By Sarah LeeThe Supreme Court is considering a certiorari petition that could profoundly affect how non-profit organizations that engage in issue advocacy are regulated by the federal government. The case concerns a fundamental question of constitutional law: under what circumstances may the government require groups to register themselves before engaging in public speech?
By Alexandra Jaffe“The fact that this shameless hack-job is peddled on the same week Sen. McConnell is credited by Republicans and Democrats alike for saving the country from falling off the fiscal cliff shows how partisan and out of touch the authors of this garbage really are. The thesis of the shoddy work could be proven false in less than ten minutes by an intern with an iphone,” he said in an email to The Hill.
Candidates, Politicians and Parties
By JAKE SHERMAN and JOHN BRESNAHANIn an unusually suspenseful roll-call vote of the new House of Representatives, Boehner garnered 220 votes, but 12 Republican lawmakers either opposed him, voted present or abstained.
By Alexander BurnsDemocrats, facing a challenging fight to retake the House of Representatives in 2014, see a promising new line of attack rising out of the fiscal cliff follies: casting the Republican congressional majority as a terminally dysfunctional body that cannot perform the basic functions of government, let alone lead the country through difficult times.
Lobbying and Ethics
By Fredreka SchoutenThe terms of four of the six members of the Office of Congressional Ethics’ board were set to expire when the new Congress convenes Thursday — raising fears among congressional watchdogs that the office would lose its investigative powers. The staff cannot start new probes without board approval.
By Amanda BeckerThe House Ethics Committee maintained its pace during the 112th Congress, when it handled 96 separate investigative matters, empaneled two new investigative subcommittees and publicly reprimanded one House lawmaker for violating the chamber’s ethics rules.
By Alison KnezevichState prosecutors alleged that the developer, whose company is called Whalen Properties, gave a total of $7,500 in cash to his personal fitness trainer, an employee and a friend, and asked them to write personal checks to the campaign of Councilman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, in 2011. The practice, known as straw contributions, can be used to conceal the identity of a political donor.
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUMChristine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, said on Wednesday that she would amend a proposed change to campaign finance laws that spurred concerns about a flood of unregulated spending by unions and advocacy groups in New York City’s coming elections.
By Paul WeberAUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State ethics officials fined Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons’ political action committee $6,450 over campaign contributions to Texas lawmakers that were illegal because the prominent Republican donor was the sole donor to the PAC.