- Apr 10, 2018
Pruitt leased a room last year from the wife of a lobbyist whose firm represents clients with business before the EPA. Pruitt paid $50 a night, but only for days he used the condo, and was permitted to let members of his family use the condo too. The agency’s ethics chief says the rent was fair, while leaving open the possibility that Pruitt violated rules requiring him to remain impartial.
"I do think there is an illegal gift issue here," said Larry Noble, former president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and now general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington advocacy group.
Noble said that if an EPA employee were involved in a matter affecting the same person who was subsidizing that employee’s rent, that employee "should be subject to discipline." What type of discipline, Noble added, "would depend on the facts."
- Apr 9, 2018
“What are Facebook’s plans for self-regulation?,” asked Brendan Fischer, director for federal and FEC reform at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center. It is still unclear what the platforms considers to be a political ad, he said, or how the company will verify the identity of advertisers and page administrators.
Will they verify that the group is real, or that the person who started it is a real person, Fischer asked, and what is the platform going to show users? The company said earlier it will confirm advertisers’ location, but how are they going to be able to determine where an ad’s financing actually comes from, Fischer asks.
- Apr 9, 2018
Campaign Legal Center attorney Brendan Fischer said he expects this petition to result in action because Republican and Democratic FEC commissioners generally have taken a strict view of permissible uses of campaign money, especially for retiring lawmakers.
- Apr 8, 2018
Walter Shaub, who until last year ran the federal Office of Government Ethics, said it is a potential ethics violation for Pruitt to accept the airline tickets, even if Wagner didn't pay cash for them. Federal officials are barred from accepting gifts from employees that have a market value of more than $10.
"It would be a very serious ethics problem, indeed, if Pruitt accepted airline tickets from a subordinate," Shaub said.
- Apr 6, 2018
"It's significant. One of the questions that had been unresolved until yesterday was whether Mr. Cohen had essentially just fronted the money and been repaid by the candidate," Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation at the Campaign Legal Center and previously associate general counsel for policy at the Federal Election Commission, told Salon. "Cohen had said that he wasn't by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, but he had been a little vague about whether the candidate had repaid him. There is no limit on how much a candidate can spend on their own election, so if in fact the candidate had paid $130,000, we still would have had a reporting violation but it wouldn't have been otherwise illegal."
Business Insider: Amazon filed an under-the-radar protest hinting that it's ready for a battle with Trump over a multibillion-dollar contractApr 6, 2018
"Depending on the facts and what happens going forward, I think he may have at least given Amazon a possible basis upon which to challenge the award of the contract, if they don't get it," Larry Noble, the senior director and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, told Business Insider. "Amazon has rights in the bidding process, and he should not take steps to interfere. He has already raised an appearance issue by his constant attacks on the Amazon."
- Apr 6, 2018
These changes will put Facebook ad disclosures on par with the types of disclosures currently required of political ads on radio and TV, says Brendan Fischer, director of Federal Election Commission reform at the Campaign Legal Center. “Because there’s really no transparency requirements for digital ads at all right now, anything that would bring more transparency to digital ads would be a step forward,” Fischer said.
- Apr 6, 2018
“Mr. Zuckerberg’s support for the bipartisan Honest Ads Act is a big step in the right direction, and we hope he uses his testimony next week to encourage Congress to pass that important bill,” said Trevor Potter, director of the Campaign Legal Center, in a statement. “The protection of American elections from foreign interference cannot be left to voluntary measures by tech companies. To effectively safeguard our democracy, Congress must act.”
- Apr 6, 2018
"It is important that the FEC investigate this violation and enforce the law so that the voices of everyday voters are not drowned out by billionaires," said the CLC's Brendan Fischer. "This apparent violation fits into a pattern where the use of Cambridge Analytica as a vendor seems to be a condition of billionaire megadonor Robert Mercer's support of a candidate. Cambridge Analytica has been used in both the U.S. and U.K. to unlawfully coordinate political entities in order to evade campaign finance limits."
- Apr 5, 2018
Blair Bowie, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based group that works on election-related issues (the center was founded with a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, which also funds Stateline) said restrictions on felons’ voting rights likely keep away eligible voters. While an estimated 6 million felons are ineligible to vote, there are many more people with past convictions who may be scared away by forms that threaten jail time for those who vote illegally but don’t explain who is disqualified.