Celeste Katz reports for the NY Daily News. Still waiting for the NY Times to take notice of this story.
A White House-backed advocacy group has fired one of its fundraisers and returned a $100,000 check she collected from a New Jersey doctor who is seeking a presidential pardon for Medicare fraud, officials of the group told NBC News.
Organizing for Action, or OFA, a political nonprofit set up last year to promote the president’s policies, confirmed that it dismissed consultant Samantha Maltzman this week after receiving inquiries from NBC News about a contribution she had brought in from Dr. Joseph Piacentile, who was convicted in 1991 for Medicare fraud and tax evasion.
On January 30,2014, we voted to reject a conciliation agreement with Winning Our Future, a super PAC active during the 2012 presidential election.’ Winning Our Future failed tod isclose more than $1.6 million dollars in political advertisements—reporting the spending only afier the relevant election was over.^ This is a serious violation; Winning Our Future, a highly active political participant that raised over $24 million during the 2012 election, denied the public access to information about at least seventeen communications at the very time that voters needed to be most informed about the source of political messages. Nonetheless, the proposed conciliation agreement would have imposed an extremely low civil penalty.^ We could not accept this agreement, which we believe would have served as merely a slap on the wrist more appropriate for a minor violation. The proposed penalty was not sufficient to vindicate the vital interest in disclosure set forth in the Act. As the Supreme Court has affirmed, the law’s disclosure requirements are essential to “provid[e] the electorate with information and insure that the voters are fully informed about the person or group who is speaking.”* Consequently, we voted to direct our Office of General Counsel to negotiate a new conciliation agreement with a higher civil penalty.^ That vote failed, 3-2.
So now I take it that the group won’t be fined at all.
(h/t John Pomerantz)
While stopped in heavy traffic, Steven Spriggs pulled out his wireless telephone to check a map application for a way around the congestion. A California Highway Patrol officer spotted him holding his telephone, pulled him over, and issued him a traffic citation for violating Vehicle Code section 23123, subdivision (a), which prohibits drivers from “using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” Spriggs contends he did not violate the statute because he was not talking on the telephone. We agree. Based on the statute’s language, its legislative history, and subsequent legislative enactments, we conclude that the statute means what it says – it prohibits a driver only from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it. Consequently, we reverse his conviction.
Democrats believe they’ve discovered a way to play more offense against Republican efforts that have had the effect of making it harder for many voters — especially young, senior and minority citizens — to cast their ballots.
Their answer: a new initiative, announced by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting in Washington, aimed at countering voter ID and other laws and practices that can dampen voting.
The goals of the new effort aren’t merely to protect voting rights but to expand the overall pool of voters, DNC officials told reporters at a briefing Thursday.