Monday’s Political Law Links, 7-24

NEW OGE LEADER.   NYT.  “President Trump picked a new leader for the Office of Government Ethics on Friday, naming the agency’s general counsel, David J. Apol, as the acting director.”

NO VIOLATION.   FN.  “The Commission goes on to explain that foreigners are allowed to attend campaign strategy meetings and events’. They are allowed to contribute ideas, information, and even advice. They are allowed to open their mouths and speak.”

NOT A CRIME.   ET.  “But if information itself qualifies as an in-kind campaign contribution, it is not just foreigners who will be affected — though we could care less about the rights of Russians. This theory would allow the government to interfere with legitimate and legal (no matter how roughhouse) electioneering by Americans.”

NON-EXISTENT OFFENSE.   LZ.  “Lost in the debate has been an examination of whether federal prosecutors have tried to make the argument in court.”

WHAT THE FEC SHOULDN’T DO.   Hill.  “The FEC — the only federal agency with civil jurisdiction to enforce campaign finance laws — has a duty to respond much more forcefully with Trump than it did in the McCaskill incident.”

LEGAL INVOLVEMENT.   ATL.  “The intense focus on the Russian government’s campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump—and whether or not the Trump campaign illegally conspired with the Kremlin—has illuminated the fuzzy boundary between proper and improper interactions between foreigners and political operatives in the United States. But it’s also obscured the various completely legal and questionably legal ways that foreign governments and foreign nationals can seek to influence the course of American politics.”

IL:  FINES FOR LOBBYING.   CT.  “Former Chicago Ald. William Singer has been hit with the biggest of six fines leveled this week by the Chicago Board of Ethics against those who lobbied Mayor Rahm Emanuel through his personal email account but failed to register as city lobbyists.”

NM:  CONTROVERSIAL CHANGES.   NMP.   “On the surface, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s proposed changes to campaign finance reporting rules appear to be a wonky topic.”

NY:  CUOMO RAISING.   LPJ.  “With a political war chest brimming with nearly $26 million, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have plenty of resources to amplify his message to New Yorkers should he seek a third four-year term in 2018.”

PA:  LOBBYING FINES DOUBLE.   LN.  “Lobbyists who influence state legislators but don’t disclose they’re doing so would face twice the financial penalties under a proposal from southern Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler.”

TX:  SESSION RULES.   EN.  “But the law remains mute on accepting contributions during special sessions — a loophole the size of the Lone Star State itself — and for some legislators this year, in the short time between the close of regular business and the start of what promises to be a contentious and controversial 30-day gathering, the cash has been rolling in.”


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