State integrity news for Louisiana, from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard each received $40,000 in campaign contributions from companies that the Louisiana Board of Ethics now alleges are "straw man entities" used to launder illegal donations from the embattled River Birch landfill's parent company. Jindal's campaign reported receiving $5,000 contributions from six River Birch-linked firms on the same day in April 2007.
The $30,000 haul would violate a $5,000 cap on donations from one company if all the money ultimately came from River Birch Inc., as the Board of Ethics asserts in a lawsuit against the alleged shell companies.
Read the rest of the story at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
State integrity news for North Carolina, from the Winston-Salem Journal:
Defenders of the Florida trip say it fits into an exception that was inserted into the law that allows public officials to accept gifts (like travel and meals) from lobby groups in connection with their attendance at certain "educational meetings."
This is by any fair assessment a terrible and unnecessary exception. There is simply no good reason that lobbyists or lobby groups of any kind should be allowed to pay for lawmakers to attend meetings anywhere ("educational" or not) — much less in some luxurious, far-off resort.
Read the rest of the story at the Winston-Salem Journal.
State integrity news for Florida, from the Orlando Sentinel:
Federal courts struck two blows last week for more transparency in election campaigns. Voters should be pleased. If the public must put up with attack ads from special interest groups and individuals, then the ads' sponsors ought to be revealed.
We're gratified that the two appeals panels ruled that the public is better served by more information, not less.
Read the rest fo the story at the Orlando Sentinel.
State integrity news for California, from the Sacramento Bee:
Independent expenditure committees, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts, are active in more than a third of state races on the June 5 ballot, spending more than $7 million to support and oppose candidates.
The spending, which will grow as groups ramp up mail pieces, radio and television ads and in-person appeals by paid staff in the final days of the primary campaign, is expected to easily exceed the more than $7.4 million in independent spending the Fair Political Practices Commission tracked in the 2010 legislative primary contests.
Read the rest of the story at the Sacramento Bee.
State integrity news for Missouri, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Former Missouri Gov. Roger Wilson, who last month admitted his role in a scheme to improperly funnel campaign contributions, won't know what penalty a federal judge has in store for him until sentencing this summer. But on Wednesday, the state Ethics Commission weighed-in, fining Wilson and another figure in the case, St. Louis lawyer Ed Griesedieck, $2,000 each.
Wilson admitted reimbursing Griesedieck's firm, Herzog Crebs, for a $3,000 donation to the state Democratic Party.
Read the rest of the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
State integrity news for Connecticut, from the Connecticut Mirror:
After holding numerous meetings behind closed doors to finalize details on how teachers and principals will be graded, the State Department of Education has said the public and the media can attend the sessions from now on.
"Something is different at this meeting. At this meeting -- in the interest of transparency -- the state department has invited the press to join us," is how Elizabeth Shaw, the state's consultant with Education First, started Wednesday's "working group" meeting.
Read the rest of the story at the Connecticut Mirror.
State integrity news for New Jersey, from the Times of Trenton:
The township's two Democratic assemblymen say they will introduce a bill requiring politicians to follow state campaign finance and pay-to-play laws when holding legal defense fundraisers.
The announcement comes as critics have raised questions about a fundraiser Mayor John Bencivengo will hold June 5. Bencivengo is fighting federal corruption charges after he was accused of accepting $12,400 in bribes from the school district's insurance broker.
Read the rest of the story at the Times of Trenton.
State integrity news for Pennsylvania, from the Pennsylvania Independent:
Campaign finance reports in Pennsylvania finally could be entering the digital age. Candidates for all statewide offices and the General Assembly may have to submit their campaign finance reports electronically, a move that advocates say would reduce the time between filing deadlines and when the public can access the information.
It also would save money.
Rea the rest of the story at the Pennsylvania Independent.
State integrity news for South Carolina, from the Free Times:
Free Times has confirmed that the House Ethics Committee made a substantive request to Gov. Nikki Haley’s office for information relating to her employment at engineering firm Wilbur Smith, not just Lexington Medical Center as has been previously reported. The inquiry was made as the panel reviews a complaint filed by longtime Republican fundraiser John Rainey.
In his complaint, Rainey questions whether Haley broke any laws as a House member either by lobbying a state agency on behalf of her employer, Lexington Medical Center, or by doing secret consulting work for engineering firm Wilbur Smith and failing to properly abstain from legislation benefiting it.
Read the rest of the story at the Free Times.
State integrity news for Massachusetts, from the Boston Globe:
Through a nonprofit established by his administration last year called Moving Massachusetts Forward, the Patrick administration collected $130,000 from five donors, according to ethics disclosure forms filed by the governor. Unlike campaign donations, contributions to the group have no limits and are tax-free.
Critics say that while donations to Patrick’s nonprofit are legal and were publicly disclosed, the state would be better off paying the full expense of the trade missions to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Read the rest of the story at the Boston Globe.