Friday, April 29, 2011

"GOP calls Democrats' new Colorado redistricting bill unacceptable Read more: GOP calls Democrats' new Colorado redistricting bill unacceptable"

The Denver Post has more.

"RI voter ID vote delayed a week"

"A Rhode Island Senate committee has delayed a vote on legislation that would require voters to present identification at polling places."

The Boston Globe has more

"California is an experiment in extreme democracy gone wrong"

The Economist has more (audio).

"N.H. Democrats charge Romney with campaign finance breach"

"The New Hampshire Democratic Party announced this morning that it is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Republican Mitt Romney violated campaign finance laws by using large contributions given to a series of state PACs to fund his presidential ambitions."

The Boston Globe has more.

"Mo. House backs measure to require statewide petition signatures for ballot initiatives"

"Organizers of initiative petition campaigns now must get signatures from voters in six of Missouri's congressional districts. The proposal would require signatures from voters in all districts. Missouri now has nine U.S. House districts, but is losing one for the 2012 elections."

The AP has more.

"Ethics, free speech at center of high court case on legislative votes"

CNN has more.

"Obama drafts order requiring political donation disclosure from those seeking federal contracts"

The LAT has this report.

Jessica Levinson's piece on the Huffington Post on this issue is here.

"Scott Brown pushes minority district plan"

"U.S. Sen. Scott Brown asked state lawmakers yesterday to create a super minority congressional district centered in Boston — a move that could carry political advantages for Republicans, one political expert said."

The Boston Herald has more.

"Republicans release plan for redistricting Nevada legislature, await Democratic counter-offer"

The AP has more.

"Direct democracy: Origin of the species: From Athens via Switzerland to the Wild West"

"But initiatives (called “propositions” in California once they are listed on an actual ballot) had the most potential to turn politics upside down. They turn voters into legislators, since a successful initiative becomes statute. In states like California, initiatives can even turn voters into founding fathers who amend the state constitution. There are worlds of nuance in the detail. The package that California chose was especially powerful."

The Economist has more.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Redistricting commission gets down to business"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this piece by Kevin Modesti of the LA Daily News:

Jessica Levinson, who analyzes the redistricting process ... said controversy about the commission's choices of advisors was to be expected.
"It's very hard to find people who have been involved in politics and political reform with any level of expertise who don't have some sort of partisan leaning," Levinson said.

"Congressional redistricting map sent to Missouri's governor"

Just in the nick of time. The Kansas City Star has more.

"Indiana Legislature OKs plan for more Republican-friendly Indiana congressional districts"

"That plan shifts several Republican-leaning areas into the northern Indiana district narrowly won last year by Democrat Joe Donnelly. It also appears to strengthen the GOP's hold on the southern Indiana district captured in 2010 by Republican Todd Young by extending it further north to include heavily GOP Johnson County near Indianapolis."

The AP has more

News from Virginia: "Redistricting action slow going as Republican senators debate plan"

WaPo has more.

"Supreme Court Hears Dispute Over Nevada Ethics Law"

Nina Totenberg reports for NPR.

"At issue was a question never examined by the court before: whether a legislative vote is free speech protected by the Constitution, and more specifically, whether states may forbid officeholders to vote on matters that appear to involve a personal conflict."

San Bernardino Supervisor Neil Derry, who championed ethics and disclosure, is charged with hiding the source of campaign contributions

The Press Enterprise has more.

"Minn. Senate Approves Photo ID for Voting "

The AP has more.

"A campaign-finance bill that doesn’t pass muster"

An unsurprising piece by George Will in WaPo. Will rails against public campaign financing programs, meant to reduce actual or apparent corruption in politics.

"Vermont Democrats turn the tables, filing complaint over [former Governor] Douglas"

The AP has more.

"What Are Californians Thinking? Tax the Rich, Educate the Kids."

Jessica Levinson's latest post on KCET is here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Any members of the GOP feel like running for Prez?

"As the Republican presidential primary race continues its slow march out of the gate, a new poll suggests likely GOP voters are significantly less satisfied with the potential field of contenders than they were four years ago."

CNN has more

No NJ State Senate Run for Olympian Carl Lewis

"Former Olympic star Carl Lewis fails to meet residency requirements in New Jersey and is ineligible to run for the state Senate, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno decided Tuesday."

CNN has more

"Wis. lawmakers targeted for recall fight back"

"Republican Sen. Alberta Darling raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the past month as senators targeted for recalls begin to push back against those efforts."

The Chicago Tribune has more

Nevada Assembly Approves Campaign Disclosure Bills

"Secretary of State Ross Miller is seeking the bills restricting the use of multiple political action committees to bypass campaign contribution limits and requiring electronic filing of campaign contribution and expense reports by most candidates."

The Nevada News Bureau has more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Wisconsin Republicans target voter fraud within universities"

"The Wisconsin State Legislature is considering a new proposal that would increase the difficulty of college students to register to vote, by requiring them to present identification with an up-to-date address on it."

The Badger Herald has more

"RI Senate committee to vote on voter ID bill"

A needed fix to voter fraud or a way to make it harder to vote?

The AP has more.

"Financiers Switch to GOP Hedge-Fund Titans Who Backed Democrats Open Their Wallets for Republicans"

Could this spell disaster for Dems in 2012?

The WSJ has more.

"Trump's new congregation: First Church of Evangelical Voters?"

USA Today has more.

Gov. Cuomo's appointees keep campaign funds open

"An active campaign fund is open to contributions from special interests looking to influence the recipient and allows ex-politicians in patronage jobs to stay in the political mix. Funds can be transferred to other politicians, including the governor. Donations to civic groups back home help maintain political influence and even if the campaign account isn't tapped, it signals the civil servant could choose to run for office again, perhaps for a more powerful elected position."

The AP has more.

Washington State Increases Campaign Disclosure

A step in the right direction?

"Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a bill to enhance campaign finance disclosure, aiming to ensure voters know who's sponsoring their campaign materials."

The AP has more.

"Economic and political reform must go together"

"At the heart of the region's economic woes are government structures that restrict access to markets and fail to distribute wealth equitably."

The National has more

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Maryland To Require Companies To Post Election Spending Online"

Dan Froomkin at the Huffington Post has more.

"Vermont Republicans say [Gov] Shumlin violates law by asking lobbyists for money during session"

The AP has more.

"Campaign Fund-raising and the Pre-Primaries for Elections 2012"

Cynical or true?

"Something of a myth of American democracy is that decisions are made in the ballot box by voters on election day. Actually, these outcomes are structured by fundraising efforts by would-be candidates years in advance."

The Faster Times has more

"[Bobby] Jindal's latest campaign fundraising report shows another $1.7M raised, $9.5M on hand"

That is no small sum, six months before the election, for someone who is thus far running without any major competition.

The AP has more

"What is the State of California's Budget?"

Jessica Levinson's latest KCET is here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Should President Obama Bring Campaign Contributions by Federal Contractors to Light?"

Jessica Levinson's latest Huffington Post is here.

"Van Hollen Asks Federal Court, FEC to Require Donor Disclosure"

"The lawsuit seeks to throw out Federal Election Commission regulations adopted in 2007 that let the groups keep secret the names of donors who pay for pre-election ads. Van Hollen is also the author of proposed legislation to accomplish the same goal. A 2002 campaign finance law named for Senate sponsors John McCain and Russell Feingold required that groups report their ad spending to the commission."

Bloomberg has more

"Democrats fall into the campaign financing game they once decried"

Do both parties exploit campaign finance loopholes and lax laws?

"When it comes to matters of money and politics, there is a big gulf between Democrats and Republicans — in theory. Democrats tend to favor rules limiting the flow of money into political campaigns. Republicans see campaign cash as a form of protected political speech and oppose restrictions.

In the real-world practice of politics, both sides are willing to do whatever it takes to raise enough money to win."

WaPo has more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Obama in California: The good, the bad, and the $35,800 dinner plate"

Jessica Levinson is quoted:

Another aspect of the 2008 campaign that Obama wants to recapture is his historic fundraising machine. According to the Federal Election Commission, Obama raised $124 million in California in 2008, "and there are no indications that he will slow down for 2012," says Jessica Levinson.

The Christian Science Monitor has more.

"The Influence Industry: New Republicans play an old fundraising game"

"Many of the Republican freshmen in the House won election vowing to shake up Washington, so it’s a little surprising that many of them seem to be playing an old Washington game: raising much of their campaign money from corporate political action committees."

WaPo has more

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland filed suit seeking disclosure of campaign funds.

"In the latest salvo in a battle to require disclosure of campaign donations, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and a group of reform advocates will file suit in federal court, along with  rulemaking petition at the Federal Election Commission, Thursday morning that seeks disclosure of secret contributions flowing to political campaigns."

The LAT has more

"Obama Administration Drafts Executive Order On Contractor Donation Transparency"

HuffPo has more.

"White House mulls campaign gift disclosure"

Good idea?

"The White House is considering measures to limit anonymous campaign contributions of the type that helped fund attack ads in the 2010 election, aides said."

UPI has more

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"As frustrations mount, does D.C. need new lobbying strategy?"

"After its latest disappointment at the hands of Congress and the White House, the District of Columbia faces a difficult question: Can a city that is bursting with lobbyists do a better job lobbying for itself?"

WaPo has more.

Cities, schools and colleges in NY are hiring lobbyists

Is this a fiscally sound decision?

"Some municipalities, schools and public colleges are paying top dollar for lobbyists to represent them in Albany, despite cuts in state aid and a sluggish economy."

The Ithaca Journal has more

Pres. Obama to limit anonymous donations?

"The Obama administration is considering a number of measures to compel disclosure of the kind of anonymous campaign contributions that helped finance millions of dollars of attack ads against Democrats during the 2010 elections."

Politico has more.

"Mo. Senate approves legislation designed to fix campaign finance law passed last year"

"The Missouri Senate has approved legislation that would allow any corporation to donate to political action committees."

The AP has more

"Arizona To Vote On Public Funding For Elections"

"On Monday, the state Senate approved a measure to let voters decide whether the state constitution should be amended to prevent the use of public funds for candidates, and the wording of the measure could be key to its prospects of passage or failure."

The National Journal has more

"Romney plays whack-a-mole with campaign finance laws"

"The Romney campaign operates a 'leadership PAC' called 'Free and Strong America.' Leadership PACs are set up by most crypto-candidates for the presidency set up so they can raise funds to cover their political activities and attempt to buy the friendship of politicians around the country by funneling money to their campaigns. The basic scheme is now standard operating procedure and no one bothers to call it a legalized fraud against the intention of campaign finance regulations."

The Minnesota Post has more

"Despite glaring holes in election law, campaign finance slow to change"

"A candidate for governor created 91 political action committees to funnel money to his campaign. An online poker company, now under indictment, flew lawmakers to the Bahamas and London without any of the elected officials feeling the need to disclose the trip. And the same poker company spread around $300,000 in foreign campaign contributions to top state officials before introducing major legislation."

The Las Vegas Sun has more

News from Wisconsin: "Supreme Court race uses $4.5M in outside advertising funds"

"...financing sources both in and outside the candidates’ campaigns in Wisconsin’s April Supreme Court election spent over $5 million in advertisements and grassroots campaigning measures. The total amount spent over the election was $5.4 million and includes contributions made by the four participating candidates as well as multiple special interest groups. It is the third-highest amount spent on a Wisconsin Supreme Court election..."

The Badger Herald has more.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Q & A: State Legislators Stripped of Taxpayer-Funded Vehicles. Is it a Good Thing?"

Jessica Levinson wrote this piece, which appears on

"Is Obama a Money Disclosure Hypocrite?"

Michael Crowley poses that question in Time Magazine's blog, Swampland.  

"FEC Launches Audit of Obama’s 2008 Campaign"

"Individuals familiar with the campaign told Roll Call Friday that the FEC has been investigating the financial records of Obama's previous campaign. The scope of the probe, which began approximately two
years ago, is unknown. Presidential audits typically take years to complete and can cost millions of dollars."

Roll Call has more.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Political right, or an election problem?"

Jessica Levinson is quoted:

Open government advocates say it is important for voters to know the interests backing candidates before hitting the polls.

“It gives the public vital information as to who supports certain candidates, who is attempting to defeat certain candidates,” said Jessica Levinson.

The Glendale News Press has more

"Death of public financing exaggerated"

"From the deep-thinking depths of Washington's think tanks to the pedestals of its media pundits, campaign public financing has been duly and dutifully declared dead."

Click here for more. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Romney makes the most of funding rules"

"Mitt Romney kicked off his presidential exploratory committee this week in an enviable position.

Since his defeat in the 2008 GOP presidential primary, a few political friends have given generously to Romney’s political operation, providing him a financial and organizational edge as the 2012 campaign gets underway.
But donors’ generosity is not the only reason Romney’s bottom line is strong.

The former Massachusetts governor has become a master of a controversial but legal fund-raising technique that relies on a network of loosely regulated state political action committees to collect those funds."

The Boston Globe has more

"Stephen Colbert Shows How Easy It Is To Game Campaign-Finance Laws"

"On Thursday's Colbert Report the comedian, who has said he wants to be a big political-money player in the 2012 election-cycle, showed how easy it is, with the right Washington lawyer, to game the system.
After learning Viacom was concerned about his running afoul of campaign finance laws if he formed a political action committee, Colbert learned of a workaround, a super pac."

NPR has more

"FEC Reports Indicate Slow But Certain Start to 2012 Presidential, Congressional Campaigns"

"The next national election may be more than 18 months away, but candidates have already taken clear, if modest, steps toward firing up their campaign machines, a preliminary Center for Responsive Politics analysis of 1st quarter Federal Election Commission campaign filings indicates."

The Center for Responsive Politics has more

"Judge stays part of order rejecting Missouri ethics and campaign finance law"

"A Missouri judge has delayed part of his ruling to strike down a new ethics and campaign finance law."

The Kansas City Star has more

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Adapting to campaign-finance rulings, Democrats build big-spending network"

"The first sign that the ground had shifted in political fundraising came last year, when conservative groups quickly took advantage of new court rulings to dramatically outspend their liberal rivals."

Dan Eggen of WaPo has more

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jessica Levinson to appear on the local fox news regarding Mayor Villaraigosa's Ethics Violations

The program will air at 10pm PDT on the channel 11 local news.

You can also likely watch the clip by clicking here.

"Railroad line owner receives 2 felony counts after sending campaign funds through employees to Walker campaign"

"A major donor to Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign was charged Monday with two felonies after an investigation discovered he illegally contributed more than $50,000 to political campaigns throughout the state."

The Badger Herald has more

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Vermont campaign finance law hits snag in Senate"

"The snag this time isn’t in the governor’s office, but in the Senate itself.
The Government Operations Committee was poised to vote a bill out setting new limits for contributions to candidates, but Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham, wanted to add a provision that would ban corporations from contributing to candidates."

The Burlington Free Press has more

"Fervor of Wisconsin debate shifts to recall elections"

"Nearly a month after the Wisconsin standoff over union rights ended, some of the fervor from that debate has shifted to recall efforts targeting lawmakers in both parties - Republicans who voted to cut back collective bargaining and Democrats who fled the state to try to stop them."

The Chicago Tribune has more.

"Election turnout magnified divide in Wisconsin"

"The governor's argument, echoed by many Republicans, is that: The election did not reflect negatively on Walker, it merely confirmed the state's underlying 50/50 political makeup, and if there were any backlash against the governor and his policies, it was mainly a Madison phenomenon."

The Journal Sentinel has more

"Congresswoman Seeks Federal Investigation of Wisconsin Election"

"Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to initiate a federal investigation into the questionable handling of disputed vote records in the state's Waukesha County."

The Nation has more

"More money, more problems for D.C. Council Chairman Brown"

"'Not in substantial compliance.' That’s the devastating finding of the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance on whether D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) followed the law as he raised and spent money in his successful 2008 reelection campaign for an at-large council seat. The report shatters whatever credibility Mr. Brown had for the responsible management of money; the many still unanswered questions demand further review of his political finances."

WaPo has more.

Could disclosure of campaign donations hurt our democracy?

Senate Candidate James Huffman says yes.

"In the debates about campaign-finance regulation and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of last year, there seems to be widespread agreement on one thing: Public disclosure of political contributions is a good thing. That was my view as well, until I campaigned as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Oregon in 2010."

The WSJ has more.

Will "super pacs" spend more than $1 billion in 2012?

The National Journal has more.

"Famous crime writer tied to Clinton campaign probe"

"Novelist Patricia Cornwell, billed as America’s No. 1 crime writer, is entangled in a real-life federal investigation into the expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, court records show."

The Washington Times has more

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Lobbyists, lawmakers have 'educational relationships'"

"At last count, those 300 lobbyists serve nearly 700 clients, from Big Tobacco and Big Oil to the Beavers Bend Lodging Association and Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer.

Health care interests are by far the most represented sector. Almost 100 health care-related entities, from doctors to nurses to pharmaceutical companies, have lobbyists at the state Capitol. That's about twice as many as the financial sector, which is next on the list."

Tulsa World has more.

"Gov. Bobby Jindal, five congressmen call for delay in redrawing U.S. House districts"

"With just days remaining in the Legislature's post-census redistricting session, five Republican members of Louisiana's congressional delegation and Gov. Bobby Jindal are calling for state lawmakers to postpone drawing new U.S. House districts until 2012."

NOLA has more

FEC says political party committees can use recount funds to pay legal expenses

"But campaign finance reform advocates worry that the ruling knocks down yet another barrier of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, legislation that has already suffered serious setbacks thanks to Circuit, District and Supreme Court rulings over the past year.
Those who see campaign finance reform legislation as a barrier to free speech said the ruling only makes sense. The funds are already used for non-political legislation, both Democratic and Republican attorneys argued."

The National Journal has more.

News from Nevada: "Counting on public apathy to kill campaign reform"

"Once again, lawmakers are conspiring in their less-than-clever way to entomb reasonable campaign reform measures because they would create the horrifying result of more transparency."

The Las Vegas Sun has more.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Three Men in a Room"

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vowed to push the Legislature to adopt real ethics reform. Albany desperately needs tougher rules to end the pay-to-play culture and deep-rooted corruption. But we would feel a lot better if his negotiations weren’t going on behind closed doors."

The NYT has more

"Winners and losers in the shutdown showdown"

"But now that the government has kept its doors open, the mics around the Capitol have gone quiet after weeks of political posturing to 'win' the debate, and the details of the budget deal are out, the winners and losers of the shutdown showdown 2011 have emerged."

Meredith Shiner at Politico has more.

"Obama blows the starting whistle – who will his opponent be?"

"In a highly unusual move, Obama will be the first U.S. president in modern history to place his campaign headquarters outside of the Washington DC and suburban Virginia corridor (basing it instead in his home city of Chicago).  The president hopes that this break with recent precedent will help recapture the spirit of his hugely successful 2008 campaign as he seeks to become the first candidate in US history to raise $1 billion in presidential campaign finance."

Reuters has more

"Hairdos and history books claimed as personal expenses in 2008 election"

The Vancouver Sun has more.

"Union misses election deadline Group files wrong form, two weeks late, with wrong agency."

Jessica Levinson is quoted:

Campaign finance experts say the late independent disclosure rules are important to make sure voters are aware of outside financial interests before the election.
Otherwise — said Jessica Levinson ... groups can “spend the money late in the game and wait to disclose after the election.”
“Failure to disclose does not necessarily mean attempt to conceal,” she said. “It’s just not appropriate, and it’s not following the rules.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Breaking news: No government shutdown?

Click on the following news outlets for more, NYT, MSNBC, Chicago Sun Times, and Fox News.

Jessica Levinson's take on how the shutdown would affect California is here.

"Lobbying scandal shocks Europe; members of the European Parliament resign"

The Global Post has more.

"Ga. Legislature could weigh lobbying loophole that exempts bureaucrats in session's final days"

"A Georgia senator says he will try in the final days of the legislative session to close an ethics loophole that exempts lobbyists from disclosing what they spend on gifts to staff members of public officials."

The AP has more

"The Koch brothers: all the influence money can buy"

The Guardian has more.

Former Jack Abramoff Aide Gets Probation in Lobbying Scandal

The NYT has more.

News from Nevada: "Major Campaign Finance Bill Wins Favorable Vote In Assembly Committee"

"A major campaign finance reform bill that would require most candidates to file their contribution and expense reports electronically narrowly passed out of an Assembly panel today on an 8-7 vote."

Nevada News Bureau has more

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Conservative Wisconsin judge gains 7,500 votes in recount"

"Maybe Wisconsin Supreme CourtJustice David Prosser didn’t lose his re-election bid, after all."

Washington Times has more.

"How Will a Federal Government Shutdown Affect Californians?"

Jessica Levinson has this post on

"Pay fines without any pain"

"If a politician gets caught breaking the rules on the job, he or she can open a 'legal defense fund,' collect cash from supporters and special interests and pay the fine, without losing a dime."

Jessica Levinson is quoted:

But just because it's legal doesn't mean the rules make sense, said Jessica Levinson ... "You've committed an ethics violation, now you go and raise money for your legal defense fund from presumably the same people involved in your ethics violation," Levinson said. "It's a very imperfect system." 

The Daily News has more.

"Miss. House takes another vote on redistricting maps in effort to revive process"

"The House voted Wednesday to insert both chambers' redistricting maps into a Senate resolution. The original intent of the resolution was to allow lawmakers to go home, and if a redistricting agreement was reached, they could be called back before the session ends Monday."

The AP has more

News from Iowa: "Redistricting hearing in Cedar Rapids focuses on proposed congressional district split"

"A proposal that would split two eastern Iowa counties into separate congressional districts was the focus of a public hearing Wednesday night at Kirkwood Community College."

The AP has more.

Will Alec Baldwin, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. John Larson get special interest money out of politics?

"The Fair Elections Now Act would create a voluntary system that gives congressional candidates the option to stop relying on huge sums of money from corporations and special interests lobbyists, giving them an incentive to raise small donations from their constituents and spend more time working on the people's business. Candidates who participate in the Fair Elections process would agree to limit their campaign fundraising to the amounts raised from small dollar donors plus matching contributions from the Fair Elections Fund."

The Chicago Sun-Times has more.

"Allegations of campaign-finance wrongdoing tossed against Fiesta Bowl"

"The college bowl game system, which has come under attack for doling out perks and other favors, is now the target of new allegations: that one of its top members brazenly violated campaign finance laws."

Dan Eggen of WaPo has more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Electricians' union plugs into campaign-finance loophole"

"Under union leader John Dougherty, former treasurer of the city's Democratic Party, Local 98 has become the most potent independent fundraiser in Pennsylvania, raising more than $1 million a year in donations and distributing it to an assortment of state and local candidates."

The Philadelphia Daily news has more

Will Alec Baldwin Bring Fair Elections to America?

"Actor Alec Baldwin joined Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. John Larson today in unveiling a new campaign-finance bill aimed at getting candidates for Congress to curb their appetite for special-interest money."

USA Today has more

Canadian Lobbyists want clarification on election campaigning

CBC news has more.

"Jon Stewart on Obama's Top Secret Transparency Award"

"But his [Obama's] administration has prosecuted more whistle blowers in the past two years than in the preceding 40; met with lobbyists across the street from the White House to avoid disclosing the meetings; and even kept secret a meeting where Obama won an award they got for -- transparency."

Rolling Stone has more

Should laws prohibit lobbyists from working on capitol hill?

"Ethics laws put limits on elected officials who move to lobbying firms. But there is nothing to stop lobbyists from getting immediately hired on Capitol Hill. This year’s class of staffers argues for a tough ban. After collecting millions from industries or unions or others, lobbyists should not be allowed to turn around and write laws that favor these special interests."

The NYT has more

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Ethics panel: Lobbyist spending on Ga. bureaucrats exempt from public reporting law"

"Lobbyists may have to tell the public what they spend to influence Georgia elected officials, but state ethics laws don't require them to report money spent to win over those officials' staffs, from secretaries to top advisers, the state ethics commission said Tuesday."

The AP has more

D.C. Office of Campaign Finance finds Council Chairman Kwame Brown had campaign finance irregularities

Tim Craig at WaPo has more.

News from Virginia: "General Assembly opens redistricting lightning round advancing new House, Senate majority maps"

"Virginia lawmakers listened Monday morning as college students, black leaders, Latino advocates and other reformers appealed for a less political process for redrawing the state’s legislative districts.

Then the legislators opened a lightning-round special session to advance fast-tracked bills by House and Senate majorities peppered with districts contorted to protect incumbents and preserve partisan advantages."

The AP (via WaPo) has more

"Redistricting Battle Caused By Latino Pop. Growth in New Jersey Goes to Democrats"

"In a case closely watched by Latinos across the country, a specially appointed panel in New Jersey has rejected a Republican plan to create super-majority districts in favor of a Democratic one that spreads the Hispanic population over a larger number of districts."

Fox News has more

"Energy sector, lawyers fuel W.Va. governor's race"

"Coal and natural gas companies, lawyers and the financial services sector are among the major donors who have helped the candidates for West Virginia governor amass more than $3.4 million, the opening round of campaign finance reports show."

Bloomberg Businessweek has more

Monday, April 4, 2011

NJ Gov. Chris Christie Loses Redistrict Fight

"Democrats in New Jersey have a better shot at retaining a majority in Trenton this November after winning a once-in-a-decade fight to redraw legislative districts."

The WSJ has more.

"Hispanics a force in Nevada's redistricting"

"Pack 'em or crack 'em?
That's one question Nevada lawmakers face when it comes to redistricting and the state's expanding Hispanic population, now a powerful political force here and nationwide."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has more.

"Prosecutors meet with former John Edwards aide for four hours"

Politico has more.

North Carolina GOP supports photo ID at the polls

"Empowered by last year's elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite claims there is little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally."

The AP has more.


"Why L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa Is in Hot, Or at Least Lukewarm, Water Over Ethics Violations"

Jessica Levinson has this piece in the Huffington Post.

Will North Carolina's judicial public campaign financing program survive?

" In 2008, 11 of North Carolina's statewide judicial candidates relied on public campaign funding. So did most of the eligible candidates for offices such as state insurance commissioner.
But now advocates of public campaign funding are trying to fend off what they see as growing threats to a system designed to limit the influence of big money and special interests in politics.
Two bills introduced by Republicans would end the system. Another would take money from the fund to help pay the cost of a proposed voter ID."

The Charlotte Observer has more.

"Gov. Brown deals with failure in Calif. budget talks"

"The collapse of state budget talks last week was the first major setback of Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, to which he responded with relative calm."

The SacBee has more

"Gov. Jindal's meddling in redistricting boosts partisanship in remap debate"

"Gov. Bobby Jindal said weeks ago that he knew his boundaries in the remapping of state political districts, and they didn't include much involvement in the redesign efforts.
Jindal's boundaries apparently have expanded since then."

The Republic has more.

News from California: "Redistricting:Tempest In The Teapot"

"The recent volley of stink bombs directed at the state’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission was bound to come. The only surprise is that it came so quickly and all of it from Republicans: Is the party so worried that in 2012 it will lose the last vestige of power it still has?"

Peter Schrag at California Progress Report has more.

Has a D.C. Council member violated campaign fundraising and conflict of interest law?

"A group of Ward 7 residents has asked the District's Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) to investigate D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander’s use of constituent service funds to determine if she violated fundraising and conflict of interest laws."

The Washington Times has more

Missouri Judge Strikes Down Ethics & Campaign Finance Law

"A judge struck down Missouri's new ethics and campaign finance laws, finding they violate speech rights and the state constitution's prohibition of rolling multiple topics into a single piece of legislation."

The Courthouse News has more.

"Crime and Courts: Special interest groups make end run around campaign finance law"

The Capital Times has more.

Will the Supreme Court find, once again, that money talks?

Jeffrey Toobin has this piece in the New Yorker.

Jessica Levinson blogged on this question here.

"Redistricting plan trims seat from SW Virginia"

Click here for more.

"New Districts Seen as Aiding Democrats in New Jersey"

"New Jersey Democrats won a crucial victory for the next decade on Sunday as the state redistricting commission approved their legislative district map, dealing a blow to Republican hopes of retaking control of the Legislature."

The NYT has more.

"Virginia General Assembly to convene legislative redistricting session"

"In response to the 2010 Census, the Virginia General Assembly will convene its once-a-decade special legislative session Monday to redraw the boundaries of the state’s legislative districts.
When legislators did the same in 2001, they left the 100 House of Delegates districts with about 70,000 people each."

WaPo has more

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

"L.A. mayor to pay fines for accepting free tickets to pricey events"

The LAT has more.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faces ethics fines

Jessica Levinson will be on the Los Angeles Fox News affiliate at 10pm PDT tonight. 

"New Hampshire workers rally against collective bargaining limits"

"State workers and others rallied at the New Hampshire capitol in Concord Thursday -- one day after the state House approved a package that would reduce collective bargaining rights."

CNN has more

"Iowa Dem says he wants to avoid redistricting primary fight"

The Hill has more.

"Gov. Christie arrives in New Brunswick for N.J. redistricting commission meetings"

"Gov. Chris Christie walked briskly into the Heldrich Hotel at about 11:45 a.m. today, where Republicans and Democrats are holed up as they prepare their final pitches for a new legislative district map."

The Star-Ledger has more

"Why Trump Should Forgo Public Campaign Finance"

"If Donald Trump runs for President, he should forgo public finance and federal matching funds not just because, as a mega-wealthy billionaire, he can, but because doing so would allow him to spend in the early primary and caucus state’s without federal limitation."

Big Government has more

Federal judge dismisses free speech challenges to Wisconsin's campaign funding

"A federal judge in Madison on Thursday dismissed two challenges to Wisconsin's law on the financing of Supreme Court elections, a law being applied for the first time in the race that's on the ballot Tuesday."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more

A Judge strikes down a portion of Missouri's campaign finance law

"Missouri's new ethics and campaign finance requirements were struck down Thursday by a judge who ruled they violated free-speech rights and a state constitutional prohibition on rolling multiple topics into a single piece of legislation."

The News Leader has more

Do campaign finance reforms target an "imaginary problem?"

Eric Wang of the Washington Times says yes.