Happy holidays

1-004HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY BREAK.  I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday break.  I’ll be taking some time away from the site after today’s post, so please have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.  As you can see at right, Rosie’s in the holiday spirit. Remember her?  She’s our family pet (and the official PoliticalActivityLaw.com mascot) who’s been with us a year since we adopted her last December.  She didn’t appreciate the holiday decorations, as you might guess from her expression, but was amply rewarded for her patience with her favorite treats.  And there will be delicious deer antler bone in her stocking this year.  Happy holidays and all the best!  And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

NO PRISON.  NYT.  “A Democratic fund-raiser and high-profile hotelier, Sant Singh Chatwal, who had pleaded guilty to skirting federal campaign-finance laws and witness tampering, avoided being sent to prison on Thursday, despite facing a possible sentence of more than five years.”

AMERICAN BRIDGE SQUATTING.  BuzzFeed.  “But the Jebbu.Sh isn’t the only domain American Bridge owns. They’re also squatting on two domains related to the former Florida governor.”

INTERNET REGULATION AND 15.  SacBee.com.  “Ravel is the former California Fair Political Practices Commission chairwoman who came from the Silicon Valley, where she had been Santa Clara County counsel. President Barack Obama placed her on the FEC last year.”

AR:  CONSULT ATTORNEYS.  Ledger-Enquirer.  “A lobbyist for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is urging state lawmakers who received free parking permits in October for football games to consult with their attorneys following last month’s voter approval of a constitutional amendment that bars state elected officials from accepting certain gifts.”

CA:  INDEPENDENCE QUESTIONS.  Richmondconfidential.org.  “The murky situation could spell trouble for elections across the country as underfunded watchdog agencies and hazy campaign finance rules may be ill-equipped to deter coordination between committees and candidates.”

HI:  ERROR AND FINE.  Mauinews.com.  “The state Campaign Spending Commission has fined a super political action committee $3,100 for, among other things, failing in at least one instance to link a campaign expenditure with former Maui County Council candidate Ka’ala Buenconsejo.”

PA:  GIFT BAN BILL.  PPG.  “Pennsylvania lawmakers’ willingness to stop taking gifts from lobbyists, state contractors and other people who want to influence state government is about to be tested.”

PA:  STING CHARGES.  Philly.com.  “So far, Williams has now brought criminal charges against three of the five Philadelphia Democrats caught up in the sting, and one of the three has pleaded guilty. The remaining two are still under investigation.”

FRA:  UNDER FIRE FOR FRAUD.  France24.com.  “A French court on Friday said the far-right mayor of the northeastern town of Hayange failed to declare all of his campaign spending to authorities, in a decision that will likely cost him his job and further embarrass the National Front.”

HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON!

Thurs. political law links

DONATIONS AND ENTRY BAN. NYT. “The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials.”

IRS FREEZE. Politico. “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday told employees that the $346 million cut to the agency budget is bound to reduce tax collections from potential tax cheats by at least $2 billion and hurt taxpayer services.”

WHAT THE NEW LAW DOES. Insidepoliticallaw.com. “The following chart should help summarize how much individuals could give to the various accounts per year…”

READY FOR… WT. “The group, though, did not respond to an email inquiry, and some of the members of Mr. Romney’s inner circle from the 2012 campaign said they were clueless about the effort.”

LEE HAMILTON ON LOBBYING. SCsun-news.com. “The best lobbyists are masters at making the system work for them. My guess is that their influence over policy surpasses the media’s clout, and they have now become the fourth branch of government.”

CO: ORTIZ FINED. KOAA. ”Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz was fined for alleged violations of state campaign finance laws.”

KS: CFR FOR WICHITA. Watchdogwire.com. ”We need laws to prohibit Wichita city council members from voting on or advocating for decisions that enrich their significant campaign contributors.”

KY: GRIMES ON DUAL CANDIDACY. WHAS11. “Six weeks after she lost her own bid for the U-S Senate, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (R-Kentucky) tells WHAS11 if U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) tries to appear on the same ballot for both Senate and President in 2016, she will challenge him in court.”

NY: ETHICS REFORM OUTLOOK. NYDN. “Gov. Cuomo Wednesday expressed little confidence he can achieve ethics reforms such as creation of a statewide campaign public finance system and other campaign finance changes, saying the legislators have refused to budge even with the possibility of a pay raise dangling in front of them.”

NY: DELAY BLAME. Capital NY. ”Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says any delays over campaign finance reforms aren’t his fault.”

HAVE A GOOD DAY. I’ll send around the next set of links on Monday. Have a great weekend.

political law links

SUPER PAC UP.  The Hill.  “A conservative super-PAC is airing radio ads hammering the top three House GOP leaders for negotiating a trillion-dollar spending package that didn’t directly challenge President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.”

LAW OF THE LAND. USAT. “Obama signed the bill without ceremony.”

BUSH TESTING AND/OR EXPLORING.  WSJ.  “Jeb Bush on Tuesday announced plans to launch a leadership PAC, a move that catches him up with other 2016 hopefuls who have already taken that step, as the former Florida governor announced he is actively exploring running for president.”

BUSH NOT EXPLORATORY.  Politico.  “Notably, Bush is not creating an exploratory committee. He said he plans to create a leadership PAC, a fundraising vehicle already used by several other potential candidates. An exploratory committee puts in place various legal tripwires and has the same official weight as being a declared candidate.”

$700 MILLION BRIBE ACCORD NEAR.  Bloomberg.  “The fine would be the largest criminal penalty paid to the Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, overshadowing the $450 million that Siemens AG paid in 2008. Siemens paid an additional $350 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Alstom isn’t subject to SEC scrutiny because its shares don’t trade in the U.S.”

ENFORCEMENT WEAK.  The Hill.  “While complaints about compliance and enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is nothing new among professionals in that part of the K Street space, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) plans to issue a paper that details the law’s shortcomings and the prevalence of lobbyists flouting it.”

CONTRIBUTIONS AND LEGISLATION.  Kansas.com.  “U.S. House members who voted in favor of $1.1 trillion appropriations bill, which includes a controversial policy rider to roll back a regulation for major banks, received on average nearly three times more money in campaign contributions from banks than representatives who voted against it, according to a website that tracks the influence of money in politics.”

WHAT ELECTIONS COST.  NYT.  “The F.E.C., and most organizations that rely upon its data, report campaign finance figures in current dollars, not adjusting for inflation.”

TODAY AT THE FEC.  Today’s agenda at the Federal Election Commission is online here.

HOLIDAY LEVITY FROM LOBBYISTS.INFO. 12 Days of Lobbying.

NY:  INVESTIGATORS ON THE JOB.  Timesunion.com.  “The state Board of Elections on Monday speedily approved a resolution conferring ‘special investigator’ status on Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman and three former law enforcement officers who have been hired to handle campaign finance probes.”

OH:  AKRON LIMITS.  Cleveland.com.  “Akron City Council voted Monday to increase campaign finance limits in time for 2015, when all 13 council seats and Mayor Don Plusquellic are up for reelection.”

HAVE A GOOD DAY.