campaigns

Uncertain times could bring new lobbying strategies
Workarounds include deeper outreach to think tanks, academia and other institutions

Even as more lawmakers have shrugged off donations from PACs and as the Trump era has disrupted the nation’s politics, K Street has not suffered a noticeable hit to its bottom line. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — It’s hard to imagine a more bonkers, unpredictable and politically toxic backdrop for K Street operators than the current one. But just wait until 2020 actually arrives. 

The presidential election year will hit lobbyists with potential risks all around. Candidates up and down the ballot will press proposals to remake the influence industry and to overhaul the nation’s campaign finance system. More candidates will reject K Street and business donations. The approaching elections, along with an expected impeachment trial early on, will turn Capitol Hill into an even bigger political mess.

Justice Department requests Ethics Committee deferral on Rep. Spano case
Tlaib and Huizenga cases still under consideration; details emerge in newly released documents

The Justice Department requested that the House Ethics Committee defer action on a case involving Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee released on Thursday the Office of Congressional Ethics referral documents for cases regarding Reps. Bill Huizenga, Ross Spano and Rashida Tlaib, deferring consideration of the Spano case at the request of the Justice Department.

The Office of Congressional Ethics first referred the three cases to the House Ethics panel on Aug. 16. The OCE is a nonpartisan entity that reviews allegations of misconduct involving House staff and lawmakers and refers cases to the House Ethics Committee with recommendations for further review or dismissal.

Some Democrats see political system overhaul as winning 2020 issue
Bill to revamp campaign finance and voting passed House early, then stalled in Senate

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., talks with the media after votes on Capitol Hill in September. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Max Rose’s voters expected the freshman lawmaker from Staten Island, New York, to quiet down this election cycle about a major overhaul of the nation’s political system, they were mistaken.

It was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign-trail mantra in 2018. And now, as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress, he’s not stopping. Neither are many of his similarly situated colleagues.

Amid troubles, Trump has huge cash advantage for 2020
But Democrats have already raised $700 million from small-dollar donors giving $200 or less

President Donald Trump may have many barriers in the way of a smooth campaign, but fundraising will not be one. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all the drama surrounding President Donald Trump — an unfolding House impeachment probe, former aides in prison and his personal consigliere reportedly under federal investigation — there’s one worry he doesn’t face: money for his 2020 campaign.

The White House incumbent, who took the unprecedented step of opening his reelection coffers the same day he took the oath of office in 2017, recently reported holding more than $83 million for his next race. Trump has raised a total of $165 million so far. Plus, he’s helped haul in millions more for the Republican National Committee, which will help all GOP candidates get the vote out, while outside organizations allied with the president have amassed their own big bundles of political money.

House Ethics needs more time on Rep. Lori Trahan case
Office of Congressional Ethics referred Massachusetts freshman's case in September

The Office of Congressional Ethics referred the case involving Rep. Lori Trahan to the House Ethics Committee, which is extending its evaluation of the issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee is extending its inquiry into Rep. Lori Trahan, the panel said Monday. The committee first received the referral of the Massachusetts freshman's case, which is focused on campaign finance issues, from the Office of Congressional Ethics on Sept. 18.

The ethics panel, lead by Democratic Chairman Ted Deutch of California and ranking member Kenny Marchant, a Texas Republican, has to publicly acknowledge the receipt of an OCE referral to further review a case after 45 days. The OCE can recommend dismissal of a case instead of further review.

The 10 most vulnerable House members in 2020: Democrats dominate
Majority on defense after significant gains in last year’s midterms

Oklahoma Democrat Kendra Horn, who won her seat in a surprising upset last fall, is the most vulnerable House member running in 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One year out from the 2020 elections, the most vulnerable member of the House is the Oklahoma Democrat whose upset win surprised even astute politicos last fall. She is joined by a California Republican who is under indictment and numerous Democrats running in districts President Donald Trump easily won in 2016.

Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to win control of the House, and they see their path back to the majority running through so-called Trump districts that slipped from the party’s grasp in the midterms. Whether they succeed depends on next year’s political climate and the strength of their candidates. In some districts, the GOP has worked hard to recruit more diverse challengers, especially after Democrats’ success electing women last year.

Duncan Hunter has a new lawyer for federal criminal trial
California Republican adds former San Diego County DA to fight campaign finance charges

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., added a new attorney to his legal team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter has added a former San Diego County district attorney to his legal team for his upcoming criminal trial on campaign finance charges, but the federal government is challenging whether the attorney can represent the California Republican.

Paul Pfingst, of the law firm Higgs Fletcher & Mack, said his experience as a district attorney brings the personal experience of running a campaign to Hunter’s legal defense team comprised of five total attorneys.

Republicans scramble to dispose of campaign cash from Giuliani associates
Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas plead not guilty Wednesday to violating campaign finance laws

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has ties to two men indicted for campaign finance violations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican lawmakers unwittingly entangled in a campaign finance scandal have scrambled to get rid of contributions from two men at the center of the alleged wrongdoing, both of whom were back in court Wednesday.

Igor Fruman and and Lev Parnas pleaded not guilty to violating campaign finance laws when they appeared in federal court in New York for their arraignment. Fruman, Parnas and two other men were indicted earlier this month for “engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates.” The indictment alleged the two men did so to “buy potential influence with the candidates, campaigns, and the candidates’ governments.”

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 21
OMB officials refuse to testify about Ukraine deal while Republicans move to censure Schiff

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans will introduce a privileged motion to censure Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who is overseeing the impeachment investigation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is seeking details from the acting Director of National Intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general about efforts to protect the whistleblower who provided information about the conversation between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine.

The New York Democrat expressed concern amid ongoing and public attacks from Trump and threats to expose his or her identity. 

State officials dissolved company long before $500K deal with Giuliani
‘Fraud Guarantee’ linked to Ukrainian American accused of illegal campaign contribution to Trump PAC

Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm reportedly got a $500,000 consulting fee from a company that was reported as inactive years earlier by Florida officials. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

State officials in Florida may have dissolved a company linked to a Ukrainian American businessman facing campaign finance charges long before Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm reportedly was paid $500,000 to provide business and legal advice.

The company in question is called Fraud Guarantee. Its website lists as its co-founder and CEO Lev Parnas, who allegedly worked with Giuliani to urge Ukrainian officials to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas was indicted last week on charges that included making an illegal campaign contribution through a shell corporation to a PAC that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.