Secret trip funding and other political law links

HOUSE TRIP QUESTIONS.  WP.  “The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan secretly funded an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference in Baku, on the Caspian Sea, in 2013 for 10 members of Congress and 32 staff members, according to a confidential ethics report obtained by The Washington Post. Three former top aides to President Obama appeared as speakers at the event.”

COORDINATION BOUNDARIES.  Bloomberg.  “A second, semi-official super-PAC is being formed to help Hillary Clinton, and in an unusual twist, has announced plans to coordinate with the Democratic presidential front-runner’s campaign.”

OFFICE RENTAL.  CBS.  “Sources with the building management and the PAC confirmed the lease for the space located at the Flagler Corporate Center at 9250 W. Flagler Street.”

16, TESTING, SUPER PACS, AND COORDINATION.    USAT.  “Bush is not alone in advancing his presidential bid through a new crop of big-money groups authorized by a pair of federal court rulings, including the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. The ruling permitted unlimited spending by corporations and unions in candidate elections. Other candidates also are getting support from super PACs, and several have long-standing non-profit policy arms.”

AZ:  CLEAN ELECTIONS COMMISSION CONSIDERS.  AZ Cap. Times.  “The Clean Elections Commission on Thursday will consider a proposed rule aimed at forcing disclosure from ‘convenience corporations’– nonprofits, LLCs or other entities created for the purpose of dark money-funded electioneering.”

MO:  GIFT ISSUES.  CTS.  “An ethics complaint has been filed against a Missouri House member who says he has helped other lawmakers hide lobbyist gifts from required public reporting.”

MT:  RESEARCHER RENEGADES.  IBA.  “This is a time for a slap on the wrist — a modest fine, maybe — -not the full guns of a DA.”

WI:  PROSECUTORIAL INTENT.  WP.  “Francis D. Schmitz, a veteran federal prosecutor who heads the five-county probe, argued in recent court filing unsealed Wednesday that there is reason to believe that campaign finance violations occurred when Walker’s strategists collaborated with conservative advocacy groups during the state’s contentious recall campaigns in 2011 and 2012.”


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