Political activity law A.M. report for Tuesday, Jan. 4

Good morning. Here are a few political law items to start your day.

In the mailbag

The latest edition of Womble Carlyle’s Political GPS is available here.

The January 2011 edition of State & Federal’s e-newsletter is online here.

The January 2011 FEC Record is online here (PDF).  Cynthia Bauerly is the new Chair and her message for the new year notes some technological goals for the agency:  “For example, during the upcoming year, the Agency plans to launch a mobile disclosure application to allow disclosure features now available on the website to run on mobile devices, such as smart phones (3G or 4G) and Apple iPads. And, look soon for Twitter updates from the Commission.”

Freshmen fundraising

In the news.

With Republican leaders anxious to set an austere tone for their ascendance into the House majority this week, the lavish fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday night at a trendy Washington hotel to benefit a dozen GOP freshmen is not exactly the populist image leaders are anxious to project.

New Year’s eve disclosure

The White House announced its latest update to the visitor logs here.

Fish on anonymous speech

In the Times.

The practice of withholding the identity of the speaker is strategic, and one purpose of the strategy (this is the second problem with anonymity) is to avoid responsibility and accountability for what one is saying.

What’s ripe for investigation?

Rep. Issa’s plans are the topic of this Post report.

Plea in bundling case

Here’s the report.

A Connecticut wealth manager pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission about “bundling” $48,300 in contributions to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and $13,800 to the presidential and Senate campaigns of former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore.

. . .

Based on Snapper’s cooperation to date, prosecutors with the Justice Department’s public integrity section said they expected to recommend probation for Snapper as part of a plea deal, instead of the 10 to 16 months in prison he would face under federal sentencing guidelines. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Campaign finance reform without Sen. Feingold

The LA Times discusses here.

Feingold’s allies, while acknowledging they face a tough fight, say they have a three-part plan for 2011: Push legislation that would end the secret-money loophole by requiring groups to disclose their donors; seek aggressive enforcement of Internal Revenue Service rules governing political groups that operate as “social welfare organizations”; and fight lawsuits and legislative proposals that could further undermine regulatory gains made during Feingold’s years in the Senate.

House Ethics and the stipends

The Post has developments here.

The House ethics committee has decided not to pursue an investigation of lawmakers’ use of travel stipends, despite findings from an independent ethics board that six members of Congress improperly kept or spent money estimated to total $7,575.

The press and free ad space

The Portland Press Herald is the subject of a complaint and the source of this article on the matter.

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