Week of March 28, 2016

Foreigners United? | How to Hack an Election | Rules are Rules | It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

FOREIGNERS UNITED?  FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub thinks she has discovered the antidote to Citizens United–the foreign money ban.  While CU opened the doors to unlimited independent spending by corporations, the prohibition against spending foreign money in U.S. elections remains in tact–and, unlike the corporate prohibition, it applies to all U.S. elections, not just federal ones.  Commissioner Weintraub would have the FEC use the foreign money ban to police corporate-funded independent expenditure spending, searching for even a dollar’s worth of foreign capital in the company’s treasury.  Her proposal was wildly cheered in the progressive reform echo chamber on Twitter, but thoughtful takes from the left and the right have cast doubt on its constitutionality and viability.

+ Taking on Citizens United | The New York Times – Ellen Weintraub

+ No, Commissioner Weintraub, the FEC can’t circumvent Citizens United | The Huffington Post – Allen Dickerson

+ One FEC Commissioner’s answer to Citizens United | More Soft Money Hard Law – Robert Bauer

+ Foreign money is flowing into U.S. elections, Alito’s lying lips notwithstanding | The Intercept – Jon Schwartz

HOW TO HACK AN ELECTION You think there’s no way this could happen here.  Then, this happens.

+ How to hack an election | Bloomberg Businessweek – Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley & Andrew Willis | “Andrés Sepúlveda rigged elections throughout Latin America for almost a decade. On the question of whether the U.S. presidential campaign is being tampered with, he is unequivocal. ‘I’m 100 percent sure it is,’ he says.”

+ Arizona Secretary of State confirms election fraud happened in Arizona primary | U.S. Uncut – Amanda Girard

RULES ARE RULES.  Donald Trump is learning the hard way that winning primaries is not enough.  You also have to win delegates–and keep them–in order to win the nomination.  Trump narrowly won Louisiana’s presidential preference vote, but Ted Cruz appears to have emerged from Louisiana with more pledged delegates.  (Trump threatened to sue.)  Then, after Trump stated that he no longer intends to honor his pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, his claim to South Carolina’s 50 delegates is in jeopardy.

+ Welcome to politics, Mr. Trump: You won Louisiana’s battle but lost the war | The Washington Times – Kelly Riddell

+ The Trump-Cruz Louisiana delegate fight could be first sign of turmoil to come | Talking Points Memo – Tierney Sneed

+ Trump threatens lawsuit over lost Louisiana delegates | Washington Examiner – Kelly Cohen

+ Trump camp will file RNC complaint over delegates, not a lawsuit | Talking Points Memo – Caitlin MacNeal

+ Trump’s threat on pledge could cost him South Carolina delegates | Time – Zeke J. Miller

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.  For LDA nerds, that is.  The Government Accountability Office has released its annual report on Lobbying Disclosure Act compliance.  Once each year, the GAO randomly audits several dozen LDA registrants’ reports, attempting to determine if the registrants’ records line up with their reports.  Of note, over 85% of audited lobbyists responded that they thought it was easy to understand and comply with the LDA–and yet, over 30% failed to comply with one of the LDA’s easiest directives, to report lobbying expenditures rounded to the nearest $10,000.  More importantly, after a period of years in which it seemed regulators had no interest in enforcing the LDA, the report notes a continued uptick in DOJ referrals and criminal prosecutions for registration and reporting failures.

+ Observations on Lobbyists’ Compliance with Disclosure Requirements | Government Accountability Office – March 2016

About the Political Law Digest

The Political Law Digest is a weekly review of important stories and significant developments in campaign finance, election law, lobbyist regulation and government ethics – compiled by Chris Ashby and the political activity lawyers at Ashby Law.  To subscribe, or to submit a story, email Info@Ashby-Law.com.