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Mergers, executive privilege, earmarks and elections, and more political law links

FIRMS MERGE. Roll Call. “Duane Morris Government Affairs has scooped up GSP Consulting Corp. The combined shop, which will be called Duane Morris Government Strategies, is part of an effort to expand in the nation’s capital and in state capitals such as Harrisburg, Pa.”

PRESIDENTIAL FUNDRAISING. BusinessWeek. “President Barack Obama, who has been characterized as anti-business by his political opponents, has received more in campaign contributions from business executives this year than any Republican presidential candidate.”

FEC AGENDA ONLINE. The agenda for the last scheduled meeting of the Federal Election Commission for 2011 is online here.

SOLYNDRA AND EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE. Politico.“The decision not to play the executive privilege card is a political calculation as well as a legal one. Because privilege assertions can carry the whiff of a coverup, modern White Houses are leery of doing so.”

“PLAYING WITH MUD.” New Yorker. ” Consider Andrew Kaczynski. The 22-year-old spends most of his time pursuing a history major at St. John’s University. But when he’s not in class or studying, he holes up in his Briarwood studio apartment, plops down in front of his MacBook, and dives into C-SPAN’s extensive online archives. Kaczynski’s hobby is watching old political videos, the most memorable of which he uploads to his YouTube channel. It sounds harmless enough, unless you happen to be a 2012 Republican presidential candidate with a long video record. Then Kaczynski’s hobby can ruin your news cycle, or worse.”

EARMARKS AND ELECTIONS. The Hill. “A high-profile Democratic senator facing a tough reelection fight issued a report Monday that claimed House members circumvented the chamber’s earmarks ban by inserting $834 million in earmarks into the defense authorization bill.”

POLL ON CONGRESSIONAL AND LOBBYIST ETHICS. Gallup. “This year’s update, from a Nov. 28-Dec. 1 Gallup poll, finds Americans rating the honesty and ethical standards of 3 medical professions — nurses, pharmacists, and doctors — the highest of the 21 professions tested. At the other end of the spectrum, Americans give the least positive honesty and ethics ratings to members of Congress, lobbyists, car salespeople, and telemarketers.”

JACK JOHNSON IMPACT. The Post. “Under Mr. Johnson’s administration, county government was for sale, a state of affairs that tainted many others. The extent of that taint may continue to surprise county officials trying to combat it.”

ETHICS PANEL OVERHAUL. The Times. “Four months after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a much-heralded overhaul of ethics enforcement, he named the Westchester County district attorney, Janet DiFiore, the first leader of a new state ethics commission.”

WISCONSIN LAW STRUCK. Story here. “A federal appeals court ruled Monday that one of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws prohibiting individuals from contributing more than $10,000 a year to issue-based political action committees is unconstitutional.” The opinion is here.

COMMUNITY GROUP HIT. Story here. “A community organization that played a large role in the 2011 Bellevue City Council races has been given a $1,000 fine for violating the state’s campaign finance laws.”


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