Weekly Recap – Election News and Trends March 3, 2014

by Best Best & Krieger LLP
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Below is a recap of the last two weeks’ election law news and hot topics.  The big news, which has been expected for several months now, is that Governor Jerry Brown will seek re-election.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Will Seek Re-Election by ABC News

February 27 – Governor Jerry Brown formally announces that he will seek re-election.

California Gov. Jerry Brown formally launched his re-election campaign Thursday, stepping into a contest that the former three-time presidential candidate is expected to dominate.

“At this stage of my life, I can say without any hesitation that I am prepared and excited to tackle these challenges,” said Brown, already the longest-serving governor in California history. “There is nothing I would rather do.”

…and in federal news: 

Democrats pushing IRS to probe conservatives by WND

March 4 – New proposed IRS rule changes are being criticized as targeting conservative nonprofits.

A former Federal Elections Commission chairman says there’s “strong evidence” the IRS is pushing for more scrutiny of nonprofits – and especially conservative groups – because of “partisan pressure” put on the agency by Democrats in Congress.

Clintons Provide Firepower Behind DNC ‘Voter Expansion Project’ by NPR

February 27 – Democratic National Committee has proposed a new initiative to increase voter turnout, backed by 2016 Democratic presidential nomination front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Democrats believe they’ve discovered a way to play more offense against Republican efforts that have had the effect of making it harder for many voters — especially young, senior and minority citizens — to cast their ballots. Their answer: a new initiative, announced by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting in Washington, aimed at countering voter ID and other laws and practices that can dampen voting.

San Diego’s next big election battle by U-T San Diego

February 22 – Congressional seat for San Diego is anticipated to be a close race and is drawing national attention from both political parties.

San Diego’s next major election is gaining a growing national profile as incumbent Democratic Rep. Scott Peters tries to hold off a well-financed challenge from Republican former City Councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio.

…and in California news:

Ethics agency releases warning letter to Gov. Brown

February 25 – The California FPPC sent warning letters to 37 politicians, including Governor Jerry Brown, that expenses covered at fundraisers at lobbyist Kevi Sloat’s house violated the ban on contributions from lobbyists.

The state ethics agency on Tuesday made public a warning letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, 10 days after it was provided to the chief executive as a caution for accepting improper contributions from a lobbyist. The state Fair Political Practices Commission sent warning letters to 37 politicians indicating the expenses covered at fundraisers by lobbyist Kevin Sloat violated the ban on contributions from lobbyists.

California lawmaker accused of corruption on leave

March 2 – California Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) has taken a leave of absence from the Legislature after facing charges of accepting bribes totaling $100,000.  By taking leave rather than resigning, he will continue to receive his annual salary.  Senator Calderon is the second senator this week to take leave following Senator Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) leave after his conviction of perjury and voter fraud.

A California state lawmaker facing federal corruption charges alleging he took kickbacks while in office said Sunday evening he has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Legislature while he awaits trial. The departure of Sen. Ron Calderon deprives Senate Democrats of the two-thirds margin they need in the 40-member chamber to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, override gubernatorial vetoes and put constitutional amendments before voters without Republican cooperation.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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