RECENT LOBBYING, ETHICS & CAMPAIGN FINANCE UPDATES
We read the news, cut through the noise and provide you the notes.
Welcome to Compliance Notes from Nossaman’s Government Relations & Regulation Group – a periodic digest of the headlines, statutory and regulatory changes and court cases involving campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law and government ethics issues at the federal, state and local level.
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Campaign Finance & Lobbying Compliance
A federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced Imaad Zuberi to 12 years in prison for a straw donor and foreign influence scheme, which included a $900,000 donation to a presidential inaugural committee. (Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times)
According to new documents released by the Government Services Administration, the Biden Transition Team raised $22.1 million from private sources, compared to $6.5 million raised by the Trump Transition Team. (Fredreka Schouten, CNN)
Illinois: A former Cook County Assessor agreed to settle campaign finance allegations and pay a penalty of $100,000 related to accepting excessive contributions from lawyers who had business before his office. (Dan Mihalopoulos, WBEZ)
Louisiana: The former executive director of the State Police Commission was permitted to move forward with her whistleblower lawsuit against the Commission in which she alleged improprieties, including campaign finance violations. (Joe Gyan Jr., The Advocate)
Montana: Governor Gianforte repealed an executive order signed by his predecessor that had required companies to report political spending before bidding on state contracts. (Amy Beth Hanson, AP)
Pennsylvania: In a settlement to resolve violations of Philadelphia campaign finance laws stemming from his run for city mayor, State Senator Anthony Williams agreed to pay a civil penalty related to impermissible funds raised pre-candidacy. (KYW Newsradio)
Government Ethics & Transparency
The White House issued the first known waiver of the Biden Ethics Pledge to a top Department of Homeland Security official, allowing her to work on policies relating to issues on which she lobbied for with her prior employer, Amnesty International. (Lachlan Markey, Axios)
South Carolina: The governor and lawmakers are considering ethics reforms related to the state’s special purpose districts, following reports of lavish spending by public officials. (Tony Bartelme & Avery Wilks, The Times and Democrat) Also in South Carolina, a recently appointed federal district judge who had previously been the county attorney for Charleston County is under scrutiny for a $216,000 payment he received from the county as part of his separation agreement. (Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson & Madison Alder, Bloomberg Law)
Baltimore: Following a report by the Inspector General that Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby attended 24 out-of-town events over a two-year period, with most trips not approved by the Board of Ethics as required, the city’s solicitor concluded that the travel rules for elected officials were ambiguous and inconsistently applied in an opinion that found “no clear answer.” (Tim Prudente, The Baltimore Sun)
Ohio: A 501(c)(4) social welfare organization involved in a corruption scandal centering around former speaker Larry Householder pleaded guilty to conspiracy related to $61 million in bribes funneled through the organization. (Laura Bischoff & Lynn Hulsey, Springfield News-Sun)