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NEWS


SONY POLITICAL DEALINGS REVEALED BY HACKED EMAILS

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According to Pro Publica, “Emails stolen by hackers from Sony Pictures Entertainment have been fodder for a steady stream of gossipy Hollywood scoops. But the trove also contains a hidden and more consequential story about how corporations can try to influence local politics and advance their executives’ pet projects.”

While there was a great deal of media coverage surrounding Sony and its hacked emails, this article offers some insight into how entities make political decisions.  However, it is important to note that merely promising a political contribution does not mean it was required to be reported.  You can read the details here.


More So-Called “Dark Money” Coming in 2016 Elections, FEC Chair Says

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FEC Chair Ann Ravel says that the deadlock between the Commission’s Republican and Democratic members will result in more “dark money” in the 2016 election cycle.  This is mainly because Commission members are divided on whether to investigate non-profit organizations whose main purpose may be influencing federal elections and would be required to register and report their activities to the FEC.  The Chair is clearly disappointed the Commission will not be taking a large role in the next election, considering the heightened scrutiny on non-profit organizations and their involvement in electoral activity.  As the article in the Washington Post makes clear, “dark money” does not refer to “Super PACs,” as they are already required to register and report their contributors to the FEC.  You can read the full text of the article here.


Supreme Court Upholds Judicial Candidate Fundraising Ban

 

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The ruling allows states to ban judicial candidates who run for the bench from personally asking for campaign contributions.  Writing for the majority (5-4 decision), Chief Justice Roberts held, “Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot. A state may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor — and without having personally asked anyone for money.”  The ruling surprised many experts, especially because the Chief Justice joined the four more liberal members of the Court in this decision, but it is far from clear as to whether this will have any future effect on other campaign finance cases dealing with contribution limits.  The Washington Post article on the case is here and the full opinion is here.


ATTORNEY GENERAL KAMALA HARRIS ATTEMPTS TO BLOCK ‘KILL THE GAYS’ BALLOT MEASURE

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly asked a court to allow her to block an incendiary proposed ballot measure which authorizes killing gays and lesbians.  The move is probably a long shot, because the Attorney General does not have much leeway for which measures she prepares titles and summary.  Additional details about the process and the other actions pending against the proponent of this measure in the Sacramento Bee article here.


OREGON’S NEW AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION LAW

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According to the New York Times, Oregon’s new voter registration law will automatically register those voters who interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Individuals can opt out of the registration and will also be sent information on how to affiliate with a particular party if they so desire.  Officials estimate the new law will add around 300,000 new voters to the rolls.  There’s no doubt other states will be watching the implementation of this new system closely.  You can read more about the new law here.


Miller & Olson LLP Signs on to Employers’ Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Case

Yesterday, Miller & Olson LLP signed on to the amicus curiae brief in the Obergefell v. Hodges same -sex marriage case before the Supreme Court.  The firm joined 378 other employers to urge the Supreme Court to strike down state law bans on same-sex marriage.  The brief also expressed how important it is to have uniform laws regarding marriage across the United States.  The employers joining us in this brief range from large, multi-national companies to small, family-owned businesses.  They include Amazon, Apple, Cisco, General Electric, Google, The New England Patriots, Marriott, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, Pepsi, Pfizer, The San Francisco Giants, Target, Viacom, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo, among many others.

Thanks to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for filing the brief.

You can read the full brief here.


A LIGHTER POLITICAL MOMENT: THE FIX’S TWELVE BEST POLITICAL MOMENTS FROM ‘PARKS & RECREATION’

NBC’s “Parks & Recreation” ended last night, and The Fix at The Washington Post put together a list of their top 12 political moments from the show, including this high five between First Lady Michelle Obama and Leslie Knope:

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You can see the rest of the moments here, including one of our favorites, the moment where Knope eats Madeline Albright’s waffles.


FPPC ADOPTS REGULATIONS BANNING LOBBYIST FUNDRAISERS

On Thursday, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) adopted regulations in response to the legislation passed last year banning fundraising events for candidates in a lobbyist’s home.  The Commission also rejected any exceptions to the rule.  For more details, click here.


MOST EXPENSIVE CAMPAIGNS IN CALIFORNIA IN 2014

The most expensive races are often the most competitive.  The Sacramento Bee has a comprehensive article on the numbers from the last election cycle.  Keep in mind that the totals include both spending by the candidates and independent expenditures.  You can access the article here.

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VOTER APATHY IN CALIFORNIA

Amy Walter of Cook Political Report has an interesting article analyzing whether the top-two primary and other election changes have helped make elections more competitive or encouraged voter turnout.  Definitely worth a read.  You can access the full article here.