Political Law Links, 7-20-17

FRESHMAN IDEA.   PM.  “Essentially, Democracy Dollars would allow reformers to circumvent the Supreme Court hurdle while at the same time addressing the problem of outside spending.”

DEMOCRAT FOCUS.   RC. “Amid the collapse of a signature piece of Republican health care legislation and continued revelations about the Trump team’s ties to Russia, House Democrats have turned their spotlight on proposals to revamp ethics, campaign finance and voting rights laws.”

PRISON FOR DONOR.   WP.  “Potarazu used the money he took out of VitalSpring to position himself as a ‘thought leader’ and ‘inside the Beltway power player,’ prosecutor Caryn Finley said at sentencing. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars writing a book and getting himself booked for interviews on Fox Business. He donated heavily to the Democratic National Committee. (He has requested, through counsel, that the $330,000 he donated be returned and used to repay investors).”

AZ:  LAWMAKER QUITS.   USN.  “A state legislator under investigation for allegedly violating Arizona’s clean election financing laws has resigned.”

ID:  SALARY CHANGE.   IS.  “Idaho 1st District GOP Rep. Raúl Labrador is no longer using campaign funds to pay his wife’s salary or to pay for a campaign vehicle.”

MO:  NONPROFIT GIVES.   KC.  “Gov. Eric Greitens’ nonprofit just donated $250,000 to a political action committee working to protect Missouri’s right-to-work law.”

TN:  NEGATIVE BALANCE.   TN.  “Campaigns are not supposed to ever have a negative balance. Such a report would imply the candidate is spending money he or she never reported receiving on previous statements, a serious offense that could result in fines.”

TX:  COURAGE FOR REFORM.   EN.  “Councilman John Courage wants to require more disclosure for local candidates and those who fund their campaigns and is also planning to push for deeper vetting of would-be candidates to ensure they’re actually residents of the district they want to represent.”

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Today’s Political Law Links

EXPERTS DEBATE.   SFG.  “The Electoral College is good for democracy and regulation of political campaign financing is generally bad, one expert on election laws told a judicial conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Another speaker, equally expert, said the opposite.”

LEGAL FEE SPENDING.   LAT.  “The House Ethics Committee released a report that stated Hunter ‘may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, healthcare, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries and other goods, services, and expenses.'”

KASICH SUPER PAC.   DC.   “The largest super PAC to back Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign has been quietly emailing his supporters over the last couple of months to promote the governor’s positions on national issues and soliciting donations.”

CA:  RECALL CONTRIBUTION LIMIT ISSUE.   LAT.  “The top attorney for the state’s campaign watchdog agency recommended Monday that it deny a request to boost the limit for contributions to a highly charged recall election.”

FL:  VIEWS ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE.   MH.  “Ken Russell the would-be congressional candidate seems to have a different stance on campaign fundraising than Ken Russell the Miami commissioner.”

IL:  BURN RATE.   CST.  “More than $100,000 a day.  That’s how much billionaire J.B. Pritzker is spending on average since entering the race for governor three months ago.”

ME:  CASINO MISS.  PH.  “Three organizations tied to a southern Maine casino referendum under investigation by state officials have missed another deadline for reporting their financial activity to campaign regulators.”

MO:  LAWMAKER FINED.   STL.  “Rep. Courtney Curtis, a Democrat who has been in office since 2013, maintained at least 11 bank accounts for his re-election fund, potentially allowing him to use some of those donations for personal use, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.”

MT:  ATTORNEY SANCTIONS.   BDH.  “District Judge Kathy Seeley of Helena ordered attorney Emily Jones to pay reasonable costs incurred by the commissioner of political practices to overcome her interference in the investigation into the 2012 campaign activities of the Montana Growth Network.”

NM:  NEW HEARING.   AJ.  “One speaker described ‘dark-money’ spending in elections as a disease, and others said their First Amendment rights are at stake.”

TX:  TEC CHAIR PROFILE.   PRN.  “McKool Smith, one of America’s leading trial firms, has announced that Dallas Principal Steven Wolens has been elected Chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission.”

TX:  MEMBER MISS.   AS.  “Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen failed to file a campaign finance report Monday, missing a deadline for a mid-year report that is required of all council members and declared candidates.”


Political law links, 7-18

PAY TO PLAY CHALLENGE UPDATE.   NLR.  “The Sixth Circuit dismissed this latest challenge for lack of standing. The result is not entirely surprising in that the petitioners faced a high hurdle: because they challenged the amendments to the MSRB’s rule, but not Rule G-37 itself, they were required to focus on activity restricted specifically due to the amendments and not the preexisting rule.”

JULY 2017 ELECTION LAW NEWS.   Wiley Rein. This month’s edition features a number of articles of interest.

FORMER CANDIDATE SUED.   MH.  “Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera funneled at least $69,000 in secret campaign cash to a ringer candidate in the 2012 congressional election, according to the Federal Election Commission — which wants the Republican ex-congressman to pay $486,000 in civil penalties.”

ROKITA TEAM.   JG.  “Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th, announced Monday he has assembled a 60-member campaign finance team for a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Joe Donnelly.”

SUPER PAC RAISES.   WPR.  “Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein has now donated a total of $3.5 million toward a super PAC supporting Republican Kevin Nicholson’s potential campaign for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat.”

SUPER PAC EYES.   AC.  “Outside groups have been active in central New York before. But the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC supporting House Republican candidates, is taking a new approach.”

ID:  FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.   SM.  “Thanks to legislative action this year in Vermont, Idaho is now one of just two states in the nation with no requirements for personal financial disclosure by state lawmakers or other elected or appointed officials. Idaho had been one of three states with that distinction. Now it’s just Idaho and Michigan.”

KY:  INVESTIGATION STATUS.  KY.  “Attorney General Andy Beshear shouldn’t investigate Gov. Matt Bevin if he might run for governor in 2019, a state ethics panel advised Monday.”

MA:  LOBBYIST/LEGISLATOR.   BG.  “In a major Beacon Hill summer surprise, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Brian Dempsey, a state representative from Haverhill, dropped the news he will be leaving his seat to take a job with ML Strategies, one of the state’s leading lobbying firms. Except he hasn’t said when he’ll step down.”

SC:  FUNDRAISING OK.   BT.  “There’s nothing wrong with Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant raising money for a nonexistent race, said the director of South Carolina’s ethics agency.”

WA:  CENTER TO PAY.   WAG.  “A Thurston County Superior Court judge ordered the [Washington Budget and Policy] Center to pay $33,510 in penalties, with half suspended for four years contingent on no violations in that period, as well as $13,790 in attorney fees, court costs and costs of investigation.”

WA:   AG AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE.   LNL.  “Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on July 11 that his office filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court against the Service Employees International Union Leadership Council 14, also known as SEIU Washington State Council, for allegations of campaign finance violations.”

YESTERDAY’S POLITICAL LAW LINKS.  They’re available here.