Mon. top political law links, 3-3-14

INDEPENDENT GROUPS IN SYNC.  WP.  “As they ramp up their 2014 campaigns, the two congressional super PACs — House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC — are again collaborating with an array of environmental advocates, labor unions and women’s groups. Many of the players participate in regular strategy sessions in a conference room at the downtown Washington office of the Perkins Coie law firm.”

OFA AND DISCLOSURE.  NBC.  “Organizing for Action, the advocacy group launched to support the president’s policies, has fired a fundraiser for her role in collecting a $100,000 check from a doctor convicted of Medicare fraud currently seeking a presidential pardon.”

LERNER MAY APPEAR.  Fox News.  “Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the IRS scandal, will appear before Congress on Wednesday after refusing to testify last year on the matter, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claimed Sunday — though Lerner’s attorney and Issa may still be at odds over the timing.”

INFORMANT IDENTIFIED.  NBC.  “NBC7 Investigates has confirmed that a former fundraiser for both ex-San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is the second of two confidential informants who cooperated with federal investigators in a criminal probe into illegal foreign campaign contributions.”

OBAMA ABOUT FACE.  TIME.  “Since the Citizens United decision and other relevant court rulings, Obama has inched ever closer to the big-money groups he once decried, and in the coming months will make a full-on embrace of super PACs, which can accept unlimited money from corporations and wealthy individuals to spend on behalf of, or against, candidates across the country.”

AO REQUESTOR ATTACKS.  Revolution Messaging.  “With a 3-3 vote today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is failing to keep up with the realities of modern digital technology by insisting that political advertising on mobile phones, no matter how small, cannot incorporate shorter disclaimer language, according to Washington’s leading mobile strategy company.”

CO:  ETHICS CHIEF STEPS DOWN.  Denver Post.  “Jane Feldman, the first and only director of the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, is leaving at the end of the month, capping a tenure that raised questions about the ballot measure that created the group.”

MO:  DONATION SIZE MATTERS.  St. Louis Post Dispatch.  “During the past few years, more than 150,000 donations have poured into the political campaigns of Missouri candidate and ballot measure committees. But a tiny percentage of those checks has accounted for an outsize share of the money raised.”

NY:  COST OF PUBLIC FINANCING.  NY Post.  “The millionaires are at it again, pushing for New York state to adopt taxpayer funding of political campaigns a la New York City.”

PA:  PAC SUES.  Pittsburgh Post Gazette.  “In the suit, the group says a state law forbidding political groups from receiving corporate and labor contributions prohibits free speech rights and violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which loosened restrictions on such contributions.”

PA:  INFLUENTIAL AND NOT A LOBBYIST.  “Only employees who spend 20 percent or more of their work on lobbying or related activities have to register in Washington. Comcast says [David L. ] Cohen, an executive vice president, doesn’t reach that threshold as he puts in 18-hour days spread across a wide array of responsibilities.”

SC:  BACK TO THE HOUSE.  WLTX.  “The South Carolina Senate has approved an ethics bill that allows voters to see where candidates get their money and expands reporting rules for those seeking to influence legislators.”

VA:  ETHICS REFORMS.  WP.  “While attorneys for former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell wrangle in court over felony charges that he and his wife, Maureen, illegally accepted luxury gifts and large loans, state lawmakers are wrapping up a session in which they have left open key loopholes that could allow a similar scandal to unfold.”

VA:  POST WANTS MORE ON ETHICS.  Here.  “To understand the bill’s shortcomings, it is useful to know that the vast majority of perks and handouts lavished upon lawmakers take the form of dinners, galas, banquets, trips, sporting events and other ‘intangibles’; collectively, they amount to a movable year-round feast for the commonwealth’s elected officials. The measures that have cleared both the House of Delegates and the Senate would do little about all that.”

VA:  GET PARTICULAR.  WP.  “Attorneys for former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell want federal prosecutors to be more specific about the ‘official actions’ they allege he performed for a wealthy Richmond area businessman in exchange for loans and expensive gifts.”

WI:  WALTER TARGETED.  Chicago Tribune.  “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a new opponent this year – a super PAC heavily funded by liberal billionaire George Soros.”


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