July 16, 2015 •
Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled campaign finance regulations for coordinated expenditures are limited only to expenditures made for “express advocacy and its functional equivalent.” Express advocacy is a communication expressly advocating for the election or defeat of a clearly […]
Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled campaign finance regulations for coordinated expenditures are limited only to expenditures made for “express advocacy and its functional equivalent.” Express advocacy is a communication expressly advocating for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.
In Wisconsin v. Peterson, the court held the state’s legal definition of political purposes, upon which the campaign finance regulations rely, is unconstitutionally overbroad. Instead of invalidating the entire statute, the court narrowed the definition to expenditures for express advocacy and its functional equivalent, thereby rejecting the argument that in cases where there is not express advocacy the “coordinated expenditures constitute disguised contributions to the candidate or candidate’s campaign committee.”
April 29, 2015 •
The Supreme Court today upheld a Florida campaign finance restriction prohibiting judicial candidates from personally soliciting donations. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rejected First Amendment concerns, ruling states may choose to elect their judiciary but are not required to […]
The Supreme Court today upheld a Florida campaign finance restriction prohibiting judicial candidates from personally soliciting donations. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rejected First Amendment concerns, ruling states may choose to elect their judiciary but are not required to treat judicial candidates like politicians.
Though candidates may not solicit contributions, the Florida law allows others, such as campaign managers and friends, to do so on their behalf.
Chief Justice Roberts stated the case was a rare instance where the state, in trying to maintain the integrity of the bench, has a compelling interest in restricting speech.
November 3, 2014 •
The state’s Supreme Court has issued a stay allowing voters to choose a House District 114 candidate on November 4, as originally planned. The ruling suspends the recent decision by the State Election Commission to postpone the election for former House […]
The state’s Supreme Court has issued a stay allowing voters to choose a House District 114 candidate on November 4, as originally planned. The ruling suspends the recent decision by the State Election Commission to postpone the election for former House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s seat until December.
Although the vote will take place, there is still a possibility the results will not count. The court may rule on the underlying case by deciding to allow the results of Tuesday’s election or to throw out those results and side with the commission’s special election plan.
October 30, 2014 •
The Mississippi Supreme Court has sided with Sen. Thad Cochran, ending a protracted legal battle over the results of the Republican primary runoff election. Chris McDaniel challenged Cochran’s victory in a lawsuit filed in August, claiming Democratic voters illegally participated […]
The Mississippi Supreme Court has sided with Sen. Thad Cochran, ending a protracted legal battle over the results of the Republican primary runoff election. Chris McDaniel challenged Cochran’s victory in a lawsuit filed in August, claiming Democratic voters illegally participated in the Republican primary.
The court dismissed the suit because it was past the 20 day deadline imposed by common law to challenge an election result. Though the state election laws have changed since the case creating the deadline, the McDaniel campaign argued no such requirement was ever codified.
The state Supreme Court was not persuaded and concurred with the lower court’s dismissal.
Seal of the Judiciary of Mississippi by Connormah on Wikimedia Commons.
October 2, 2014 •
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to hear the case of a former Florida judicial candidate disciplined for violating state law by soliciting campaign contributions in 2009. Lanell Williams-Yulee, who ran for county court judge in Tampa, argues the law […]
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to hear the case of a former Florida judicial candidate disciplined for violating state law by soliciting campaign contributions in 2009. Lanell Williams-Yulee, who ran for county court judge in Tampa, argues the law violates her right of free speech.
Currently, Florida and 29 other states prohibit judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions. Courts are split on the issue with some saying such bans protect the integrity of the courts by ensuring judges remain impartial upon winning election.
A ruling is expected in June 2015.
June 17, 2014 •
Lobbying “Bottom Line” in The Hill. Campaign Finance California: “Senate approves campaign fundraising blackout during budget negotiations and end of session” by The Associated Press in the Daily Journal. Ethics “Watchdog urges bribery probe of congressman” by Mario Trujillo in […]
“Bottom Line” in The Hill.
California: “Senate approves campaign fundraising blackout during budget negotiations and end of session” by The Associated Press in the Daily Journal.
“Watchdog urges bribery probe of congressman” by Mario Trujillo in The Hill.
New Mexico: “NM governor’s ex-aide pleads guilty to hacking charges” by Julian Hattem in The Hill.
Ohio: “Ohio Rep. Dale Mallory Named In Ethics Probe” by The Associated Press on WBNS TV News.
Rhode Island: “House panel passes revised ethics bill” by The Associated Press in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Supreme Court: Groups Can Sue over Campaign Lies” by Julie Rovner in Governing.
April 7, 2014 •
Corporations in Iowa are still prohibited from making campaign contributions, despite an attempt by non-profit corporation Iowa Right to Life Committee, Inc. to remove the ban. The Supreme Court of the United States denied review of the Eighth Circuit Court […]
Corporations in Iowa are still prohibited from making campaign contributions, despite an attempt by non-profit corporation Iowa Right to Life Committee, Inc. to remove the ban. The Supreme Court of the United States denied review of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals case with no comment.
In Iowa Right to Life v. Tooker, plaintiff Iowa Right to Life alleged the ban on corporate contributions is an unconstitutional bar to free speech and equal protection. The Eighth Circuit did not agree, thus upholding the ban.
April 3, 2014 •
The aggregate contribution limits for individuals and PACs contributing to state candidates are expected to be unenforceable following the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission repeal of federal aggregate limits. The federal case challenging Wisconsin’s aggregate limits has been […]
The aggregate contribution limits for individuals and PACs contributing to state candidates are expected to be unenforceable following the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission repeal of federal aggregate limits. The federal case challenging Wisconsin’s aggregate limits has been on hold pending McCutcheon. Young v. GAB seeks to remove aggregate limits set to prohibit even a $1 contribution if the individual donor has given the maximum $10,000 contribution to a single candidate.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) has moved to dismiss the case, arguing the complaint does not sufficiently allege Mr. Young is harmed by the limit.
April 2, 2014 •
Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions are unconstitutional. In a 5-4 decision, with a separate majority opinion by Justice Thomas, the Court found aggregate limits do not further the permissible government interest […]
Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions are unconstitutional.
In a 5-4 decision, with a separate majority opinion by Justice Thomas, the Court found aggregate limits do not further the permissible government interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of such corruption.
The case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, sought to allow Shaun McCutcheon to make political contributions to several federal candidates exceeding the two-year aggregate limit set in 2 U.S.C §441a(a)(3)(A). The plaintiff had argued the limit is unconstitutional because it violates a citizen’s right to speak and to associate with not just any candidate, but every candidate of his choosing. The Supreme Court had decided to grant a review of the case in February 2013 and oral arguments were made on October 8, 2013.
Photo of the United State Supreme Court Building courtesy of Mfield on Wikimedia Commons.
October 11, 2013 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
New York Times – Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mike McIntire | Published: 10/5/2013
A New York Times article detailed a plan among conservative activists to derail the Affordable Care Act. The outside groups believed the GOP could stop the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans into cutting off financing for the entire federal government. The report said the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort.
Washington Post – Robert Barnes | Published: 10/8/2013
The U.S. Supreme Court seemed prepared to strike down a part of federal campaign finance law left intact by its decision in Citizens United in 2010: overall limits on direct contributions from individuals to candidates. The justices seemed to divide along familiar ideological lines, and they expressed different understandings of the role of money and free speech in American politics.
From the States and Municipalities:
Arizona Republic – Edward Gately | Published: 10/4/2013
U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg ruled the part of Arizona’s campaign finance law that defines political committees is unconstitutional. But the law will remain in effect pending an injunction or until lawmakers can address the problems. “We will likely file an injunction to basically put everything on hold until the Legislature can convene in January,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office.
California – Assemblyman Offers to Suit up Campaign Donors
Sacramento Bee – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 10/8/2013
California Assemblyperson Henry Perea is raising campaign money by offering donors a custom suit in exchange for a $2,000 contribution. A number of lobbyists said the fundraiser puts participants in an ethical quandary, leaving them with a valuable gift, while some women said it is excluding them by only offering suits for men.
Sacramento Bee – Laurel Rosenhall | Published: 10/6/2013
California Strategies is not the only public affairs firm in Sacramento that offers clients a variety of services requiring a careful dance along the line that separates lobbying from less regulated forms of advocacy. But it has been a target of competitors who say the firm’s approach creates an uneven playing field – it has a long list of partners who have deep connections inside government but do not register as lobbyists.
Colorado – Complaint: Free weed at rally not reported
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel – Charles Ashby | Published: 10/8/2013
No Over Taxation has given out free marijuana at rallies in Denver and Boulder to convince voters to oppose Proposition AA, a ballot measure that would impose taxes on recreational pot when it becomes available for sale in Colorado next year. Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint contending the donors that contributed the marijuana should have been identified in No Over Taxation’s campaign finance reports as providing in-kind donations, but were not.
Orlando Sentinel – Aaron Deslatte | Published: 10/7/2013
After media attention to lobbyists’ pay, Florida legislative leaders agreed to kick-start legally required audits of those paid to influence lawmakers and state officials. The Legislature’s joint auditing committee was told the random audits of some two-dozen firms could cost in excess of $1 million, sparking criticism from some on the panel.
Chattanooga Times Free Press; Associated Press – | Published: 10/9/2013
John Hair, a former Georgia ethics commission computer specialist, said he removed, changed, and condensed documents from the investigative file of complaints accusing Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal of misusing campaign funds in the 2010 election. Hair said he was fulfilling orders from commission Executive Secretary Holly LaBerge and her top aide, Lisa Dentler.
Massachusetts – Cardinal O’Malley Invites Lawmakers to a Get-Together
Boston Globe – Jim O’Sullivan and Lisa Wagsness | Published: 10/9/2013
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, will meet with the Massachusetts lawmakers who represent cities and towns within the archdiocese in what one of his aides described as “relationship building.” The church does not command the presence on Beacon Hill that it did years ago, when it played a much more prominent role in society. Some lawmakers remain angry at what they viewed as overly aggressive lobbying techniques that church lobbyists and some priests used in opposing same-sex marriage
Washington Post; Associated Press – | Published: 10/10/2013
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison on his conviction for public corruption charges including bribery and extortion that prosecutors said exacerbated the city’s financial crisis. Kilpatrick spent lavishly at the helm of a conspiracy that damaged Detroit’s reputation and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds said, adding that the sentence was intended to send a message that corruption would not be tolerated.
New York Times – Jesse McKinley and Thomas Kaplan | Published: 10/8/2013
According to people familiar with the work of the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, its effort is burdened by resistance from the New York Legislature, which has refused requests for information about lawmakers’ outside income, and by unexpected involvement by the governor’s office, which has leaned on the commission to limit the scope of its probes.
North Carolina – Plain-Clothes Officer Attended Moral Monday Planning Meetings
WRAL – Michael Biesecker (Associated Press) | Published: 10/8/2013
About 940 people were arrested at weekly “Moral Monday” rallies opposing Republican-backed policies at the North Carolina Legislature that protesters said damaged public education, voting rights, and working people. The Raleigh Police Department conducted undercover surveillance at meetings of the North Carolina chapter of the NACCP held to organize the mass protests.
South Carolina – State House for Sale: SC ethics law a muddled mess
The State – Adam Beam | Published: 10/5/2013
While South Carolina has strict rules on who can donate to political campaigns, and how much they can give, state law has little to say about how legislators can spend that money. And what it does say is in dispute. Critics say South Carolina needs to follow the lead of 26 other states and have one independent ethics commission set the rules for all candidates. But most lawmakers say that would violate the state constitution.
Texas Tribune – David Maly | Published: 10/9/2013
The annual football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is increasingly becoming a fundraising hotspot for lawmakers in both parties. Deborah Ingersoll, a lobbyist who has worked in Texas politics for more than 20 years, organizes an annual guide of legislative fundraising surrounding the game and said this is the biggest year she has seen.
Richmond Times Dispatch – Olympia Meola and Jim Nolan | Published: 10/6/2013
Recognizing the public reaction to the scandal involving Gov. Robert McDonnell, both major party candidates to succeed him have proposed reforms to Virginia’s gift and disclosure laws. Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox is leading a working group of House Republicans studying various reforms ahead of the legislative session. Cox said the changes could include more frequent reporting than the current annual filing, and synchronizing the reporting dates for elected officials and lobbyists.
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.
October 9, 2013 •
Here is our roundup of the latest articles on lobbying, campaign finance, ethics, and more!
“Lobbying World” in The Hill.
Louisiana: “Veteran lobbyist leaves Louisiana Association of Business and Industry” by Julia O’Donoghue in The Times-Picayune.
“Justices clash over campaign finance law” by Sam Baker in The Hill.
“Supreme Court conservatives skeptical of campaign finance limits” by Josh Gerstein and Byron Tau in Politico.
“Chief Justice Roberts: A Campaign Finance Moderate Who Gets It?” by Rick Hasen in the Election Law Blog.
California: “Brown signs three FPPC bills, vetoes campaign finance bill” by Laurel Rosenhall in The Sacramento Bee.
Colorado: “Campaign-finance complaint filed against opponents of pot-tax issue” by Jeremy P. Meyer in The Denver Post.
Kentucky: “Supreme Court ruling in campaign finance case could affect Kentucky Senate race” by Sam Youngman in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
New York: “NY Minute: Will voters decide fate of publicly financed campaigns?” by Teri weaver in the The Post-Standard.
California: “Gov. Brown gives public a closer look at elected officials’ finances” by Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times.
Georgia: “Ex-state IT specialist claims he removed documents from Gov. Deal ethics file” by Greg Bluestein in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ohio: “Letters from Mandel show he lobbied for donor” by Joe Vardon in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
South Carolina: “SC senators not sold on independent ethics panel” by Adam Beam in The State.
Tech and Social Media
“Chicago Candidate Wants to Transform Political Discussion” by Colin Wood in Government Technology.
Maryland: “City broke laws by meeting in secret, state board rules” by Luke Broadwater in the Baltimore Sun.
October 7, 2013 •
Let’s start off the week with these lobbying, campaign finance, and ethics news articles:
“ALL Response to Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-1) Suggestion to Ban Lobbyists from the Capitol” on the American League of Lobbyists website.
“K Street sidelined in shutdown fight” by Ann Palmer in Politico.
California: “California Strategies walks line between lobbying and public affairs” by Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee.
New Mexico: “Ex-official won’t lobby state, company says” by Thomas Cole in the Albuquerque Journal.
Tennessee: “Lobbyists spent more on entertainment in 2013” by The Associated Press in WRCB TV News.
“Three Things to Watch for in Tomorrow’s Campaign Finance Oral Argument at the Supreme Court” by Rick Hasen on the Election Law Blog.
“Supreme Court set to consider donor limits” by Byron Tau in Politico.
“After Citizens United, Campaign Finance Reformers Look For A Bold New Approach” by Paul Blumenthal in The Huffington Post.
“Get ready for ‘Son of Citizens United’” by Mary Sanchez in The Chicago Tribune.
Minnesota: “Attorney Christian Sande named to Minnesota Campaign Finance board” by Joe Kimball in MinnPost.
Georgia: “Ethics lawyer says chairman pressured her to settle Deal cases” by Aaron Gould Sheinin in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
New York: “Ethics laws outdated, not used” by Alysia Santo in the Times Union.
South Carolina: “STATE HOUSE FOR SALE: SC ethics law a muddled mess” by Adam Beam in The State.
Virginia: “Gift scandal puts pressure on lawmakers to make changes” by Olympia Meola and Jim Nolan in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
West Virginia: “Statehouse Beat: Another bad mark for W.Va.” by Phil Kabler in the Gazette-Mail.
West Virginia: “Statehouse beat: A lot of road time on the state dime” by Phil Kabler in the Gazette-Mail.
On the State Ballots
“Pot, Gambling and GMOs on the Election Ballot” by Jake Grovum in Stateline.
Campaign Tech and Social Media
“Parnell campaign reports email error” by Becky Bohrer (Associated Press) in the Juneau Empire.
July 27, 2012 •
Interview to be broadcast on C-Span this Sunday
Here is a video clip of C-Span’s Brian Lamb interviewing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who discussed the Citizens United decision.
For the full story , be sure to read “Scalia Defends ‘Citizens United,’ Arizona Immigration Decision” by Tony Mauro in The Blog of LegalTimes.
You’ll find more of the coverage in the press here:
“Scalia: ‘We get clobbered by the press’” by Dylan Byers in Politico.
“Scalia Unconcerned About Money in Politics; People Aren’t ‘Sheep’” by Ariane de Vogue on ABC News.
“Scalia Defends Decision in Citizens United” on Capitol Correspondent.
“Justice Scalia downplays reports of discord on court” by Mark Sherman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
May 18, 2012 •
Here are the latest campaign finance news articles to wrap up the week:
“RI Sen. Whitehouse, McCain ask U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Montana campaign finance restrictions” by John E. Mulligan in the Providence Journal.
“Can Montana brief end Citizens United?” by Adam Skaggs in Politico.
“Even Before ‘Citizens United,’ Big Donors Dominated” by Peter Overby on NPR.
“Closing arguments in John Edwards trial” by David Zucchino in the Los Angeles Times.
Illinois: “Illinois might nix money caps if super PACs enter fray” by The Associated Press in the News Gazette.
Virginia: “Campaign finance law before appeals court in Richmond” by Larry O’Dell in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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