Political law links

AIDE PLEA.  Bizjournals.com.  “A longtime former aide to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia) pleaded guilty Wednesday for his role in attempting to conceal two campaign finance-related fraud schemes initiated by a local elected official.”

WALLETS OPEN. WP. ”Together, 310 donors gave a combined $11.6 million more by this summer than would have been allowed before the ruling. Their contributions favored Republican candidates and committees over Democratic ones by 2 to 1.”

BRIEF IN PAY TO PLAY LAWSUIT.  WT.  “A campaign-finance watchdog group filed a brief in federal court Friday to beat back an attempt by New York and Tennessee Republicans to stymie pay-to-play restrictions.”

ONGOING.  WP.  “The federal probe that resulted in a guilty plea this week by a former Iowa state senator who was secretly paid to endorse two Republican presidential candidates in the 2012 campaign is ongoing — and could implicate the political operatives who were involved in routing payments to him, according to people familiar with the case.”

CU HELPS. WP. “The advantage isn’t large, but it is statistically significant: The researchers found the ruling, in Citizens United v. FEC, was associated with a six percentage-point increase in the likelihood that a Republican candidate would win a state legislative race.”

CAMPAIGN MANAGER RESIGNS.  Politico.  “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, announced his resignation late Friday, citing potential distractions over renewed attention to a scandal from the Iowa 2012 caucuses.”

SUPER PAC WORKAROUND.  Bloomberg.  “Figuring out how to work the system allows candidates to avoid wasting hard-won dollars when money from better-financed national groups is available.”

SUPER PAC ADS CHANGE.  Galveston Daily News.  “A conservative super PAC was forced Wednesday to edit a negative ad against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen after the New Hampshire Democrat’s attorneys flagged inaccuracies in the spot with the broadcaster.

BUS COST HIT.  The Hill.  “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is using recent reports about the costs of his opponent’s campaign bus in a new television advertisement.”

LOBBYIST REMINISCES.  The Onion.  “Citing his habit of haranguing younger colleagues about the way things used to be, sources confirmed Wednesday that 74-year-old veteran ExxonMobil lobbyist Hank Foraker is constantly droning on about how much cheaper legislation was back in his day.”

CA:  MORE REPORTING SOUGHT.  LAT.  “California lawmakers approved a measure Saturday that would require the state to develop a new Internet-based campaign filing and public display system and that candidates file electronic disclosures of their campaign finances every calendar quarter, instead of the current semi-annual filing schedule.”

CO:  CAMPAIGN FINANCE AD.  CO Independent.  “It’s not just incumbent John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez, Harry Hempy is running for governor too.”

NJ: INVESTIGATION SOUGHT.  NJ.com.  “A Democratic freeholder in Bergen County has asked New Jersey’s top law enforcement officer to investigate whether a national conservative advocacy group broke campaign finance laws in order to give donations above the legal limit to the 2010 campaign of county’s Republican executive, Kathleen Donovan.”

VA:  MCDONNELL TRIAL UPDATE.  RTD.  “The political corruption charges against the 71st governor of Virginia and his wife rest with a 12-member jury that will receive final instructions from U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer on Tuesday and begin its deliberations.”


8.27 political law links

CAMPAIGN SPENDING ON FOOD.  Tampabay.com.  “USA Today crunched numbers to find lawmakers spent $14.5 million in donors’ money on food since 2011. And the late Rep. Bill Young was ‘one of the bigger spenders.’”

SPLIT VOTES AND “UNOFFICIAL LAW.”  NYT.  “Campaign lawyers of both parties say the deadlocks have profoundly, if informally, affected the rules governing campaigns, particularly on questions involving whether political nonprofit groups must disclose their finances and the threshold for starting an investigation.”

LOBBYIST CONTRACTS DISCLOSED.  Yahoo.  “Several lobbying contracts obtained by the Center for Public Integrity through federal court filings do, however, reveal the hourly market rate at one notable firm for lobbyists of different skill and experience levels.”

CANDIDACY DECISION.  Daily Times.  “Sestak spokesman Edwin Wee confirmed Friday the former 7th Congressional District congressman will sign a conciliation agreement with the FEC that includes a $500 civil penalty and requires him to file a statement of candidacy for violating a provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.”

CANDIDACY THRESHOLD.  Breitbart.  “Sean Haugh, the 53-year-old pizza deliveryman and Libertarian Party candidate who is polling at 8% of voters in the North Carolina Senate race, has just passed a $5,000 in donations threshold requiring him to file his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, his spokeswoman said.”

CA:  SODA TAX FIGHT AND THE LAW.  SFGate.com.  “The campaign to pass Prop. E, which would levy a two-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks and use it to fund children’s anti-obesity programs, thinks something is amiss. It has filed complaints with the San Francisco Ethics Commission and the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, alleging that the No on E committee and its principal source of funds, the American Beverage Association, are violating financial disclosure requirements.”

NH:  CONTRIBUTION ALLEGATIONS.  NHPR.  “Alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance rules are once again front and center in the New Hampshire governor’s race, with the top candidates on the receiving end of accusations that they accepted illegal donations.”

PA:  PERMANENTLY ENJOINED.  Post Gazette.  “Pennsylvania’s law barring corporations and associations from making political contributions, which had been in direct conflict with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has now been permanently enjoined.”

VA:  LOBBYIST SPENDING POST-MCDONNELL.  WP.  “Lobbyists spent 10 percent less on wining and dining Virginia lawmakers during this year’s legislative session compared with the previous year, but it’s unclear whether that was a result of the scandal over gifts accepted by former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his family.”

HAVE A GOOD DAY.  I’ll send around the next set of links on Tuesday.  Have a great Labor Day weekend and I’ll see you then.

8.26 political law links

APP FOR POLITICS.  LAT.  “Finding out where your favorite brands lie on the political spectrum is now as easy as scanning bar codes with your iPhone.”

AL:  CONTRIBUTION ALLEGATIONS.  AL.com.  “The Democratic candidate for Alabama attorney general on Monday accused his Republican opponent of breaking state law by accepting a campaign donation from the campaign account of former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile.”

AZ:  COMPLAINT FILED.  InMaricopa.com.  “State Senate candidate Scott Bartle filed a complaint Friday with the Secretary of State and the Citizens Clean Elections Commission against his Legislative District 11 Republican primary opponent, Steve Smith.”

CT:  DGA GIVES.  CTnewsjunkie.com.  “The Democratic Governors Association donated $1.25 million to Connecticut Forward, the Super PAC formed to help Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election efforts.”

FL:  SUPER PAC FORMED.  New Times.  “[Cheryl] Shuman has been scrambling to put together a super PAC in time for the elections. She says that plans for ‘Moms for Marijuana’ were finalized only last Thursday and that she plans to register with the Federal Elections Commission this week. Currently, there are only three other marijuana-themed super PACS registered, and none of them has raised any cash.”

MA:  LOBBYING FIRM IN THE NEWS.  Boston Herald.  “A politically wired Beacon Hill lobbying firm let off with a light penalty by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley for a possible violation of state law hosted a fundraiser for Coakley’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2009, the Herald has learned.”

NY:  FREE SPEECH CONCERNS.  Fox.  “The New York State Board of Elections has enacted emergency regulations to keep a closer eye on political spending by special interest groups, but critics say the changes are over-reaching and will stifle free speech.”

OH:  WHAT’S NEW?  Dispatch.com.  “Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald’s campaign confirmed yesterday that it is diverting money back to the Ohio Democratic Party’s ‘field and voter turnout program’ in an apparent nod to what party leaders have been saying for a week.”

TN:  A FIRST.  Leaf-Chronicle.  “For the first time in its history, the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance board has voted to audit a local candidate’s campaign finance reports, in this case a candidate from Montgomery County.”

TX:  PAYING THE LAWYERS.  Bizjournals.com.  “Texas Gov. Rick Perry will pay for his own defense against two felony indictments, the Texas Tribune reported Wednesday night.”