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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.”

Facebook posts biggest quarterly lobby tab, as business, health interests dominate K Street
Impeachment is not slowing down lobbying efforts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018. Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook is on pace to spend more on federal lobbying this year than ever before, according to public disclosures out this week, as the social media giant’s CEO prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The company — at the center of debates over the spread of false information, data privacy and others — spent $12.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first nine months of the year. In 2018, Facebook shelled out $12.6 million for 12 months of lobbying.

Record lobbying tab racked up by FreedomWorks on health care
Conservative group spent more in third quarter alone than all of last year combined

Activists participate in a rally hosted by FreedomWorks on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The conservative lobbying and grassroots group FreedomWorks disclosed spending more than $2.7 million, the most it ever has reported shelling out, for federal lobbying campaigns in just three months this year.

Opposition to health care proposals such as “Medicare for All” and a Democrat-backed bill that would rein in prescription drug prices drove much of the work, said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks’ vice president of legislative affairs.

Trump announces Brouillette as Energy nominee to replace Perry
Brouillette worked at DOE during the George W. Bush administration and has followed Perry’s lead on policy

Secretary of Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrives to testify during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in March. President Donald Trump said Friday he is nominating Dan Brouillette to succeed Perry at Energy, a day after he resigned. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump said Friday he is nominating Dan Brouillette to be the top official at the Energy Department, replacing Secretary Rick Perry, and the department said it would not comply with a congressional subpoena for records about Perry’s contacts with officials in Ukraine.  

Trump made the announcement about Brouillette on Twitter a day after Perry told the president he would resign from the post this year.  

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 17
Ambassador Sondland on the Hill, investigation goes on despite Cummings’ death

Gordon Sondland, second from left, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives at the Capitol on Thursday for his deposition as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was shocked Thursday morning by the death of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the three committees conducting the impeachment investigations, but it didn’t affect scheduled hearings. 

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a key player in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, testified Thursday before the three House Committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Key takeaways from the latest House and Senate fundraising reports
Reports provide new clues in competitive races

Democrat Mark Kelly once again outraised Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally according to recent fundraising reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it comes to the battle for Congress, fundraising reports can provide clues about who’s in trouble and who’s mounting a strong campaign.

It’s still early in the 2020 cycle, but an analysis of reports for this year’s third quarter in House and Senate races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as competitive sheds new light on where donors in both parties are directing their money. The reports were due by midnight Tuesday.

Fundraising update: Some House freshmen raising more than embattled senators
Democrats continuing to tap large groups of small donors

Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw raised more money during the third quarter than two of his party’s most embattled senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a year out from the 2020 elections, new disclosures show House members continue to set the pace for congressional fundraising, with several freshmen raising nearly as much as or more than some of the most vulnerable GOP senators and their Democratic challengers.

That’s especially true of House Democratic freshmen, some of whom are continuing a trend started last year when, as candidates, they raised more in the quarters leading up to Election Day than Senate candidates.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 16
Hoyer’s timetable for impeachment investigation, Trump defends Giuliani and says Obama tried to influence 2016 election

An aide and members of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s security team stand outside the deposition of George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff sent House Democrats a “dear colleague” letter Wednesday evening outlining progress made in the impeachment inquiry, clarifying the process the committee is using and discussing next steps.

“Witness interviews thus far have been thorough and productive, and we will announce further witnesses who will appear before the committees in the coming days,” Schiff said.

Taking lead on impeachment legal message, Trump gives GOP cover to defend him
Campaign official says GOP is benefitting from inquiry with voter registration, donation surges

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday. His legal argument on impeachment is that he committed no crime. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior White House officials and House Republicans are basing their counter-impeachment arguments on House Democrats’ process rather than legal arguments — but President Donald Trump is again doing his own thing and arguing the probe is invalid because, he says, he committed no crimes.

The president has no formal legal training, but that is not stopping him from leading his own legal defense, using tweets and public comments to claim House Democrats have no grounds to impeach him — and the Senate no reason to remove him — because he never outright asked Ukraine’s new president to investigate a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for U.S. aid.

Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa is not Duncan Hunter’s only problem in California primary
Radio host Carl DeMaio is also a factor in GOP battle for San Diego-area seat

Republican House candidate Carl DeMaio of California during a September interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One’s a six-term congressman whose father held the seat for 28 years before him. Another served nine terms one district over. But a gay conservative talk radio host who doesn’t even live in the district is giving both a run for their money among Republicans in Southern California’s 50th District.

Former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio may have an early lead on incumbent GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is under indictment on corruption charges, and former Republican House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who announced a comeback bid just nine months after retiring from the neighboring 49th District.