5.21 political law links

SUPREMES WON’T HEAR CHALLENGE. ML. “The court on Monday announced without comment that it will not take up 1A Auto v. Michael Sullivan, a lawsuit that challenged the state’s ban on corporate campaign contributions.”

LAST WEEK AT THE FEC. It was another busy one and a summary of agency actions is online here.

ELECTION LAW NEWS. Wiley Rein’s latest Election Law News is available.

MA: WIN FOR THORNTON. CW. “The Office of Campaign and Political Finance found Thornton may have broken the law, but Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who was referred the case by Attorney General Maura Healey, did not find sufficient evidence of a crime.”

MI: SHIRKING ALLEGED. MD. “Failing to submit any single report or filing it late results in fees and fines. Missing the deadline results in a daily fine of $25, up to maximum of $500, if the committee received less than $10,000 in the previous two years. If the committee got more than $10,000 in the past two years, the maximum fine is $1,000 for a very late report.”

MO: YARD SIGN WIN. KCS. “A three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a suburban St. Louis man in his dispute with a municipal government over how many political signs he can have in his yard.”

TX: LOBBYING MOVE. SLM. “Senate Bill 29, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hall, R–Edgewood, would prevent an agency, organization or government subdivision funded by tax dollars from hiring a lobbyist or engaging in lobbying activity.”

TX: PROP J VIOLATION ALLEGED. AM. “After hours of politically caustic testimony, the Ethics Review Commission found at its May 8 meeting that the No on Prop J political action committee had violated city ethics codes by failing to disclose a $10,000 donation in a timely manner.”

WA: NEW TARGET. TDN. “It’s a tactic called ‘gray money’ and it’s a popular strategy in Washington and around the nation for shielding the flow of money. Through a series of ‘nesting doll’ PACs, campaigns or political parties can cloak donations by individuals, corporations, industry associations or labor unions.”


5.13.19 political law links

RAPPER CHARGED. CBS. “One of the founding members of the 1990s hip-hop group the Fugees has been charged in a campaign finance conspiracy that took place during the 2012 presidential election, the Justice Department said Friday.”

PRIVACY AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE. RCP. “HR1 requires so much disclosure of funding sources that, critics say, far from rendering politicians accountable and transparent, it creates a privacy nightmare for ordinary citizens who give to nonprofit organizations.”

FEC IN THE NEWS. CPI. “The Federal Election Commission’s four leaders are offering lawmakers clashing perspectives on the agency’s very purpose.”

MISSING THE STORY. WM. “It is true that a lot of us don’t have the financial means to write out a check for $500—much less $2,800. But those amounts are not what anyone is referring to when we talk about the kind of influence big money has in politics. As a matter of fact, they are a drop in the bucket.”

MONEY BAN CAN WAIT. NPR. “Reform-minded Democrats have long held up ‘dark money’ — political money that can’t be traced to its source — as a symptom of what’s wrong with politics in Washington. But while House Democrats this winter passed a bill to end the secrecy shielding donors behind unregulated dark money contributions, liberal activist groups now deploy those funds to boost the party’s candidates in the 2020 elections.”

CA: NEW APPOINTEE. LAT. “Tapping a political ally, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday appointed Richard Miadich as chairman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces campaign finance and lobbying laws in California.”

MA: END TO LOOPHOLE. ML. “As of May 31, a union or nonprofit will no longer be able to donate up to $15,000 to a single candidate, party or PAC.”

NJ: VETO OR NO? NJS. “Campaign-finance reform advocates launched an 11th-hour effort Thursday to try to persuade Gov. Phil Murphy not to conditionally veto a bill that would require politically active nonprofits to reveal their funders and give New Jersey among the broadest disclosure requirements in the nation.”


5.1.19 political law links

PAC REJECTION. WE. “Joe Biden, the latest Democrat to get into the 2020 presidential primary, does not want help from the political action committees known as ‘super PACs’ in winning the election.”

CA: MORE POWER? DP. “We believe the rules should apply to everyone, including public sector actors who now play fast and loose with election law in political campaigns. By empowering the FPPC with a valuable new enforcement tool, AB1306 would send a clear message that California won’t tolerate public agencies or official spending taxpayer dollars on campaign activities.”

KY: TIES. IL. “A mysterious super PAC that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of radio and television ads in March advocating the election of the Democratic candidate for governor Adam Edelen shed the first light on its own inner workings on Friday, when it filed its initial report to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and revealed its deep-pocketed funders and consultants.”

NV: NO BILL. RGJ. “Yet with just a month to go before the end of Nevada’s hectic, biennial lawmaking session, Democrats with a near supermajority in both chambers say they’re still working on promised patches for the state’s threadbare political corruption statute.”

NY: UNEXPECTED FOE. NYT. “The last-minute opposition helped derail a push to introduce a small-donor matching system to state candidates; lawmakers ultimately agreed to allow a nine-member commission to decide later on a framework for public financing.”

OR: REFORM LEAD. OR. “Oregon’s political leaders know they have a big money problem — there’s no limit on the amounts special interests can use to buy influence in Salem. The governor and some legislators are considering a critical fix: capping donations to state candidates. That reform would help reduce the sway corporations and other entities have over Oregon’s laws and people’s lives.”

TX: NEW OFFENSIVE. EN. “Empower Texans made its name by using its political action committee’s deep pockets to threaten Republicans with aggressive primary challenges if they fell out of line with the conservative group’s hardline agenda.”