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

The United States Senate voted on a bipartisan basis to confirm Democratic nominee Dara Lindenbaum to serve on the Federal Election Commission. Lindenbaum will fill the seat of Steven Walther, who had been serving on a long-expired term. (Kate Ackley, Roll Call)

Iowa: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will return a $50,000 campaign contribution from the Democratic Attorneys General Association because Miller received the donation on May 13, when lawmakers had not yet adjourned. Iowa law prohibits statewide candidates from accepting campaign contributions from political action committees until the regular legislative session ends. (Katie Akin, Des Moines Register)

Government Ethics & Transparency

California: Amid a growing FBI probe into corruption in connection with the proposed sale of the Anaheim Angel's Stadium, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has resigned, even though he has not been charged. Melahat Rafiei has also stepped down from her positions as secretary of the California Democratic Party and state representative to the Democratic National Committee. The FBI alleges fraud, bribery, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and other corruption between Anaheim officials and the Angels took place during negotiations of the proposed sale. (Shawn Hubler and Jill Cowan, The New York Times)

Florida: Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez's attendance at a Miami Heat playoff game is raising questions about accountability and ethics. Mayor Suarez sat courtside during the first game of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, and tickets to the game cost more than $20,000 on the resale market. While the mayor's office has not commented on whether the ticket was a gift or purchased by Mayor Suarez himself, the county ethics code requires reporting gifts exceeding $100 in quarterly financial disclosures. (Ben Conarck, Miami Herald)

Elections & Voting

Michigan: The Michigan Bureau of Elections found that five Republican gubernatorial candidates, including the two front runners, James Craig and Perry Johnson, are ineligible to run because they did not submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. If the Bureau's findings hold, five of the 10 candidates who submitted to run for governor will not make the ballot. The Bureau reported tracking 36 petition circulators who submitted fraudulent petition sheets comprised entirely of invalid signatures. In total, the circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures across 10 sets of nominating petitions. (Craig Mauger, The Detroit News)

Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania's Republican primary for U.S. Senate, David McCormick's campaign filed a lawsuit arguing that election officials must count mail-in and absentee ballots that do not have a date on their envelope. On May 20th, the Third Circuit ruled that un-dated ballots in a 2021 county judgeship election should be counted. Relying on the court's judgment, McCormick's campaign filed suit to compel Pennsylvania's chief election official and county election boards to tabulate un-dated ballots that were returned on time. (Holly Otterbein and Zach Montellaro, Politico)