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This backgrounder can be used by members of the media and the public to guide their understanding of the electoral process of electing a President.
Today, CLC submitted public comments to the Vermont State Ethics Commission regarding a proposed statutory ethics code. CLC’s comments support Vermont’s effort to promulgate a statute with meaningful safeguards to maintain Vermonters’ trust in their state government.
Specifically, CLC’s comments recommend changes to the proposed code’s gift rules, misuse of position provision, and outside and post-government employment restrictions. CLC also recommends that the Vermont State Ethics Commission house all financial disclosure documents and ethics disclosures required to be filed by state public servants in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format on the ethics commission’s website.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been granting financial relief to certain oil companies that drill on public lands. Using BLM data published by the Center for Western Priorities, CLC found that hundreds of the oil leases that have received this relief are owned by political megadonors or have close ties to senior Interior officials' former clients.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on July 6, 2020 that states have the authority to require presidential electors to vote for the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state.
On June 30, 2020, CLC filed suit against the FEC for failing to act on our administrative complaint demonstrating that Iowa Values, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation, violated federal campaign finance law by failing to register as a political committee and publicly disclose its donors. CLC's administrative complaint had been pending with the FEC for over 190 days.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of the President against two employees who wrote new trade rules for the auto industry and then offered members of the industry their paid consulting services for complying with the new rules while still employed at USTR.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a supplemental complaint with Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility asking for an investigation into Attorney General William P. Barr and former acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy J. Shea. Their unusual move to dismiss a criminal case against an associate of President Trump and Attorney General Barr's intervention in peaceful protests near the White House conflict with legal requirements for the DOJ officials to act impartially and to insulate themselves from political influence.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint asking Department of Justice's (DOJ) Foreign Agents Relationsh Act (FARA) Unit to investigate whether former U.S. Representative David Rivera failed to register as an agent of a foreign principal in violation of federal law. Rep. Rivera engaged in political activities and acted as a political consultant and public relations counsel for Venezuela's state-owned oil and national gas company without registering with DOJ.
Records of stock transactions from various Senators and Representatives of both parties that occurred between mid-March to mid-April.
CLC and Issue One filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court, arguing that states are permitted to require presidential electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their home state, and showing that federal and state laws are not currently sufficient to ensure the transparency and legitimacy of the electoral college voting process if the electors are unbound.
On April 28, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Chiafalo v. Washington (linked with Colorado Department of State v. Baca), a constitutional challenge to the requirement that presidential electors – the people who physically cast their state’s electoral votes – must vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) requested an investigation into whether U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo converted campaign funds to personal use in violation of House rules and FECA.
CLC asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether former U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen violated federal law’s revolving door ban at 18 U.S.C. § 207(f) by appearing to provide behind-the-scenes support for Hong Kong's lobbying efforts less than one year after leaving Congress.
Campaign Legal Center requested an investigation into whether U.S. Representative Devin Nunes is receiving legal services in violation of House ethics rules.
CLC filed a complaint with DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility asking for an investigation into Attorney General William P. Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy J. Shea. Their intervention in criminal cases involving associates of President Trump conflicts with legal requirements for the DOJ officials to act impartially and to insulate themselves from political influence.
Campaign Legal Center requests that the Interior Inspector General review emails between Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and members of the agency ethics staff. The emails raise questions about whether Mr. Bernhardt used his authority and influence to interfere with ethics advice.
The office of Inspector General (IG) wrote a letter back to CLC to announce that it is opening an investigation into potential ethics violations committed by multiple Department of the Interior senior executives, after CLC flagged this for the IG in a complaint filed on February 20.
CLC filed an ethics complaint with Mary Kendall, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, to call to her attention the troubling conduct of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. CLC is urging Kendall to conduct a full investigation to determine whether Bernhardt violated his ethics pledge, and whether he violated his ethical obligation to avoid the appearance of favoritism in government decision-making.
See also CLC’s March 28, 2019 supplement to the complaint.
The Office of Inspector General at the Department of the Interior responded to CLC's request for an investigation into potential ethics violations committed by several senior members of Interior including Acting Secretary Bernhardt.