Political law links for Monday, April 2, 2012

GAO REPORT ON LOBBYIST COMPLIANCE.  The Hill.  “K Street’s newest registered lobbyist generally complied with expense and income report requirements, while accuracy among established lobbyists on these reports varied, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Friday indicated.”  GAO’s observations are here.  The summary notes: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (the Office) stated that it has resources and authorities to pursue civil or criminal cases for noncompliance with LDA requirements. To enhance enforcement efforts and support the 17 staff who have been working on compliance issues on a part-time basis, the Office hired one contract staff member in September 2010 who works full-time on lobbying compliance issues.”


DURKEE PLEA NEWS.  Here.  “Kinde Durkee, once a go-to campaign treasurer for Democrats in California, pleaded guilty Friday to five counts of mail fraud after an FBI investigation found she stole more than $7 million in political funds from at least 50 clients, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.”  More from Roll Call.

BUNDLER ALLEGATIONS.  The Post.  “New Yorker Abake Assongba has pledged to help President Obama win reelection, and as one of his 400 volunteer fundraisers, she has delivered $50,000 to the cause.”

VAN HOLLEN V. FEC.  The opinion was announced Friday, is online here, and addressed a regulation promulgated in 2007:  “In sum, the Court finds that Congress spoke plainly, that Congress did not delegate authority to the FEC to narrow the disclosure requirement through agency rulemaking, and that a change in the reach of the statute brought about by a Supreme Court ruling did not render plain language, which is broad enough to cover the new circumstances, to be ambiguous. The agency cannot unilaterally decide to take on a quintessentially legislative function; if sound policy suggests that the statute needs tailoring in the wake of WRTL or Citizens United, it is up to Congress to do it. Because the statutory text is unambiguous, the ‘judicial inquiry is complete,’ and the Court need not reach step two of the Chevron framework. Teva Pharm. Indus. Ltd. v. Crawford, 410 F.3d 51, 53 (2005).”  The Post has a report here.

IE UNIT CHIEF PROFILE.  Here.  “Fast-forward through a decade of experience on the campaign trail and the almost 33-year-old operative will direct an IE arm that has spent at least $65 million each of the past three cycles.”

GIFFORDS CAMPAIGN FUNDS IN THE NEWS.  The Times.  “Two months later, at the urging of her most fervent supporters and top advisers, Giffords appears to be holding on to much of the nearly $1 million left in her campaign account, leaving the door open for a potential run for the House or the Senate in the next campaign cycle.”

NEW ERA IN CAMPAIGNING.  The Times.  “Television will still account for a vast majority of the money spent on political advertising — billions this year, and 9 out of every 10 advertising dollars, strategists estimate. But with the return on that investment becoming less of a sure bet, campaigns are taking advantage of technologies to track and model browsing behavior as never before.”

PRISON IN SENATE MATTER.  Story here.  “A former aide to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for stealing more than $75,000 from the Senate by giving himself unauthorized salary and bonuses.”

VITTER ETHICS MATTER.  Story here.  “On Friday, the Senate ethics committee chided the Louisiana Republican for undermining public trust but stopped short of charging him with rules violations, because no guidance had been issued on such a tactic.”  The letter is here.


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