Monthly Archives: May 2016

“State rep resigns, charged in voter fraud”

New Hampshire Union Leader:

A state representative who resigned Friday has been charged with felony witness tampering and bribery related to an investigation into possible voter fraud.

Rep. Don Leeman, R-Rochester, is charged with trying to convince a person to attest to a false statement about his residency and offering to make a significant donation to expedite his move to another location within his legislative district.

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“Sheldon Adelson in Talks to Create Pro-Trump Super PAC”


Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson is looking to set up a super PAC to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a move that would add financial firepower from one of the most prolific donors of the 2012 cycle.

Creation of the super PAC, which also would support Republicans in key congressional races, hasn’t been finalized, according to two people familiar with the talks. But it marks the latest sign that more of the party establishment is coalescing around the New York businessman after a bitter primary fight. Mr. Adelson endorsed Mr. Trump in early May, saying the election of another Democrat in 2016 would be “frightening.”

Mr. Adelson, chairman and chief executive ofLas Vegas Sands Corp., is aiming to ensure that his funds be used effectively after his experience in 2012, one of the people said. In that cycle, he spent close to $100 million on Republican causes, supporting one winning and eight losing candidates—including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

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“D.C. lobbyist drops first Trump general election fundraiser after ‘bullying’ from Trump attorney”

Interesting press release:

Burkman says he invited Trump to the fundraiser that was set for June 1 at his Arlington, Virginia home. He invited fellow lobbyists and government contractors.

The shindig, which received widespread national coverage and interest from news organizations, was designed to then spawn groups of 50 or more lobbyists that would then do events on their own.

Burkman says instead of a thank you note from Trump or his campaign, he received what amounts to a “bully” letter from one of Donald Trump’s attorneys.

In the letter, copied to Timothy Jost, the Treasurer for Donald J. Trump for President, Trump’s attorney wanted Burkman to call off the event.

Attorney Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. writes that “potential supporters could be confused that when they make a contribution to you, they are supporting Donald J. Trump for President’s campaign, or that your efforts have been sanctioned or otherwise authorized by him.”

Burkman says he replied to reassure the campaign that the invitation clearly stated that this event was not paid for or organized by the Trump campaign and, in fact, asks that checks be made out to the Donald J. Trump campaign. Further, Burkman says, he advised that he and the others involved planned to hold the event because too much was on the line in this election. Burkman again invited Trump or one of his surrogates to attend.

– See more at:

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“Inventing Equal Sovereignty”

The lead article in the new issue of the Michigan Law Review comes from my new colleague Leah Litman. You will want to read this:

The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder relied on the “fundamental principle” and “historic tradition” of equal sovereignty to hold one of the Voting Rights Act’s key provisions unconstitutional. Yet almost three years after Shelby County, and despite a recent wave of equal sovereignty challenges to major federal programs, the equal sovereignty principle remains largely unexamined. This Article seeks to provide some clarity—both to establish the contours of the equal sovereignty doctrine and to evaluate whether it is a sound rule of constitutional federalism. The principle of equal sovereignty, as initially articulated by courts and subsequently explained by Shelby County, is an invented tradition that courts have used to justify independent determinations about federalism. Equal sovereignty was initially invented to address the constitutional challenges posed by the admission of new states. Conditions on the admission of new states sometimes diverged from then-common understandings about the proper balance between federal and state authority. And courts relied on appeals to equal sovereignty to ward off these challenges and adhere to contemporary rules about the scope of Congress’s delegated powers and the spheres in which the states were sovereign. Shelby County similarly used equal sovereignty to justify an independent claim about the states’ proper role in the federal system— that the states’ dignity entitles them to be viewed and treated as morally wellbehaving institutions. Critically analyzing how courts have used the equal sovereignty principle reveals equal sovereignty for what it is—a set of arguments about the states’ proper role in the federal system—and allows us to engage with these arguments as such. While some early state admissions cases represent sensible contemporary efforts to balance competing principles of structure,Shelby County’s claim about federalism rests on highly questionable ideas related to state dignity.

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“EXCLUSIVE: De Blasio doled out city appointments from shady spreadsheet of big campaign donors”


When Mayor de Blasio began handing out prestigious appointments to obscure boards and committees in his first months in City Hall, he turned to a system of cash for cachet.

His team assembled an elite spreadsheet of major campaign donors, powerful lobbyists and celebrities as candidates for the coveted slots doled out by de Blasio.

This internal spreadsheet — obtained by the Daily News — reveals a blatant and highly choreographed effort to reward donors and New York power players with high-profile VIP appointments.

The 2014 list even goes so far as to suggest that de Blasio appoint lobbyists who were and are actively lobbying his administration on behalf of their wealthy clients.

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“Native Americans move to frontlines in battle over voting rights”


Norquay is among a growing number of Native Americans embroiled in court battles over changes to voting laws that could influence the outcome of some tight races in the November 2016 presidential and congressional elections.

While the Native American population is small nationally, lawsuits involving tribes over voting problems have proliferated since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, a signature legislative achievement of the 1960s civil rights movement.

North Dakota is one of 17 states that have new voting restrictions in place since the last presidential contest, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Many of these changes have sparked lawsuits and accusations that black, Hispanic and other minority voters could be disenfranchised.

Five federal lawsuits involving Native Americans have been filed since the Supreme Court decision, including three this year alone.

Suits in North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota and Arizona claim new voting rules passed in majority Republican states are discriminatory and could reduce voting by tribal members, who tend to back Democrats. A suit in Alaska, for example, claimed the state violated federal rules by failing to translate voting materials for tribal voters.

The tribes say changes to voting rules in those states disproportionately affect Native Americans, an allegation the states and counties deny.

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“Republicans Fight to Regain Voter Data Parity with Democrats”


One of the records inside a massive and rapidly growing Republican National Committee database contains three predictive numbers about President Barack Obama’s political leanings.

There’s a 95 percent likelihood Obama will vote in the 2016 general election, the database predicts, based on computer modeling. It also shows an 83 percent chance Obama will side with his party’s nominee, while suggesting a 10 percent shot he’ll back the Republican candidate.

It’s an extreme example—Obama, a two-term Democratic president, has repeatedly said he plans to support his party’s nominee and has been highly critical of Donald Trump—but it illustrates how the RNC has attached a score to each of the 192 million registered voters in America as part of a massive push to regain parity with Democrats in using data to win elections.

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“With retention idea blocked, Supreme Court primary goes on”


There will be one race on every ballot in North Carolina’s previously unscheduled June 7 primary because the state Supreme Court couldn’t agree whether a law that led a colleague to seek re-election through a new method complied with the state constitution.

Justices deadlocked 3-3 this month on a lower court ruling that struck down the law giving Associate Justice Robert Edmunds of Greensboro the option to run alone for a new term in November and try to keep his job based on an up-or-down vote of support.

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