Political law links for Monday, June 6, 2011

NICE TO BE BACK AND THANKS FOR READING. I had to take a few days off from the site, so thanks for your patience.  What happened while I was away from the grid?  A big campaign finance story, wouldn’t you know.

EDWARDS INDICTED. Most assuredly you have already read almost all there was to read about the indictment of John Edwards on campaign finance and other charges.  There’s a lot of commentary out there, too.  A lot of it seems to conclude, “He’s a jerk, but he didn’t break the law or it would be hard to prove he did.”  We’ll all be following the case as it moves through the courts.  The case might expose ambiguity in one of campaign finance law’s most key concepts, what meets the definition of a contribution.  Of course, some have been talking about these ambiguities for years, while a new chorus seems to have arisen in defense of Edwards.

WHAT WAS ON THE TABLE FOR EDWARDS? A guilty plea to a misdemeanor and prison.  Story here.   “The government wanted to dictate a sentence that would result in up to six months of prison for Edwards, even with the plea to lesser charges.”

EDWARDS CASE TESTING BOUNDARIES. Roll Call. “There are significant roadblocks prosecutors must overcome to make the case that the former Senator  knowingly and willfully violated campaign finance law — the standard of proof required in a criminal case — given that the Federal Election Commission has issued conflicting opinions about in which situations money given to candidates is a personal gift or a campaign contribution, legal experts said last week.”

EDWARDS CATCH-22. Politico. “If Edwards can’t pay for his mistress out of campaign cash — that would be illegal ‘personal use’ — how can he be barred for paying her bills outside the campaign finance system? What’s a sleazy politician to do?”

EDWARDS’ BUNNY IN THE SPOTLIGHT. The Times. “Prosecution and defense officials said Friday that they could not discuss the legal implications for Mrs. Mellon, who is known as Bunny.”

EDWARDS AND THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE. AP.  “The legal case against two-time presidential candidate John Edwards focuses on where to draw the line between the public and private in a politician’s life, a divide he riskily straddled throughout his entire career and family life.”


O-12 READY FOR TOUGH RUN. The Times. “They pledged to reach a fund-raising goal of $60 million before June 30 as a first installment to create a state-by-state organization.”

REIMBURSING LOBBYIST MONEY. Story here.  “Donations from at least 10 registered lobbyists during the 2010 election cycle are being returned by the Democratic National Committee after questions were raised about them by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).”

POST EDITORIAL ON DRAFT EO. Here.  “The stated goal is to preserve integrity in contracting from political influence, but there has been no procurement scandal or other evidence of a problem; rather, the real impetus is to secure by executive fiat at least a slice of the disclosure that could not be obtained from Congress.”

BLOOMBERG VIEW ON DRAFT EO. Here.  “Requiring only companies with federal contracts to disclose is not only inadequate, it is potentially dangerous. Think of it this way: Do we really want the White House paying extra attention to the political activities of corporations dependent on federal largesse?”



LOBBYING?  BONO HAS AN APP FOR THAT. Roll Call.ONE, the anti-poverty group co-founded by Bono, launched an app Wednesday that lets iPhone users call their lawmakers at the touch of a button. It even provides a script of what to say.”

TIMES ON EARLY VOTING. The Times has an editorial here.

THE RISE AND FALL OF JACK JOHNSON. The Post.  “As Johnson prepares for his sentencing in September on federal corruption charges, the story of his rise and fall is one of a consummate outsider becoming the gilded insider, a man who allowed greed and hubris to destroy everything he’d built.”

A LOBBYIST FOR ASHEVILLE?  “That’s a question the City Council is considering as officials look at hiring a lobbyist to plead Asheville’s case in the General Assembly.”  Story here.

“REID FIX” FOR NEVADA LAW? Story here.  “AB81 contains a provision restricting the creation of political action committees to circumvent limits on how much money can be contributed to a campaign. The use of multiple PACS became an issue with Rory Reid’s failed gubernatorial bid.”


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