January 6, 2023 •
For 2023, the minimum wage required to be paid by US Federal Contractors under Executive Order 14026 increases to $16.20 an hour. Beginning January 30, 2022, all federal agencies were required to incorporate a $15 minimum wage in new contract […]
For 2023, the minimum wage required to be paid by US Federal Contractors under Executive Order 14026 increases to $16.20 an hour.
Beginning January 30, 2022, all federal agencies were required to incorporate a $15 minimum wage in new contract solicitations pursuant to an executive order signed by President Joseph R. Biden on April 27, 2021.
The order requires federal contractors to pay a minimum wage for employees working on or in connection with a federal government contract.
Tipped employees performing work on or in connection with contracts covered by Executive Order 14026 must be paid a minimum cash wage of $13.75 per hour.
Contractors and subcontractors must certify they meet this condition requiring the minimum wage. This certification is a condition of payment to the contractors from the government. The order does not apply to grants; contracts, contract-like instruments, or certain specific type of agreements with Indian Tribes.
For 2023, tipped workers received 85% of the wage rate in effect for non-tipped employees, rounded to the nearest multiple of $0.05. Beginning January 1, 2024, and for each subsequent year, tipped workers must receive 100% of the wage received by non-tipped workers, eliminating the difference between the type of workers. Adjustments must be considered by employers of tipped workers who do not receive a sufficient additional amount on account of tips to equal to the minimum wage of non-tipped workers.
If a state or municipality has a higher minimum wage, the Executive Order does not excuse noncompliance with the laws requiring the higher wage.
December 23, 2022 •
National/Federal An ‘Imperial Supreme Court’ Asserts Its Power, Alarming Scholars Yahoo News – Adam Liptak (New York Times) | Published: 12/19/2022 The conventional critique of the U.S. Supreme Court these days is that it has lurched to the right and is […]
An ‘Imperial Supreme Court’ Asserts Its Power, Alarming Scholars
Yahoo News – Adam Liptak (New York Times) | Published: 12/19/2022
The conventional critique of the U.S. Supreme Court these days is that it has lurched to the right and is out of step with the public on many issues. Recent legal scholarship makes a deeper point, saying the current court is distinctive in a different way: it has rapidly been accumulating power at the expense of every other part of the government.
Bribery Case Cracks Open European Parliament – and Finds Hidden Cash
DNyuz – Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Monika Pronczuk, Tariq Panja, and Sarah Hurtes (New York Times) | Published: 12/15/2022
Belgian authorities uncovered what prosecutors say was a cash-for-favors scheme at the heart of the European Union. It highlighted the vulnerabilities in an opaque, notoriously bureaucratic system that decides policies for 450 million people in the world’s richest club of nations. The investigation has jolted Brussels and unleashed a flurry of whispered accusations of corrupt behavior by lawmakers of all political stripes. It has also sparked scrutiny of foreign influence at a time when the European Union is asserting itself on issues like human rights and the war in Ukraine.
Congress Passes Bill to Rein in Conflicts of Interest for Consultants Such as McKinsey
ProPublica – Ian MacDougall | Published: 12/16/2022
Congress passed a bill that takes aim at the risk of improper influence when government contractors work for both federal agencies and private-sector clients. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation. The bill makes several changes to federal contracting rules. It includes provisions requiring contractors to disclose information about potential conflicts-of-interest and clarifying when a contractor’s work for outside clients may create such a conflict. The bipartisan group of senators who sponsored the bill cited the consulting giant McKinsey & Company’s work for the Food and Drug Administration.
House Committee Votes to Make Public Trump’s Tax Returns
MSN – Michael Kranish, Jonathan O’Connell, Amy Wang, Azi Paybarah, and Marianna Sotomayor (Washington Post) | Published: 12/20/2022
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to release former President Trump’s tax returns, capping a protracted legal and political battle. After the vote, the committee revealed the IRS did not audit Trump’s returns during his first two years in office, despite a rule mandating such reviews, and never completed any audits while he served. The IRS began its first audit of Trump’s returns on the same day that Ways and Means Committee Chairperson Richard Neal sent a written request in April 2019 for the information and then assigned the bulk of the work to just one agent, the panel said.
In Testimony, Hannity and Other Fox Employees Said They Doubted Trump’s Fraud Claims
Seattle Times – Jeremy Peters (New York Times) | Published: 12/21/2022
Sean Hannity said in a sworn deposition he did not believe Sidney Powell’s claims that voting machines were rigged to help Joe Biden in the 2020 election when she appeared on his show. Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News for defamation. Hannity’s disclosure, along with others that emerged from court about what Fox News executives and hosts really believed as their network became one of the loudest megaphones for lies about the 2020 election being stolen from Donald Trump, is among the strongest evidence yet to emerge publicly that some Fox employees knew what they were broadcasting was false.
Jan. 6 Panel Urges Trump Prosecution with Criminal Referral
MSN – Eric Tucker, Mary Claire Jalonick, and Farnoush Amiri (Associated Press) | Published: 12/19/2022
The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection recommended criminal charges against former President Trump and associates who helped him launch a wide-ranging campaign to overturn his 2020 election loss. The committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump, in both the run-up to the riot and during the insurrection itself, as it recommended the former president for prosecution to the Justice Department. Among the charges is aiding an insurrection, an effort to hold him directly accountable for his supporters who stormed the Capitol that day.
Lawyer for Key Jan. 6 Witness Seeks to Rebut Panel’s Claim of Interference
MSN – Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater (New York Times) | Published: 12/20/2022
A former lawyer for a White House aide who became a key witness for the January 6 House select committee took a leave of absence from his law firm and defended himself against what he said were false insinuations that he had interfered with his client’s testimony. Stefan Passantino represented Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to the White House chief of staff at the end of the Trump administration. The committee suggested that people connected to Donald Trump had attempted to influence at least one witness’s testimony, promising her jobs that never materialized and coaching her to be less than forthcoming with the panel.
Scam PAC Operator Uncovered by CNN’s KFile Pleads Guilty in Federal Court
MSN – Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck (CNN) | Published: 12/20/2022
Matthew Tunstall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering while operating two so-called scam PACs during the 2016 election and collecting more than $3 million from unwitting donors. Tunstall was one of three men the Justice Department charged with multiple counts in perpetuating the fraud. The scheme tricked people into giving them money by using robocalls and written solicitations meant to imply they were supporting 2016 presidential candidates. The PACs’ operators used the funds to enrich themselves and pay for more robocalls and radio advertisements.
Skepticism Before a Search: Inside the Trump Mar-a-Lago documents investigation
Anchorage Daily News – Devlin Barrett, Jacqueline Alemany, Perry Stein, Josh Dawsey, Ann Marimow, and Carol Leonnig (Washington Post) | Published: 12/21/2022
FBI officials had a lot to worry about as they discussed whether to search one of Donald Trump’s homes for evidence of crimes. They decided any search warrant should be authorized by the attorney general himself, and they did not want the former president to be at Mar-a-Lago when it happened. The FBI also was wary of the remote possibility of a confrontation between the federal agents searching the location and the Secret Service agents who guard the former president. Leaders of the Justice Department were proceeding cautiously as well, agreeing with the FBI on these points even as tensions sometimes flared between agents and prosecutors.
‘THE Central Issue’: How the fall of Roe v. Wade shook the 2022 election
Yahoo News – Elena Schneider and Holly Otterbein (Politico) | Published: 12/19/2022
In May 2022, the midterm elections looked bleak, if not disastrous, for Democrats. But in dozens of focus groups, held by Democrats and Republicans in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, campaign strategists kept making the same finding: abortion had not simply awakened Democratic voters, it was influencing swing voters. In many battleground and red-leaning states and districts, especially where Democrats spent millions of dollars to keep it at the forefront for voters, abortion access played an outsized role, reversing the party’s once abysmal outlook and stemmed the GOP’s expected “red wave.”
This Year’s Ballot Measures Will Change How Many Americans Vote
Center for Public Integrity – Aaron Mendelson | Published: 12/15/2022
Voting itself was on the ballot in the 2022 midterm elections, with initiatives seeking to revamp election laws in states across the country. Measures that promoted early voting and increased access to the ballot box saw wins in multiple states, but so did restrictive proposals that tightened voter ID laws or barred non-citizens from voting on local matters. The ballot measures suggest voters may take a more nuanced view on democracy than the politicians they elect, said Jasleen Singh of the Brennan Center for Justice.
Top Government Ethics Officer Was Late Disclosing His Personal Finances on Multiple Occasions
MSN – Kimberly Leonard (Business Insider) | Published: 12/20/2022
Office of Government Ethics General Counsel David Apol missed deadlines to report at least 12 different financial transactions since 2015. In two instances representing five transactions, he filed his federally mandated reports several months passed the deadline. Improperly reporting purchases and sales of bonds or stocks is a violation of the STOCK Act. Apol paid a fine for a late disclosure in 2020, certified documents show. His responsibilities include reviewing financial disclosures and writing ethics guidance for nearly 3 million federal employees.
U.S. Scrutinizes Political Donations by Sam Bankman-Fried and Allies
DNyuz – Kenneth Vogel and Ken Bensinger (New York Times) | Published: 12/17/2022
After cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried was charged with multiple crimes, including campaign finance violations, prosecutors reached contacted campaigns and committees that had received millions of dollars from Bankman-Fried and his colleagues. The Justice Department’s inquiries appear to be an effort to gather evidence against Bankman-Fried and other former FTX executives, rather than against their political beneficiaries. Bankman-Fried is accused of conspiring with unnamed others to violate campaign finance laws that prohibit corporate donations to candidates’ campaigns and bar “straw donations.”
While Advising Trump on Judges, Conway Sold Her Business to a Firm with Ties to Judicial Activist Leonard Leo
MSN – Heidi Przybyla (Politico) | Published: 12/20/2022
Judicial activist Leonard Leo appears to have helped facilitate the sale of former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s polling company in 2017 as she was playing a key role in advocating for Leo’s handpicked list of U.S. Supreme Court candidates. The transaction came at a critical moment for Conway, shortly after her ownership of The Polling Company had come under scrutiny from a congressional committee for potential “conflicts-of-interest,” likely creating pressure to unload it even though its value was unclear because she was its biggest asset and committed to her White House job.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Campaign Donors Attended Suns Games, Concerts with Council Members in Phoenix Suite
Axios – Jessica Boem | Published: 12/21/2022
Donors to Phoenix City Council campaigns attended concerts and sporting events with those council members in a city suite. The suite is to be used to promote the city, host distinguished guests, and enhance relationships with public agencies. It can also be used for youth groups or adults with developmental disabilities. Councilperson Laura Pastor said as the chair of the Economic Development and Equity Subcommittee, her time in the suite was “spent promoting the city and building strong relationships with businesses and labor groups.”
California – Beverly Hills Developer Gets 4 Years in Prison for Bribing L.A. County Official
MSN – Michael Finnegan (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 12/15/2022
A developer was sentenced to four years in prison for bribing a Los Angeles County official. Arman Gabaee admitted giving Thomas Shepos dozens of cash payoffs during furtive meetings in cars, restaurants, and men’s rooms while reaping lucrative real-estate leases in return. He also offered to buy Shepos a $1-million home in return for the county spending $45 million to lease office space at a Gabaee property. U.S. District Court Judge George Wu called the case an example of “systemic” public corruption. “There is so much of it going around,” the judge said.
California – Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Fined $19,000 for Not Disclosing Property She Owned
MSN – Shomik Mukherjee (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 12/15/2022
Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan was fined $19,000 for voting to fund millions of dollars in improvements for a large waterfront park after failing to disclose she and her parents owned a condominium nearby. Investigators determined Kaplan most likely made an honest mistake, though she had enough experience to know better. She did not list the condo’s address on her Form 700, in which elected officials must disclose annually their real property interests, later telling investigators she had not fully understood the reporting requirements.
Colorado – $10,000 Contribution to County Commissioner Did Not Require Recusal, Appeals Court Says
Denver Gazette – Michael Karlik (Colorado Politics) | Published: 12/16/2022
A judge was wrong to conclude a Larimer County Commission member needed to recuse himself from a land-use vote in which one of the parties was responsible for nearly 20 percent of his campaign contributions, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled. Applying U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Judicial District Court Judge Juan Villaseñor considered the contributions so outsized as to suggest Donnelly would not be a neutral decision-maker, which is a key component of due process.
Colorado – The Fair Elections Fund Rollout Is Facing Issues. City Council and the Clerk and Recorder’s Office Are Discussing Last-Minute Fixes
Denverite – Kyle Harris | Published: 12/14/2022
The rollout of Denver’s Fair Election Fund, which aims to level the playing field between well-funded candidates and those with fewer resources, has been sort of messy. The April 4 election cycle is well underway, but questions about issues like donation limits, the qualifying period, and reporting deadlines linger. Now, the Clerk and Recorder’s Office is taking tweaks to the rules to the city council’s Finance and Governance Committee, hoping to make last-minute changes.
Connecticut – Bacon Brothers and Lobbyists Are Players at Lamont’s Inaugural Ball
MSN – Mark Pazniokas (Connecticut Mirror) | Published: 12/20/2022
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s second inaugural ball on January 4 will feature live music by the Bacon Brothers and a pre-party reception with the governor to thank sponsors who give as much as $25,000. Inaugural balls are perhaps the last place where a lobbyist or state contractor can exceed a $50 annual limit on entertaining an elected official. Contributions to an inaugural are deemed a gift to the state, not an individual. The inauguration itself is free and open to the public.
Florida – Miami Beach Limits Developers’ Spending on Elections. Here’s How They Get Around It
MSN – Aaron Leibowitz (Miami Herald) | Published: 12/16/2022
Developers and lobbyists seeking certain city approvals in Miami Beach, as well as active city vendors, are barred from donating to campaigns under rules that have expanded over the past two decades. The city’s laws, which are among the strictest in Miami-Dade County, say those on a list maintained by the city clerk’s office, cannot give to campaigns, either “directly or indirectly.” A Miami Herald review found that despite the city’s efforts to curb the influence of money in politics, Miami Beach developers routinely circumvent the rules and give to campaigns in various ways.
Florida – Pompano Vice Mayor Beverly Perkins Accused of Misusing Leftover Campaign Funds in 2020 Election
MSN – Lisa Huriash (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) | Published: 12/20/2022
Pompano Beach Vice Mayor Beverly Perkins, under investigation by Broward’s top government watchdog, is accused of misusing thousands of dollars in leftover campaign funds following her successful reelection campaign in 2020. The Broward Office of the Inspector General found Perkins and her treasurer made 22 post-election expenditures totaling $7,381.92, including J. Mark’s Restaurant and Bar, Costco, and Dollar Tree. The inspector general’s office will refer the case to prosecutors.
Hawaii – Honolulu Teacher Violated Ethics by Accepting $16,600 From School Volunteer
Honolulu Civil Beat – Viola Gaskell | Published: 12/16/2022
The Hawaii Ethics Commission said a teacher at Moanalua Elementary School must return $16,600 given to her by an elderly donor who volunteered at the school. The donor gave Irene Bayudan six cashier’s checks while working on volunteer projects with her at the school, all of which she deposited into her personal bank account. The donor told the commission he gave Bayudan the money because “he felt that teachers were underpaid and he wanted to help her out.”
Illinois – Judge Gives 16 Months to Chinatown Developer Whose Cooperation Helped Kick Off Massive Corruption Probe
MSN – Jason Meisner (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 12/21/2022
Developer See Wong was sentenced to 16 months in prison for a $1.65 million fraud scheme stemming from a condominium project in Chicago that collapsed amid the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. Wong received a break on his sentence because of his cooperation with federal authorities – including wearing a wire on former Ald. Daniel Solis – that helped ensnare Solis, former Ald. Edward Burke, and ex-House Speaker Michel Madigan in what has become one of the biggest public corruption cases ever brought in Chicago.
Maryland – Ethics Board Asks Judge to Fine Council President Mosby $1,000 Per Day
MSN – Chris Berinato and Maxine Streicher (WBFF) | Published: 12/20/2022
The Baltimore City Board of Ethics is asking a judge to fine city council President Nick Mosby up to $1,000 per day for failing to comply with its order to stop fundraising and disclose legal defense fund donors. In May, the Board determined Mosby violated ethics rules when a legal defense fund was established in his name and some contributions had come from city contractors.
Maryland – Harford County Withholds Jacob Bennett’s Council Paycheck Amid Lawsuit
MSN – Jason Fontelieu (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 12/20/2022
Harford County Councilperson Jacob Bennett did not receive a paycheck from the county when council members were paid. Bennett has faced backlash from County Executive Bob Cassilly due to a provision in the law that Cassilly believes prevents Bennett from serving on the council while maintaining his job as a public-school teacher. Lawyers for the Maryland State Education Association and Harford County Public Schools have said there is no conflict-of-interest preventing Bennett from serving on the council.
Massachusetts – A Charlie Baker-Aligned Super PAC Broke State Law by Touting Him as ‘Special Guest’ at Fundraiser, Regulators Say
MSN – Matt Stout (Boston Globe) | Published: 12/16/2022
A super PAC aligned with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker broke state campaign finance law when it advertised him as a special guest at a summer fundraiser, despite being previously warned by regulators that using Baker’s name to raise cash was not allowed, according to a letter officials sent the group. The Massachusetts Majority PAC was forced to purge $17,500, the amount it raised from the event. State law strictly prohibits coordination between candidates and super PACs, including barring elected officials from helping “finance” a PAC.
Minnesota – Lobbying Law Could Squeeze Some Minnesota Legislators
MPR News – Brian Bakst | Published: 12/16/2022
A lobbying law about to take effect in Minnesota aims to bar legislators from working for entities that exist primarily for lobbying or government affairs work. The same prohibition would apply to lawmakers who take on certain roles at organizations that employ or contract with lobbyists. Depending on how the statute is interpreted and enforced, it could require some lawmakers to choose between serving in the Legislature or continuing in their outside occupations. Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Executive Director Jeff Sigurdson said one aspect of the law redefined who could fall under the lobbyist umbrella.
Minnesota – Regulators Push for More Financial Transparency in Minnesota Politics
Minneapolis Star Tribune – Jessie Van Berkel | Published: 12/17/2022
Spouses of public officials in Minnesota, unlike many other states, do not publicly report their financial interests. That would change if legislators follow the direction of the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, which made numerous recommendations largely aimed at improving transparency in campaigns and government. The board also proposed regulating cryptocurrency donations to campaigns and expanding public reporting on lobbying and on ads that do not expressly advocate for a candidate but can influence votes.
Nevada – For These Nevada Lobbyists, Politics Is a Family Affair
MSN – Taylor Avery (Las Vegas Review-Journal) | Published: 12/17/2022
Having the opportunity to follow in a family member’s footsteps and carry on the legacy of their work is a dream many envision but few realize. In Nevada’s political sphere, however, many have successfully taken up the helm and followed their parents into the world of lobbying. Even before joining his father’s firm, the Ferraro Group, becoming a lobbyist was Tommy Ferraro’s dream job since “Day One.”
New York – Foes of Drag Queen Story Hours Invade New York Councilman’s Home
DNyuz – Liam Stack (New York Times) | Published: 12/20/2022
Protesters descended on the home and the office of a gay member of the New York City Council, vandalizing the walls with homophobic graffiti and attacking one of his neighbors over his support for Drag Story Hour events at local libraries. The council member, Erik Bottcher, documented the vandalism on social media, where he also shared a video of protesters screaming and banging on his office door. Drag story hour events have drawn an increasing number of protests and threats across the country in recent years, including a series of tense demonstrations in New York, a city known for its inclusivity.
New York – Who Is Rep.-Elect George Santos? His Résumé May Be Largely Fiction.
Yahoo News – Grace Ashford and Michael Gold (New York Times) | Published: 12/19/2022
George Santos’ upset victory in a Long Island district helped Republicans gain control of the U.S. House. His campaign biography amplified his storybook journey. He is the son of Brazilian immigrants and is the first openly gay Republican to win a U.S. House seat as a non-incumbent. By his account, he became a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” with a family-owned real estate portfolio and an animal rescue charity. But a New York Times review of public documents and court filings, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Santos made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé he sold to voters.
North Carolina – N.C. Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law as Intentional Racial Discrimination
MSN – Eugene Scott, Azi Paybarah, and Amy Gardner (Washington Post) | Published: 12/16/2022
The North Carolina Supreme Court struck down a state voter identification law, ruling Republican lawmakers acted unconstitutionally to minimize Democratic voters’ power with a law that intentionally discriminated against Black voters. Senate Bill 824 required every voter to present one of a few specific forms of photo identification, a measure the justices ruled was passed in part to discriminate against Black voters. Despite most voters having at least one of the forms of identification, the risk of having voters suppressed was very real, they said.
Ohio – Butler County Auditor Found Guilty on One Felony Count
WCPO – Lauren Pack and Rick McCrabb | Published: 12/21/2022
A jury found Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds guilty of one of the five charges he faced in a public corruption trial. Because he was convicted of a felony, he will not be able to serve as auditor. The charge was related to Reynolds advocating for Lakota Schools to build a golf academy at a private country club with tax money that school districts receive from the auditor’s office.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Execs Promised DeWine Administration Would ‘Step In’ for Scandal-Tainted HB6, Emails Show
MSN – Jake Zuckerman and Jeremy Pelzer (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 12/22/2022
A FirstEnergy executive privately pledged that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration would “step in” to support legislation now at the center of the largest public corruption scheme in state history, documents show. As the tainted legislation neared the finish line in 2019, FirstEnergy executives discussed deploying lawmakers and top state officials to push for the law’s passage. Prosecutors allege FirstEnergy paid roughly $60 million to a nonprofit controlled by then-House Speaker Larry Householder so he would champion a bailout of two nuclear plants and energy legislation worth more than $1.3 billion to the company and its subsidiary.
Ohio – Three Former Toledo City Councilmembers Plead Guilty in Corruption Probe
MSN – Adam Ferrise (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 12/16/2022
Three of four former Toledo City Council members accused of soliciting and taking bribes in exchange for votes pleaded guilty to federal charges. Yvonne Harper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and Larry Sykes and Tyrone Riley each pleaded guilty to one count of extortion. The FBI in July 2020 arrested the group, along with attorney Keith Mitchell, in connection with the probe that shined a light on the tactics the council used to line their pockets with cash in exchange for favors. The four former members of council represented one-third of council at the time of the arrests. All four later resigned from council.
Oregon – Oregon Agencies Scrutinize Controversial Fiber-Optic Deal in Morrow County
MSN – Mike Rogoway (Portland Oregonian) | Published: 12/15/2022
The nonprofit Inland Development Corp. provides fiber-optic internet connections for local government offices and health care agencies. It also served businesses in Morrow County, including Amazon, which has spent more than $8 billion dollars building large data centers in the remote Oregon community. Inland sold the business side of its organization to four local officials as Amazon was seeking new tax breaks. The transaction positioned the local officials to profit from Amazon’s continued growth in the county. The buyers continued to participate in some votes on issues affecting Amazon after the purchase.
South Carolina – SC Coroner Flouts Transparency Laws, Hires Ex-SC State Police Chief Caught in Scam
Charleston Post and Courier – Tony Bartelme | Published: 12/18/2022
In 2019, Michael Bartley applied for a part-time job as a county deputy coroner. He seemed well-qualified, with previous mortuary experience and having served as police chief at South Carolina State University. When asked on a hiring questionnaire whether he had ever stolen anything from his employers, Bartley wrote no. Left unmentioned was his guilty plea to federal charges that he used his public law enforcement job for personal gain in a kickback scheme involved a kickback scheme. His boss, Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall, owes the state Ethics Commission $12,430 over violations of open government rules.
South Dakota – Ethics Board Dismisses Noem Plane Case, Says Law Is Unclear
MSN – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 12/20/2022
The Government Accountability Board dismissed a complaint against South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem for using state government aircraft to attend events hosted by political organizations because state law does not define what is meant by “state business.” “It is not felt that the board has authority to establish a definition of state business,” board member David Gienapp said, and suggested that was the purview of the Legislature. Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie said in October that her office found “no basis” to pursue charges on the allegations that Noem had misused the state plane or that the plane’s flight records had been altered.
Texas – Grid Reforms Becomes Power Company Lobbyist
Texas Observer – Justin Miller | Published: 12/20/2022
The former chairperson of the House State Affairs Committee, Chris Paddie, has registered as a lobbyist. Though many other Texans have gone straight from public office into private sector lobbying, Paddie’s case is unique in that it poses a challenge to an untested “revolving door” law. That law is one of the state’s few restrictions on a former elected official’s otherwise unfettered ability to capitalize on insider access and legislative expertise.
Virginia – Virginia Subcommittee on Campaign Finance Reform Still Failing to Complete Only Job
Virginia Mercury – Graham Moomaw | Published: 12/21/2022
For a second year in a row, the subcommittee created to take a “comprehensive” look at whether Virginia needs stronger limits on money in politics appears to be failing to complete its only task. It has not met in 2022 and no meeting dates have been set ahead of the 2023 legislative session that starts in January. Virginia currently has virtually no limits on how much money political campaigns can accept from one source and no law prohibiting politicians from spending that money on themselves instead of their campaigns.
Washington DC – Rudy Giuliani Likely Committed Misconduct Over 2020 Election, DC Bar Panel Finds
MSN – Zoe Tillman (Bloomberg) | Published: 12/15/2022
Attorney disciplinary regulators recommended Rudy Giuliani be disbarred in Washington, D.C., after a local bar association panel’s preliminary finding he likely committed misconduct in pressing Donald Trump’s failed legal challenge to President Biden’s 2020 win in Pennsylvania. Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox argued the severe sanction was appropriate because Giuliani’s conduct in Pennsylvania was part of a broader effort to undermine the legitimacy of an election. The hearing committee’s decision is not final and could change as the case continues to wind through the District of Columbia Bar Association’s disciplinary process.
December 21, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Colorado: “The Fair Elections Fund Rollout Is Facing Issues. City Council and the Clerk and Recorder’s Office Are Discussing Last-Minute Fixes” by Kyle Harris for Denverite Connecticut: “Bacon Brothers and Lobbyists Are Players at Lamont’s Inaugural Ball” by […]
Colorado: “The Fair Elections Fund Rollout Is Facing Issues. City Council and the Clerk and Recorder’s Office Are Discussing Last-Minute Fixes” by Kyle Harris for Denverite
Connecticut: “Bacon Brothers and Lobbyists Are Players at Lamont’s Inaugural Ball” by Mark Pazniokas (Connecticut Mirror) for MSN
Minnesota: “Regulators Push for More Financial Transparency in Minnesota Politics” by Jessie Van Berkel for Minneapolis Star Tribune
New York: “Who Is Rep.-Elect George Santos? His Résumé May Be Largely Fiction.” by Grace Ashford and Michael Gold (New York Times) for Yahoo News
National: “Top Government Ethics Officer Was Late Disclosing His Personal Finances on Multiple Occasions” by Kimberly Leonard (Business Insider) for MSN
National: “While Advising Trump on Judges, Conway Sold Her Business to a Firm with Ties to Judicial Activist Leonard Leo” by Heidi Przybyla (Politico) for MSN
Texas: “Grid Reforms Becomes Power Company Lobbyist” by Justin Miller for Texas Observer
National: “Congress Passes Bill to Rein in Conflicts of Interest for Consultants Such as McKinsey” by Ian MacDougall for ProPublica
December 9, 2022 •
National/Federal Democrats Ramp Up Investigation of Kushner Family Business Dealings MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 12/7/2022 Democrats on a pair of congressional committees launched a new effort to obtain information about whether Jared Kushner’s actions on U.S. policy […]
Democrats Ramp Up Investigation of Kushner Family Business Dealings
MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 12/7/2022
Democrats on a pair of congressional committees launched a new effort to obtain information about whether Jared Kushner’s actions on U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf region as a senior White House adviser were influenced by the bailout of a property owned by his family business. Citing previously undisclosed documents related to former President Trump’s son-in-law, the committees sent letters to the State and Defense departments requesting material they say could shed new light on whether “Kushner’s financial conflict of interest may have led him to improperly influence U.S. tax, trade and national security policies for his own financial gain.”
DNC Moves Forward with Dramatic Change to Presidential Primary Calendar
MSN – Elena Schneider (Politico) | Published: 12/2/2022
The Democratic National Committee voted to radically alter its presidential nominating calendar, following President Biden’s recommendations to elevate South Carolina as the first primary state and to eliminate Iowa, breaking with historical precedent. But there are still several logistical hurdles for the party to clear to make the new vision a reality. Members of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, charged with recommending a new calendar, gave a near-unanimous vote of approval for Biden’s proposal, with only minor tweaks to the dates and two ‘no’ votes from Iowa and New Hampshire members.
Ex-Miami US Rep. David Rivera Arrested in Venezuela Probe
Yahoo News – Joshua Goodman and Terry Spencer (Associated Press) | Published: 12/5/2022
Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, who signed a $50-million consulting contract with the Venezuela government, was arrested on suspicion of money-laundering and representing a foreign government without registering. The indictment alleges Rivera, at the start of the Trump administration, was part of a conspiracy to lobby on behalf of Venezuela to lower tensions with the U.S., resolve a legal dispute with an American. oil company, and end U.S. sanctions against the South American nation – all without registering as a foreign agent.
Fearing Scandal, Air Force Blocked Generals’ Foreign Consulting Deals
MSN – Craig Whitlock and Nate Jones (Washington Post) | Published: 12/5/2022
During the height of the war in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials persuaded Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev to open his country’s borders and airspace to allied supply routes. In exchange, U.S. officials promised a closer diplomatic partnership with Aliyev and steered $369 million in defense contracts to Silk Way Airlines, an Azerbaijan cargo carrier that U.S. investigators say was controlled by the government. Two U.S. Air Force generals, Duncan McNabb and William Fraser III, who oversaw the supply routes later tried to cash in on their Azerbaijan connections. Upon retiring from active duty, they negotiated valuable consulting deals with Silk Way Airlines.
Federal Election Commission Passes New Digital Ad Disclosure Rule
OpenSecrets – Taylor Giorno | Published: 12/1/2022
The FEC adopted a new rule requiring disclosures for political advertising online. Previously, digital ads were not subject to the same disclosure requirements as those in broadcast or print media. The rule expands the definition of “public communication” to “any public communication over the internet that is placed for a fee on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform.” But the commissioners rejected language requiring those who promote digital political ads to disclose if they are being paid to do so.
House Ethics Committee Admonishes Rep. Madison Cawthorn Over Crypto Promotion, Failure to Disclose Stake
CNBC – Dan Mangan | Published: 12/7/2022
The House Committee on Ethics said it admonished outgoing U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn and ordered him to pay more than $15,000 for violating conflict-of-interest rules by publicly promoting a cryptocurrency he owned and for failing to promptly disclose crypto transactions. The committee also said an investigative subcommittee’s report did not find evidence Cawthorn engaged in an improper romantic or sexual relationship with a staffer, with whom he had been seen in videos “engaging in explicit and sexually suggestive comments and conduct.”
Items with Classified Markings Found at Trump Storage Unit in Florida
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Spencer Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) | Published: 12/7/2022
Lawyers for former President Trump found at least two items marked classified after an outside team hired by Trump searched a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida, used by the former president, according to people familiar with the matter. Those items were immediately turned over to the FBI. The search was one of at least three conducted by an outside team of his properties for classified materials in recent weeks, after they were pressed by a federal judge to attest they had fully complied with a grand jury subpoena to turn over all materials bearing classified markings.
Justice Dept. Subpoenas Ariz., Mich., Wis. Officials for Trump Communications
MSN – Amy Gardner, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, and Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 12/6/2022
Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed local officials in Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin – three states that were central to former President Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election – for any and all communications with Trump, his campaign, and a long list of aides and allies. They are among the first known subpoenas issued by Smith, who was named to oversee the U.S. Capitol attack case as well as the criminal probe of Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home.
Rupert Murdoch to Be Deposed in $1.6 Billion Defamation Case Against Fox
MSN – Jeremy Barr and Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 12/5/2022
Rupert Murdoch, chairperson of Fox News parent company Fox Corp, will be forced to answer questions under oath about his network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Murdoch will be deposed as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The lawsuit alleges the network purposely aired false claims about Dominion’s role in the 2020 presidential election to boost ratings and fight off competition from more-conservative-leaning television networks.
Ted Cruz’s Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia May Violate Ethics Laws, Watchdog Says in New Complaint
MSN – Zach Everson (Forbes) | Published: 12/1/2022
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz may have violated a federal law barring senators from receiving gifts from registered lobbyists when he accepted podcast production services from iHeartMedia, according to a complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. Senators also are barred from accepting honoraria for oral presentations transmitted electronically. The complaint claims that Cruz’s deal with iHeartMedia could not be qualified as a political contribution either, because corporations are banned from donating directly to campaigns, even via in-kind contributions.
Trump Mar-a-Lago Special Master Struck Down by Appeals Court
MSN – Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 12/1/2022
A federal appeals court panel halted an outside review of thousands of documents seized from former President Trump’s Florida residence, ruling a lower-court judge was wrong to appoint an expert to decide whether any of the material should be shielded from criminal investigators. The ruling, which Trump may appeal to the Supreme Court, means criminal investigators can again access the unclassified documents that were recovered in the search. The Justice Department has said those materials may be important in their probe of the possible mishandling of classified documents, obstruction, and destruction of government property at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s Committee Paying for Lawyers of Key Mar-a-Lago Witnesses
MSN – Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 12/5/2022
Former President Trump’s PAC is paying legal bills for some key witnesses involved in the Justice Department investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified documents, obstructed the investigation, or destroyed government records. Jim Walden, a former federal prosecutor, said the payment arrangement raises concerns about whether the reimbursement of legal fees may influence what the witnesses say or do. He noted if Justice Department officials have ethical concerns, they could ask a judge to, at a minimum, question the clients about whether they are certain their interests are being protected.
Vows to Reject Corporate PAC Money on the Rise for Incoming Congress
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 12/5/2022
More than 70 members of the 118 Congress say they are swearing off contributions from corporate PACs, indicating that a trend, almost exclusively among Democrats, that caught on during the 2018 election cycle has persisted. Business PACs face an uncertain future as the scramble for their money diminishes. Recent cycles have also seen an explosion in contributions of small amounts by more donors, especially among Democrats.
Canada – MPs Step in to Delay New Lobbying Code of Conduct Following Complaints
Globe and Mail – Bill Curry | Published: 12/1/2022
Members of Parliament delayed a new code of conduct for lobbyists after receiving a wide range of complaints. Some of the changes are being criticized as a major softening related to situations in which lobbyists campaign for politicians, while some lobbyists are objecting to proposed new restrictions on the many evening events hosted by organizations on Parliament Hill.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Ariz. County Ordered to Certify Election as GOP Lawyers Are Sanctioned
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (Washington Post) | Published: 12/1/2022
A judge in Arizona ordered the governing board of Cochise County to certify the results of the November 8 election, finding its members had no authority to shirk a duty required under state law. The surrender, under court order, ended a standoff that threatened to upend the state’s process for affirming the will of more than 2.5 million Arizona voters. The ensuing chaos could have undermined the projected victories of Republicans in a U.S. House seat and the statewide race for schools superintendent.
California – Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Faces $19,000 Ethics Fine
MSN – Darwin BondGraham (Oaklandside) | Published: 12/2/2022
Oakland City Councilperson Rebecca Kaplan is facing a $19,000 fine because she allegedly failed to disclose her ownership of a condominium located next to a waterfront park which she and the rest of the council voted to expand, using over $1 million in city funds. The improvement to the park stood to increase the value of her condo. Kaplan purchased the condo in 2013 along with her parents, but for the next seven years she did not list it on the annual financial disclosure forms that elected officials are required to file with the city.
California – L.A. City Council Votes to Reinstate Salary of Indicted Member Mark Ridley-Thomas
MSN – David Zahniser (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 12/7/2022
The Los Angeles City Council voted to reinstate the salary of indicted Councilperson Mark Ridley-Thomas, more than a year after he was suspended from his post while facing federal corruption charges. Ridley-Thomas sued the city over his suspension earlier this year, saying it violated the City Charter and was politically motivated. He will receive about $265,000, while an additional $99,500 will go to his legal team.
Florida – Florida Lawmaker Charged with Defrauding Pandemic Loan Program
MSN – Andrew Jeong (Washington Post) | Published: 12/8/2022
A Florida lawmaker known for sponsoring legislation that regulates classroom talk about sexual orientation and gender identity was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly trying to illicitly obtain more than $150,000 in federal pandemic relief funds. State Rep. Joseph Harding was accused of making fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration using the names of dormant business entities. Harding is also accused of submitting “fraudulently created bank statements” in the applications, federal prosecutors said.
Florida – Matt Gaetz Associate Joel Greenberg Gets 11 Years as Probe into Congressman Stalls, Sources Say
ABC News – Will Steakin | Published: 12/1/2022
Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector who sources say agreed to cooperate in the federal probe into his one-time close associate, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to six of the 33 charges he was facing, including stalking, identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official, as well as one charge of sex trafficking. Multiple sources familiar with the probe said the investigation into Gaetz has stalled.
Florida – Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor Resigns Amid Traffic Stop Controversy
MSN – Tony Marrero (Tampa Bay Times) | Published: 12/5/2022
Tampa’s chief of police, Mary O’Connor, resigned after an investigation into a Pinellas County traffic stop where she flashed a badge and asked a deputy to “just let us go.” A deputy pulled over O’Connor and her husband because their golf cart did not have a license plate. Keith O’Connor said they stopped at nearby restaurant and did not usually drive the cart on public roads. The deputy let them go without a citation. Mary O’Connor handed over what appeared to be her business card, telling the deputy, “You ever need anything, call me.”
Georgia – After Georgia Loss, G.O.P. Stares Down Its Trump Dilemma
DNyuz – Jonathan Weisman and Maya King (New York Times) | Published: 12/7/2022
The Democrats’ capstone re-election victory of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock forced Republicans to reckon with the red wave that was not, as they turned with trepidation to 2024 and the intensifying divisions in the party over former President Trump. For a handful of Republicans, newly emboldened by re-election or retirement to say so aloud, the biggest culprit was Trump. They slammed him for promoting flawed candidates, including Herschel Walker, dividing his party, and turning many swing voters against the GOP for the third election cycle in a row.
Hawaii – ‘A Deep Moral Crisis’: Commission Proposes ‘Bold’ Reforms in Government
Honolulu Civil Beat – Chad Blair | Published: 12/1/2022
A panel tasked with identifying ways to better Hawaii government is calling for sweeping reforms to restore public trust in government. The report from the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct details more than 30 proposals to reshape state laws and legislative processes in the areas of ethics, corruption, elections, and government operations. The report was triggered by a string of corruption cases involving government officials statewide that made national headlines and raised doubts about the integrity of local government operations.
Illinois – Despite Ban on Lobbyists’ Campaign Money, Lightfoot Took $68K from Lobbyist’s Companies. Now, She’s Giving Much of it Back.
Chicago Sun-Times – Tim Novak and Frank Main | Published: 12/2/2022
More than a decade ago, then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued an executive order that prohibited him and future mayors from taking any campaign money from lobbyists. This year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has accepted more than $53,000 in 39 campaign contributions from 14 companies affiliated with Carmen Rossi, a registered city lobbyist. Since Lightfoot was elected mayor in 2019, she has gotten a total of $68,500 from companies affiliated with him. A Lightfoot campaign spokesperson said the mayor has decided to return $44,500 in contributions she has received from companies affiliated with Rossi.
Maryland – Mayor Scott Accepts Money from Businessman He Disavowed During Pugh’s Healthy Holly Scandal
Baltimore Brew – Mark Reutter | Published: 12/7/2022
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott’s campaign committee reported a $5,000 donation from J.P. Grant, who was linked to the scandal surrounding former Mayor Catherine Pugh. Scott got still more money from two parties linked to the construction company that is secretly financed by Grant, Commercial Utilities LLC. The Board of Estimates recently approved a $12 million increase to the conduit contract that Commercial Utilities co-manages. Scott has said that contributions do not influence his votes on the Board of Estimates.
Mississippi – Ethics Commission Says Legislature Not Subject to Open Meetings Law
Daily Journal – Bobby Harrison (Mississippi Today) | Published: 12/2/2022
The Mississippi Ethics Commission determined the state Legislature is not bound by the open meetings law. The ruling came in a complaint filed by the Mississippi Free Press saying the House Republican caucus members, which currently consist of 75 of the 122 House members, are violating the law when they meet behind closed doors to discuss policy. A news report cited reports of various House members and detailed how the caucus meetings were usually the first place that rank-and-file House Republicans were informed of details of major policies developed by Speaker Philip Gunn and a handful of other leaders.
Missouri – ‘A Scar’ on St. Louis: 3 former aldermen get prison for bribery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Katie Kull | Published: 12/6/2022
Three former St. Louis aldermen, including the longtime board president, will go to prison for accepting bribes. John Collins-Muhammad and Lewis Reed each received sentences of three years and nine months, while Jeffrey Boyd was sentenced to three years. It was a conclusion to a case that involved surveillance, hundreds of hours of recorded phone calls and meetings, and thousands of text messages and emails, prosecutors said. The key player was a local businessperson facing his own federal charges who handed out bribes in exchange for tax breaks and a reduced rate on a city-owned property.
New Mexico – Ethics Agency Settles ‘Revolving Door’ Allegations
Albuquerque Journal – Dan McKay | Published: 12/7/2022
New Mexico’s ethics agency reached a $13,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit it filed alleging violations of a revolving-door ban. The State Ethics Commission accused a former Sandoval County assessor’s office employee, Gabriel Vargas, and Double Eagle Property Tax Consultants of violating the law, which prohibits an ex-government employee from leaving an agency and then representing clients before the agency on a matter they had worked on, or from being paid to represent anyone before the agency at all for one year.
New Mexico – Ethics Board Advances Complaint Against County Commissioner
Albuquerque Journal – Jessica Dyer | Published: 12/2/2022
A Bernalillo County ethics board advanced a complaint alleging an elected official improperly accepted a $5,000 campaign contribution from a lobbyist. The county’s Code of Conduct Review Board decided the complaint against county Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty warranted an evidentiary hearing. Vanessa Alarid gave a $5,000 in-kind donation to Pyskoty’s reelection campaign in June. Alarid represents the developers behind Santolina, a planned community that has been, and will continue to go, before county commissioners to get necessary approvals.
New York – Bribery, Fraud Charges Dismissed Against Ex-NY Lt. Governor
MSN – Larry Neumeister (Associated Press) | Published: 12/5/2022
Bribery and fraud charges against former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin were tossed out by a federal judge, leaving Benjamin to face only records falsification charges. U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken said prosecutors failed to allege an explicit example in which Benjamin provided a favor for a bribe, an essential element of bribery and honest services fraud charges. Benjamin pleaded not guilty to charges he obtained a campaign donation from a real estate developer in exchange for his influence to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit organization the developer controlled.
New York – Trump Organization Convicted in Executive Tax Dodge Scheme
MSN – Michael Sisak (Associated Press) | Published: 12/6/2022
Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud in a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney in a repudiation of financial practices at the former president’s business. A jury found two corporate entities at the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 counts, including conspiracy charges and falsifying business records. As punishment, the Trump Organization could be fined up to $1.6 million, a relatively small amount for a company of its size, though the conviction might make some of its future deals more complicated.
New York – Twin Friends of Eric Adams Are Dogged by Allegations and Unpaid Debts
DNyuz – Michael Rothfeld, William Rashbaum, and Susan Beachy (New York Times) | Published: 12/5/2022
Over the past decade, Johnny and Robert Petrosyants have boasted of their friendship with New York City Mayor Eric Adams while courting partners for a range of business ventures. The relationship has helped them gloss over that both brothers pleaded guilty in 2014 to financial crimes related to insurance claims. By all accounts, Adams has maintained a close relationship with the brothers. For their part, the brothers have generated tens of thousands of dollars for Adams’ campaigns by holding fundraising events and enlisting friends to solicit contributions.
North Carolina – Supreme Court Seems Poised to Reject Robust Reading of ‘Independent State Legislature’ Theory
MSN – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 12/7/2022
The Supreme Court seemed splintered about whether to adopt a legal theory that would radically reshape how federal elections are conducted. The North Carolina Supreme Court tossed congressional maps drawn by the Legislature as an illegal partisan gerrymander, with court-drawn maps ultimately being used for the 2022 election. Republican legislators asked the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out those court-drawn maps, advancing a once-fringe legal idea called the “independent state Legislature” theory, which argues that an interpretation of a clause in the U.S. Constitution leaves little, or no, room for state court review of election laws.
Ohio – City Council Bans Cleveland from Doing Business with Companies That Practice Wage Theft
MSN – Courtney Astolfi (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 12/6/2022
The Cleveland City Council approved an ordinance banning the city from doing business with companies found to practice wage theft and those that commit payroll fraud. The new law bars Cleveland from granting financial assistance to such companies or entering into contracts with them for city services or construction. Wage theft is defined as any violation of state or federal law regarding the prompt payment of wages, payment of minimum wage, or prevailing wage rates. Payroll fraud is defined as the concealment of a business’s true tax liability by not reporting or underreporting applicable wages or by paying employees under-the-table.
Oklahoma – With Weak Laws and Little Enforcement, Oklahoma Sees Record-Breaking Dark Money Spending
The Frontier – Clifton Adcock | Published: 12/6/2022
Spending from outside groups soared to more than $33.6 million in Oklahoma’s election cycle this year, the highest recorded level in the state’s history. In the face of increasing outside political spending from secretive groups, some states have moved to require greater disclosure in state and local elections in recent years. But thanks to a lack of funding from the Legislature, Oklahoma has weak enforcement and some lawmakers have even attempted to head off disclosure requirements for “dark money” groups.
Oregon – Long-Serving Director of Oregon Government Ethics Commission Retires
Willamette Week – Nigel Jaquiss | Published: 12/3/2022
One of the state’s longest-serving agency directors officially retired on November 30. Ron Bersin, who has led the Oregon Government Ethics Commission since 2006, told the commission it was time to find his successor. Bersin ensured that local officials complied with ethics laws and public officials and lobbyists filed disclosure statements in a timely manner to provide a way for the public to track their financial interests and activity. He will stay on as interim director through the legislative session but has asked the commission to find a new director by the end of next year.
Oregon – Portland City Officials Avoid Competitive Process for Gunshot Detection Pilot
OPB – Jonathan Levinson | Published: 12/5/2022
Public records show a yearlong courtship between the Portland police and ShotSpotter, a company providing gunshot detection technology, and almost no consideration of a competitor. Text messages between a Portland Police Bureau officer and a ShotSpotter representative suggest a cozy relationship helped pave the way for the city’s decision to pilot the technology. If the city moves forward and puts ShotSpotter in the five Portland neighborhoods with the most gun violence the contract could be worth over $1 million per year.
South Carolina – Judge to Decide Whether to Dismiss Charges Against Quinn, Alleged Kingpin of Corruption Scandal
MSN – John Monk (The State) | Published: 12/2/2022
After a hearing, the issue of whether to dismiss state grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice charges against political consultant Richard Quinn Sr. is now in the hands of Judge Carmen Mullen. The judge said she would weigh complex legal issues, including the relevance of 2021 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion on corruption charges against a former state representative, whether Quinn was afforded due process, and whether prosecutors were right to have Quinn testify in front of a state grand jury where he made statements that resulted in his indictment.
Virginia – Restaurant Refuses Service to Christian Group, Citing Staff ‘Dignity’
MSN – Emily Heil (Washington Post) | Published: 12/6/2022
A restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, refused to host a private event for a conservative Christian organization over the group’s position on same-sex marriage and abortion rights. The restaurant, Metzger Bar and Butchery, called itself an “inclusive” establishment that has rarely refused service to willing patrons, but said it denied service to the group to protect its staff, many of whom are women or members of the LGBTQ+ community. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb likened the restaurant’s move to establishments that refused to serve Black customers in the 1950s and 1960s.
Washington – SEIU Secretly Lobbied the Washington State Redistricting Commission, Court Filings Allege
The Olympian – Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy) | Published: 12/7/2022
A lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) failed to report lobbying activities related to the Washington State Redistricting Commission in 2021, court records allege. Arthur West, an open government advocate, is suing the commission and the state for withholding and deleting public records. West told said the Legislature recently disclosed more communications the commission intentionally withheld from him in previous public records requests, and they included the unreported lobbying activity by SEIU lobbyist Lindsey Grad.
Washington – WA Appeals Court Largely Upholds Eyman Campaign Finance Violations
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 12/6/2022
A Washington appeals court upheld the majority of campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax activist Tim Eyman was found liable for last year, keeping in place the multimillion-dollar verdict against him and most of the restrictions barring Eyman from controlling the finances of political committees. It threw out one of the violations against Eyman, a small portion of the restrictions imposed on him, and asked the trial judge to reconsider the size of the fine levied against him. Eyman was fined more than $2.6 million for his campaign finance violations and ordered to pay attorneys’ fees to the state of more than $2.9 million.
Washington DC – Giuliani Puts 2020 Election Back on Trial in DC Ethics Case
MSN – Zoe Tillman (Bloomberg) | Published: 12/5/2022
Rudy Giuliani “weaponized his law license” to try to undermine the U.S. Constitution when he led a failed effort for Donald Trump to invalidate potentially millions of Pennsylvania votes after the 2020 election, District of Columbia Bar officials argued at a hearing. Giuliani’s Washington law license is on the line as he faces allegations that he violated attorney practice rules by filing a “frivolous” post-election lawsuit in federal court that featured baseless claims of widespread fraud. Giuliani’s defense against the ethics complaint involves digging in two years later on his belief there was evidence that the election was tainted by voting irregularities and fraud.
December 8, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Oklahoma: “With Weak Laws and Little Enforcement, Oklahoma Sees Record-Breaking Dark Money Spending” by Clifton Adcock for The Frontier Washington: “WA Appeals Court Largely Upholds Eyman Campaign Finance Violations” by David Gutman for Seattle Times Elections North Carolina: […]
Oklahoma: “With Weak Laws and Little Enforcement, Oklahoma Sees Record-Breaking Dark Money Spending” by Clifton Adcock for The Frontier
Washington: “WA Appeals Court Largely Upholds Eyman Campaign Finance Violations” by David Gutman for Seattle Times
North Carolina: “Supreme Court Seems Poised to Reject Robust Reading of ‘Independent State Legislature’ Theory” by Zach Montellaro (Politico) for MSN
National: “Items with Classified Markings Found at Trump Storage Unit in Florida” by Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Spencer Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind Helderman (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Democrats Ramp Up Investigation of Kushner Family Business Dealings” by Michael Kranish (Washington Post) for MSN
Missouri: “‘A Scar’ on St. Louis: 3 former aldermen get prison for bribery” by Katie Kull for St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Virginia: “Restaurant Refuses Service to Christian Group, Citing Staff ‘Dignity’” by Emily Heil (Washington Post) for MSN
Washington: “SEIU Secretly Lobbied the Washington State Redistricting Commission, Court Filings Allege” by Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy) for The Olympian
Ohio: “City Council Bans Cleveland from Doing Business with Companies That Practice Wage Theft” by Courtney Astolfi (Cleveland Plain Dealer) for MSN
December 7, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “Trump’s Committee Paying for Lawyers of Key Mar-a-Lago Witnesses” by Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) for MSN Elections National: “Justice Dept. Subpoenas Ariz., Mich., Wis. Officials for Trump Communications” by Amy Gardner, Isaac […]
National: “Trump’s Committee Paying for Lawyers of Key Mar-a-Lago Witnesses” by Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Justice Dept. Subpoenas Ariz., Mich., Wis. Officials for Trump Communications” by Amy Gardner, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, and Patrick Marley (Washington Post) for MSN
Georgia: “Warnock Beats Walker in Ga. Runoff, Growing Democrats’ Senate Majority” by Sabrina Rodriguez, Dylan Wells, Matthew Brown, and Hannah Knowles (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Faces $19,000 Ethics Fine” by Darwin BondGraham (Oaklandside) for MSN
Florida: “Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor Resigns Amid Traffic Stop Controversy” by Tony Marrero (Tampa Bay Times) for MSN
New York: “Trump Organization Convicted in Executive Tax Dodge Scheme” by Michael Sisak (Associated Press) for MSN
National: “Ex-Miami US Rep. David Rivera Arrested in Venezuela Probe” by Joshua Goodman and Terry Spencer (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
Oregon: “Portland City Officials Avoid Competitive Process for Gunshot Detection Pilot” by Jonathan Levinson for OPB
November 23, 2022 •
National/Federal Cigars, Booze, Money: How a lobbying blitz made sports betting ubiquitous Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) | Published: 11/20/2022 In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal prohibition on sports betting was unconstitutional. […]
Cigars, Booze, Money: How a lobbying blitz made sports betting ubiquitous
Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Kenneth Vogel (New York Times) | Published: 11/20/2022
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal prohibition on sports betting was unconstitutional. Gambling companies and their allies then deployed a full court lobbying campaign to press for sports betting in state capitals, showering lawmakers with money, gifts, and visits from sports luminaries and at times using deceptive arguments to extract tax breaks and other concessions, according to a New York Times investigation. In state after state, while lobbyists cultivated friendly relationships with lawmakers and regulators, the interests of taxpayers and people at risk of gambling problems were often on the back burner.
GOP Operative Found Guilty of Funneling Russian Money to Donald Trump
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 11/17/2022
A federal jury convicted a Republican political operative, Jesse Benton, for funneling illegal campaign contributions from a Russian national into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Benton worked with another GOP operative to arrange for Roman Vasilenko to attend a fundraiser and take a picture with Trump. Since the event required a contribution, Vasilenko sent $100,000 to Benton’s political consulting firm, $25,000 of which Benton donated in his own name to the Trump campaign and the other $75,000 of which he pocketed.
How Carolyn Maloney’s Ticket to the Met Gala Led to an Ethics Inquiry
Yahoo News – Nicholas Fandos (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
When U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney learned in 2016 that she had been dropped from the guest list for that year’s Met Gala, she evidently could not abide it. Maloney called a powerful friend and appeared to have done her own version of trying to talk her way on the list. In an investigative referral, a congressional ethics watchdog contended her cajoling – including reminding the Met “how much she does for the Met” – may have violated House ethics rules or federal laws that bar lawmakers from soliciting gifts, including invitations.
In New Special Counsel, a Prosecutor Schooled in Corruption Cases
DNyuz – Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer (New York Times) | Published: 11/19/2022
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee a pair of criminal investigations involving former President Trump, thrusting him into a political firestorm that will doubtlessly accompany the job. The special counsel’s purview will include the probe of Trump’s alleged retention of highly sensitive national security secrets at his Florida estate, and aspects of the effort by Trump and his allies’ effort to subvert the 2020 election and disrupt the transition of power to President Biden. Smith has been prosecuting criminal cases, including politically charged corruption investigations involving public officials, for nearly 30 years.
Pelosi to Step Down as House Democratic Leader
Yahoo News – Sarah Wire (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/17/2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will not seek to lead House Democrats for another term but remain in Congress. The decision, capping a 35-year career in which Pelosi became the most powerful female member of Congress in U.S. history, followed her party’s narrow loss of the chamber in the midterm election. Pelosi is also abiding by a 2018 agreement with fellow Democrats that she would step down from leadership by the end of 2022 to make way for a new generation. Pelosi also said the attack on her husband, Paul, would be a factor in her decision.
Senior Democratic Lawmakers Demand Answers on Alleged Supreme Court Leak
MSN – Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 11/20/2022
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Hank Johnson are demanding that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts detail what, if anything, the court has done to respond to recent allegations of a leak of the outcome of a major case the justices considered several years ago. Whitehouse and Johnson are also interested in examining claims about a concerted effort by religious conservatives to woo the justices through meals and social engagements. They made clear if the court will not investigate the alleged ethical breaches, lawmakers are likely to launch their own probe.
Trump Family’s Newest Partners: Middle Eastern governments
Yahoo News – Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
The Trump Organization signed a deal with a Saudi Arabian real estate company that creates new conflict-of-interest questions for Donald Trump’s just-launched presidential campaign. The deal is for a Trump-branded hotel, villas, and a golf course as part of a $4 billion real estate project in Oman. The agreement continues a practice that had been popular for the Trump family business until Trump was elected president – selling branding rights to an overseas project in exchange for a generous licensing fee.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – APOC OKs Subpoenas for Republican Governors Association Execs in Dunleavy Coordination Case
Midnight Sun – Matt Acuña Buxton | Published: 11/18/2022
The Alaska Public Offices Commission issued subpoenas to two officials with the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Executive Director Dave Rexrode and Chief Financial Officer Erim Canligil. A complaint argues the independent expenditure group illegally coordinated with Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s campaign, violating laws intended to keep candidates separated from unlimited corporate spending.
Arkansas – Ethics Commission Reaches Settlements in Cases Involving Advocacy Group and Arkansas Legislators
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Michael Wickline | Published: 11/18/2022
The Common Ground Arkansas group founded by state Sen. Jim Hendren, along with Sen.-elect Bryan King and state Rep. Mary Bentley, have each been sanctioned with fines and public letters of caution by the Arkansas Ethics Commission. The fines range from $50 to $150. In a complaint, Sen. Trent Garner alleged Hendren, as founder and board member of Common Ground, violated state election law by engaging in expressed advocacy for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election or election of candidates.
California – Anaheim Residents Pressure City Council to Publicly Release Corruption Probe
Voice of OC – Hosam Elattar | Published: 11/16/2022
Anaheim residents will get to see if their elected leaders are corrupt after they pressured the city council to commit to releasing the findings of an internal probe. The results could implicate city staff and officials themselves. It comes after revelations of an FBI probe into City Hall and former Mayor Harry Sidhu. Federal agents allege Sidhu tried ramming through the Angel Stadium land sale for $1 million in campaign support from team officials.
California – California Raises Campaign Contribution and Gift Limits for 2023-2024
Lexology – Kimberly Railey (Covington & Burling LLP) | Published: 11/18/2022
The California Fair Political Practices Commission voted to increase limits on campaign contribution and gifts to public officials. The new caps take effect on January 1, 2023.
Connecticut – After Record Spending in CT Governor Race, Questions Arise Over Future Spending by Wealthy Candidates
CT Insider – Ken Dixon | Published: 11/21/2022
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and challenger Bob Stefanowski avoided the state’s public campaign financing program in this year’s gubernatorial election, dipping into their own wealth to spend more than $30 million and raising the question of whether top of the ticket candidates will continue doing this in the future and just how wealthy someone must be to run for the state’s highest office. If the current maximum $9 million grant is not increased for governor candidates, it could subvert the purpose of the law aimed at removing lobbyist and special-interest money from statewide and General Assembly races while opening the pool of potential candidates.
Connecticut – Manager at CT State Pier Recommended Itself for $87M in Contracts
Connecticut Mirror – Andrew Brown | Published: 11/21/2022
The company hired to oversee the redevelopment of the State Pier in New London, Kiewit Corporation, recommended itself for tens of millions of dollars in subcontracts under the project, even in some cases where another construction firm submitted a lower-priced bid to the state. That arrangement is now drawing criticism from a few Connecticut lawmakers who are concerned about the potential for a conflict-of-interest. Sen. Paul Formica, who represents the district where the new pier is being built, argued it was a poor business practice to allow Kiewit to both manage the public bidding process and submit offers for work at the site.
Florida – Judge Blocks DeSantis Law on Barring ‘Woke’ Education
Yahoo News – Anthony Izaguire (Associated Press) | Published: 11/17/2022
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker blocked a law pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in colleges. Walker issued a temporary injunction against the so-called Stop Woke act in a ruling that called the legislation “positively dystopian.” The law prohibits teaching that contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others. It also bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is acceptable to achieve diversity.
Georgia – Judge Says Georgia Law Allows Saturday Voting for Runoff
MSN – Kate Brumback and Jeff Amy (Associated Press) | Published: 11/18/2022
A judge said Georgia law allows counties to offer early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is the only possibility for Saturday voting before the runoff election between U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Warnock’s campaign filed a lawsuit arguing that early voting should be allowed that day. They were challenging guidance by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that said it would be illegal to hold early voting on Saturday, November 26, the day after a state holiday.
Idaho – September Special Session Leads to $24,000 in Fines Against 91 Idaho Lobbyists for Late Filings
Idaho Capital Sun – Kelcie Moseley-Morris | Published: 11/21/2022
Ninety-one lobbyists were fined for filing late reports following Idaho’s one-day special session on September 1. There are 393 registered lobbyists in Idaho, meaning about 23 percent of the registered lobbyists were fined. According to emails sent to the affected lobbyists, the report was due October 15, and a fine of $50 is assessed each day the report is late. Those fines are also applicable for campaign finance reports that candidates must file monthly according to election cycles. While 13 of the fines were $150 or less, the rest were $300 after the secretary of state’s office decided to reduce what were initially $700 to $900 fines.
Illinois – Madigan: Indicted but still pitching for (and getting) money
Chicago Sun-Times – Tim Novak and Dave McKinney | Published: 11/18/2022
Since being indicted last March as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been personally soliciting campaign contributions for his Democratic ward organization and has gotten more than $400,000 for the political fund. These contributions have helped replenish $302,000 in legal fees Madigan’s groups has spent since being subpoenaed by a federal grand jury as part of the ongoing criminal case. It is unusual to see such a large haul associated with someone in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors, someone who no longer can dole out political favors and jobs, as Madigan did for decades.
Illinois – With New Campaign Fund, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Allies Are Raising Cash Outside City Ethics Rules Limits
MSN – Gregory Pratt (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 11/21/2022
The establishment of a new independent expenditure committee in October underscores the political battle that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s supporters are anticipating in the coming months and the loopholes that exist in campaign finance laws and city ethics rules designed to limit the influence political backers have on elected officials’ government actions. The 77 Committee, which is being run by a longtime top adviser to Lightfoot, is allowed to accept unlimited funds for her reelection, including from city contractors who are restricted under ethics rules from contributing to the mayor’s campaign or a Lightfoot-aligned PAC.
Indiana – Doctor Says She Shouldn’t Have to Turn Over Patients’ Abortion Records
MSN – Kim Bellware (Washington Post) | Published: 11/19/2022
A physician who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim has asked a judge to stop the Indiana attorney general from accessing patient medical records as part of an investigation into consumer complaints her lawyers have called a “sham.” Caitlin Bernard’s lawyers said Attorney General Todd Rokita’s efforts to obtain the patient’s medical charts are a troubling violation of patient privacy that, if allowed, would shake trust in doctor-patient confidentiality. The state countered that Rokita’s office is allowed to access the records as it investigates complaints accusing Bernard of professional lapses.
Louisiana – Federal Grand Jury Probing Purchases by LaToya Cantrell’s Image Consultant
NOLA.com – David Hammer (WWL), John Simerman, and Gabriella Killett | Published: 11/17/2022
At least two New Orleans area stores have received subpoenas from a federal grand jury and been questioned by FBI agents about clothing purchases made by Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s image consultant, Tanya Haynes. Gray Sexton, the former lawyer for the Louisiana Board of Ethics Board, said such expenditures are proper under state law only if they are truly spent on consulting, not clothing. He noted a few limited exceptions to that rule, such as people who hold elected positions that might require them to wear a uniform, such as an elected police chief, might be able to tap their campaign funds.
New Jersey – Former Top Aide to NJ Senate Leader Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion and Wire Fraud Conspiracy
Yahoo News – Steve Janoski and Ashley Balcerzak (Bergen Record) | Published: 11/21/2022
The former chief of staff to the New Jersey Senate president pleaded guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud charges. Tony Teixeira admitted he conspired with Sean Caddle, a former Hudson County political operative, to overcharge various campaigns, PACs, and nonprofits for work done by Caddle’s consulting firm. Caddle paid a portion in cash and the rest through checks made out to Teixeira’s relatives to conceal the kickbacks. Teixeira never reported the earnings to the IRS. Caddle remains on home confinement after pleading guilty to a plot in which he hired two hitmen to kill a former friend and associate.
New York – ‘Investment in Democracy’: NY begins matching campaign donations for state candidates
Auburn Citizen – Robert Harding | Published: 11/19/2022
A new program will allow candidates for state-level offices in New York to receive public funds to match small-dollar donations. The Public Campaign Finance Board launched the matching program recently for the 2024 election cycle. Candidates for state Legislature will be the first group eligible to apply and receive matching funds. The program will be in place for statewide candidates running in the 2026 election.
New York – Manhattan Prosecutors Again Consider a Path Toward Charging Trump
MSN – Jonah Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William Rashbaum (New York Times) | Published: 11/21/2022
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has moved to jump-start its criminal investigation into Donald Trump, seeking to breathe new life into an inquiry that once seemed to have reached a dead end. Under the new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, the prosecutors have returned to the long-running investigation’s original focus: a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump. The renewed scrutiny of the hush money comes amid an intensifying swirl of legal and political drama around Trump.
Texas – Austin Candidates Say Bad Advice from City Made Them Miss Out on Election Funds
MSN – Sarah Asch (Austin American-Statesman) | Published: 11/21/2022
Despite following guidance from the city clerk’s office, two Austin City Council candidates will miss out on thousands of dollars they had sought from a fund set up to help candidates pay for election activities. José Velásquez and Ryan Alter filed a lawsuit asking for a restraining order to prevent the city from distributing the funds, which they say they are entitled to receive. The money is held in the Fair Campaign Finance Fund, which was set up in 2008 for candidates who sign a pledge to limit the amount of campaign contributions they accept from special interest groups or from outside the city. A judge denied the restraining order.
Washington – Public Disclosure Commissions Fines Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich for Electioneering, Lobbying; Sheriff Vows Appeal
Spokane Spokesman-Review – Kip Hill | Published: 11/18/2022
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich violated a pair of state laws prohibiting the use of public office for electioneering and use of public funds for indirect lobbying when he produced a YouTube video attacking Democratic lawmakers for their stance on crime, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission ruled. Knezovich was fined $300.
November 18, 2022 •
National/Federal Conservative Group Pressing States to Adopt Laws Protecting Companies from ‘Political Boycotts’: Report Yahoo News – Jared Gans (The Hill) | Published: 11/11/2022 A conservative group is planning to push state lawmakers across the country to adopt legislation to shield […]
Conservative Group Pressing States to Adopt Laws Protecting Companies from ‘Political Boycotts’: Report
Yahoo News – Jared Gans (The Hill) | Published: 11/11/2022
A conservative group is planning to push state lawmakers across the country to adopt legislation to shield American companies from “political boycotts.” It was reported that the American Legislative Exchange Council will lobby legislators to back its proposal at its States and Nation Policy Summit. The plan would require all government entities to include a clause in their contracts with businesses that they will promise to not “engage in economic boycotts.” The move comes amid strong Republican pushback to financial institutions seeking to distance themselves from industries such as fossil fuels.
Departing Lawmakers Are Lining Up Cushy Lobbying Gigs
MSN – Hailey Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 11/17/2022
Departing lawmakers are cashing in on their public service in Washington, D.C. by securing high-paying jobs on K Street. Former lawmakers are prohibited from directly lobbying their onetime colleagues during a waiting period that lasts one year for House members and two years for senators. But they may begin advising clients – except for foreign entities intending to influence the government – immediately. In that capacity, they can offer guidance on the inner workings of their congressional conference and access to their list of contacts.
DHS Blocked Vital Research on Domestic Threats, Say Terrorism Experts
MSN – Hannah Allam (Washington Post) | Published: 11/15/2022
As attacks rose in 2019, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials pledged to step up their response to domestic terrorism, funding in-depth research that would help them understand the scale of the problem. But that data collection has not begun, and $10 million languishes unused. About 20 research projects faced delays because of rulings by the department’s Privacy Office that deemed them high-risk even after researchers explained the information they intended to use was available to the public. A DHS official said federal agencies are facing criticism by both major parties for their response to political violence.
Documents Show Big Foreign Government Spending at Trump Hotel
MSN – Bernard Condon (Associated Press) | Published: 11/15/2022
The Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. took in more than $750,000 from six foreign governments at sensitive moments in their U.S. relations, with guests spending as much as $10,000 per room a night, according to documents released by a congressional committee. The Trump hotel near the White House, now a Waldorf Astoria, drew criticism from the start of Trump’s presidency for taking money from Republican politicians, companies, and foreign governments eager to curry favor with him.
FEC Targets Digital Ad Disclosure
Axios – Lachlan Markey | Published: 11/10/2022
The FEC is taking a significant step towards regulating digital political ads, taking up a measure to force disclosure of paid advertising on leading social and streaming platforms. The proposed regulation would require digital ads to disclose the entity paying for them. It would also expand the types of digital ads subject to the regulations, not just traditional banner ads or videos, but also paid social media endorsements and “influencer marketing” efforts.
Feds End Ukraine-Related Foreign Lobbying Investigation into Rudy Giuliani Without Filing Charges
MSN – Kara Scannell (CNN) | Published: 11/14/2022
Federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine closed their probe and said no criminal charges will be brought. Prosecutors have been investigating Giuliani, the onetime personal attorney to former President Trump, for possible violations of foreign lobbying laws since early 2019. Prosecutors had examined whether Giuliani operated on behalf of Ukrainian officials when he sought the ouster of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, while urging Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Judge Fines Trump Lawyers in Clinton Case Thrown Out in September
MSN – Azi Paybarah (Washington Post) | Published: 11/11/2022
A federal judge fined lawyers for former President Trump more than $66,000 and admonished them for filing frivolous and baseless claims in Trump’s defamation case against Hillary Clinton and her allies stemming from the 2016 presidential election. The fines include a $50,000 sanction to the court and an additional $16,274.23 payment to one of the 29 defendants in the case for expenses incurred as a result of the suit, which the judge dismissed in September.
McConnell Reelected Senate GOP Leader: ‘Not going anywhere’
Yahoo News – Lisa Mascaro, Brian Slodysko, and Mary Clare Jalonick (Associated Press) | Published: 11/16/2022
Sen. Mitch McConnell was reelected as Republican leader, quashing a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott after a disappointing performance in the midterm elections that kept Democrats in control. The unrest in the Senate GOP is similar to the uproar among House Republicans in the aftermath of the midterm elections that left the party split over Donald Trump’s hold on the party. The challenge by Scott, who was urged by Trump to confront McConnell, escalated a feud between Scott, who led the Senate Republican’s campaign arm this year, and McConnell over the party’s approach to try to reclaim the majority.
Questions About Donald Trump’s Campaign Money, Answered
MSN – Fredreka Schouten (CNN) | Published: 11/15/2022
With his formal announcement of a third presidential bid, Donald Trump now will face new limits on raising and spending money ahead of the 2024 election. But election lawyers and campaign finance experts said loopholes in federal election rules, and lax enforcement by federal regulators of existing laws, still offer Trump several potential routes to capitalize on the massive fundraising operation he and his aides have built since his 2020 loss.
Republicans Narrowly Win House, Ending Full Democratic Control of Congress
MSN – Hannah Knowles, Marianna Sotomayor, and Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) | Published: 11/16/2022
Republicans were projected to win back control of the U.S. House with a narrow majority, dealing a blow to President Biden and his agenda even as Democrats defied predictions of a rout to limit the GOP’s power. Republicans sought to harness dismay at inflation, crime, and the direction of the country. Their gains fell far short of the red wave they once envisioned, as Democrats countered with campaigns centered on abortion rights and fighting Republican extremism. The GOP gains the ability to launch investigations and block legislation.
They Rallied in D.C. on Jan. 6. Now They’ll Join Congress.
MSN – Michael Kranish (Washington Post) | Published: 11/14/2022
While the Republican Party suffered surprising losses in the midterms, including defeats of many who bought into Donald Trump’s false election claims, the arrival of freshman lawmakers in Congress who had come to Washington as pro-Trump activists on January 6, 2021, underscores the extent to which the House Republican caucus remains a haven for election deniers. At least 150 election deniers were projected to win House races, compared with the 139 who voted against certifying President Biden’s election.
Trump Wanted IRS Investigations of Foes, Top Aide Says
Yahoo News – Michael Schmidt (New York Times) | Published: 11/14/2022
While in office, former President Trump repeatedly told John Kelly, his White House chief of staff, that he wanted a number of his perceived political enemies to be investigated by the IRS, Kelly said. Kelly said Trump’s demands were part of a broader pattern of him trying to use the Justice Department and his authority as president against people who had been critical of him. Kelly said he made clear to Trump there were serious legal and ethical issues with what he wanted.
Trump, Who as President Fomented an Insurrection, Says He Is Running Again
MSN – Isaac Arnsdorf (Washington Post) | Published: 11/15/2022
Donald Trump, who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, officially declared he is running to retake the White House in 2024. The announcement came in a moment of political vulnerability for Trump as voters rejected his endorsed candidates in the midterm elections. Since then, elected Republicans have blamed Trump for the party’s performance and potential rivals are already plotting to challenge him for the nomination.
Two Anonymous $425 Million Donations Give Dark Money Conservative Group a Massive Haul
MSN – Hailey Fuchs (Politico) | Published: 11/16/2022
One of the biggest conservative “dark money” organizations in the nation was boosted last year by two separate anonymous gifts, each totaling more than $425 million dollars. The money was sent to DonorsTrust, a 501(c)(3) charity that has become one of the most influential conduit of funds in Republican-leaning circles. They are among the largest ever donations to a politically connected group. Under law, the individual or individuals behind those $425 million donations were not required to be disclosed to the public. DonorsTrust did not reveal them.
U.S. Intelligence Report Says Key Gulf Ally Meddled in American Politics
MSN – John Howard (Washington Post) | Published: 11/12/2022
A classified report outlines legal and illegal efforts by United Arab Emirates (UAE) to steer U.S. foreign policy in ways favorable to the country. It reveals the UAE’s bid, spanning multiple administrations, to exploit the vulnerabilities in American governance, including its reliance on campaign contributions, susceptibility to powerful lobbying firms, and lax enforcement of disclosure laws intended to guard against interference by foreign governments. The intelligence community’s scrutiny of the UAE indicates a heightened level of concern and a departure from the laudatory way the country is discussed in public by U.S. officials.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Katie Hobbs Elected Arizona Governor, Defeating Trump-Backed Election Denier Kari Lake
MSN – Stacey Barchenger (Arizona Republic) | Published: 11/14/2022
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, built a national profile by standing up to false claims about the 2020 presidential election, won the state’s gubernatorial election. With her win, Arizonans followed voters in other battleground states who rejected gubernatorial candidates who pushed false claims about election results. Hobbs will be the fifth female to hold the top elected office in Arizona, more than in any other state.
Arizona – Supreme Court Turns Down Arizona GOP Head’s Request to Shield Records
MSN – Robert Barnes (Washington Post) | Published: 11/14/2022
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request from Arizona Republican Party Chairperson Keli Ward to shield her phone records from the congressional committee investigating the assault on the Capitol. A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had said it was proper for the committee to issue a subpoena seeking information about calls placed from Ward’s cellphone between November 2020 and January 202. Ward argued that would violate her First Amendment right to freedom of association.
California – Anaheim and Its Ex-Mayor Won’t Disclose His Emails and Texts, So We Took Them to Court
MSN – Gabriel San Román (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/16/2022
The Los Angeles Times asked a judge to compel the city of Anaheim and former Mayor Harry Sidhu to disclose records related to an FBI corruption investigation into a self-described “cabal” that allegedly ran the city. The Times is also seeking records of other city business, including any messages related to negotiations surrounding the aborted Angel Stadium sale, which collapsed after the probe became public. Sidhu, who resigned while under criminal investigation, has refused to turn over emails and text messages from personal accounts he used to conduct city business.
California – Capt. Hollywood: Who is the ex-LAPD commander who tipped off CBS to assault claim?
MSN – Richard Winton and Meg James (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/13/2022
Known around the Los Angeles Police Department as “Capt. Hollywood,” Cory Palka played the part. He was a regular at Hollywood Boulevard star dedication ceremonies and picked up a lucrative off-duty assignment as a bodyguard for CBS’ former chief, Leslie Moonves. His actions now are under scrutiny after it was revealed that five years ago, Palka tipped off CBS executives to the existence of a confidential complaint alleging Moonves sexually assaulted a co-worker. Palka, then captain of the Hollywood station, worked closely with CBS to contain the allegations.
California – Jury Finds L.A. Skyscraper Developer Paid Jose Huizar More Than $1 Million in Bribes
MSN – Michael Finnegan (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/10/2022
The development company Shen Zhen New World I was convicted of paying former Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar more than $1 million in bribes to win his support for a proposed skyscraper in the city. It was the second conviction of a developer accused of paying off Huizar, who left office in 2020. A federal jury found developer Dae Yong Lee guilty of paying Huizar $500,000 in cash. Huizar is scheduled to go on trial in February. From 2013 to 2018, prosecutors say, he used his city office as an extortion racket to secure more than $1.5 million in illicit payments from developers seeking city approval of projects.
California – Karen Bass Elected Mayor, Becoming First Woman to Lead L.A.
MSN – Julia Wick (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/16/2022
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass defeated Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, making her the first woman and second Black Angeleno elected to lead the city. Confidence in local government is seemingly at a nadir after a series of City Hall indictments in recent years, and the release of a leaked audio recording less than a month before the election that revealed top officials making racist comments and scheming to maintain political power. The city’s first competitive mayoral race in nearly a decade was a story of contrasts, with two candidates who symbolized divergent visions of the city.
Georgia – Democrats Sue to Allow Saturday Voting in Georgia Runoff Amid Holiday Dispute
MSN – Mattherw Brown (Washington Post) | Published: 11/16/2022
Democrats are suing to force Georgia election officials to allow early voting on a Saturday ahead of the U.S. Senate runoff election on December 6. The suit comes in response to a determination by state officials that the law forbids voting right after Thanksgiving and a state holiday that once honored Robert E. Lee. The lawsuit argues that current guidance “applies only to primary and general elections, not runoffs.” The early voting period is set for November 28 through December 2, a stretch that does not include a weekend day, which voting rights advocates say makes it more difficult for some people to cast ballots.
Hawaii – County Ethics Watchdogs Need More Money to Do the Job Right, State Panel Says
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 11/11/2022
A commission wants Hawaii’s county ethics watchdogs to have more funding to monitor, and if need be, investigate public officials after a string of public corruption cases put a spotlight on government ethics and transparency. Unlike the Honolulu Ethics Commission, with 11 full-time staff and a total budget over $650,000, the ethics boards for Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii island operate with either no funds or very little to cover travel or food expenses. Staff members are usually limited to a secretary and attorney in the county’s corporation counsel office, both of whom may have other responsibilities outside of helping the all-volunteer ethics board.
Hawaii – Hawaii Lawmakers Honored Federal Lobbyist Despite Her Conviction in a Foreign Lobbying Scandal
Honolulu Civil Beat – Nick Grube | Published: 11/14/2022
The Hawaii Senate approved an honorary certificate for businessperson Nickie Lum Davis, lauding her for her “public service and outstanding contributions to her community.” What the certificate did not mention was that Davis pleaded guilty in 2020 to federal charges and was awaiting sentencing in a criminal case. The U.S. Justice Department accused her and others of secretly lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests. Davis has submitted the certificate to a judge to bolster her character and avoid prison.
Illinois – Indicted Ald. Carrie Austin ‘Not Medically Fit’ for Trial, Her Lawyers Say Days After She Voted on City Budget
Chicago Sun-Times – Jon Seidel | Published: 11/11/2022
Lawyers for indicted Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin told a judge she is “not medically fit to stand trial” and they will seek to have her prosecution put on hold. Austin is accused of taking home improvement materials as kickbacks from a developer overseeing a $50 million development in her ward. The lawyers said Austin “cannot cooperate fully with counsel or withstand the stress of a trial.” Austin has been attending city council meetings and voting on legislation. Austin was receiving supplemental oxygen while in the council chambers recently.
Illinois – Where is Ald. Walter Burnett Jr.’s Missing $300,000 in Campaign Money?
Chicago Sun-Times – Tim Novak and Lauren FitzPatrick | Published: 11/11/2022
Since 1999, Chicago Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. reported investing $375,000 of the $4.2 million in campaign contributions he received from political supporters, but $300,000 of the invested money has disappeared from his campaign finance reports. Burnett has declined to answer reporters’ questions about his campaign reports, which he has frequently amended, some of them as many as five times. the State Board of Elections says it has known for several months that Burnett’s campaign fund stopped reporting what it has done with the invested contributions, which it is required to do under state law.
Kansas – Ex-Kansas Democratic Party Officers Disciplined for ‘Unprecedented’ Campaign Finance Errors
MSN – Andrew Bahl (Topeka Capital Journal) | Published: 11/16/2022
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission disciplined two former state Democratic Party officers over errors in the group’s campaign finance reports that occurred over a seven-year period. Ethics officials termed the scope of the mistakes, which total over $1.5 million in expenditures and contributions that were misreported, to be “unprecedented.” Between 2009 and 2016, the party had underreported over $500,000 in contributions, as well as $507,000 in unreported expenditures, plus additional assets that were overreported.
Kansas – Legislative Veto of Regulations Amendment Fails in Closest Vote of Kansas 2022 Election
MSN – Jason Tidd (Topeka Capital-Journal) | Published: 11/16/2022
Kansas voters appear to have narrowly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have created a so-called legislative veto over administrative rules and regulations. Supporters of the amendment viewed it as a way to ensure the legislative branch, which generally delegates regulatory authority, had sufficient checks and balances over the executive branch, which typically promulgates and enforces regulations. Opponents feared the extent to which legislators, who are not typically experts on regulations, could be influenced by lobbyists or political motivations.
Kentucky – Lobbyists Who Engage Louisville Officials Must Register with City Under New Ordinance
Yahoo – Billy Kobin (Louisville Courier-Journal) | Published: 11/11/2022
A new ordinance in Louisville requires lobbyists and principles to register if they engage with public officials and file expenditure reports. It sets a $500 limit on gifts from lobbyists to candidates and officials and their families. Lobbyists may pay the cost for an official to attend certain events as long as it does not exceed $300. When he introduced the proposal, Metro Councilperson Bill Hollander said it would fix “a gaping shortfall of our ethics ordinance.”
Louisiana – NOPD Investigating Officer Frequently Inside Cantrell’s City-Owned Apartment
MSN – Lee Zurik and Dannah Kirby (WVUE) | Published: 11/9/2022
Surveillance video has led to more questions about how New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is spending her time and taxpayer dollars. While investigating whether Cantrell was living at a city-owned apartment complex, the video showed she spent many hours inside the apartment, often during the workday, and sometimes stayed overnight. The head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Rafael Goyeneche, said that could be a violation of a policy that states city property is for work-related purposes and not personal benefit. The videos also show Cantrell is also spending hours there with one member of her security team.
Maryland – Carroll County Commissioners Approve Updated Ethics Rules on Financial Disclosures and Gifts
MSN – Sherry Greenfield (Baltimore Sun) | Published: 11/11/2022
The Board of Carroll County Commissioners approved new provisions in the county’s ethics ordinance to reflect changes in state law regarding gifts and financial disclosures. Commissioners have been discussing since September state law measures enacted by the General Assembly in 2021 that changed ethics law requirements for local governments.
Nevada – Democrats Keep Control of the Senate with Win in Nevada
MSN – Hannah Knowles and Liz Goodwin (Washington Post) | Published: 11/13/2022
Democrats retained control of the U.S. Senate, clinching a narrow majority as they showed strength in battleground races in a daunting midterm year that handed President Biden a major victory as he looks to his next two years in office. The final blow to Republican hopes of retaking the chamber came in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won reelection, ensuring Democrats a 50th seat, with a runoff election still to come in Georgia that could pad their slim majority.
New Mexico – NM Supreme Court Throws Out Couy Griffin’s Appeal
Source New Mexixo – Austin Fisher | Published: 11/15/2022
Former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin failed to explain to the New Mexico Supreme Court how he would challenge his removal from elected office, so the justices threw out his appeal. A lower court ruling also barred him for life from serving in elected federal and state positions. It was the first time an elected official was unseated by court order as a result of participating in or supporting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
New York – Free Speech of Ex-State Workers Under Scrutiny in APA Case
Albany Times Union – Gwendolyn Craig (Adirondack Explorer) | Published: 11/11/2022
A retired Adirondack Park Agency staff member’s stymied attempt at submitting input this summer during the agency’s open public comment period could lead New York’s Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to consider the matter and what it could mean for past and present state employees’ participation in solicited feedback. APA Associate Counsel Sarah Reynolds wrote Linck that his written comments “appear to contain confidential information” and may violate post-employment restrictions. Reynolds said the agency would not consider them and referred Linck to the state ethics commission.
New York – Groups Urge State Ethics Watchdog to Probe $5M Cuomo Book Approval, Failed Policies
Spectrum News – Kate Lisa | Published: 11/14/2022
Good-government groups want New York’s new ethics commission to learn from the mistakes of its predecessor, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), which was disbanded this year. The coalition sent a letter to the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, pushing it to revisit the decisions that led to the approval of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5 million book deal and JCOPE’s policies. In September, the new commission voted to follow precedent from JCOPE when making decisions, pushing watchdogs to file a complaint. In October, the commission voted to continue any pending cases JCOPE did not finish.
New York – New York City Football Club Stadium Deal Provides Affordable Housing – and a Win for Lobbyist with Ties to Adams
MSN – Chris Sommerfeldt and Michael Gartland (New York Daily News) | Published: 11/16/2022
A $780 million soccer stadium deal in Queens approved by New York City Mayor Eric Adams was a win for one of his top political advisers, who lobbied City Hall for months on behalf of the project’s developer. Nathan Smith, a political strategist who served as a top aide in Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign, signed a lobbying contract with City Football Group to lobby the mayor’s team to develop a facility for the New York City Football Club. So far, Smith’s firm, Red Horse Strategies, has been paid $20,000 by the club’s owner.
Ohio – Jury Convicts Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen of Six Theft-Related Charges
Yahoo News – Nancy Molnar (The Times-Reporter) | Published: 11/16/2022
Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen was convicted on theft in office and five other criminal charges. The jury found him guilty of four counts of soliciting improper compensation for taking fees for performing wedding ceremonies. He was also convicted of dereliction of duty for failing to deposit the payments in the city treasury. The theft in office conviction bars Homrighausen from holding public office for life. Authorities said Homrighausen did not claim the fees on his federal, state, or local taxes or declare the payments on financial disclosure forms.
South Dakota – Ethics Board Subpoenas DCI for Investigation Report into If Gov. Kristi Noem Misused the State Airplane
Yahoo News – Annie Todd (Sioux Falls Argus Leader) | Published: 11/14/2022
The Government Accountability Board issued a subpoena for the Division of Criminal Investigation relating to its investigation into South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s alleged personal use of the state airplane. The move comes after the Hughes County state’s attorney found there were “no facts to support a criminal prosecution under current law” and returned the complaint to the board.
Tennessee – Campaign Finance Watchdog Files Complaint Against Harwell
Tennessee Lookout – Sam Stockard | Published: 11/15/2022
The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint against former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell claiming she violated the law by moving $47,000 in “soft money” into her failed congressional campaign this year. The complaint say Harwell appears to have broken federal rules by directing $35,000 from the Beth Harwell Committee and $12,000 from the Harwell PAC, both state accounts, into a super PAC that purchased advertising supporting her Fifth Congressional District campaign in advance of the August primary.
Texas – Texas Investigating Voting Difficulties in Houston’s Harris County
MSN – Molly Hennessey-Fiske (Washington Post) | Published: 11/16/2022
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for a criminal investigation into “widespread problems” and “allegations of improprieties” in Harris County’s election. He noted voting in the nation’s third-largest county was plagued by understaffing, broken voting machines, and paper ballot shortages, even though turnout was lower than county officials expected. Abbott and other Republicans have claimed the problem was especially acute in conservative areas, although complaints came from Democratic areas as well.
Washington DC – D.C. Housing Authority Internal Auditor Alleges Illegal Contracting
MSN – Steve Thompson (Washington Post) | Published: 11/13/2022
The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) illegally contracted with a software company, spending about $1 million without competitive bidding and splitting the amount into smaller purchases to escape scrutiny from the agency’s board, according to a report by the authority’s internal auditor. The review alleges that DCHA under its previous director, Tyrone Garrett, entered the first of the “illegal contracts” in 2019. But in a more immediate concern for the agency’s board, the review also accuses DCHA’s current executive staff of improperly trying “to use emergency contracts to cover up the error of obtaining an illegal contract.”
November 16, 2022 •
Campaign Finance Tennessee: “Campaign Finance Watchdog Files Complaint Against Harwell” by Sam Stockard for Tennessee Lookout Elections National: “Trump, Who as President Fomented an Insurrection, Says He Is Running Again” by Isaac Arnsdorf (Washington Post) for MSN National: “They Rallied […]
Tennessee: “Campaign Finance Watchdog Files Complaint Against Harwell” by Sam Stockard for Tennessee Lookout
National: “Trump, Who as President Fomented an Insurrection, Says He Is Running Again” by Isaac Arnsdorf (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “They Rallied in D.C. on Jan. 6. Now They’ll Join Congress.” by Michael Kranish (Washington Post) for MSN
Arizona: “Katie Hobbs Elected Arizona Governor, Defeating Trump-Backed Election Denier Kari Lake” by Stacey Barchenger (Arizona Republic) for MSN
New York: “Groups Urge State Ethics Watchdog to Probe $5M Cuomo Book Approval, Failed Policies” by Kate Lisa for Spectrum News
South Dakota: “Ethics Board Subpoenas DCI for Investigation Report into If Gov. Kristi Noem Misused the State Airplane” by Annie Todd (Sioux Falls Argus Leader) for Yahoo News
National: “Feds End Ukraine-Related Foreign Lobbying Investigation into Rudy Giuliani Without Filing Charges” by Kara Scannell (CNN) for MSN
Washington DC: “D.C. Housing Authority Internal Auditor Alleges Illegal Contracting” by Steve Thompson (Washington Post) for MSN
November 11, 2022 •
National/Federal Democrats Buck Midterm History to Win Control of 4 States Yahoo News – David Lieb (Associated Press) | Published: 11/9/2022 Defying historic midterm trends, Democrats wrested control of state legislative chambers away from Republicans in Michigan and Minnesota while also […]
Democrats Buck Midterm History to Win Control of 4 States
Yahoo News – David Lieb (Associated Press) | Published: 11/9/2022
Defying historic midterm trends, Democrats wrested control of state legislative chambers away from Republicans in Michigan and Minnesota while also gaining full control of state Capitols in Maryland and Massachusetts. The Democrats’ gains gave them power to set agendas in four states that previously had politically divided governments. Only twice since 1900 had the president’s party posted a net increase in state legislative seats during a midterm election – in 1934 and in 2002, a year after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
‘Espionage Lite’ or Deal Making? Prosecutors Struggle to Draw a Line.
DNyuz – Rebecca Davis O’Brien (New York Times) | Published: 11/7/2022
Thomas Barrack, an adviser to former President Trump, was acquitted of violating federal law by acting as a foreign agent without authorization while trying to help the United Arab Emirates influence the Trump administration. The charges included acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, a charge the Justice Department has referred to as “espionage lite,” a violation of Section 951 of the U.S. criminal code. In recent cases, the misconduct charged under the law more closely resembles lobbying, business dealings, or management consulting. “[Prosecutors] are now using the statute in this very fuzzy context of influence,” said Robert Kelner, an expert on government ethics law.
Fed Up with Political Text Messages? Read On.
Yahoo News – Natasha Singer (New York Times) | Published: 11/5/2022
In October, people in the United States received an estimated 1.29 billion political text messages, about twice as many as in April, according to an app that blocks Robocalls and spam texts. Many voters have complaints about it. Many were rife with divisive language or deceptive content. Political texting is becoming a go-to method for spreading doomsday scenarios, lies, and campaign smears. FEC rules requiring political ads on broadcast television, cable, and radio to disclose their sponsors do not apply to political text messages.
Federal PAC Supporting Ron DeSantis’ Presidential Bid Sues FEC Over List-Sharing Ruling
Open Secrets – Taylor Giorno | Published: 11/3/2022
Ready for Ron sued the FEC after the agency blocked the hybrid PAC from sharing a petition with tens of thousands of supporters and their contact information with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to encourage him to run for president in 2024. At the heart of the lawsuit is whether that list, something campaigns typically spend a lot of money compiling, is political speech or an in-kind contribution. If successful, the lawsuit could poke more holes in regulations barring coordination between super PACs and campaigns, experts said.
Former Government Officials’ Details Missing from Hundreds of Lobbying Returns
thejournal.ie – Stephen McDermott and Cormac Fitzgerald | Published: 11/9/2022
Dozens of former government officials who subsequently lobbied senior figures have incorrectly appeared as ‘ordinary; lobbyists on Ireland’s register of lobbying. An analysis found almost 400 returns on the Lobbying Register in which ex-ministers, ministerial advisers, and secretaries general were not listed as what are known as former Designated Public Officials as required by law. The incomplete entries included lobbying returns filed on behalf of multinationals such as Google, Huawei, Diageo, and Merck.
GOP Exuberance Crashed into Democratic Resistance to Defy Midterm Expectations
MSN – Dan Balz and Dan Keating (Washington Post) | Published: 11/9/2022
Few foresaw that Democrats would defy expectations of a “red wave” in the midterm elections, but the pattern of results has been a part of the country’s politics for some time, ever since Donald Trump won the White House in 2016. The forces that aligned against Trump in 2018 and 2020 were evident again on November 8. Abortion and concerns about extremism in the GOP proved as potent in energizing voters on the left as inflation, crime, and illegal immigration did in aiding Republicans. President Biden’s low approval ratings turned out to be less catastrophic for Democratic candidates than history would have suggested.
How Trump’s Bogus Election Day Claims Broke Through Facebook and Twitter Bans
MSN – Mark Scott (Politico) | Published: 11/9/2022
Donald Trump spent Election Day posting unfounded allegations on his own Truth Social platform, as well as on the encrypted messenger Telegram. Those platforms are far smaller than Facebook and Twitter, which have banned Trump, and state officials quickly debunked the claims. But his accusations boomeranged onto more mainstream platforms as candidates, high-profile influencers, and voters shared his allegations. It offers a preview of how hard it will be for even powerful platforms to contain false or misleading statements by the former president in 2024.
Investigators Search for Pricey Gifts to Trump from Foreign Leaders
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post) | Published: 11/4/2022
Congressional investigators are looking for dozens of pricey mementos gifted to former President Trump and his family members by foreign governments. The House Oversight Committee has asked for help in locating the items from the National Archives, which is among the agencies charged with keeping presidential gifts. The committee asked the archives to check whether the gifts are among the items transferred there from the White House at the end of Trump’s presidency as required by law. The committee is also seeking records from Trump’s team about its record keeping, a Trump adviser said.
Private Equity Firm Bets on Washington
MSN – Theodoric Meyer (Washington Post) | Published: 11/10/2022
Private equity is pouring more money into Washington, D.C., investing in a group of polling, public relations, lobbying, and political consulting firms. Seidler Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in California, has taken a minority stake in a conglomerate of 10 firms. Seidler’s investment will allow GP3 Partners to buy more companies to become a bigger player in Washington, said Darrell Lauterbach, GP3’s chief executive. K Street is highly fragmented, with hundreds of lobbying, law, communications, and political consulting firms competing for business.
Spanish Govt Proposes Rules for Lobbyists, Public Officials
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 11/8/2022
Spain’s Council of Ministers introduced a bill to increase the transparency of interactions between public officials and lobbyists. Officials involved in any stage of policymaking would have to report their meetings with representatives of companies or groups that hoped to influence governmental decisions. Lobbyists would need to enroll in a new electronic registry of interest groups to carry out any encounters with any members of the government, among other provisions.
The FEC Isn’t Enforcing the Law. Does It Even Matter?
Mother Jones – Russ Choma | Published: 11/8/2022
With the three Democratic commissioners and the three Republican commissioners on the FEC deadlocked for years, the agency has failed to reach any meaningful consensus on major enforcement issues. Transparency activists are upset over the actions of the FEC’s newest Democratic member who joined the agency in August. Dara Lindenbaum has several times voted with the Republicans to dismiss enforcement cases that advocates had hoped would be pushed to the courts to decide. Lindenbaum and Republican Chairperson Allen Dickerson say that by finding a kind of bi-partisan agreement they are getting the FEC moving again.
Trump Called a Protest. No One Showed. Why GOP Efforts to Cry Foul Fizzled This Time.
MSN – Rosalind Helderman, Patrick Marley, and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 11/9/2022
After two years of promises from Donald Trump and his supporters they would flood polls and counting stations with partisan watchers to spot alleged fraud, after threats lodged against election workers, and after postings on internet chat groups called for violent action to stop supposed cheating, a peaceful Election Day drew high turnout and only scattered reports of problems. Election officials said they believed the relative normalcy resulted from a combination of concerted effort on the part of well-prepared poll workers and voters, as well as that some of Trump’s loudest supporters were less potent than they had claimed.
U.S. Judiciary Launches Online Database of Judges’ Financial Disclosures
Reuters – Nate Raymond | Published: 11/7/2022
Members of the public will be able to search federal judges’ financial disclosure reports detailing their assets and stock trades through a congressionally mandated online database that went live recently. The launch comes after President Biden in May signed into law a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for the public to see if a judge has a financial conflicts-of-interest warranting his or her recusal from hearing a case. The law was prompted by a Wall Street Journal report that more than 130 federal judges had failed to recuse themselves from cases involving companies in which they or their family members owned stock.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – Arizona Voters Back Ballot Measure Taking Aim at ‘Dark Money’
MSN – Isaac Stanley-Becker (Washington Post) | Published: 11/9/2022
Arizona voters approved a ballot measure that aims to curb “dark money” in elections. The money is veiled because it travels through nonprofits, which are exempt under current law from disclosing their donors. Proposition 211 requires any group making independent expenditures of at least $50,000 in statewide races or $25,000 in other races to report donors contributing more than $5,000. Approval of the measure could galvanize similar efforts elsewhere, said Terry Goddard, the former Arizona attorney general who spearheaded the move to put the issue on the ballot,
California – Inside the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Corruption Investigation of Its Own Watchdogs
MSN – Michael Finnegan and Laura Nelson (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 11/3/2022
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department searched the home of county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s after it had spent three years looking into an allegation that Kuehl, one of Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s harshest critics, had taken bribes from a friend in return for Metropolitan Transportation Authority contracts. A Los Angeles Times review of the case found it is based on the testimony of one person, a former Metro employee named Jennifer Loew, who brought her bribery complaint to at least four law enforcement agencies but found a receptive audience only at the Sheriff’s Department. The Times found no evidence to support Loew’s allegation.
California – Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts on All Counts in Santa Clara County Sheriff Corruption Trial
MSN – Robert Salonga (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 11/3/2022
A jury reached guilty verdicts on all six counts in the civil corruption trial of now-former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, capping a monthlong trial that Smith nearly upended with her abrupt resignation, though a judge ordered the case to continue. A grand jury’s formal accusations alleged she illicitly steered concealed-carry weapons permits to donors and supporters, undermined state gift-reporting laws, and stifled a civilian auditor’s probe into a high-profile injury case at the county jail.
Florida – Conflicts of Interest, Cronyism at SFRTA, Tri-Rail’s Operator, Amid Furtive Renewal of Costly Lobbying Contract
Florida Bulldog – Dan Christensen | Published: 11/7/2022
The governing board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), ditched staff plans to seek bids for lobbying services and instead rehired its longtime lobbyist amid apparent cronyism, conflicts-of-interest, and possibly wasteful spending. The rehiring of lobbyist Candice Ericks, vice president of TSE Consulting, the lobbying arm of the Tripp Scott law firm, came during a March meeting. Among the SFRTA board members who voted to abandon seeking bids and renew Ericks’s expiring $246,000-a-year contract was Ericks’s own boss – Tripp Scott co-founder, fellow TSE lobbyist, and SFRTA Vice Chairperson James Scott.
Georgia – Georgia’s Senate Race Will Go to a Runoff Between Warnock and Walker
MSN – Mariana Alfaro (Washington Post) | Published: 11/9/2022
The U.S. Senate race in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker is heading to a December 6 runoff. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the state has looked at “the outstanding vote totals and neither one would be on 50 percent,” the threshold needed for victory. Georgia is one of two states, along with Louisiana, in which runoffs are required during general elections when no candidate secures more than half the votes.
Georgia – Gingrich Ordered to Appear Before Ga. Grand Jury Probing 2020 Election
MSN – Tom Jackman (Washington Post) | Published: 11/9/2022
A Virginia judge rejected an attempt by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to evade a summons for his grand jury testimony in Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating efforts by supporters of former President Trump to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. Gingrich’s lawyers argued the federal law that normally requires states to honor out-of-state grand jury summonses should not apply in this case because the special grand jury in Georgia lacks the power to indict. But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Robert Smith said the law does not parse out a difference between types of grand juries.
Hawaii – Hawaii May Soon Have More Tools to Prosecute Public Corruption
Honolulu Civil Beat – Blaze Lovell | Published: 11/9/2022
A statewide standards commission recommended new felonies dealing with fraud, false claims, and statements that may allow state and county prosecutors to bring charges against public officials similar to those brought by federal prosecutors in a string of public corruption cases this year. The U.S. Department of Justice has brought a handful of cases dealing with bribery and other forms of public corruption in Hawaii under the broad federal crime of honest services wire fraud. “It would have been difficult if not impossible to charge those cases under the existing state laws,” Flo Nakakuni, a deputy Honolulu prosecutor.
Kentucky – Kentucky Rejects Amendment 1, in Blow to Legislature’s GOP Supermajority
MSN – Joe Sonka (Louisville Courier-Journal) | Published: 11/8/2022
Kentucky voters rejected a ballot referendum that would have amended the state constitution to allow lawmakers to call themselves into a special session, a victory for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear over the supermajority Republican Legislature. Only the governor can call legislators into a special session, during which they are only permitted to pass bills that are within the parameters set by the governor, as Beshear did in August to address flood relief.
Kentucky – ‘Shocks the Conscience.’ Panel Orders Kentucky Judge Removed Over Ethics Violations
MSN – Bill Estep (Lexington Herald Leader) | Published: 11/4/2022
A Kentucky judge committed a long list of violations that included mismanaging his courtroom, pressuring people for campaign contributions, violating people’s rights, and rigging bids for a home-detention monitoring service, a state ethics panel ruled. The Judicial Conduct Commission issued an order removing Circuit Court Judge James Jameson from office. Jameson was up for reelection, but the panel went further to say he is unfit for office in a new term as well.
Maine – Maine Gives Companies More Time to Disclose PFAS Use After Requests from Lobbying Groups
Bangor Daily News – Mehr Sher | Published: 11/7/2022
Maine lawmakers passed a law last year to require all manufacturers selling items in the state, from cars to T-shirts, to disclose whether their products contain toxic chemicals. Requiring disclosure was also a step toward Maine’s plan to prohibit the sale of products containing the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. As the deadline to make the information public approaches, the state has been allowing national lobbying groups to delay the requirement on behalf of their members, some of whom said they did not even know they had been granted an extension.
Massachusetts – AP Sources: Justice Dept. watchdog probing Mass. US attorney
Yahoo News – Alanna Durkin Richer and Michael Balsamo (Associated Press) | Published: 11/7/2022
The Justice Department’s inspector general has opened an investigation of the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, prompted by U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins’ appearance at a political fundraiser featuring first lady Jill Biden. The inspector general’s office is focusing on Rollins’ attendance at the Democratic National Committee event in July as well as her use of her personal cellphone to conduct official business. An investigation by the department’s internal watchdog targeting one of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys, is highly unusual.
Massachusetts – Former State Police Union Head Dana Pullman, Lobbyist Anne Lynch Convicted of Racketeering, Fraud
MSN – Tom Matthews (MassLive) | Published: 11/3/2022
The former president of the Massachusetts State Police union, Dana Pullman, and former lobbyist Anne Lynch were convicted by a federal jury of racketeering, fraud, obstruction of justice, and tax crimes. Pullman was the president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) from 2012 until his resignation in 2018. Lynch’s lobbying firm represented SPAM during the same time. Pullman and Lynch defrauded SPAM members and the state when Lynch paid Pullman a $20,000 kickback in connection with a settlement agreement between SPAM and the state, officials said.
Michigan – Proposal 1: Michigan voters pass term limits, financial disclosure reform measure
Detroit News – Carol Thompson | Published: 11/8/2022
Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that would require state lawmakers to disclose some information about their personal finances and relax legislative term limits. Michigan is one of few states that do not require lawmakers to disclose anything about their personal finances while in office. Proposal 1 requires legislators, the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general to file annual financial disclosure reports starting in April 2024.
New Jersey – Lawmaker Calls for Review of State Office That Prosecutes Public Corruption Cases
New Jersey Monitor – Dana DiFilippo | Published: 11/4/2022
New Jersey Joe Cryan is calling for an independent review of the state attorney general’s office of public integrity and accountability after a Bergen County judge dismissed a public corruption indictment and raised questions about the office’s ethical conduct. Cryan’s demand comes after several high-profile losses for the office, which former Attorney General Gurbir Grewal launched in 2018 to prosecute public officials and law enforcement for misconduct.
New Mexico – State Files Lawsuit Against Political Action Committee
KRQE – Curtis Segarra | Published: 11/9/2022
New Mexico’s Ethics Commission filed a lawsuit against a political advocacy group, alleging the Working Families Organization, which funded a text message campaign to influence voters, did not properly disclose who was funding the campaign. The lawsuit also alleges the group did not properly register with the New Mexico secretary of state’s office as a political committee.
New York – Trump’s Company to Get a Court Monitor, Judge Rules
MSN – Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 11/3/2022
A judge granted the New York attorney general’s request that former President Trump’s business be overseen by an independent monitor. The order requires the Trump Organization’s dealings with banks and sale of major assets be subject to supervision by a third-party expert to be named by the court. The monitor will oversee attempts to transfer assets and will screen any future reports of Trump’s net worth to financial and insurance institutions.
North Dakota – North Dakota Voters OK Term Limits for Governor, Legislators
Associated Press News – James MacPherson | Published: 11/9/2022
Voters in North Dakota approved term limits for their governor and state legislators. The ballot measure adds an article to the state constitution limiting lawmakers to eight years each in the state House and Senate. A governor could not be elected more than twice.
Ohio – Ohio County Auditor Wins Reelection Weeks Before His Corruption Trial
MSN – Erin Glynn (Cincinnati Enquirer) | Published: 11/9/2022
An indicted county auditor in Ohio won his reelection race just weeks before he is scheduled to face trial on six charges related to public corruption. If Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds is convicted of a felony, the county Republican Party would appoint his replacement. Reynolds has pleaded not guilty and said the charges are false and politically motivated.
Oregon – NRA Committee to Be Fined for Delay in Reporting Donation to Campaign against Oregon Measure 114 Gun Control Initiative
Portland Oregonian – Maxine Bernstein | Published: 11/7/2022
The Oregon Elections Division said it will fine a National Rifle Association political committee more than $8,000 for the tardy reporting of a $25,700 donation to the campaign opposing Measure 114, a gun control ballot proposal. The NRA Oregonians for Freedom committee received the contribution from the NRA Political Victory Fund on July 29 but did not report it until November 1, far beyond the 30-day deadline.
Oregon – Oregon Voters Pass Measure 113, Punishing Lawmakers for Walkouts
Portland Oregonian – Hillary Borrud and Gosia Wozniacka | Published: 11/8/2022
Oregon lawmakers who boycott the state Capitol for an extended period to defeat legislation they oppose could now face a penalty after voters approved Measure 113. The ballot measure amends the state constitution so that going forward, any lawmaker with at least 10 unexcused absences will be disallowed from serving in the Legislature during the subsequent term. Republicans used walkouts in 2019 and 2020 to kill Democrats’ environmental reform plans and to defeat vaccine and gun regulation bills.
Pennsylvania – Kenyatta Johnson and His Wife, Dawn Chavous, Acquitted at Federal Bribery Trial
MSN – Jeremy Roebuck and Oona Goodin-Smith (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 11/2/2022
A federal jury found Philadelphia City Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson not guilty of participating in a bribery scheme that allegedly saw him accept thousands of dollars from two former nonprofit executives in exchange for political favors. Jurors also acquitted Johnson’s wife, Dawn Chavous, along with former executives at Universal Companies, Abdur Rahim Islam and Shahied Dawan. The jury rejected the government’s accusations that Johnson sold the powers of his office to the executives, who funneled their payoffs through a sham $67,000 consulting contract with Chavous.
Pennsylvania – Mistrial Declared in Trial of Nonprofit Executives Accused with Kenyatta Johnson
MSN – Jeremy Roebuck (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 11/7/2022
A federal judge declared a mistrial in the case of two codefendants of Philadelphia City Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson who were facing separate charges of embezzling funds and bribing a school official in Wisconsin. The decision came after one of the jurors who had been hearing the case against Rahim Islam and Shahied Dawan, former executives at the nonprofit Universal Companies, contacted COVID during the trial. Typically, that juror would have been replaced and the trial would have continued. But due to a high jury turnover rate throughout the trial, there were no alternate jurors left.
Tennessee – Nashville Council Member Faces Ethics Inquiry After Constituent’s Car Towed
MSN – Cassandra Stephenson (The Tennessean) | Published: 11/9/2022
A Nashville Councilperson Joy Styles is facing accusations she misused her authority to have a constituent’s car towed. The Metro Ethical Conduct Board reviewed a complaint against Styles and voted to hold a hearing in December to review allegations of improper use of official power. Nicole Weatherspoon, a resident of Styles’ district, filed an ethics complaint that accused Styles of improperly authorizing a company to tow Weatherspoon’s vehicle, which had a flat tire, from a public road. The complaint says a Performance Towing & Recovery employee told Weatherspoon the vehicle was towed under the authorization of “your councilwoman.”
Texas – Ads Against Abbott, Other Texas Republicans by Coulda Been Worse Test Campaign Ethics Law
MSN – Allie Morris and Robert Garrett (Dallas Morning News) | Published: 11/4/2022
The third biggest spender in Texas elections this year is a shadowy group that has not disclosed any information to the state, and is testing the limits of campaign finance law, experts said. Coulda Been Worse LLC has dumped more than $25 million into ads opposing Gov. Greg Abbott and other top Republicans. Since forming out of state in late August, Coulda Been Worse has not revealed its donors or leadership. Ethics experts and open government advocates say voters deserve to know who is trying to influence elections.
Texas – Fifth Circuit Parses Texas Ban on Boycotting Israel
Courthouse News Service – Cameron Langford | Published: 11/7/2022
Palestinians started the so-called boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to protest Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. It advocates for refraining from doing business with the Israeli government or companies that benefit from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Texas passed an anti-BDS law but pared it down later, excluding sole proprietorships, companies with nine or less employees, and contracts under $100,000. A company sued Houston and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, seeking an injunction ordering the city to remove the clause from its contract offer and declare the law unconstitutional.
Washington DC – D.C. Elections Board Denies Silverman’s Request to Vacate Ruling on Ward 3 Poll
MSN – Michael Brice-Saddler (Washington Post) | Published: 11/4/2022
The District of Columbia Board of Elections ruled city Councilperson Elissa Silverman’s due-process rights were not violated when the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) determined she misspent public campaign funds on polling for the Democratic primary, despite her objections about the breadth and timeline of the probe. The OCF ordered Silverman to return $62,000 for the cost of two polls she commissioned ahead of the June primary.
Wisconsin – Military Ballots in Wisconsin Will Be Counted Under Judge’s Ruling
MSN – Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 11/7/2022
A judge declined to delay or prevent the counting of military ballots in Wisconsin in a lawsuit that came after a disaffected election worker said she reached a “breaking point” and created three fake ballots to highlight flaws in the state’s voting system. Kimberly Zapata, who at the time was Milwaukee’s deputy elections director, told prosecutors she ordered the fake ballots because she was frustrated by Republicans focusing on baseless claims instead of actual weaknesses in Wisconsin’s voting procedures. Prosecutors charged Zapata with felony misconduct in office, and she was fired from her position with the city.
November 9, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “The FEC Isn’t Enforcing the Law. Does It Even Matter?” by Russ Choma for Mother Jones Oregon: “NRA Committee to Be Fined for Delay in Reporting Donation to Campaign against Oregon Measure 114 Gun Control Initiative” by […]
National: “The FEC Isn’t Enforcing the Law. Does It Even Matter?” by Russ Choma for Mother Jones
Oregon: “NRA Committee to Be Fined for Delay in Reporting Donation to Campaign against Oregon Measure 114 Gun Control Initiative” by Maxine Bernstein for Portland Oregonian
National: “Democrats Show Strength, Leaving Fight for Control of Congress Unresolved” by Hannah Knowles and Michael Scherer (Washington Post) for MSN
National: “Biggest Surge of Misinformation May Arrive After Election Day, Researchers Say” by Stuart Thompson (New York Times) for Seattle Times
National: “U.S. Judiciary Launches Online Database of Judges’ Financial Disclosures” by Nate Raymond for Reuters
Massachusetts: “AP Sources: Justice Dept. watchdog probing Mass. US attorney” by Alanna Durkin Richer and Michael Balsamo (Associated Press) for Yahoo News
Wisconsin: “Military Ballots in Wisconsin Will Be Counted Under Judge’s Ruling” by Patrick Marley (Washington Post) for MSN
Europe: “Spanish Govt Proposes Rules for Lobbyists, Public Officials” by Associated Press for Yahoo News
Texas: “Fifth Circuit Parses Texas Ban on Boycotting Israel” by Cameron Langford for Courthouse News Service
October 28, 2022 •
National/Federal Bannon Gets 4 Months Jail Term for Defying Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 10/21/2022 A judge sentenced longtime Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon to four months in jail for defying […]
Bannon Gets 4 Months Jail Term for Defying Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena
Yahoo News – Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein (Politico) | Published: 10/21/2022
A judge sentenced longtime Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon to four months in jail for defying a subpoena from lawmakers investigating the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. He will also pay a $6,500 fine. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols said Bannon inappropriately defied the select committee on a matter of significant national interest, and even after roadblocks to his testimony had been removed. A jury convicted Bannon on two charges of contempt of Congress – one for refusing to testify to the January 6 select committee, another for refusing to provide relevant documents to the panel.
Big K Street Players Spend More as Election Uncertainty Brews
MSN – Kate Ackley (Roll Call) | Published: 10/21/2022
K Street’s 10 biggest spenders have shelled out a combined $238.3 million on federal lobbying so far this year, as the industry now gears up for brewing uncertainty when lawmakers return after the midterm elections. Business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as health care, pharmaceutical, and technology interests, topped spending in the first three quarters of this year, as Congress moved climate, health, and tax legislation and a new law to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
Head of UK Lobbying Watchdog Calls for Tougher Disclosure Rules
Guardian – Rowena Mason | Published: 10/26/2022
The head of the United Kingdom’s lobbying watchdog called for tougher disclosure rules to show which ministers have been solicited, as well as a review of exemptions to the rules. Harry Rich, who is in charge of the register of consultant lobbyists and their clients, is making suggestions for more transparent lobbying declarations in a submission to parliament’s public administration and constitutional affairs committee in his first public intervention on the subject since taking the job in 2018.
How Votes Are Cast and Counted Is Increasingly Decided in Courtrooms
MSN – Patrick Marley (Washington Post) | Published: 10/26/2022
Disputes over redistricting, voter IDs, voting hours, recounts, and other election-related policies have long run parallel to political campaigns, but the numbers are rising. The increase began after the U.S. Supreme Court decided the 2000 presidential election and the trend reached a high in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic prompted a host of new voting rules. Election experts say courts have the power to clarify vague laws or policies and resolve key questions before ballots are cast, but many also contend the barrage of lawsuits increases the chances of last-minute rulings that can spur voter confusion.
Jan. 6 Panel Issues Subpoena to Trump, Demanding He Testify
MSN – Farnoush Amiri and Mary Clare Jalonick (Associated Press) | Published: 10/21/2022
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol issued its subpoena of Donald Trump, demanding testimony from the former president who lawmakers say “personally orchestrated” a multi-part effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The panel issued a letter to Trump’s lawyers saying he must testify, either at the Capitol or by videoconference, “beginning on or about” November 14 and continuing for multiple days if necessary. The letter also outlined a request for a series of corresponding documents, including personal communications between Trump and members of Congress as well as extremist groups.
Law Firms Eager for US Regulatory Clarity on Foreign Lobbying
Bloomberg Law – Ben Penn | Published: 10/26/2022
Carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years for willful offenders, the Foreign Agents Registration Act mandates public disclosures when individuals, companies, or nonprofits act on behalf of foreign interests. It contains exceptions that apply to attorneys, which have proven difficult to interpret for work at the border of legal representation and political advocacy. Those exemptions are now slated for a regulatory rewrite, with implications for lawyers, both those hoping to provide clarity to clients on whether they need to register and others concerned about their own need to file. The proposal is expected by the end of 2022.
Mar-a-Lago Classified Papers Held U.S. Secrets About Iran and China
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 10/21/2022
Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods the U.S. wants to keep hidden from the world. The secret documents about Iran and China are considered among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered in its investigation of Trump and his aides for possible mishandling of classified information, obstruction, and destruction of government records, the people said.
Menendez Facing Another Federal Investigation
MSN – Matt Friedman (Politico) | Published: 10/26/2022
Sen. Bob Menendez is facing another federal ethics investigation. It was reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating Menendez five years after a jury deadlocked on corruption charges against him. Prosecutors at first announced plans to try Menendez again but backed off. The new investigation threatens to cloud Menendez’s expected reelection campaign in 2024.
Social Security Whistleblowers Say They Were Sidelined for Exposing Fines
Yahoo News – Lisa Rein (Washington Post) | Published: 10/25/2022
Joscelyn Funnié and Deborah Shaw, attorneys in the Social Security Administration’s inspector general’s office, were removed from their jobs and placed on paid leave after expressing concerns about large fines imposed on disabled and poor elderly people. They were eventually reinstated. But since returning to work under Inspector General Gail Ennis, they said they have been excluded from meaningful assignments, given tasks below their experience and abilities, and denied opportunities for advancement. Experts on whistleblowers describe the treatment as evidence of retaliation in a case that is the focus of three ongoing probes.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – A Retiree Served Food to the Homeless for Years. Then It Got Her Arrested.
MSN – Jonathan Edwards (Washington Post) | Published: 10/26/2022
Police often patrolled Community Park in Bullhead City, Arizona, so Norma Thornton ignored two officers when they pulled up in cruisers as she finished serving food to homeless people. When one of the officers said he was arresting her for violating the city’s new ordinance that outlawed people serving prepared food in public parks for “charitable purposes,” Thornton suspected a prank. Only when the officer put her in the back seat of his cruiser did reality set in. Thornton recently filed a lawsuit against Bullhead City, accusing the officers of violating her civil rights. She is asking a federal judge to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.
Arizona – Ariz. Democratic Governor Candidate Hobbs Reports Break-In at Campaign Office
MSN – Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 10/27/2022
The campaign for Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs said its Phoenix office was broken into and police are investigating the incident. A spokesperson for Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, implicitly blamed Hobbs’s Republican rival, Kari Lake, a charge Lake scoffed at as “absurd.” Phoenix police said unspecified items were taken, according to The Arizona Republic. In surveillance images obtained by the newspaper, a young man wearing shorts and a green T-shirt can be seen inside the building.
Arizona – Arizona Sheriff Steps Up Security Around Ballot Drop Boxes
MSN – Associated Press | Published: 10/25/2022
The sheriff in metropolitan Phoenix said he stepped up security around ballot drop boxes after a series of incidents involving people keeping watch on the boxes and taking video of voters after they were apparently inspired by lies about the 2020 election. Deputies responded recently when two masked people carrying guns and wearing bulletproof vests showed up at a drop box in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb. The secretary of state said her office has received six cases of potential voter intimidation to the state attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a threatening email sent to the state elections director.
Arkansas – Federal Judge Signs Off on Prosecution’s Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Gilbert Baker
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Dale Ellis | Published: 10/25/2022
A federal judge dismissed bribery and wire fraud charges against former Arkansas Sen. Gilbert Baker. Baker was indicted on one count each of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, and seven counts of honest services wire fraud. Prosecutors accused Baker of bribing former Faulkner County Circuit Court Judge Michael Maggio in 2013 as part of a scheme to get Maggio to lower a financial judgment against Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. A judge declared a mistrial when jurors acquitted Baker on the conspiracy count but could not reach a verdict on the remaining counts.
California – California Sets Up Age Requirement for Those Handling Political Campaign Bucks
Marin Independent Record – Gabriel Greschler (Bay Area News Group) | Published: 10/20/2022
The California Fair Political Practices Commission passed a rule prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 to be hired for a position that requires them to sign campaign finance documents under penalty of perjury. The change will mostly apply to a campaign’s treasurer but could affect other positions that involve financial decisions. Milpitas City Councilperson Anthony Phan was found to have hired his 14-year-old cousin as his treasurer during a bid for a council seat in 2016.
California – Ethics Reform Proposal Stalled Amid Endless Negotiations Between City, Union
San Francisco Examiner – Adam Shanks | Published: 10/19/2022
A proposal to reform San Francisco’s ethics laws has been stalled for months amid prolonged negotiations with the union that represents top city officials. The union says it needs time to study the proposal and its many ramifications, but the city’s Ethics Commission says it is simply dragging its feet on reform. The Municipal Executives Association has been exercising its right to weigh in on the proposal for nearly a year despite a push from the Ethics Commission, which authored the reforms, to put it before voters in the form of a ballot measure.
California – Ex-Anaheim Mayor Refuses to Publicly Disclose Emails Amid FBI Corruption Investigation
MSN – Nathan Fenno, Gabriel San Román, and Adam Elmahrek (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 10/25/2022
The criminal defense attorney for former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu claimed Sidhu’s emails and text messages sent while in office about city business on private devices were no longer public because he has resigned and invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination. Sidhu refusal to disclose the communications could obstruct a probe into a corruption scandal surrounding the sale of Angel Stadium. Public records experts say the refusal flouts California law and could encourage other government officials to use private accounts to conduct official business and avoid public scrutiny.
California – LA Councilwoman Raman Seeks Action on Lobbying Reforms
MSN – City News Service | Published: 10/25/2022
Los Angeles City Councilperson Nithya Raman filed a motion to have her colleagues adopt lobbying reforms presented by the city’s Ethics Commission but placed on the back burner by former council President Nury Martinez. The proposal seeks to make lobbying efforts more transparent and limit financial ties between lobbyists and city officials. The commission sent the council recommended updates to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance in April, but Martinez never placed the report on the council’s agenda.
Colorado – Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser Attends Lavish Event in Hawaii Paid for by Corporations He’s Suing
CBS News – Shaun Boyd | Published: 10/19/2022
The Attorney General Alliance, a group made up of 48 state attorneys general, a private club that corporations and lobbyist organizations pay tens of thousands of dollars to belong to. Their membership buys them access to lavish events where they can schmooze the top legal officers for state government, individuals who have sole discretion over whether to sue, settle, or investigate them. The alliance’s 2021 annual conference in Maui was sponsored by companies like Google, Juul, and Pfizer, all of which were being sued by states at the time.
Connecticut – Connecticut Port Authority Employee Fined for Ethics Violation
Yahoo News – Greg Smith (The Day) | Published: 10/24/2022
Connecticut Port Authority employee Andrew Lavigne was fined $750 and suspended for two days without pay for violating state ethics rules when he accepted hockey tickets from a company doing business with the quasi-public agency. The fine is the settlement reached with the Office of State Ethics, which determined Seabury Maritime had violated the state code of ethics for public officials in 2017 and 2019 when it provided gifts, meals, and overnight accommodations to port authority employees and two board members.
Delaware – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Sentenced for Public Corruption Convictions
Yahoo News – Xerxes Wilson (News Journal) | Published: 10/19/2022
The only statewide-elected official in Delaware history to be accused and convicted of crimes while in office was spared prison time and resigned her office. Auditor Kathy McGuiness was sentenced to a year of probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine for her misdemeanor conflict-of-interest and official misconduct convictions, guilty verdicts that stemmed from hiring her daughter to work in the auditor’s office.
Florida – Florida Commission on Ethics Recommends Doug Underhill Be Removed from Office
Yahoo News – Jim Little (Pensacola News Journal) | Published: 10/21/2022
The Florida Commission on Ethics asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill from office one month before the end of his term. The commission said Underhill be removed for disclosing a county “shade meeting” transcript before the litigation was officially concluded and be fined the maximum of $10,000. The commission also recommended Underhill be fined $6,250 for each of four additional ethics violations of gift disclosure laws and solicitation donations from a county vendor or lobbyist, bringing the total recommended fine to $35,000.
Florida – Tampa Lawmaker Files Lawsuit Against Campaign Manager, Alleging Sexual Harassment
Yahoo News – Kirby Wilson and Emily Mahoney (Tampa Bay Times) | Published: 10/24/2022
Florida Rep. Jackie Toledo is accusing her campaign manager, a well-known Republican communications strategist, of sexual harassment. Fred Piccolo sent “unwanted, unsolicited, inappropriate, and grossly offensive” text messages to her, according to a lawsuit. Toledo, who made an unsuccessful bid this year for a U.S. House seat, also accuses Piccolo of trying to get fired to earn a $100,000 termination payout. She is seeking at least $30,000 in damages.
Georgia – Abrams’ Campaign Chair Collected Millions in Legal Fees from Voting Rights Organization
Yahoo News – Brittany Gibson (Politico) | Published: 10/24/2022
The voting rights organization founded by Stacey Abrams spent more than $25 million over two years on legal fees, mostly on a single case, with the largest amount going to the self-described boutique law firm of the candidate’s campaign chairperson. Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Abrams’ close friend who chaired her gubernatorial campaign both in 2018 and her current bid to unseat Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, is one of two named partners in Lawrence & Bundy. Some questioned both the level of expenditures devoted to a single, largely unsuccessful legal action and that such a large payout went to the firm of Abrams’ friend.
Georgia – Supreme Court Puts Temporary Hold on Graham Grand Jury Election Testimony
MSN – Robert Barnes and Ann Marimow (Washington Post) | Published: 10/24/2022
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas put a temporary hold on an order that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham appear before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible attempts by former President Trump and his allies to disrupt the state’s 2020 presidential election. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied an attempt to block a subpoena from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in which Graham claimed a sitting senator is shielded from testifying in such investigations.
Georgia – Trump Chief of Staff Meadows Ordered to Testify Before Ga. Grand Jury
MSN – Amy Wang and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 10/26/2022
A judge ruled former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating Republican efforts to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in the state. Meadows has helped promote Trump’s baseless claims that widespread voter fraud delivered the presidency to Joe Biden. In her petition seeking Meadows’s testimony, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis noted Meadows’s participation in a telephone call Trump made on January 2, 2021, to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find” 11,780 votes that would enable him to defeat Biden in the state.
Illinois – Federal Oversight of Cook County Assessor’s Hiring to End; Supervision Tied to Decades-Old Shakman Patronage Lawsuit
MSN – A.D. Quig (Chicago Tribune) | Published: 10/25/2022
For years, federal courts have kept watch over the Cook County assessor’s office, making sure workers were not hired for their political connections, and that job descriptions were clear. That oversight will end on November 1. The so-called Shaman oversight is named for Michael Shakman, the man who first sued to end the practice of Democratic patronage, under which city and county jobs were filled by faithful party members, and firings or promotions were based on election-time efforts.
Illinois – Inside AT&T’s Alleged ‘Conspiracy’ to Bribe Powerbrokers at the Illinois Capitol
WBEZ – Jon Seidel (Chicago Sun-Times) and Dan Mihalopoulos | Published: 10/21/2022
For more than a decade, Brian Gray was AT&T’s top executive in Illinois for a critical area – dealing with politicians in a state known for its corruption. As the director of legislative affairs, he oversaw a stable of lobbyists, and in recent years he also headed the company’s PAC in Illinois. AT&T is cooperating authorities and promised to pay a $23 million fine admitting it used illegal means in efforts to win support for favorable legislation. Sources close to the investigation say the three employees referenced in the indictment are Gray and former company lobbyists Robert Barry and Stephen Selcke.
Maine – Ethics Panel Says Candidate, Outside Group Violated Campaign Finance Laws
Yahoo News – Randy Billings (Portland Press Herald) | Published: 10/26/2022
Maine’s ethics commission ruled in separate cases that a state Senate candidate and an out-of-state political group did not properly disclose the funding sources for campaign communications, a violation of the state’s campaign finance law. October 26 marked the first day that independent expenditures from outside groups need to be reported within 24 hours. Previously, such spending needed to be reported within 48 hours.
Massachusetts – Groups Sue to Put Super PAC Question on 2024 State Ballot
MSN – Steve LeBlanc (Associated Press) | Published: 10/24/2022
Groups pushing for a 2024 ballot question aimed at reining in the spending power of super PACs filed two lawsuits in Massachusetts that target a decision by the state attorney general’s office to block the question on the grounds it would infringe on First Amendment rights. The lawsuits argue in favor of the proposed question, which would change state law to limit contributions by individuals to independent expenditure political action committees to $5,000. Currently, super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds from individuals as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.
Michigan – Michigan Jury Finds Three Men Guilty of Aiding Plot to Kidnap Governor
MSN – Tyler Clifford and Brendan O’Brien (Reuters) | Published: 10/26/2022
A jury found three men guilty of aiding a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, a plot that prosecutors said grew out of hostility over restrictions she imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Joseph Morrison, his father-in-law, Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar were convicted of gang membership, firearm violations, and providing material support for terrorism. They could face up to 20 years in prison. State prosecutors argued the men assisted two others who were found guilty in federal court of kidnapping conspiracy. It stands as the most prominent case involving domestic terrorism and militias in years.
Missouri – State Ethics Board Fines Former Candidate for St. Louis County Executive
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Kurt Erickson | Published: 10/25/2022
A one-time candidate for St. Louis County executive was fined more than $34,000 for campaign finance violations. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, William Ray Jr. had multiple problems with two campaign accounts, one for him personally and another political committee called Fannie PAC. Among the violations were failures to report more than $11,450 in contributions and more than $9,400 in expenses.
New York – New Ethics Commissioner Attended Assemblyman’s Campaign Fundraiser
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 10/24/2022
Leonard Austin, who is serving as the vice chair of New York’s Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, recently attended a campaign fundraiser for state Assemblyperson Charles Lavine. Austin’s wife donated to Lavine’s reelection bid. Under state law, ethics commission members are prohibited from contributing to any candidate for state-level office, including Assembly members. The law does not address this situation, where an ethics commissioner attends a fundraiser and their spouse makes a donation.
New York – Trump’s Business, Under Threat, Faces a Tough Test in Court
MSN – Ben Protess, William Rashbaum, and Jonah Bromwich (New York Times) | Published: 10/23/2022
The Trump Organization is on trial in Manhattan, where the district attorney’s office accused it of tax fraud and other crimes. Although Donald Trump himself was not indicted, he is synonymous with the company he ran for decades. This case centers on special perks doled out by the Trump Organization, which comprises more than 500 corporate entities. The company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty to conspiring to carry out the scheme and agreed to testify at the trial.
Ohio – 2 Conservatives Accused in Hoax Robocall Scheme Plead Guilty
MSN – Mark Gillispie (Associated Press) | Published: 10/25/2022
Two right-wing operatives pleaded guilty to single felony counts of telecommunications fraud for having placed thousands of false robocalls in Ohio that told people they could be arrested or be forced to receive vaccinations based on information they submitted in votes by mail. Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman could each receive a year in prison when they are sentenced. The have a history of staging hoaxes and spreading false smears against Democrats and public officials.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Cuts Off Its ‘Dark Money’ Spigot in Ohio, Disclosures Show
Yahoo News – Jake Zuckerman (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 10/24/2022
Besides some nominal payments, FirstEnergy has cut off its contributions to Ohio-based nonprofit entities that spend outside money to support politicians. But the disclosures show FirstEnergy made about $130,000 in similar “dark money” payments to political firms in 2021 in New Jersey and West Virginia, where it also operates utilities. Since the initial arrests in the House Bill 6 scandal, candidates and party committees in Ohio have returned a combined $390,000 in contributions from the company’s state and federal PACs. Meanwhile, FirstEnergy keeps just one lobbyist on hand in the state compared to the 15 it retained in 2019.
Oregon – Portland City Auditor’s Office Issues Penalty Against Gonzalez’s Campaign
MSN – Michaela Bourgeoise (KOIN) | Published: 10/20/2022
Rene Gonzalez’s campaign for Portland City Council is facing another fine after an investigation into the campaign’s rented office and parking spaces revealed it accepted an unlawful in-kind contribution. The city auditor’s office said it issued a $5,520 civil penalty against the campaign for allegedly accepting six months of parking at a Portland office rented from Schnitzer Property Management.
Tennessee – Election Watchdog Disputes Harwell Claim That Shifting State Funds to Federal Campaign Was Legit
Tennessee Lookout – Sam Stockard | Published: 10/26/2022
Former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell contends the transfer of money from her state PAC to a super PAC that supported her failed congressional bid this summer was legal. But a watchdog group that monitors potential campaign finance violations says Harwell’s actions are “outside the law,” which prohibits state election funds from being used for federal campaigns. Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform for the Campaign Legal Center, said his organization will consider filing a complaint with the FEC against the Harwell campaign.
Texas – Greg Abbott Ran as a Small-Government Conservative. But the Governor’s Office Now Has More Power Than Ever.
Texas Tribune – Marilyn Thompson (ProPublica) and Perla Trevizo | Published: 10/25/2022
Greg Abbott has consolidated power like no Texas governor in recent history, at times circumventing the Republican-controlled state Legislature and overriding local officials. Abbott’s executive measures have solidified his conservative base and dramatically raised his national profile. Lower courts have occasionally ruled against Abbott, but Texas’ all-Republican highest court has sided with the governor, dismissing many of the cases on procedural grounds. Other challenges to Abbott’s use of executive power are still pending. In no case have the governor’s actions been permanently halted.
Texas – Texas Agencies’ Plan to Monitor Harris County Elections Raises Concerns Among Observers
Houston Public Media – Adam Zuvanich | Published: 10/19/2022
The Texas secretary of state’s office, in a letter submitted days before the start of early voting for the 2022 midterm election, informed Harris County it will send a team of inspectors and election security trainers to observe and help administer the November 8 election in the state’s largest metropolitan area. Representatives of state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is on the ballot, also will be present to “immediately respond to any legal issues” raised by the inspectors, poll watchers, and others.
Washington – Facebook Parent Company Fined $25M for WA Campaign Finance Violations
Seattle Times – David Gutman | Published: 10/26/2022
A judge fined Facebook parent company Meta nearly $25 million for repeatedly and intentionally violating Washington’s campaign finance law. King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North issued the maximum possible fine after finding the company had, between 2019 and 2021, violated a longstanding disclosure law 822 separate times. Each fine carried a penalty of $30,000. It is the largest campaign finance penalty ever issued in the U.S., state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said.
Washington DC – Bowser Fires Official Who Took Job at insurer after Medicaid Procurement
MSN – Julie Zauzmer Weil and Michael Brice-Saddler (Washington Post) | Published: 10/26/2022
A week after the District of Columbia Council awarded multibillion-dollar contracts for insuring Medicaid patients to three companies seeming to end a years-long struggle to right the city’s Medicaid system after court and council fights, Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a new investigation related to the procurement process. Bowser fired the interim director of the Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs after he took a new job with the parent company of one of the insurers awarded the lucrative contract. Bowser referred him to the city’s ethics board and inspector general.
September 23, 2022 •
National/Federal A Landmark Supreme Court Fight Over Social Media Now Looks Likely MSN – Robert Barnes and Ann Marimow (Washington Post) | Published: 9/19/2022 Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark U.S. […]
A Landmark Supreme Court Fight Over Social Media Now Looks Likely
MSN – Robert Barnes and Ann Marimow (Washington Post) | Published: 9/19/2022
Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether the First Amendment protects tech companies’ editorial discretion or forbids its censorship of unpopular views. The stakes are high not just for government and the companies, but because of the increasingly dominant role platforms such as Twitter and Facebook play in American democracy and elections. Social media posts have the potential to amplify disinformation or hateful speech, but removal of controversial viewpoints can stifle public discourse about important political issues.
Appeals Court: Justice Dept. can use Mar-a-Lago documents in criminal probe
MSN – Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
An appeals court sided with the Justice Department in a legal fight over classified documents seized in a court-authorized search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, ruling the FBI may use the documents in its ongoing criminal investigation. The decision by a three-judge panel of the appeals court marks a victory for the Justice Department in its legal battle with Trump over access to the evidence to determine if the former president or his advisers mishandled national security secrets or hid or destroyed government records.
Apple Flexes Muscle as Quiet Power Behind App Group
Yahoo News – Emily Birnbaum (Bloomberg) | Published: 9/19/2022
The APP Association brands itself as the leading voice for thousands of app developers around the world. The majority of its funding comes from Apple, however. The tech giant is not a member of the association, but it plays a dominant behind-the-scenes role shaping the group’s policy positions, according to four former App Association employees. In fact, critics note, the association’s lobbying agenda tracks closely with Apple’s even when it is at odds with app developers, the companies that make the individual games and programs that run on Apple’s iPhone and other devices.
DeSantis Draft Effort Pushes Ahead After Campaign Finance Watchdog Deadlocks
MSN – Zach Montellaro (Politico) | Published: 9/15/2022
An effort to draft Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis into the 2024 presidential race promised to proceed with an unusual attempt to boost his would-be campaign, after the FEC deadlocked on a request for guidance about whether the strategy was legal. Ready for Ron is a federal PAC that wants to build a list of up to 1 million people urging DeSantis to run. But with those names, the group wants to deliver would-be supporters’ email addresses and phone numbers to DeSantis. The FEC has said candidates can rent or buy supporter lists compiled by other groups, but they cannot accept something of such value as a gift without breaking contribution limits.
Fugitive in Massive Navy Bribery Case Caught in Venezuela
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 9/22/2022
Leonard Francis, a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history, was arrested in Venezuela after fleeing before his sentencing. The arrest came on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a federal court for a bribery scheme that lasted more than a decade and involved dozens of U.S. Navy officers. The U.S. government faces an uphill challenge returning the fugitive back to American soil.
Gaetz Sought Pardon Related to Justice Department Sex Trafficking Probe
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Amy Gardner (Washington Post) | Published: 9/17/2022
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz told a former White House aide that he was seeking a preemptive pardon from then-President Trump regarding an investigation in which he is a target, according to testimony given to the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Asked by investigators if Gaetz’s request for a pardon was in the context of the Justice Department investigation into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, Johnny McEntee replied, “I think that was the context, yes,” according to people familiar with the testimony.
Greg Norman Finds Friendly Faces, Harsh Criticism on Capitol Hill Trip
MSN – Rick Maese (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
As a federal antitrust case winds its way through the court system, LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman visited Capitol Hill, receiving mixed reviews from lawmakers as he tried to sell them on his breakaway tour that has upended the golf word. While some lawmakers seemed receptive to Norman, others questioned LIV Golf’s Saudi financing and said Congress should not spend time intervening in a business dispute between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. LIV Golf and seven of its golfers have sued the PGA Tour, saying it violated antitrust laws, allegations the Justice Department is also reportedly probing.
House Passes Bill to Prevent Efforts to Subvert Presidential Election Results
MSN – Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
The House passed an electoral reform bill that seeks to prevent presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress, the first vote on such an effort since the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win. The Presidential Election Reform Act would clearly reaffirm the vice president has no role in validating a presidential election beyond acting as a figurehead who oversees the counting process, barring that person from changing the results.
Jan. 6 Committee Reaches Deal with Ginni Thomas for an Interview
MSN – Jacqueline Alemany and Azi Paybarah (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
The House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection reached an agreement with Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed by the panel in coming weeks. Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, pushed lawmakers and top Republican officials to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, citing baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
Old Money: How retirees are funding and fueling political candidates unlike ever before
Yahoo News – Madison Hall (Business Insider) | Published: 9/20/2022
Retirees are becoming one of the most powerful financial forces in politics as they spend their savings to fuel federal-level campaigns. By the 2020 election cycle, retirees accounted for more than 20 percent of contributions, amounting to more than $378 million. Retirees’ expanded influence coincides with the rapid increase in politicians fundraising by email and text message – and targeting older Americans with never-ending solicitations. Older Americans, many of whom are retired, tend to be more engaged politically and represent a larger share of each party’s base, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director at OpenSecrets.
Senate Republicans Block Bill to Require Disclosure of ‘Dark Money’ Donors
MSN – Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 9/22/2022
Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have required super PACs and other groups to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle, a blow to Democrats’ efforts to reform campaign finance laws. Spending in election cycles by corporations and the ultrawealthy through so-called dark money groups has skyrocketed since the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC, which allowed incorporated entities and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or attack candidates.
The ‘Cost’ of Voting in America: A look at where it’s easiest and hardest
Seattle Times – Nick Corasaniti and Allison McCann (New York Times) | Published: 9/21/2022
A new study ranks all 50 states based on the overall investment a resident must make, in time and resources, to vote. The 2022 edition of the Cost of Voting Index, a nonpartisan academic study that seeks to cut through the politics of voting access, focused on 10 categories related to voting, including registration, inconvenience, early voting, polling hours, and absentee voting. The study’s emphasis on early-voting options meant states like Washington and Oregon, where voting is conducted entirely by mail, ended up at the top of the rankings.
TikTok to Ban Campaign Fundraising, Require Verification for Political Accounts
MSN – Gina Martinez (CBS News) | Published: 9/21/2022
TikTok announced it is banning campaign fundraising on its platform. It also announced new policies for political accounts, including “mandatory verification.” The ban will include videos asking for donations, and videos from political parties directing people to a contribution page on their website. Verification will ensure that anyone watching content belonging to a government, politician, or political party account will know that the account is “genuine” and the source is “authentic.”
Trump Adviser’s Trial May Shed Light on Foreign Influence Campaigns
MSN – Rebecca Davis O’Brien (New York Times) | Published: 9/19/2022
The trial of Thomas Barrack, an informal adviser to former President Trump accused of acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates, could shed light on how foreign governments jockeyed for access to the Trump administration, efforts that may have created lucrative opportunities for businesspeople close to the White House. Prosecutors have accused Barrack of using his sway with Trump to advance the interests of the Emiratis and of serving as a secret back channel for communications without disclosing his efforts to the attorney general, as the government contends that he should have.
From the States and Municipalities
Arizona – 14 AZ Lawmakers Took 9-Day Europe Trip Sponsored in Part by Lobbyists and More Are Coming
MSN – Ray Stern (Arizona Republic) | Published: 9/18/2022
Fourteen Arizona lawmakers took a free trip to Germany recently, where they met government and business officials. Lobbyist firms and taxpayers funded the lawmakers’ expenses as part of a state House international relations program. The trip may have had trade benefits, but lawmakers should still take care to avoid the perception they are receiving gifts that could influence their policy making, said John Pelissero of the Markula Center for Applied Ethics. The number of lawmakers and that they could take their spouses seemed excessive to Pelissero, who called the trip a “junket.”
California – Former USC Dean Admits to Arranging Bribery Payment for Mark Ridley-Thomas
Yahoo News – Michael Finnegan and Matt Hamilton (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 9/15/2022
A former University of Southern California dean agreed to plead guilty to bribery, admitting she arranged an illicit $100,000 payment for Mark Ridley-Thomas when he was on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in return for a university contract with the county. Marilyn Flynn’s admission of guilt strikes a major blow to Ridley-Thomas, now a Los Angeles city council member who has been suspended while he defends against federal charges of bribery, fraud, and conspiracy. Flynn’s plea also reduces the likelihood that evidence related to U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, the front-runner in the race for Los Angeles mayor, would get a public airing at trial.
California – Gov. Gavin Newsom Strips Fresno County Supervisors’ Power to Draw Election Lines
Sacramento Bee – Juan Esparza Loera | Published: 9/19/2022
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to give redistricting duties in Fresno County to a 14-member commission. Assemblyperson Joaquín Arámbula said it was the only way to ensure the Latino community gets a fair chance at political representation after the next census. Arámbula and community organizations said county supervisors cannot be trusted to draw fair and equitable districts because supervisorial districts have changed little despite a spike in Latino population.
California – Legal Pot Spawned a Wave of Corruption, Threats and Secret Financial Deals for Politicians
MSN – Adam Elmahrek, Robert Lopez, and Ruben Vives (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 9/15/2022
California’s decision to legalize recreational cannabis ushered in a multibillion-dollar commercial market that officials in many small, struggling communities hoped would bring new jobs and an infusion of tax revenue. But the advent of commercial marijuana unleashed a wave of corruption that has rocked local governments across the state and left them with few effective tools to combat the problem. The industry has donated campaign money to local government officials as cannabis became a powerful special interest. Lobbyists and others say bribery and shakedowns have become so commonplace in licensing that it feels like a normal part of doing business.
California – Santa Clara Mayor Asks Newsom to Give Campaign Donor a Break
San Jose Spotlight – Joseph Geha | Published: 9/21/2022
Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor lobbied California Gov. Gavin Newsom to help a major real estate firm save money on the largest mixed-use development planned in the state, months before the developer made a six-figure donation to her campaign. Gillmor advocated that Related Companies should not be required to pay prevailing wages to workers. Related formed a local PAC to support Gillmor as she runs for reelection and funded it with $100,000. Executives from the company also donated to Gillmor’s mayoral election campaign in 2018, two years after the project was approved by the city council.
California – Trial of Corruption Case Against California Sheriff to Begin
Yahoo News – Associated Press | Published: 9/21/2022
A longtime San Francisco Bay Area sheriff is on trial on public corruption allegations involving her office’s granting of concealed-carry weapons permits and costly jail mismanagement. The unusual case against Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is a civil process to seek removal of an elected official but is similar to a criminal case. The trial follows an investigation into allegations that Smith’s office traded concealed weapons permits for donations to her reelection campaign and mismanaged the jails, where mentally ill inmates died or were injured.
Florida – Jury Awards $3 Million to Garbage Contractor in Opa-locka Corruption Lawsuit
MSN – Tess Riski (Miami Herald) | Published: 9/20/2022
A jury awarded a $3 million judgment to a garbage contractor that sued Opa-locka in 2017 alleging corruption and extortion in a city that has for years been plagued with financial and political turmoil. Jurors found the city failed to act in good faith with Universal Waste Services of Florida (UWS). Representatives of UWS made accusations of extortion against former city Commissioner Terence Pinder, who died in an apparent suicide in 2016, two days before he was scheduled to turn himself in on state bribery charges.
Florida – Migrants Flown to Martha’s Vineyard File Class-Action Lawsuit Against DeSantis
MSN – Amy Wang (Washington Post) | Published: 9/20/2022
A group of Venezuelan migrants who were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard – allegedly after being falsely promised work and other services – filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials who arranged the flights, saying the officials used fraud and misrepresentation to persuade them to travel across state lines. The migrants are seeking unspecified damages, as well as the cost of their legal fees, for emotional and economic harm.
Georgia – Georgia 2020 Election Inquiry May Lead to Prison Sentences, Prosecutor Says
MSN – Matthew Brown and Tom Hamburger (Washington Post) | Published: 9/15/2022
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the prosecutor investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia, said her team has heard credible allegations that serious crimes have been committed and she believes some individuals may see jail time. At least 17 people have been notified they are targets of the criminal investigation, meaning they could eventually face charges. More targets will be added to the list soon, Willis said.
Georgia – Video Shows Trump Allies Handling Georgia Voting Equipment
Yahoo News – Danny Hakim, Richard Fausset, and Nick Corasaniti (New York Times) | Published: 9/20/2022
Newly released videos show allies of former President Trump and contractors who were working on his behalf handling sensitive voting equipment in a rural Georgia county weeks after the 2020 election. The footage, which was made public as part of litigation over Georgia’s voting system, raises new questions about efforts by Trump affiliates in a number of swing states to gain access to and copy sensitive election software, with the help of friendly local election administrators.
Illinois – State Sen. Emil Jones III Took Bribes from Red-Light Camera Company, Lied to Feds: Charges
WTTW – Heather Cherone | Published: 9/20/2022
Federal prosecutors charged Illinois Sen. Emil Jones III with three felonies, alleging he took a bribe from a firm that installed red-light cameras throughout the state and lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. After being approached by a former executive for Safe Speed, the red-light company, who was cooperating with law enforcement, Jones agreed to limit the scope of his bill to study red-light cameras only in Chicago, where the firm did not operate, prosecutors say. In return, the executive agreed to pay Jones $5,000 and to provide a job to an unidentified associate of Jones.
Maryland – Opinion Says Nash’s Lobbying Violated City Ethics Ordinance
Yahoo News – Ryan Marshall (Frederick News-Post) | Published: 9/16/2022
Frederick Alderwoman Katie Nash violated the city’s ethics rules by lobbying on behalf of a firefighter union’s concerns about county emergency services coverage in the city, an Ethics Commission ruled. Nash, a lobbyist registered with the state, improperly emailed people, including coordinators for various Neighborhood Advisory Councils, encouraging them to raise concerns with the county about plans to shift coverage of paramedic services in parts of the city, according to the opinion. Nash was a paid lobbyist for the International Association of Firefighters Local 3666 when she sent out emails and press releases.
Michigan – Former Macomb Public Works Boss Marrocco Pleads Guilty in Corruption Probe
Yahoo News – Christina Hall (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 9/20/2022
Former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco pleaded guilty to attempted extortion in federal court in a yearslong corruption probe that netted more than 20 other people. Prosecutors alleged he used an aide and others to shake down builders and contractors for donations to his fundraisers. If they did not contribute, the indictment said, Marrocco retaliated by holding up building permits, denying payment to vendors, and refusing to award contracts to firms. The charge to which he pleaded guilty carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Michigan – Here’s the Punishment for Warren Councilman Who Handcuffed Woman over BLM Stickers
Yahoo News – Christina Hall (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 9/19/2022
Warren City Councilperson Edward Kabacinski pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace and was sentenced to one-year probation for his actions toward a woman at a rally for then-President Trump. Kabacinski was charged in October 2020 with assault and battery and impersonating a police officer when he chased a woman and handcuffed her after she put a Black Lives Matter sticker on a Trump sign during a protest. Kabacinski claimed he is a former military police officer and federal law allows him to detain those who breach the peace or break the law. The woman was not facing criminal charges.
New Hampshire – New Hampshire GOP Senate Nominee Abruptly Backs Off False 2020 Election Claims
MSN – Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica (CNN) | Published: 9/15/2022
U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc won the Republican nomination in New Hampshire after months campaigning on false claims the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump. A little more than a day after the primary, he attempted an about-face. “I’ve come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this: the election was not stolen,” Bolduc said. He is not the only GOP candidate who has tried to temper, or erase, hardline positions as the general-election environment starts to look less favorable for the party.
New Jersey – When George Gilmore’s Public Work Dried Up, an Ally Gave His Wife a Job with Engineering Firm
Yahoo News – Matt Friedman (Politico) | Published: 9/19/2022
When Ocean County Republican Party Chairperson George Gilmore was convicted on three federal tax charges in 2019, it did not just cost him his political leadership post. His work with public entities also dried up. Gilmore’s now-defunct law firm, Gilmore & Monahan, had made between $2 million and $3 million in public contracts annually between 2012 and 2018. He resigned from another job at the lobbying firm 1868 Public Affairs. But after Gilmore’s conviction, a political ally founded Morgan Municipal Services, a new division to expand the firm’s work in the public sector. It counted Gilmore’s wife as one of its three founding partners.
New Mexico – NM Senator Defends His Reputation While Policy Silences the People Accusing Him of Misconduct
Source NM – Shaun Griswold | Published: 9/19/2022
New Mexico Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto said the sexual harassment complaint filed against him is closed. But outrage continues to grow, as everyone involved calls for reform of statehouse procedures shrouded in secrecy. The lobbyist who came forward with the initial complaint says her First Amendment rights have been violated because of the confidentiality rules about who is allowed to speak about the matter publicly. After the findings in the misconduct investigation were leaked, Ivey-Soto contacted the FBI about what he says is extortion.
New York – Donald Trump, 3 of His Children Accused of Business Fraud by New York AG
MSN – Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump, three of his grown children, and executives at his company of manipulating asset valuations to deceive lenders, insurance brokers, and tax authorities into giving them better loan and insurance policy rates and reduce their tax liability. The complaint asks the state Supreme Court to bar the former president, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump from serving as executives at any company in New York, and to bar the Trump Organization from acquiring commercial real estate or receiving loans from a New York-registered financial institution for five years.
New York – Executive Threw Hochul Fundraiser Weeks Before Landing $637M Deal
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 9/20/2022
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul maintains that when her administration paid a vendor $637 million last winter for COVID-19 tests, she was unaware the recipient was a campaign donor. Yet a month before the administration struck the deals, the company’s founder threw an in-person campaign fundraiser for Hochul. The deal was enabled by the governor’s revived suspension of competitive bidding rules for the administration’s purchase of COVID-19 supplies. Through an emergency executive order, Hochul suspended those rules four days after the fundraiser.
Oregon – Oregon’s Nonaffiliated Candidates Face Long Odds Making It onto the Ballot
Oregon Capital Chronicle – Julia Shumway | Published: 9/20/2022
Democratic and Republican candidates in Oregon pay a fee ranging from $25 to $150 and fill out a two-page form to compete in a primary. Minor party candidates are nominated separately by their parties, through conventions or party-run primaries. But non-affiliated candidates must collect petition signatures from hundreds or thousands of voters, depending on the office. Efforts to change Oregon’s election system are again afoot, with a coalition launching its petition drive for a constitutional amendment to open primaries. Nearly 41 percent of Oregon voters are ineligible to vote in primaries because they are nonaffiliated or registered with a minor party.
Oregon – Portland Elections Program Hits Council Candidate Rene Gonzalez with $77,000 Fine for Discounted Office Space
OPB – Rebecca Ellis | Published: 9/21/2022
Portland City Council hopeful Rene Gonzalez was fined for accepting and failing to report a steep discount on rent on his campaign office. The $77,000 fine, the biggest ever issued by the city’s Small Donor Elections program, stems from an unreported in-kind contribution Gonzalez is accused of accepting from the company, which is owned by Jordan Schnitzer, who personally gave $250 to Gonzalez in May. Program Director Susan Mottet said a normal tenant would have been asked to pay $6,900 per month for the over 3,000 square feet of space. Since May, Gonzalez’s campaign only had to pay $250 per month.
Pennsylvania – Philly’s Board of Ethics Voted to Close a Loophole that Super PACs Use to Get Instructions from Campaigns
MSN – Sean Collins Walsh (Philadelphia Inquirer) | Published: 9/21/2022
The Philadelphia Board of Ethics voted to ban the strategy known as “redboxing,” in which candidates send indirect signals to independent expenditure campaigns like super PACs that can raise unlimited amounts of money but are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns. Candidates do that by publicly stating the strategic needs of their campaigns, and some in recent federal elections have put those instructions in red boxes on their campaign websites to guide super PACs buying advertisements on their behalf. The statements use lightly coded language to inform the PACs on what the campaign wants.
Pennsylvania – Skill Games Company Woos Pa. Lawmakers with Trips to Wild Wyoming Rodeo
Spotlight PA – Angela Couloumbis | Published: 9/19/2022
This past summer, a select group of Pennsylvania legislators, including House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, got to experience the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the premier summer festival in Wyoming that bills itself as the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, courtesy of Pace-O-Matic. The company makes skill games that currently generate millions of dollars in revenue and, in Pennsylvania, operate in a legal and regulatory gray area, one the Legislature will play a key role in defining. For some of the lawmakers, it was an all-expenses-paid experience.
South Dakota – Ethics Board Keeps ‘Action’ Secret on Complaint Against Noem
MSN – Stephen Groves (Associated Press) | Published: 9/20/2022
The Government Accountability Board will not publicly disclose the “appropriate action” it took after finding evidence South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem intervened with a state agency to influence her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license. The board found there was evidence Noem engaged in a conflict-of-interest and malfeasance. A lawyer hired by the board, Mark Haigh, responded to an open records request by saying the board’s response would remain “confidential.” The board has never handled such a high-profile case since its inception in 2017.
Virginia – Virginia Rule on Legislators Leaving Districts Could Add More Intrigue to 2023 Elections
Virginia Mercury – Graham Moomaw | Published: 9/22/2022
After past redistricting cycles, the number of Virginia General Assembly members having to switch districts was kept to a minimum because legislators were allowed to draw careful lines around each other’s homes to avoid doing damage to incumbents. That was not the case last year, when experts appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court effectively reset the state’s legislative maps with little regard for keeping incumbents comfortably installed in conflict-free seats. That means an unusually high number of legislators are facing the prospect of moving to position themselves for the next election cycle.
Virginia – Youngkin’s Restriction on Trans Students’ Rights Is Probably Illegal, Experts Say
MSN – Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) | Published: 9/21/2022
A directive from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin for public schools to restrict the rights of transgender students is either unenforceable or will be struck down in court because it appears to violate both state and federal law, experts and advocates said. The model policies require schools to categorize transgender children by their “biological sex” when it comes to using the bathroom, locker room, and other facilities and participating in activities. They also bar students from adopting a new name or pronouns without parental permission.
September 22, 2022 •
Campaign Finance National: “TikTok to Ban Campaign Fundraising, Require Verification for Political Accounts” by Gina Martinez (CBS News) for MSN Elections Oregon: “Oregon’s Nonaffiliated Candidates Face Long Odds Making It onto the Ballot” by Julia Shumway for Oregon Capital Chronicle […]
National: “TikTok to Ban Campaign Fundraising, Require Verification for Political Accounts” by Gina Martinez (CBS News) for MSN
Oregon: “Oregon’s Nonaffiliated Candidates Face Long Odds Making It onto the Ballot” by Julia Shumway for Oregon Capital Chronicle
National: “Appeals Court: Justice Dept. can use Mar-a-Lago documents in criminal probe” by Devlin Barrett (Washington Post) for MSN
California: “Trial of Corruption Case Against California Sheriff to Begin” by Associated Press for Yahoo News
Florida: “Migrants Flown to Martha’s Vineyard File Class-Action Lawsuit Against DeSantis” by Amy Wang (Washington Post) for MSN
Michigan: “Former Macomb Public Works Boss Marrocco Pleads Guilty in Corruption Probe” by Christina Hall (Detroit Free Press) for Yahoo News
New York: “Trump, Company and Family Members Sued by New York AG Over Alleged Fraud Scheme” by Josh Gerstein, Erin Durkin, and Kyle Cheney (Politico) for Yahoo News
Virginia: “Youngkin’s Restriction on Trans Students’ Rights Is Probably Illegal, Experts Say” by Rachel Weiner (Washington Post) for MSN
Florida: “Jury Awards $3 Million to Garbage Contractor in Opa-locka Corruption Lawsuit” by Tess Riski (Miami Herald) for MSN
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