Melania’s speech, corruption, and other political law links

TRUMP AND CORRUPTION?  “The controversy over Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention – well, one of them anyway – is a reminder that much of the debate over campaign finance regulation has nothing to do with preventing corruption.”

TRUMP AND FOREIGN NATIONALS.  “Perhaps most silly is that Campaign Legal considers a generalized e-mail to fall within the realistic scope of a ‘solicitation’ worthy of investigation and enforcement.”

TRUMP’S SUPER PACS.  B.  “According to Federal Election Commission rules, if Trump doesn’t win the presidency, he is clearly free to set up and fund a super-PAC. But if he occupies the Oval Office, the rules head into a legal gray area. Between elections, or if Trump declares himself a one-term president, he would be allowed to donate to a super-PAC, but is not allowed to solicit contributions of more than $5,000.”

TIME SOUGHT FOR DECISION.  WP.  “Prosecutors in Virginia want an additional month to respond to the Supreme Court decision overturning former governor Robert F. McDonnell’s corruption conviction.”

KAINE GIFT SCRUTINY.  NYT.  “But with Mr. Kaine’s selection on Friday as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, the gifts he received in the four years he served as Virginia’s chief executive and his time as lieutenant governor before that are certain to be cited by his Republican critics as a sign that Mr. Kaine, who is now a United States senator, is not as squeaky clean as he portrays himself.”

MO:  NEGATIVE VIEW ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE.  STL.  “Any day now, a ballot initiative that would reinstate campaign finance limits in Missouri to levels more in line with congressional races, about $2,600 per donor, is likely to be certified for the November ballot.”

MT:  NEW TRIAL SOUGHT.  MTS.  “Attorneys for Republican Rep. Art Wittich of Bozeman said in their motion Friday that jurors relied on faulty evidence and cost estimates provided by a witness. They also said the state’s definition of a campaign contribution is unconstitutional and that a juror was inappropriately dismissed at the beginning of the trial.”

NE:  TRANSPARENCY SUPPORTED.  “It’s time for Nebraska leaders to adopt sensible disclosure requirements so the public can be properly informed.”

NJ:  WEAPONIZED PAY TO PLAY.  PNJ.  “After more than a decade of experimentation with the idealistic notion that it is possible to take the money out of politics, the intricate rubric of local Pay-to-play ordinances has failed.”

PA:  ALLEGED PAY TO PLAY.  MC.  “Former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer is charged with concealing $500,000 in fees paid to her company by a business that provided asset management services to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, federal prosecutors in Harrisburg announced Thursday.”

SC:  RULING ON DINNER.  WT.  “The State Ethics Commission is weighing whether it’s ethically OK for a group of lawyers to arrange a special dinner for the judges of on-the-job injury claims.”

VA:  BLANKET RESTORATION STRUCK.  NPR.  “In a 4-3 ruling, the state’s justices said under the state constitution, McAuliffe didn’t have the authority for such a proclamation.”


Here they are — Friday’s post-convention political law links

PROSECUTORS CONFOUND POST.  WP.  “The thinking seems to be that Mr. Thompson has suffered enough, with prosecutors maintaining that his ‘epic fall financially and socially’ will serve to deter others.”

SPEECH VOLUNTEER.  WT.  “The campaign said she volunteered her time to help the campaign and to write the speech, so there was no need to report her as a paid employee on official campaign filings.”

AZ:  UTILITIES AND SUPER PACS.  AZC.  “In the 2014 elections, when two seats were up for election at the commission, the winning candidates benefited from about $3.2 million in dark money, and it is widely believed the state’s biggest utility, Arizona Public Service Co., provided the funds. APS does not deny the contributions that helped commissioners Doug Little and Tom Forese win office.”

CA:  $55K FINE.  LAT.  “Commerce Councilwoman Tina Baca Del Rio will pay a $55,000 fine and admit to multiple violations of the state’s political ethics law under a possible deal reached Thursday with state election regulators.”

ME:  NOT SO CLEAN.  JT.  “The commission determined that Twomey violated clean election rules when she retroactively paid a campaign employee with MCEA funds for work completed prior to her certification as a MCEA candidate.”

NY:  OFF OF BALLOT.  N.  “A proposed referendum to publicly finance Suffolk County lawmakers’ campaigns with future casino revenues and double legislative terms to four years won’t be on November’s ballot after a committee voted Thursday to delay the bill.”

SC:  LUXURY BOX OPINION.  ABC.  “The State Ethics Commission says Gov. Nikki Haley can use a luxury college football suite only if she is conducting state business.”

TX:  RULES STRUCK.  KUT.  “A federal district court ruled late Wednesday that two rules governing how candidates for Austin office handle campaign funds violate the First Amendment. The ruling came after Council member Don Zimmerman filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s campaign finance rules last year.”


Pence, super PACs, and the day’s political law links are here

SUPER PAC SUPPORT.  Politico.  “Donald Trump spent the primary bashing major donors and insisting he didn’t want super PAC help, but his campaign on Wednesday signaled that it has dropped its opposition to both and is now openly encouraging donors to give to a super PAC that has raised $5 million in recent days.”

SPEECH AND FEDERAL LAW.  WP.  “Notice the letterhead of the statement: The Trump Organization, which is to say Donald Trump’s personal business. And notice how McIver describes herself: As an employee of the Trump Organization, not the campaign.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE SPAR.  NHPR.  “In their first primary debate Wednesday morning, Republican Congressional candidate Rich Ashooh and incumbent Frank Guinta sparred over Guinta’s campaign finance violations.”

LOBBYIST BUNDLING REPORTS.  HP.  “Lobbyists have so far raised $7 million for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, while Donald Trump’s campaign reports he has collected $0 from K Street fundraisers.”

MEDIA EXEMPTION AND THE FEC.  WT.  “Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, shifting 180 degrees from their repeated moves to punish conservative media criticism of liberals, including the president, voted in secret to OK a savage liberal radio attack on Sen. Ted Cruz, a featured speaker at tonight’s Republican National Convention here.”

FEC UPDATE.  FOX.  “Members of the Federal Election Commission are in Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention, and on Tuesday, at least one could be seen using the taxpayer-funded trip to sniff some scented oxygen.”

SD:  $500 FINE.  SCJ.  “The Maine ethics commission levied a $500 fine Wednesday against state Rep. Diana Russell after finding the Portland Democrat should have reported an email list she used for fundraising as an in-kind contribution in her unsuccessful primary campaign for a state Senate seat.”

TX:  FIRM UPDATE.  MYSA.  “Thirty lawyers from Houston-based Beirne, Maynard & Parsons — including all five in its San Antonio office — are joining Miami’s Akerman LLP.”  I had the pleasure of working with a number of lawyers who moved to the new firm and I wish them all the best.