Political Law Links for May 24, 2017

AZ:  PHOENIX LOBBYIST RULES.   AZC.  “Lobbyists paid to influence decisions at Phoenix City Hall likely will face harsher penalties if they don’t comply with the city’s regulations, an expansion that follows a report in The Arizona Republic that showed the city’s rules were useless.”

CT:  CAMPAIGN FINANCE IN MIX.   CM.  “There is little agreement among House and Senate leaders on how to tackle the many issues surrounding campaign finance reform, from banning ‘dark money’ – independent expenditures made by groups not required to disclose the names of their donors – to avoiding significant cost overruns in the state’s Citizens’ Election Program, which provides public financing for campaigns that meet certain requirements.”

ME:  JAIL POTENTIAL.  CM.  “Federal prosecutors will ask a judge to sentence former Maine developer Michael Liberty to six months – possibly to be served in home confinement – and a fine between $67,500 and $250,000 for illegal political donations.”

MO:  CHANGES AGAIN.   STL.  “Two weeks after a federal judge blew a major hole in Missouri’s new campaign finance law, another decision has been handed down that further chips away at limits on contributions even though Missouri voters approved limits last November.”

MO:  GOV. ON DISCLOSURE.   MT.  “Less than a month after Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign admitted to the Missouri Ethics Commission that he failed to report a fundraising list, the governor seemed to question Missouri’s practice of disclosing donors to the commission.”

TX:  ETHICS UPDATE.   TT.  “It’s hard to get the players in an entrenched industry to self-regulate — especially if the business in question is politics.”

VA:  MONEY IRONY.   USN.  “A series of federal court decisions, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, loosened campaign finance laws and added more clout to political groups that aren’t directly associated with a candidate. Some of those groups disclose donors and others don’t. ”

WY:  GROUP SEEKS AMENDMENT.  JHN.  “Wyoming Promise, an offshoot of American Promise, is attempting to gather popular support across the state for legislation amending America’s political finance laws.


Political law links for May 23

SUPREME COURT WON’T HEAR CASE.   LAT.  “New Justice Neil M. Gorsuch joined Clarence Thomas in dissent Monday when the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a Republican Party lawyer seeking to strike down limits on big-money contributions to political parties.”

LIFETIME LOBBYIST BAN.   Hill.  “A bipartisan group of senators wants to ban lawmakers from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave Congress.”

DEMOCRAT SEEKS INVESTIGATION.   Hill.   “A Democratic Federal Election Commission member is urging the FEC to investigate whether Russian agents used Facebook to spread damaging stories about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election, Politico reported.”

OGE ASK.  WP.  “White House officials are seeking to stop the federal government’s top ethics officer from getting details about waivers granted to lobbyists and other appointees working in the admin­istration, intensifying a power struggle between President Trump and the ethics agency.”

CA:  CONTRIBUTIONS ISSUE.   MN.  “The state’s political watchdog agency says the owner of a Milpitas-based general engineering contractor company will face a $20,000 fine for laundering campaign contributions in connection to prior campaigns of two former Milpitas City Council members.”

IL:  LARGEST CONTRIBUTION NOTED.    CT.  “Billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin contributed $20 million Tuesday to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign, an early escalation in a big-money 2018 contest expected to shatter previous spending records.”

IL:  PUBLIC FINANCING MOVES.   CB.  “A proposal to begin a limited system of public financing of races for state office has quietly picked up some momentum in Springfield.”

OH:  PARTY COMPLIANCE.  JN.  “Tens of thousands of dollars invested by the Butler County Republican Party into helping Donald Trump win Butler County and Ohio in the presidential election were not properly reported to the Federal Elections Commission, according to a recent audit.”

VT:  ALLIANCE CLEARED.   BFP.  “A state investigation has cleared the Rebel Alliance group of campaign finance violations before the Town Meeting Day vote in which South Burlington’s school budget was defeated. The defeat was largely credited to the efforts of the alliance.”


Good morning, here are Political Law Links, 5-22-17

EX-COMMISSIONER LANDS.   WE.  “The former chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, who famously eyed regulating the politics of conservative outlets like the Drudge Report, has joined an advocacy group funded by George Soros and run by his son.”

AD EDIT.   AJC.  “When San Francisco officials demanded that a GOP group remove images of cable cars from an ad attacking Democrat Jon Ossoff, the super PAC turned to another reliable symbol of the California city: The Golden Gate Bridge.”

WAIVER UPDATE.   NYT.   “The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the White House or federal agencies.”

ETHICS AND MUELLER.  WP.  “Newly appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will undergo a Justice Department ethics review that will examine possible conflicts of interest regarding his former law firm, which represents several figures who could be caught up in the probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.”

TESTER REFORM BILLS.  MTS.  “Tester’s latest efforts include the SUN (Sunlight for Unaccountable Non-Profits) Act, which would require Dark Money groups to disclose the identity of their mega-donors; the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act which would require Senate candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically, thus saving taxpayers’ money and increasing transparency to the public; and a constitutional amendment that strikes at the heart of Big Money by declaring that corporations are not people…”

AZ:  LOSS OF SEAT POTENTIAL.   AZ.  “State Rep. Jesus Rubalcava, D-Gila Bend, is on the hot seat over his use of public campaign-finance money, and it could cost him his chair in the House of Representatives.”

FL:  NEW PAC UPDATE.   OS.  “Ahead of a likely 2018 run for U.S. Senate, Gov. Rick Scott has set up a political action committee designed to appeal to younger and Hispanic voters.”

MT:  BILL VETOED.   MLN.  “Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed a bill that would have raised the amount of money that could be contributed to political campaigns and changed operations within the office of the state’s campaign finance watchdog.”

NM:  LAW AMBIGUOUS.   NMP.  “New Mexico lobbyists and their employers reported spending more than $690,000 during the first four months of the year, but whether that’s everything they spent is anyone’s guess.”

SC:  ETHICS (F)LAW.  HO.   “Now, a new ethics law is in effect, aiming to restore the public’s faith that corrupt politicians will be held accountable.”

TX:  NO COLLABORATION.   LT.  “State law prohibits political subdivisions, such as LISD, from producing or contributing to political advertisements they are connected to. However, both the Vote Yes Lewisville ISD PAC in their campaign to get the bond passed and LISD with their informational website on the bond left everything up to their contracted media groups, which worked together.”