social media platforms to stifle the voices of its critics in violation of the constitutional guarantee of free speech. The outcome could help decide whether the First Amendment has become a barrier to virtually any government efforts to stifle a problem that, in the case of a pandemic, threatens public health and, in the case of the integrity of elections, even democracy itself. Government officials have long urged social media companies to fight illegal or harmful content online.
Pence to Fight Special Counsel Subpoena on Trump’s 2020 Election Denial
Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 2/14/2023
Former Vice President Mike Pence plans to fight a subpoena by the special counsel overseeing investigations into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Pence is set to argue that his former role as president of the Senate – therefore a member of the legislative branch – shields him from certain Justice Department demands. Pence allies say he is covered by the constitutional provision that protects congressional officials from legal proceedings related to their work, language known as the “speech or debate” clause.
Prosecutors Seek Trump Lawyer’s Testimony, Suggesting Evidence of Crime
Seattle Times – Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Protess (New York Times) | Published: 2/15/2023
Federal prosecutors overseeing the investigation into former President Trump’s handling of classified documents are seeking to pierce assertions of attorney-client privilege and compel one of his lawyers to answer more questions before a grand jury, adding a new dimension to the inquiry and underscoring the legal peril facing Trump. The prosecutors sought approval from a federal judge to invoke what is known as the crime-fraud exception, which allows them to work around attorney-client privilege when they have reason to believe that legal advice has been used in furthering a crime.
Rep. Gaetz Won’t Be Charged in Sex-Trafficking Probe, His Lawyers Say
MSN – Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein (Washington Post) | Published: 2/15/2023
Federal prosecutors have closed a long-running sex-trafficking investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and have decided not to press charges against him, attorneys for Gaetz said. It was reported that career prosecutors had recommended not charging Gaetz, telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction was unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses. Investigators set out to determine if Gaetz paid for sex in violation of federal sex-trafficking laws, people familiar with the matter have said.
Santos Was Charged with Theft in 2017 Case Tied to Amish Dog Breeders
Yahoo News – Jacqueline Sweet (Politico) | Published: 2/9/2023
U.S. Rep. George Santos was charged with theft in Pennsylvania in 2017 after a series of bad checks were written in his name to dog breeders. Just days after $15,125 in checks were made out for “puppies,” according to the memo lines, Santos held an adoption event at a pet store with his animal rescue charity Friends of Pets United. The charge was dismissed, and his record expunged after Santos claimed someone had stolen his checkbook. Santos has said he merely fabricated parts of his résumé and has denied breaking any laws.
They’re Trying to Topple Trump. But They Barely Utter His Name.
Yahoo News – Jonathan Weisman and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 2/15/2023
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s entry to the presidential race underscored how difficult it will be for many Republican candidates to persuade the party’s base they should bear the standard for the GOP, not former President Trump, who maintains the loyalties of so many voters. Haley’s announcement seemed like a calculated appeal to Republican voters who are ready to turn the page from the Trump era without burning the book of Trump’s presidency. But she never mentioned Trump by name, much less leveled any direct criticism at the only other major candidate in the presidential race.
Trump Campaign Paid Researchers to Prove 2020 Fraud but Kept Findings Secret
MSN – Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 2/11/2023
Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign commissioned an outside research firm in a bid to prove electoral-fraud claims but never released the findings because the firm disputed many of his theories and could not offer any proof he was the rightful winner of the election. Trump continues to falsely assert the 2020 election was stolen despite abundant evidence to the contrary, much of which had been provided to him or was publicly available before the Capitol assault.
Canada – Federal Ethics Commissioner Retiring After 5 Years, Citing Health Issues
CTV News – Rachel Aiello | Published: 2/14/2023
Federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion announced he is retiring, effective February 21, citing “persistent health issues.” Dion took on the role in 2018 and was set to serve a seven-year term after his predecessor Mary Dawson held the role for more than a decade. In 2019, Dion took a leave of absence from his role for medical reasons, but the work of his office continued.
From the States and Municipalities
Arkansas – GOP Lawmaker Booed for Asking Trans Doctor About Her Genitalia at Public Hearing
MSN – LGBTQNation Staff | Published: 2/14/2023
In 2021, Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18. That law, however, is on hold pending a legal challenge. Pharmacist Gwendolyn Paige Herzig, who is trans, testified against the bill. One lawmaker shocked LGBTQ+ rights advocates and members of the public by asking Herzig whether she has a penis in front of the entire gallery.
California – Fresno Politicians Clash Over Campaign Money Rule That Critics Say Unfairly Protects Incumbents
MSN – Melissa Montalvo (Fresno Bee) | Published: 2/15/2023
County election rules say Fresno City Council candidates cannot transfer their council campaign funds to their supervisor campaign fund accounts. But city council members Garry Bredefeld and Luis Chavez, who are running for county supervisor, said they plan to transfer most or all of the money in their council accounts to their supervisor accounts. Fresno County officials weighed in on this debate, responding to what they called “incorrect and incomplete information about the county’s campaign contribution ordinance.”
California – Midway Rising Fined $5K for Disclosing Lobbying Activities After Selection
San Diego Union Tribune – Jennifer Van Grove | Published: 2/13/2023
The development team selected to lease and redo the city of San Diego’s sports arena site failed to properly report all its lobbying activities, as is required by law. The city Ethics Commission approved a stipulation order fining the Midway Rising development team $5,000 for failing to file on time what is known as expenditure lobbyist disclosure reports, which are required when an entity spends $5,000 or more in a calendar quarter to indirectly influence municipal decisions.
Colorado – 10th Circuit Tosses GOP Challenge to Colorado’s Campaign Spending Limits
Colorado Politics – Michael Karlick | Published: 2/14/2023
A federal appeals court rejected an attempt by a trio of Republicans to temporarily block enforcement of the voluntary campaign spending limits that voters enacted two decades ago as an anti-corruption measure. Article 28 limits donors’ contributions to candidates per election cycle, adjusted for inflation, to $400 per legislative candidate and $1,250 per statewide executive candidate. Candidates may collect twice those amounts per donor in exchange for voluntarily limiting their overall spending. The appeal focused only on the alleged unconstitutionality of the candidates’ spending limits.
Florida – The Rocky Path to the College Board’s A.P. Black Studies Course
DNyuz – Anemona Hartocollis, Dan Goldstein, and Stephanie Saul (New York Times) | Published: 2/13/2023
The College Board finalized its new Advanced Placement course in African American studies, altering an earlier draft that had become a lightning rod for conservative critics. The Florida Education Department asserted the course “lacks educational value” and violates state law amid a national debate over how topics like racism and history are taught. The state of Florida released a chronology of its communications with the College Board, seeming to take credit for the changes. The College Board, which relies on state participation to administer its tests, fired back, saying changes were made after hearing from teachers about what worked.
Hawaii – ‘Pay To Play’: Hawaii moves to expand the ban on contractor campaign donations
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 2/8/2023
The Hawaii Legislature is setting its sights on campaign donations from state and county contractors, which have been the subject of public corruption cases in recent decades. Now, a law banning donations from government contractors only applies to the contracted business, not the owners, officers, or employees of those companies. Senate Bill 201 would close a loophole and ban owners, officers, employees, and immediate family from donating to campaigns for the duration of a state or county contract.
Illinois – Donors to Political Committee Supporting Paul Vallas Are Secret, but Leadership Has Ties to Current Campaign
MSN – A.D. Quig (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 2/9/2023
A recently launched political committee has spent more than $165,000 on television and digital ads for Paul Vallas’ mayoral bid, and while its supporters so far remain a mystery, its spending and leadership have ties to a top Vallas strategist. Like all independent expenditure committees, the new Chicago Leadership Committee is not allowed under Illinois law to coordinate with any candidate or campaign it supports. One of the group’s ads shows it using the same messaging and word-for-word language that Vallas’ campaign has on the media page of its website, along with still images and video from the site.
Illinois – Right After Landing a Big Deal with the CTA, Businessman Helps Lightfoot’s Reelection Effort
WBEZ – Dan Mihalopoulos | Published: 2/10/2023
Less than a month ago, the Chicago Transit Authority – whose leaders are appointed by the mayor – announced a lucrative new contract with a company founded by real-estate magnate Elzie Higginbottom. Another company tied to Higginbottom then gave a $50,000 contribution to a new political fund created by a close ally of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. That independent expenditure committee recently spent more than $70,000 to attack Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who is one of Lightfoot’s main challengers for mayor. A chain of events like this was supposed to have become a thing of the past.
Iowa – ‘Zoom Bombings’ Disrupt Iowa Senate Meetings with Profanity, Pornography and Racial Slurs
Yahoo News – Katie Akin (Des Moines Register) | Published: 2/13/2023
In the first few minutes of a meeting about restructuring state government in the Iowa Senate, a Zoom user took over the television monitor and showed a sexually explicit video. Garbled racial slurs blared from the monitor’s speaker. “… Just hit the ‘leave meeting,'” said Sen. Jason Schultz, the subcommittee’s chairperson. Schultz said the Senate has taken “all the precautions that we could think of” to prevent future interruptions. But he suggested Zoom access may be sacrificed if issues continue.
Maryland – Gov. Wes Moore Recuses Himself from Under Armour Contract Vote as Team Creates Blind Trust to Manage Financial Assets
MSN – Sam Janesch (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 2/14/2023
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore recused himself from a scheduled vote by the state Board of Public Works to decide whether to extend a warehousing contract with Under Armour. Moore served on the athletic apparel maker’s board, resigning after he won the election in November, and owned thousands of shares of the company’s stock. A millionaire several times over after previous careers that included investment banking and running a national nonprofit, Moore faces numerous potential conflicts-of-interest between his holdings and the business of running the state.
Maryland – Judge Upholds Two Ethics Violations Against Nick Mosby, but Rules Council President Didn’t Take Money
Baltimore Banner – Emily Sullivan | Published: 2/13/2023
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge upheld two out of three findings in an administrative ruling that city council President Nick Mosby violated Baltimore’s ethics code for elected officials. Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill agreed with the Baltimore City Ethics board that Mosby solicited donations from controlled donors to a legal defense fund established for him and his wife, former City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. While neither Mosby served as an officer of the fund, the council president erred by not explicitly disavowing himself from the trust.
Michigan – Nessel Requests Greater Transparency from Utilities on Lobbying [Spending]
Detroit News – Breana Noble | Published: 2/15/2023
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is requesting the state regulator of utilities demand more transparency around the money spent to influence public policy when electric and gas companies file their rate cases. The current requirements are not sufficient, according to the office. It suggests requiring details around the utilities’ and affiliates’ expenses for influencing regulation or legislation directly or indirectly and for influencing public opinion.
Montana – Senate Confirms Gallus as State’s Top Political Cop
Flathead Beacon – Blair Miller (Daily Montanan) | Published: 2/15/2023
Montana’s new commissioner of political practices, Chris Gallus, was confirmed by the state Senate. Despite a lengthy political history that includes working closely with the Montana Republican Party and conservative causes, Gallus only received three “no” votes. Commissioners are limited to a single, six-year term under state law.
New Mexico – Ethics Board Fines Ex-Commissioner for Taking Lobbyist’s Contribution
Albuquerque Journal – Jessica Dyer | Published: 2/8/2023
The Code of Conduct Review Board publicly censured former Bernalillo County Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty and fined her $500. At issue is the $5,000 in-kind contribution Pyskoty’s 2022 reelection campaign reported receiving from lobbyist Vanessa Alarid’s firm. A complaint maintained Alarid is a “restricted donor,” and county code prohibits officials and candidates from accepting campaign contributions over $1,000 from such contributors.
New Mexico – Lawmakers Seek to Close Big Transparency Gap
New Mexico In Depth – Sarah Childress | Published: 2/9/2023
A 2019 New Mexico law sought to force independent groups who are not required to register as political committees to disclose the money they spend in elections. The changes were quickly put to the test during the 2020 election cycle, when a new independent expenditure group found a loophole to evade reporting who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars it spent on political advertising. A new bill gives more details about when donations or spending would have to be disclosed. It also changes reporting by independent groups.
New Mexico – Ousted Election Clerk Hit with Ethics Lawsuit in New Mexico
Yahoo News – Morgan Lee (Associated Press) | Published: 2/10/2023
A local elections regulator in rural New Mexico who was recently declared missing from work and replaced is now facing possible sanctions from the State Ethics Commission. The lawsuit alleges Yvonne Otero used her office for personal gain and to exchange favors, seeking sanctions that include fines of up to $5,000.
New York – Developer Seeks Aid from Adams’ Housing Commissioner After Scandal That Ensnared Both of Them
The City – Greg Smith | Published: 2/9/2023
A decade ago, real estate developer Peter Fine was banned from New York City housing subsidy programs after one of his firms pleaded guilty to criminal charges following a scandal that involved former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. Now, Carrión is Mayor Eric Adams’ housing commissioner. Public records reveal Fine has for the last year been paying lobbyists to seek support for his proposed housing project in The Bronx from Carrión. For his part in the scandal, Carrión had to pay a $10,000 penalty for violating city ethics rules.
Oregon – Top OLCC Officials Kept Popular Booze – Including Pappy Van Winkle – for Themselves, Diverting It from Public
MSN – Noelle Crombie (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 2/8/2023
Top executives and managers at the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) diverted specialty bourbons away from public consumption for their own personal use for years. The internal investigation revealed a practice within the agency of reserving bottles of the popular bourbon Pappy Van Winkle for multiple employees, including the former executive director, Steve Marks. The OLCC has a monopoly on liquor sales in the state. Some brands are often difficult for the public to buy in Oregon because demand outpaces supply.
Pennsylvania – Shapiro Sat Courtside at a Sixers Game with a Donor. His Campaign Called It a ‘Political Meeting.’
Spotlight PA – Stephen Caruso | Published: 2/14/2023
Then Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro sat next to a longtime campaign donor and co-chair of his inaugural committee at the January 4, 2023, NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Arena. Manuel Bender, a spokesperson for Shapiro’s transition who now works for the administration, said the outing was a “political meeting.” He did not say who paid for the tickets, which conservatively cost $3,000. Bonder did say related expenses will be reported as an in-kind campaign contribution. Political veterans and campaign finance experts called the classification unusual.
South Dakota – South Dakota Lawmakers Want to Ban Spouses from Being Registered Lobbyists
Yahoo News – Annie Todd (Sioux Falls Argus Leader) | Published: 2/13/2023
South Dakota lawmakers want to prevent their spouses from being employed as registered lobbyists in a bill that was passed out of a Senate committee. Senate Bill 197 addresses two problems by providing better clarity about the role of legislative spouses and preventing them from having an advantage that other lobbyists and everyday people do not.
Tennessee – After Wearing Traditional Garment on the House Floor, TN Lawmaker Told to Look for a New Career
WKRN – Adam Mintzer | Published: 2/10/2023
Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson wore a dashiki – a traditional West African loose-fitted shirt – in the House chamber. On the floor that day, a lawmaker made a statement on the importance of dress code without naming Pearson. Then the House GOP addressed the issue on Twitter, saying, “If you don’t like rules, perhaps you should explore a different career opportunity that’s main purpose is not creating them.”
Texas – Attorney General Ken Paxton Agrees to Apologize and Pay $3.3 Million to Whistleblowers in Settlement
Texas Tribune – James Barragán | Published: 2/10/2023
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and four of his former top deputies who said he improperly fired them after they accused him of crimes have reached a tentative agreement to end a whistleblower lawsuit that would pay those employees $3.3 million. The agreement would bring an end to the lawsuit over the firing of the staffers but would not end Paxton’s legal troubles. The allegations by the former aides of bribery and abuse of office prompted an FBI investigation, though no charges have been filed and Paxton has denied wrongdoing.
West Virginia – WV Senate Passes Bills That Would Decrease Political Contribution Transparency
Logan Banner – Mike Tony | Published: 2/13/2023
The West Virginia Senate passed two bills that would lower transparency in state elections. The House will now consider the bills, which would increase contribution limits that trigger reporting requirements for those spending money to influence legislation coming before state lawmakers or advocate electing or defeating a candidate without a candidate’s support.
Wisconsin – Democrats Meddle Again in a G.O.P. Primary, This Time Down-Ballot
DNyuz – Reid Epstein (New York Times) | Published: 2/13/2023
Last year, Democrats spent millions of dollars elevating far-right candidates in Republican primary contests for governor and Congress – betting, it turned out correctly, that more extreme opponents would lose general elections. Now Wisconsin Democrats are trying to do it again, this time with mail and television ads before a GOP primary in a special election for a state Senate seat that carries ramifications far beyond the district in suburban Milwaukee.
Wyoming – Wyoming State Rep. Says No Truth to Ethics Complaint
Cowboy State Daily – Leo Wolfson | Published: 2/8/2023
An ethics complaint was filed against state Rep. Jon Conrad, alleging his status as a registered lobbyist in Wyoming, along with his occupation and source of campaign donations, creates a conflict-of-interest for the lawmaker. Conrad is an active registered lobbyist for TATA Chemicals. He is also an Environmental, Health, Safety, and Governmental Affairs Manager for TATA. Conrad is a member of the House Business, Minerals, and Economic Development and Agriculture, State, and Public Lands & Water Resources Committees. There are not explicit rules against serving as a lobbyist while being a legislator.
February 16, 2023 •
Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance California: “Fresno Politicians Clash Over Campaign Money Rule That Critics Say Unfairly Protects Incumbents” by Melissa Montalvo (Fresno Bee) for MSN Colorado: “10th Circuit Tosses GOP Challenge to Colorado’s Campaign Spending Limits” by Michael Karlick for Colorado Politics […]
California: “Fresno Politicians Clash Over Campaign Money Rule That Critics Say Unfairly Protects Incumbents” by Melissa Montalvo (Fresno Bee) for MSN
Colorado: “10th Circuit Tosses GOP Challenge to Colorado’s Campaign Spending Limits” by Michael Karlick for Colorado Politics
National: “Election Deniers Face a Nationwide Wave of Pushback” by Amy Gardner, Patrick Marley, and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Prosecutors Seek Trump Lawyer’s Testimony, Suggesting Evidence of Crime” by Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Protess (New York Times) for Seattle Times
Maryland: “Gov. Wes Moore Recuses Himself from Under Armour Contract Vote as Team Creates Blind Trust to Manage Financial Assets” by Sam Janesch (Baltimore Sun) for MSN
Montana: “Senate Confirms Gallus as State’s Top Political Cop” by Blair Miller (Daily Montanan) for Flathead Beacon
Texas: “Attorney General Ken Paxton Agrees to Apologize and Pay $3.3 Million to Whistleblowers in Settlement” by James Barragán for Texas Tribune
Arkansas: “GOP Lawmaker Booed for Asking Trans Doctor About Her Genitalia at Public Hearing” by LGBTQNation Staff for MSN
Tennessee: “After Wearing Traditional Garment on the House Floor, TN Lawmaker Told to Look for a New Career” by Adam Mintzer for WKRN
February 15, 2023 •
Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup
Campaign Finance Illinois: “Donors to Political Committee Supporting Paul Vallas Are Secret, but Leadership Has Ties to Current Campaign” by A.D. Quig (Chicago Tribune) for MSN Elections Wisconsin: “Democrats Meddle Again in a G.O.P. Primary, This Time Down-Ballot” by Reid […]
Illinois: “Donors to Political Committee Supporting Paul Vallas Are Secret, but Leadership Has Ties to Current Campaign” by A.D. Quig (Chicago Tribune) for MSN
Wisconsin: “Democrats Meddle Again in a G.O.P. Primary, This Time Down-Ballot” by Reid Epstein (New York Times) for DNyuz
National: “Combating Disinformation Wanes at Social Media Giants” by Steven Lee Myers and Nico Grant (New York Times) for DNyuz
National: “Former FBI Agent’s Side Work Puts Bureau Under New Scrutiny” by Shane Harris, Rosalind Helderman, and Catherine Belton (Washington Post) for MSN
Pennsylvania: “Shapiro Sat Courtside at a Sixers Game with a Donor. His Campaign Called It a ‘Political Meeting.’” by Stephen Caruso for Spotlight PA
West Virginia: “WV Senate Passes Bills That Would Decrease Political Contribution Transparency” by Mike Tony for Logan Banner
National: “Pence to Fight Special Counsel Subpoena on Trump’s 2020 Election Denial” by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein (Politico) for Yahoo News
Iowa: “‘Zoom Bombings’ Disrupt Iowa Senate Meetings with Profanity, Pornography and Racial Slurs” by Katie Akin (Des Moines Register) for Yahoo News
South Dakota: “South Dakota Lawmakers Want to Ban Spouses from Being Registered Lobbyists” by Annie Todd (Sioux Falls Argus Leader) for Yahoo News
February 14, 2023 •
South Dakota Introduces Bill to Ban Spouses from Registering As Lobbyists
Sen. Michael Rohl introduced Senate Bill 197 to prohibit spouses of current members of the Senate or House of Representatives from being employed as a registered private lobbyist. He stated that the bill addresses two problems Preventing legislative spouses from […]
Sen. Michael Rohl introduced Senate Bill 197 to prohibit spouses of current members of the Senate or House of Representatives from being employed as a registered private lobbyist.
He stated that the bill addresses two problems
- Preventing legislative spouses from having an advantage that other lobbyists and everyday people do not.
- Providing clarity about their role because legislative spouses tend to have more access to restricted areas and lawmakers.
The bill passed out of committee Monday and will next be discussed and voted on by the Senate.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.