Good morning – Here are Mon. political law links

TESTER SEEKS REFORM.  Independent Record.  “Tester said he, working with Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has introduced a constitutional amendment stating that Congress has the power to make laws about spending in federal elections, while state legislatures have the power to make their own decisions about state elections.”

NOT GUILTY PLEA.  Bristol Press.  “Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy and other federal charges in an alleged pursuit of secret consulting roles with two congressional campaigns.”

KELNER AND LA RAJA ON CFR PAST AND FUTURE.  WP.  “Congress and the president could, however, begin the healing process by dramatically increasing the limits on contributions to political parties and giving them more flexibility to support candidates. Disclosure by tax-exempt outside groups could also be expanded, improving transparency.”

DIRECT MAIL AND GOLDWATER.  The Republic.  “Direct mail allowed the anti-establishment Goldwater and his conservative supporters to circumvent the wealthy benefactors who at the time were relied on to bankroll White House campaigns.”

CA:  CASE SHAPING UP.  Voice of SD.  “A lot has happened in the three months since a campaign finance scandal first rocked San Diego politicos in January.”

FL:  RULES IN SPOTLIGHT.  Sun-Sentinel.  “The proposed law would allow state senators and state representatives to continue working as lobbyists representing paying clients seeking favors from county commissions and city, town and village governments — a practice that’s good for two South Florida legislators.”

KS:  GOV. VETO.  Topeka Capital-Journal.  “Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday vetoed a measure that lawmakers had said would update the standard spending cap for determining whether someone must register as a lobbyist.”

MD:  MCUTCHEON IMPACT.  WP.  “Maryland will no longer enforce its law that limits donors to giving $10,000 to state candidates during a single election cycle, elections officials said Friday, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.”  The memo referred to is online here.

NY:  ALBANY WHIFF.  Newsday.  “What do you call a state program that’s supposed to be created from scratch by a notoriously dysfunctional agency in just a few months and will be repealed at the end of the year?”

PA:  SITE FIASCO.  Unionville Times.  “Having talked to a few elected officials, it appears this new and highly unusable search engine is actually the new and improved version — which means some sort of management type at DOS had to sign off on it.”

SC:  SITE PROBLEMATIC.  Charleston Gazette.  “As of Friday afternoon, nearly a week past the reporting deadlines, dozens of candidate reports remain unposted, and many that are posted seem to have incorrect data.”


Friday’s political law links, 4-11

CFR:  DO WE CARE?  WP.  “A new Pew Research Center poll is the latest indicator of how little attention people pay to campaign finance matters. It also underscores the challenge Democrats face this year as they seek to make the billionaire Koch brothers into an electoral issue.”

COMMISSIONERS’ LETTER.  NYT.  “Our Federal Election Commission colleague Ann M. Ravel would rather grandstand than follow the law and judicial precedent. We enforce the law as written by Congress and construed by the courts, not as our colleague and her ‘reformer’ allies wish it were.”

COMMISSIONERS’ STATEMENT ON AUTHORIZING DEFENSE IN PUBLIC CITIZENFEC.  “For nearly forty years, votes to defend the Commission in cases challenging dismissals of administrative complaints have been routine, pro forma acts. Even when the Commission has split on whether to proceed in an enforcement matter, the decision to defend has been uncontroversial. In recent days, however, our colleague Commissioner Ann Ravel has announced her desire to upend this consensus. Not only does this effort derail longstanding Commission practice, but more troublingly, it contravenes well-established legal precedents and evinces a flippant disregard for judicial review.”

LITTLE CHANCE FOR CFR.  New Yorker.  “On this week’s Political Scene podcast, Jeffrey Toobin and Ryan Lizza join host Amelia Lester to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which removed a limit on the total amount of money a donor can give to multiple candidates in one election cycle.”

GUILTY PLEA.  Fox.  “The co-owner of a La Jolla luxury car dealership pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to eight misdemeanor counts of campaign finance crimes, including conspiracy, aiding and abetting contributions by a foreign national and making a “straw” contribution in connection with a federal campaign.”

STARTING AND ENDING A SUPER PAC.  WP.  “A super PAC filed its statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission in late January, but never raised any money and went out of business this week.”

CA:  PERSONAL USE PROPOSAL.  “Politicians facing criminal charges would not be allowed to use campaign funds to pay their legal bills under an amendment Sen. Jerry Hill said he plans to introduce in the wake of the indictment of his colleague Sen. Leland Yee on charges of corruption and conspiracy to traffic weapons.”

CA:  D PARTY UNDER INVESTIGATION.  Contra Costa Times.  “The political committee that raises money for and endorses Democratic candidates throughout Alameda County is under investigation after one of its own members questioned the group’s campaign finance reporting practices.”

OH:  DISCLOSURE BICKERING.  Columbus Dispatch.  “House Democrats and Republicans clashed yesterday over a GOP move that would further loosen restrictions on corporate political contributions in Ohio.”

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND.  I got out yesterday to take this and other shots around the tidal basin and I’ll post them to my Flickr page soon.  The tidal basin was completely packed yesterday with tourists and photographers from all over the world enjoying the sights.  Enjoy the cherry blossoms soon or you’ll have to wait until next year!Jefferson2014

Thurs. political law links, 4-10-14

MOON PIE DISCLAIMERS.  Thanks to Aristotle’s Dave Mason (and my excellent former boss) for remembering my Moon Pie post in his recent In the Know blog post.   There are a number of other interesting recent posts at In the Know, including this McCutcheon analysis.

PURSUING LERNER.  Roll Call.  “The House Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday in support of launching a criminal investigation into the woman at the center of the IRS scandal — just one day before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is set to vote on holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.”

MCCUTCHEON ANALYSIS.  ReedSmith.  “With the last two remaining (and attractive) campaign finance restrictions being the ban on direct contributions from corporations and the individual limit on campaign donations, we do not expect the decision in McCutcheon to be the last word.”

SUPER PAC DONATIONS.  Roll Call.  “Super PACs continue to be fueled during the first quarter of the election year by extremely large contributions, including million-dollar contributions.”

DC:  QUESTIONING MACHEN.  Roll Call.  “To hear some members of Congress say it, the timing of the Justice Department’s plea bargain with D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson — a.k.a. ‘Uncle Earl’ — influenced the outcome of the April 1 mayoral primary.”

DC:  HOLDER DEFENDS MACHEN.  WP.  “Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday defended the federal investigation of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, but acknowledged the ‘awkward’ timing of new allegations about the mayor in the weeks before this month’s election.”