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Campaign Finance

DonMc

We are seeing the first detailed evidence of the tampering that went on during the 2016 campaign for U.S. President.  This is a whole new category of "nasty" that allows people without scruples to feed false information into the mix without any transparency.  In this article, the NY Times lays out a host of Facebook and Twitter advertising that was purchased (estimated at $100,000 in paid advertising) but sources were never  revealed - as you might expect.

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Robert Wechsler
I have all but called for prohibiting mayoral golf tournaments and similar pet nonprofit events, because they are an unnecessary form of pay to play that is legal primarily because they help good causes in the community. China, which tends to take things too far, has gone extremely far in the latest order of the Communist Party's Central Committee, according to...
Robert Wechsler
Seattle's public campaign financing Initiative I-122 passed easily on Tuesday. It should prove to be an excellent experiment in campaign finance vouchers, an idea that has been batted about at the federal level, as well.

Here's how it works. Each election cycle (two years) the city's ethics commission will mail four $25 vouchers to each registered voter, to be given, if they choose, to any...
Robert Wechsler
Lobbyist Extortion
According to an article yesterday on Columbus, Ohio's NBC 4 website, a lobbyist for a red-light camera company pleaded guilty to charges that he solicited campaign contributions for elected city officials from his client by creating the impression that the money was needed to bribe the city officials. The lobbyist had helped the company win the city contract...
Robert Wechsler
It was only a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court's campaign finance opinions (and decisions at the trial and appellate level that have applied them to other situations) would be used to argue that conduct prohibited or limited by government ethics provisions are also protected as free speech by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In August 2015, a complaint against the state legislative ethics commission (attached; see below) was filed in the Eastern District of...
Robert Wechsler

Last month, Jonathan Rauch published a sincere and well-written defense of political machines, entitled "Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy" (Brooking Institution Press; available free as a PDF or e-book). Although the essay scarcely mentions conflicts of interest, gifts, nepotism, and the like, and it makes no mention at all of conflicts of...

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