The Bond Buyer by qingyunliuliu

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									                                    The Bond Buyer

                               March 31, 2011 Thursday

Political Fundraising Scandal Threatens Fiesta Bowl

DALLAS - A political fundraising scandal, including efforts to influence construction of
the bond-financed University of Phoenix National Football League stadium, could cost
Arizona's Fiesta Bowl its nonprofit status and its ranking as one of the top four
collegiate Bowl Championship Series games, according to an investigative report.

Following a five-month internal investigation, the Fiesta Bowl fired its longtime chief
executive John Junker and accepted the resignations of two other top officers.

A 284-page report commissioned by a special committee last October detailed
excessive spending on employees, politicians, and business associates.

The donations to political candidates, including U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, and state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, violate rules
barring the nonprofit organization from using its money to benefit individuals. The
contributions could also violate state and federal campaign laws.

There has been no indication that the Internal Revenue Service is investigating the
organization's tax-exempt status.

In addition to the original violations, the committees involved in the bowl appear to
have engaged in a cover-up prompted by a 2009 article in the Arizona Republic that
first described the illegal campaign contributions.

In response to the story, Junker categorically denied reimbursing employees for
making political contributions.

An investigation by former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods reported that
there was nothing to the allegations.

However, another probe was ordered. That investigation resulted in the latest report
that quotes several employees admitting they were told to donate to political
candidates and causes for which they were later reimbursed.

After the investigation was completed, Junker admitted that gifts, trips, and
campaign fundraisers were intended to influence leaders who could provide helpful
legislation, secure a new stadium, or ensure network contracts.

Among the trips the bowl financed was one October 2005 for Pearce, other
lawmakers, and their guests to Chicago. The bowl spent $18,454. Another trip for
Pearce, other lawmakers, and lobbyists to Boston in October 2008 cost $65,000.

Bowl employees were required to give political donations to candidates and causes
they did not support, according to the report. The beneficiaries were primarily
Republicans.

Some of Junker's pet causes such as anti-abortion organizations also received
donations, the report said.
Junker told investigators that the reason that the University of Phoenix stadium was
built in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale was because the Fiesta Bowl put its support
behind the project.

The stadium, completed in 2006 at a cost of $455 million, was financed with $305
million of revenue bonds issued by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. The
stadium is home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals as well as the Fiesta Bowl. Every four
years, the Fiesta Bowl hosts the National Collegiate Athletic Association's national
championship game.

The stadium is adjacent to the $180 million Jobing.com Arena, built with revenue
bonds by Glendale as the home of the Phoenix Coyotes National Hockey League
team. The city is currently seeking a way to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.

The NCAA told the Republic newspaper that the scandal is a serious matter and will
be investigated.

The Fiesta Bowl, based in Scottsdale, is operated through four nonprofit
organizations - the Arizona Sports Foundation, Fiesta Events, the Valley of the Sun
Bowl Foundation, and the Arizona College Football Championship Foundation.


                         Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia)

                              March 31, 2011, Thursday

Kessler assistant started session as lobbyist

A senior assistant to acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, was also a
registered lobbyist for his first several days on the job.

Steve McElroy, the former executive director of the West Virginia Nurses Association,
did not terminate his lobbyist registration with the state Ethics Commission for nine
days after he joined Kessler's staff.

Registered lobbyists are generally not allowed on the Senate floor while the Senate is
in session. It is not clear if McElroy was on the floor while he was considered a
lobbyist.

Kessler spokeswoman Lynette Maselli suggested McElroy's distinction as a lobbyist
was only a technical one.

Maselli said McElroy had terminated his relationship with the Nurses Association on
Jan. 17 and received his last paycheck from them on Jan. 14. The Senate did not
hire him until Jan. 24, Maselli said.

"There is no overlap, there is no conflict, and he did no lobbying," Maselli said.

But McElroy didn't make that distinction official with the Ethics Commission until Feb.
2, according to a copy of the form he submitted terminating his status as a lobbyist.

"Did he not file his paperwork immediately? Correct," Maselli said.
Feb. 2 is also the day a reporter asked McElroy and Kessler about his status as a
lobbyist. Kessler said then he did not know McElroy was a registered lobbyist.

Ethics Commission executive director Theresa Kirk, who does not comment on
specific cases, said there is no strict prohibition on public employees being lobbyists.

"It appears the Ethics Act prohibits a person from being compensated to lobby his or
her government employer," she said.

Maselli said, "The lobbying money stopped on Jan. 14."

On Jan. 19, before he took the Senate job and two days after he left the association,
McElroy received an award from the Nurses Association at Nurse Unity Day. He then
introduced Kessler and Delegate Margaret Anne Staggers, D-Fayette, who both
received awards from the group. Kessler received a "Friend of Nursing" award.

McElroy had been scheduled to give a welcome speech at the event and host a
session called "Legislature 101: Principles for Effective Local & State Political Action."
Maselli said he did not do either because of his pending hiring.

"He did not lobby while he was working for the Senate president's office," she said.


                               Orlando Sentinel (Florida)

                              March 30, 2011 Wednesday
                                        FINAL

Ethics reform stirs heated debate in Senate

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida Senate committee is proposing to bring more scrutiny to
the financial investments of legislators and block members from voting on measures
from which they could financially benefit.

But citing the recent dismissal of criminal charges against a former House speaker,
the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday firmly rejected the call of a recent statewide
grand jury on corruption to beef up the penalties for public officials who use their
offices to facilitate a crime.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who this month was formally admonished by his
own chamber for not disclosing clients and a $400,000 home on his financial
disclosures, is pushing an ethics reform package that would toughen the prohibition
on legislators' voting on issues -- except for the state budget -- when they, their
family or company stand to have "a special or private gain."

It also would empower the Ethics Commission to proactively review financial
disclosures filed every summer by the governor, Cabinet officers, legislators, county
commissioners and other constitutional officers -- but not school board members. If
the commission finds the reports are deficient, the public officials would have a grace
period until Sept. 1 to correct them without getting punished.

Haridopolos, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Merritt Island, had said he
inadvertently failed repeatedly to disclose all of his finances. Had the new legislation
been in effect, he might have had an opportunity to correct his form without penalty.

The grand jury -- empanelled at the request of former Gov. Charlie Crist after a slew
of public officials were charged with crimes -- concluded in its final report that
Florida's ethics laws were too weak, conflicts-of-interest among public officials were
rampant, and the Florida Commission on Ethics charged with policing them was
largely toothless.

Haridopolos' measure -- Proposed Bill 7224 -- was unveiled Tuesday.

Tougher bill dies

Meanwhile, the committee debated and loudly shot down SB 532 -- a tougher ethics
bill by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, that included other recommendations of
the grand jury.

The bill would have stepped up both felony and misdemeanor offenses by one degree
if a politician "uses his or her public authority or position to further or facilitate" a
crime.

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, blasted the measure, initially because it might increase
"pressure on the budget" by incarcerating more people. "We need to do something
about curtailing the number of felons," Siplin said. "Why are we beginning to
introduce legislation to increase felonies in the state of Florida?"

Then he rose to the defense of former House Speaker Ray Sansom, R-Destin, who
Siplin said had "been wrongfully accused of a crime."

Sansom as example

Sansom was charged with grand theft and conspiracy over a $6 million appropriation
for a hangar he slipped into the state budget that Leon County's state attorney
alleged was a gift to a political supporter. The case was dropped last week after a
judge refused to allow the prosecution to present evidence to support its claim of a
conspiracy.

Sansom was deposed as House speaker before being charged in 2009 and resigned
from the House in disgrace a year later. "We need to be careful about these laws
that we're passing trying to attack public servants," Siplin said. "We need to stop
doing this just because the public says we need to do this. You're ruining people's
lives just because they want to serve the public."

The committee shot down the bill, 3-8.

Siplin had a five-year battle over alleged ethics breaches. The 5th District Court of
Appeal ruled last month that he did not abuse his office in 2006 when he demanded
that deputies let him drive around barricades to get to a football game at the Florida
Citrus Bowl. It reversed a 2009 decision by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
                            Contra Costa Times (California)

                                March 29, 2011 Tuesday

Lawyers' connections put California's redistricting contract on hold

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is withholding final signature on a
contract with its newly hired federal voting rights lawyers after staff members
discovered undisclosed political activities.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher failed to inform the commission during mid-March
interviews that the firm is a registered federal lobbyist with a federal political action
committee, or that several of the attorneys assigned to the redistricting project team
have contributed individually to presidential candidates.

"The fact that the firm is a registered federal lobbying firm and that it gave more
than $2,000 to campaigns should have been disclosed," said Commissioner Angelo
Ancheta, a Democrat and San Francisco law professor. "I have made it very clear
that if it was intentional or willful nondisclosure, then I would recommend
terminating our contract."

No one is hiding anything, countered Gibson Dunn         spokeswoman Pearl Piatt.

Gibson Dunn     has registered lobbyists among its 1,000 attorneys, but none of the
lawyers assigned to the redistricting team is a lobbyist.

"In terms of disclosure, we gave the commission what it asked for and now they are
asking for more, which we have provided," she said.

The brouhaha is another in a series of early skirmishes over whether the
commission's choice of consultants reveals a partisan bias that will taint California's
independent redistricting experiment.

The panel, composed of 14 people from outside the traditional political world, is also
under heavy time pressure, and missteps early in the process could jeopardize its
mandate to draw 177 new congressional, legislative and board of equalization
districts by Aug. 15.

The commission awarded Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher         a $150,000 contract in mid-
March after a partisan deadlocked vote that ultimately led the sole remaining
competitor -- Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni -- to withdraw its bid.
Most of the Republican commissioners preferred Nielsen, while the Democrats and
nonpartisan members wanted Gibson Dunn.

Gibson Dunn,      the firm that successfully challenged California's ballot measure
banning same-sex marriage and helped overturn corporate limits on federal
campaign spending, was hired to help guide the commission through compliance with
the federal Voting Rights Act.

The act bars the drawing of political boundaries that dilute minorities' political clout.
If the U.S. Department of Justice deems the new maps in violation, the issue could
wind up in court.
Nielsen Merksamer drew commissioners' objections largely on the grounds that it is a
registered California lobbying firm whose attorneys represent counties and have
served in the past as counsel to the national and California Republican Party. The
firm also disclosed that it represents public agencies seeking exemption from the
Voting Rights Act provisions.

But in the days after the bid award, redistricting staff learned that Gibson Dunn      is
a registered federal lobbying firm with a political action committee that has
contributed thousands of dollars to candidates of both parties.

In 2009, for example, its political action committee contributed $2,500 each to U.S.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee,
according to the online federal lobby registry.

None of the Gibson Dunn       lawyers named to head up the California redistricting
project, Democrat George Brown and Republican Dan Kolkey, is a registered federal
or state lobbyist but both have contributed money to candidates.

Brown donated $4,300 in 2008 to the campaign of then-presidential candidate
Barack Obama, according to OpenSecrets.com . Kolkey contributed, in the same
year, $2,300 to McCain's presidential campaign.

Under the law that created the redistricting panel, elected officials, lobbyists and
individuals who contributed $2,000 or more to any congressional, state or local
candidate are ineligible to serve as commissioners. Contributions to presidential
candidates are not included.

But the applicable provisions do not apply to hired consultants, Ancheta said. The
commission feared overly tight restrictions would further limit an already small pool
of redistricting and voting rights experts.

"This is where we gave ourselves some flexibility," Ancheta said. "For me, being a
lobbyist doesn't disqualify a consultant. I want to look at the client list."

It is an inexcusable lapse, said Tony Quinn, a veteran GOP redistricting expert who
has said the commission's choices clearly reveal a bias toward the left.

He has also panned the commission's choice of Q2 Data, an Oakland-based
mapmaking technical consulting firm whose minority business partner, UC-Berkeley
Professor Bruce Cain, was hired to help California Democrats redistrict in the 1980s.

"I watched you conflict out the Nielsen Merksamer firm as a lobbying firm while you
were busy hiring Gibson Dunn,        another lobbying firm, in order to employ the
services of left-wing activist attorney George Brown," Quinn wrote the
commissioners.

Piatt, the Gibson Dunn     spokeswoman, rejected Quinn's characterization of Brown
and described the redistricting team as bipartisan.

Brown represented Latino voters in lawsuits challenging under the California Voting
Rights Act the method of elections in Modesto and Madera Unified School District. He
also represents a number of corporate clients, Piatt said.
The other lead attorney, Kolkey, was an elected judge in 2002, served on a
Republican Party central committee and was counsel to former Gov. Pete Wilson in
1992 litigation involving California redistricting.

He also wrote or helped write Propositions 11 and 20, the voter-approved measures
that created the Citizens Redistricting Commission.


                               Crain's Chicago Business

                                    March 28, 2011

Old friends; SPRINGFIELD LOBBYIST RONAN SAYS NOTHING IMPROPER IN
AGENCY'S HIRING OF DAUGHTER

Of all the characters who walk the dusty corridors of Springfield, one of my absolute
favorites-and one of the more powerful-is Al Ronan.

Mr. Ronan got his start dispensing patronage in the Illinois Department of
Transportation for then-Gov. Dan Walker. He served a stint as a North Side state
rep, but he quickly morphed into one of the best-connected lobbyists in the Capitol,
one able to work with (and raise big campaign cash for) both Democrats and
Republicans. When Mr. Ronan's lobbying firm and one of its employees pleaded
guilty in 2004 in a bid-rigging scheme at McCormick Place, Mr. Ronan himself wasn't
charged with any wrongdoing.

Now for the latest Ronan family success: the $63,000-a-year job his daughter,
Maren Ronan, 29, just landed as director of legislative affairs-or chief lobbyist-for the
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. This at a time when Mr.
Ronan's colleague lobbies for a company regulated by the department and which has
a stake in the outcome of a lawsuit against the department to block new payday loan
reforms.

It truly is a small world. Here's what I know. But be advised that Mr. Ronan says
there's nothing improper going on.

Last year, after years of yowling and occasionally bitter debate, the General
Assembly passed a compromise bill that for the first time capped interest rates
lenders can charge on installment loans. One key clause barred installment lenders
from making payday loans, which have much higher legal caps and tend to go to the
same cash-short, working-class folks.

The ink on the new law was barely dry before it came under strong attack. As my
colleague Steve Daniels reported, the House is considering a bill to remove the ban
on a single company offering both installment and payday loans. And a firm that
offers both, Illinois Lending Corp., filed suit on March 15 to toss out the ban as
unconstitutional.

Mr. Ronan says he had no involvement in the suit, though he thinks the new law
unfairly restricts the business activities of the loan companies.

Until February, however, Mr. Ronan was the registered lobbyist for another lender
that could see its opportunities expand if the court strikes down the ban. That's
America's Financial Choice. It's still represented by a colleague of Mr. Ronan's in his
firm, though Mr. Ronan says he has recused himself personally.

America's Financial Choice has made some interesting political contributions. On Oct.
22 of last year, then-GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bill Brady reported receiving $7,500
from the Oak Park company. Interestingly, on the same day, Mr. Brady got $4,375
from another payday lender, AmeriCash Loans LLC, and its owners and officials,
according to the State Board of Elections. AmeriCash is partly owned by the principal
owners of Illinois Lending, the company that sued the department. Just a
coincidence? The only other financial donations Mr. Brady got that day were from a
banking group and two small amounts from currency exchanges.

Back to Ms. Ronan, who was on the phone with me just long enough to put me on
hold and refer me to the department's spokeswoman.

Ms. Ronan is just a hardworking, independent career woman who got the job on her
own, the spokeswoman says. The 2006 law school graduate previously was an
appellate lawyer for the Cook County state's attorney and was the most qualified
applicant-and any suggestion that she used her father's clout is "an offense."

Mr. Ronan says pretty much the same thing. His daughter had "several offers" for
jobs in state government, he says. "She's very qualified. I had nothing to do with it."

Two other things worth noting: Al Ronan, Gov. Pat Quinn and others in the Quinn
administration go way back—all the way to Mr. Walker. And the department says Ms.
Ronan will not participate in anything in which she would have a conflict of interest.

Still, an interesting story, no?


                            Investment Management Weekly

                                    March 28, 2011

Third-Party Firms Apprehensive About Lobbyist Law

A new global placement agent survey, with a specific focus on the recent passage of
Assembly Bill 1743 in California, is stating that the pay-to-play corruption will not
cease as a result.

The group of placement agent firms told Preqin, a London-and New York-based
research firm, that the new lobbyist law would not prevent fraudulent activity
because Board members and pension fund staff are not included in the law.
According to the respondents, "the majority of those that were involved in the illicit
activities which spawned the legislation" were in these sectors.

Previously, in October, then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the
bill that mandated increased transparency with state pension and retirement
systems. It also requires that a third-party seeking business with the state's pension
systems, register as a lobbyist. California Assemblyman Ed Hernandez's (D-West
Covina) first introduced the legislation to his constituents in September.

In its new "AB-1743 - Placement Agents in CA" report, Preqin stated March 24 that
78% of the placement agent firms indicated that no staff will register in the state,
while only 22% stated that all staff will register with the provision in order to do
business with the California State Public Employees' Retirement System and the
California State Teachers' Retirement System.

Additionally, 64% said they were likely to cease their business with the state's
pension plans as a result of the legislation. One major factor would be the advent of
the prohibition on contingency fees, where about 52% said this was the main reason
for their dismay towards the statute. Alternately, 92% expect an increase in business
costs if they were to register as a lobbyist.

With the impending passage by other states, 63% of placement agents involved in
the Preqin survey stated that they would not register in any states where the
legislation was adopted. However, 27% said they would sign up if the business was
there.

Furthermore, more than three quarters of the third-party firms indicated that they
will now "rely less on public funds." Roughly 3% of the firms stated that they would
not work with the affected funds at all.

"The state legislature have created a platform where public pension plans may miss
investment opportunities because of added red tape," an unidentified respondent
was listed as saying in the report.


                           Anchorage Daily News (Alaska)

                               March 27, 2011 Sunday

Lobbying the Legislature is big-money business in Juneau

Lobbying the Alaska Legislature is an increasingly lucrative job for the top
professionals, with nearly a dozen lobbyists reporting they collected over $400,000
in fees last year from interests looking to influence the state's lawmakers.

Developers of the proposed Pebble mine led spending on Alaska lobbyist salaries. Oil
companies and the cruise industry were also among the major spenders and treated
lawmakers to meals as they pushed for tax reductions, according to disclosure
reports. Municipalities spent their tax dollars on lobbyists to get state money from
the Legislature.

The leader of Alaska's lobbyist corps, Wendy Chamberlain, brought in more than $1
million in 2010. Her clients included the Pebble Partnership, Marathon Oil and the
Municipality of Anchorage. The municipality paid $110,000 for her services.

Companies, utilities, local governments, unions and others with business before the
Legislature spent nearly $17 million to lobby Alaska lawmakers and public officials
last year. That comes out to an average of $283,000 spent for each of Alaska's 60
state legislators. The information is contained in spreadsheets recently released by
the Alaska Public Offices Commission based on required disclosures from lobbyists
and the entities that pay them.

"People are often shocked when they hear how much money is spent," said
University of Tennessee political science professor Anthony Nownes, who specializes
in lobbying. "There's a lot of money in the business."

MINING, DINING

The Pebble Partnership, developers of the huge Pebble Mine prospect in Southwest
Alaska, spent more on Alaska lobbyist salaries than anyone else last year. The group
laid down $378,000 to employ four of the professional lobbyists at the Capitol.

That includes both Chamberlain and her ex-husband, former Anchorage state Rep.
Eldon Mulder.

Pebble's lobbying expenses also include paying for legislators and staffers to tour the
area around the proposed mine. The Pebble Partnership last year paid $742 apiece,
including airfare and meals, for Sen. Charlie Huggins and Rep. Neal Foster to make
the trip. Pebble paid for 12 staffers and seven lawmakers the year before.

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wiel-echowski and other lawmakers pushed for a
study last year of the environmental impacts of developing Pebble, the giant
prospect that is hugely controversial because of its location in the headwaters of two
of the five major rivers that feed Bristol Bay's world-class salmon runs. Funding was
approved, but the study has been shelved amid disputes among lawmakers over who
should do the research and what exactly ought to be asked.

Wielechowski said Pebble lobbying at the Capitol isn't nearly as visible as the oil
companies.

"They have always had a dominant, consistent presence in the building. You just
have to walk into an (oil tax) hearing and you'd see at least probably five or six
lobbyists there for the oil companies," he said.

Exxon Mobil is the state's third-biggest spender on registered lobbyists, BP and
Conoco Phillips maintain offices in Juneau and Conoco paid several thousands of
dollars last year bringing executives to Juneau to talk to the state's lawmakers.

Lobbyists also wine and dine legislators, and they have to report if it's over $15. BP
lobbyist Paul Quensel and Exxon lobbyist Dan Seckers treated the co-chairs of the
Senate Finance Committee, Bert Stedman and Lyman Hoffman, and Hoffman's wife
last year.

They also picked up the tab for Wasilla Sen. Charlie Huggins, Anchorage Sen. Lesil
McGuire, North Pole Sen. John Coghill, Kenai Sen. Tom Wagoner, as well as
Wagoner's wife.

Exxon's Seckers had another event where he reported treating "all Alaska
legislators."

Seckers reported that he spent just over $900 on food and beverages for legislators,
spouses and staff last year. BP's Quesnel put down expenses of nearly $500.

PROVIDERS OF INFORMATION

Sometimes it's an organization, rather than the lobbyist, who picks up the bill.
Organizations are not required to report which specific legislators they treated, just
what they paid. The Alaska Cruise Association, which successfully pushed to reduce
cruise taxes, reported "sponsorship of legislative dinner," last year at Alaska's Capital
Inn, a high-end bed and breakfast in Juneau. The cost was just over $1,000.

Nownes, the professor who has researched legislative lobbying nationwide, said he
thinks wining and dining isn't going to change a legislator's mind on a policy issue
but might help with lawmakers on the fence.

"We don't have a lot of good solid evidence those things corrupt lawmakers or tend
to make a huge difference. One the other hand logically it seems pretty clear it
probably has some impact, especially on the margins," he said. "Most of us simply
can't do that."

Nownes is author of the book "Total Lobbying: What Lobbyists Want (and How They
Try to Get It.)"

Lobbyists often describe their role as helping clients keep up to speed and interpret
what's happening in the Legislature, something like a lawyer hired to navigate the
legal system.

They say their role is to educate legislators on what a bill would mean for their client,
whether it be a company, labor union, municipality or nonprofit.

"I think they tend to describe themselves fairly accurately as providers of
information, I think that's their primary modus operandi. ... Clearly the information
is biased in that it might play up one side more than the other. But there's not a lot
of evidence that, for example, they lie. They just have a point of view," Nownes said.

Lobbying is about relationships and knowledge of how the Legislature and its culture
work. The list of legislators-turned lobbyists includes Mulder, Jerry Mackie, Dave
Donley, Al Adams and Joe Hayes. Gov. Sean Parnell spent time as a lobbyist for
Conoco Phillips after he served in the Legislature.

State officials also go into the business. Kevin Jardell was the legislative liaison for
Gov. Frank Murkowski, working on oil tax and gasline legislation, and then went to
work as a lobbyist for Exxon Mobil. Jardell's total salary last year, including money
from Exxon and other lobbying clients, was almost $327,000.

Ray Matiashowski, the state commissioner of administration under Gov. Murkowski,
is now a lobbyist with several clients and brought in $373,000 last year. Mike
Tibbles, who was the chief of staff for Gov. Sarah Palin, lobbies for the cruise
industry. John Bitney, who was an aide to Valdez Rep. John Harris and ran Sen. Lisa
Murkowski's primary election campaign last summer, picked up a contract this year
as the lobbyist for the city of Cordova.

LOBBYING WITH GOVERNMENT MONEY

Alaska cities and school districts are among the major employers of lobbyists.

The Municipality of Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough each paid
lobbyists more than $100,000. The North Slope borough put about $120,000 toward
its lobbying, making it the seventh highest spender on lobbyists in the state.
The North Slope borough's main lobbyist is former state Sen. Adams, a power broker
when he represented Kotzebue in the Legislature. Adams, who also works for other
Northwest Alaska government, nonprofit and Native corporation interests, reported
spending over $1,500 on food and drink for legislators, spouses and staffers last
year, paying bills at such establishments as the Baranof Hotel and the Canton House
in Juneau, as well as The Dish sushi restaurant in Anchorage.

Nome and Unalaska, communities that have less than 4,000 people apiece, each
paid nearly $80,000 to their lobbyists. Even tiny Alaska communities like Galena,
White Mountain and King Cove have Juneau lobbyists on the payroll.

Lobbyist spending in Alaska hit an extraordinary spike during the heated debates
over oil taxes in 2006, with the oil and gas industry spending nearly half the
statewide total when cash for executive time in Juneau, advertising and wining and
dining was factored in.

The FBI raided legislative offices later that year and launched an investigation into
corruption during the oil tax debate. Two executives of the oilfield services company
Veco were convicted for bribing legislators as they operated out of the Baranof Hotel
in Juneau, but none of the registered lobbyists for oil was implicated.

Overall spending on lobbying went down after that, although fees are now on the
upswing. Employers reported spending more on fees last year than in 2009 and
2008, and the total combined salaries of the top 10 lobbyists are higher.


                                    Chicago Tribune

                                March 27, 2011 Sunday
                                     Final Edition

New mayor -- new anxiety; Business leaders, lobbyists wonder how, or
whether, they will fit in

A nervous energy is crackling through City Hall as bureaucrats, businesspeople and
lobbyists wonder how the first regime change since 1989 will affect their livelihood.

For these insiders, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's promise to get things done in a new
way is more than just a campaign slogan.

Many made a comfortable living during the 22-year administration of Mayor Richard
Daley, building political capital, forging relationships and making deals. Now they
face the prospect of a new boss with different priorities, a fresh voice on the phone
at a crucial department -- another power structure to scale.

"There will be a new paradigm," said public relations executive Marilyn Katz, a Daley
loyalist who has won city contracts going back to the administration of the city's first
black mayor, Harold Washington. "It is a period of transition, and people are
scrambling to get the ear" of Emanuel's team.

Still, some insiders say they don't expect the kind of upheaval that happened when
Washington or Daley took over.
"It's not like somebody beat the incumbent and beat the old guard," said former
43rd Ward alderman Charles Bernardini, now a lobbyist and lawyer at Ungaretti &
Harris. "There's a great deal of good will for Rahm, even those who supported other
candidates."

Billions of dollars are at stake in City Hall. Road, airport and school construction.
Legal work, bond financing and advertising. Not to mention the money spent --
legally -- on lobbyists, politicians and consultants to influence the decisions.

"If you have relationships with people in the city built on things other than policy,
you are concerned," said one City Hall lobbyist who requested anonymity for fear
that talking publicly could hurt business.

Even before Emanuel's resounding victory last month, many of the city's power
brokers sought to position themselves. Some held fundraisers for Emanuel. Others
tried to get cozy with those close to the incoming mayor.

For lobbyists, especially those who have been successful for the last 20-plus years,
the goal is to present an image that they will maintain the same access under
Emanuel's administration that they had under Daley.

The angling comes as Emanuel has vowed that, along with changing personnel, he
will revolutionize the local political landscape by ensuring insiders and outsiders will
be on the same level at City Hall. Throughout Daley's reign, many friends and
supporters have moved seamlessly through the red tape at City Hall to score
contracts with various branches of city government, from the airports and schools to
the CTA.

Katz's firm, MK Communications, got contracts to work on some of Daley's pet
projects, and she is a registered lobbyist for developers who built housing in some of
the city's poorest neighborhoods. Over the years, she has become well-acquainted
with key officials in many city departments.

She wonders whether the new administration will share the same priorities and even
whether the departments will be organized the same way.

"There are huge issue areas, and when you have deputy commissioners with 20
years of accrued knowledge, you don't know what their future is," Katz said. "How is
that experience evaluated?"

One alderman said there is palpable anxiety among the middle-management ranks in
city government. Those appointed officials whose jobs are not protected by civil
service hiring rules could be replaced under a new administration. While some have
been reassured by their own political patrons that Emanuel won't dump them, many
are still waiting to see how the transition plays out.

"People who have relationships with deputy commissioners and staff, everybody is
waiting to see when the music stops where everybody lands," Bernardini added.

By running a campaign and a transition led by a mixture of old Daley hands as well
as people outside Chicago's political culture, Emanuel has "sent mixed messages"
about who will have clout in City Hall, the alderman said. Some insiders were
reassured by familiar names among Emanuel's transition leaders, such as former
Daley chief of staff David Mosena and former deputy chief of staff Sarah Pang.

Those choices sent the message that it will be "business as usual," the alderman
said.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, whose term as watchdog over the mayor's
administration won't expire until 2013, said Emanuel has a chance to challenge the
age-old notion that City Hall works best for insiders.

"The permit process and zoning variances and numerous aspects of city government
entails a complex, Byzantine, multistep process that requires you to see multiple
people in multiple offices and leaves folks feeling that the only way they can navigate
this is by hiring somebody who knows people," Ferguson said.


                                 Des Moines Register

                               March 27, 2011 Sunday

Iowa long-term care ombudsman's tie to lawyer questioned

Iowa's senior-care advocate hired the nursing home industry's chief lawyer last year
to represent her in a legal matter, and this year sought permission from the
governor's office to lobby on a bill.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Jeanne Yordi is required by state and federal law to act
as an independent advocate for the residents of care facilities. She is to investigate
resident complaints and lobby for seniors without interference from the industry or
other state agencies.

Last summer, Yordi retained as her personal attorney Kendall Watkins, an Iowa
lawyer who represents nursing homes in cases where they're accused of abusing or
neglecting the elderly. According to his law firm, Watkins "routinely represents
Iowa's nursing homes in federal and state regulatory administrative appeals,
malpractice litigation, business transactions, employment issues, certificate-of-need
proceedings and professional licensure proceedings."

His clients, according to the firm, include "a broad range of for-profit and not-for-
profit health care providers, from large national operators to individual community-
operated facilities."

Watkins' firm also acts as general counsel to the Iowa Health Care Association and
the Iowa Center for Assisted Living, the largest nursing home and assisted-living
lobbying organization in Iowa, representing more than 350 care facilities that Yordi
herself oversees as ombudsman.

The advocacy group Disability Rights Iowa recently began conducting on-site visits of
nursing homes, partly because of concerns with the way Yordi has handled her job.
The group's director, Sylvia Piper, said Yordi's ties to Watkins are particularly
troubling.

"This is egregious," Piper said. "The people of Iowa are paying taxes expecting that
we, as advocates, are going to protect them and uncover issues of abuse and
neglect. So to have the ombudsman retain the attorney that we as advocates are
opposing is just unconscionable."

Yordi didn't respond to written questions about how, or whether, she paid for
Watkins' legal services.

During an interview, she declined to say why she hired Watkins or whether she was
concerned about a potential conflict of interest given her role as an advocate for
Iowans who live in the care facilities Watkins represents.

"I just don't think that's anybody's business," she said. "I needed some personal
legal advice, so I talked to Ken Watkins, but it was personal."

Yordi also declined to say how she selected Watkins to serve as her attorney, and
said she didn't recall how she first met him.

"I just don't think what I do in my personal life is anyone's business," she said. "He
represents lots of people in addition to the nursing home industry, and he is an
attorney in Des Moines."

A check of the Iowa Judicial Branch's database of court cases shows that since 1994,
Watkins has been involved in at least 62 state court cases. In all but one of those
cases Watkins acted as the attorney for a health care facility or one of its employees.
In 18 cases, the opposing party was a state agency.

Yordi, Watkins involved in same industry cases

When Yordi retained Watkins, she sent an email to her staff of local ombudsmen
notifying them of the decision.

She wrote: "As promised, I am sharing news with you as it happens. This morning I
retained Ken Watkins as my legal counsel through this next phase. I have talked with
him on the phone and am meeting with him and his colleagues on Monday."

At the time, Yordi was mired in a dispute with her boss, Iowa Department on Aging
Director John McCalley. Yordi later complained to Gov. Chet Culver of a hostile work
environment, saying McCalley tried to muzzle her and put her on a "hit list" of
employees whose jobs were in jeopardy.

Watkins and Yordi have each been involved in cases involving the alleged neglect of
Iowa seniors - Watkins as the accused facilities' attorney, and Yordi as Iowa's
advocate for the elderly.

For example, Yordi's office in 2002 helped relocate residents of USA Healthcare of
Urbandale when its license was revoked due to numerous allegations of resident
abuse and neglect. At the time, Watkins was acting as the home's attorney in
protesting and appealing that action.

In 2007, Yordi assisted residents of Burlington's Rosebush Gardens Health Center in
response to that home's license revocation. Watkins represented Rosebush Gardens
in that case.
Watkins currently represents Griffin Nursing Center in Knoxville, which was fined
$10,000 last year for allegedly failing to treat open wounds that 70-year-old
Cathleen Adams developed at the home. Last May, Adams was taken to a hospital
after a worker in the nursing home noticed large amounts of bloody fluid draining
from a deep, open wound on her ankle. At the hospital, Adams was diagnosed with
an infection. Her left leg was amputated and she died three months later.

In court papers, Griffin Nursing Center is arguing that Adams' injuries were the result
of a "pre-existing condition." Adams was admitted to the home in March 2009 - 14
months before she was hospitalized and the leg was amputated.

Yordi makes "lobby request" of governor

As one of the nation's long-term care ombudsmen, Yordi is to advocate for the
elderly without political interference. Unlike other state employees who may be
prohibited from openly criticizing state agencies or elected leaders, a fundamental,
legally mandated part of the ombudsman's job is to review and comment on the
actions of state government as they relate to the needs of the elderly.

Yordi's predecessors as Iowa long-term care ombudsman were, at times, critical of
the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals' regulation of the nursing home
industry. During her six years as ombudsman, Yordi has been much less vocal.

Emails obtained under the Iowa Open Records Law show that on Jan. 28, Yordi wrote
to one of Gov. Terry Branstad's policy advisers about House File 110, a bill that
would impose certain restrictions on unlicensed assisted living centers. The subject
line of the email was "lobby request." In the email, Yordi wrote:

"I would like to register as 'monitoring' HF 110 regarding assisted living facilities.
This appears to be a good bill to eliminate some past problems we have encountered
with assisted living facilities in Iowa. Pending the answer to a question I have for
Representative Isenhart I may decide to support HF 110. I will wait to register until I
hear from you."

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor's policy adviser responded by
telling Yordi she didn't need to seek permission from the governor's office to lobby
on a bill.

Yordi never did register as a lobbyist on House File 110. In fact, she lobbied
lawmakers on only one bill this session, although her official position on that
legislation was "undecided." By comparison, the nursing home industry's main
lobbyist has registered on 50 bills this session.

Yordi drafted legislation this year that would let industry officials and state regulators
review her investigative procedures and participate in her annual performance
review. That bill was approved by the Senate on a 48-0 vote, but it has yet to be
taken up by the House.

Yordi's boss, Department on Aging Director Donna Harvey, said Yordi is not currently
requesting Branstad's approval for any of her lobbying efforts. She said the
governor's staff "clarified" for her and Yordi the fact that the ombudsman need not
seek permission to lobby on a bill.
Local ombudsmen question Yordi's silence

Last month, two of Yordi's staff of eight local ombudsmen questioned Yordi's decision
not to speak out against the inspections department's decision to eliminate 10 of the
38 state surveyors who inspect Iowa's nursing homes.

One of the local ombudsmen wrote to Yordi: "So you support them laying off all
those surveyors even though the majority of the funding came from federal dollars?"

Yordi responded: "It is not appropriate for me to publicly criticize the decision of
another state department. I need to trust that the director has a plan that will
continue to protect the health, safety and welfare of people who live in long-term
care facilities."

One of the other local ombudsmen then wrote to Yordi: "Forgive me if I'm not
understanding something here, but I thought you were supposed to have an
independent voice. I thought that was the whole issue related to John (McCalley)
back then. I thought the state ombudsman is supposed to be allowed to voice
opinions independently from government as an advocate, and that was the former
problem, in that you weren't being allowed to. I thought Governor Branstad wants to
assure the independence of the office of state LTC ombudsman. I'm very confused."

Yordi replied: "I do have the freedom to speak. That is not the issue. It is not
appropriate for the state LTC ombudsman to comment on internal changes made
within DIA at this time."

At that point in the exchange, Harvey, Yordi's boss, chimed in with a message to
Yordi and the local ombudsmen: "Jeanne is absolutely correct in her statements,"
Harvey wrote. "Each of you should not speak on this issue but stay focused on
reassuring everyone that YOU are fulfilling your responsibilities as local long term
care ombudsman."

Harvey has since said that if the cuts in nursing home inspectors eventually prove to
be detrimental to Iowa's elderly, it would be appropriate for Yordi to speak out then.

Independence questions elsewhere

Iowa isn't the only state where questions are being raised as to the independence of
the nation's long-term care ombudsmen.

FLORIDA INVESTIGATION: In February, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican,
demanded the resignation of the state's long-term care ombudsman of the past
seven years, Brian Lee. The state's nursing home owners had complained that Lee
had recently asked them for detailed information regarding financial investors in
their care facilities. Under last year's Affordable Care Act, the nation's long-term care
ombudsmen are entitled to collect ownership data from taxpayer-funded care
facilities that accept Medicaid or Medicare. That provision of the law grew out of
congressional hearings that showed it is often impossible to hold nursing home
owners accountable for poor quality care due to complicated ownership structures
that may involve limited liability corporations. The federal Administration on Aging,
which oversees the ombudsman program in each state, is now investigating Lee's
resignation. If the state is found to have interfered with the program, the federal
agency could withhold the $1.3 million it gives to Florida each year to fund the
ombudsman's office. Before Scott was elected governor last November, he founded
Solantic, a chain of health care facilities. He served as CEO of the Columbia/HCA
hospital chain for 10 years before resigning in 1997 amid a massive FBI probe. That
investigation led to the company paying $1.7 billion in criminal and civil penalties for
a wide variety of schemes to defraud taxpayers.

STATE INTERFERENCE: In 2007, the National Association of Long-Term Care
Ombudsmen reported that although federal law prohibited "willful interference" with
the ombudsmen, some states were "routinely and willfully" interfering with their
ombudsmen through their departments on aging. In response to a survey, nearly
half of the state ombudsmen reported that they had to get prior approval before
participating in lobbying or advocacy at national events. Some states restricted the
ombudsmen from contacting the media or legislators on issues involving the elderly.
Three state ombudsmen refused to answer the association's survey about
interference unless they were called after hours at home. The ombudsmen said they
feared retaliation by supervisors or state policymakers.

IOWA POLICY CHANGE: Last year, the Administration on Aging ordered the Iowa
Department on Aging to revise a personnel policy that it said diminished the
independence of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Jeanne Yordi by restricting her
lobbying efforts. Emails obtained by The Des Moines Register showed that John
McCalley, then the director of the Department on Aging, had told Yordi that her
public-policy positions would be determined by the governor's office.


                              The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

                               March 26, 2011 Saturday

Ethics commission cuts fine for Chester County Democrats

The Chester County Democratic Party doesn't have to pay most of a $50,600 fine it
received for failing to file ethics forms.

The State Ethics Commission, in a recent hearing, lowered the fine to $1,000 to be
paid within 90 days, commission attorney Cathy Hazelwood said. Such reductions are
common at hearings, Hazelwood said.

The Chester County Democratic Party's treasurer Patricia McCree said she failed to
file three or four quarterly reports detailing the group's operating costs. McCree
declined to specify why.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Wanda Stringfellow, a former Chester mayor, said she
was "shocked" to learn about the fines and was unaware that the forms hadn't been
filed or that a hearing took place.

"I was under the impression that everything was being taken care of," Stringfellow
said.

The State Ethics Commission, created in 1975, requires public officials, political
candidates and organizations to file financial and campaign disclosure forms. The
group also oversees lobbyist registration.
Individuals who don't file, face fines. The commission can file judgments against
offenders in their home counties, hold liens against properties and have the
Department of Revenue garnish offenders' wages.

Entities, such as the Chester County Democratic Party, face no such penalties.

"It sits out there and they pay it or they don't," Hazelwood said.

All together, the more than 200 public officials and employees, lobbyists, candidates
and organizations on the commission's debtors list owe about $6.5 million.

Most fines range from $100 to $1,000.

Some owe a lot more.

James "Will" Bigger, a Sharon Democrat who ran for York County Council in 2006,
owes $600,800 for four 2007 quarterly campaign disclosure forms that the
commission says he didn't file.

An investigator that year spoke with Bigger, who agreed to re-file the forms and pay
part of the penalty, according to commission documents obtained by The Herald.

Bigger didn't come to a hearing and hasn't contacted the commission, Hazelwood
said. The original $49,800 late fee has grown by $400 a day - $100 for each of the
forms.

Bigger, in an interview with The Herald, said he filed all of the forms he thought were
required.

"I lost the election in 2006," he said. "I don't understand what they want me to file.

"I didn't respond because I did everything I thought I needed to do."

It doesn't appear that the state has collected any of Bigger's debt, Hazelwood said.

"There's no way a normal human can come up with that," Bigger said.

As Chester mayor, Stringfellow had her own ethics commission issue.

She was fined for failing to file an economic interest form on time in 2005. After
failing to resolve the debt, the S.C. Department of Revenue took $353 from each of
her paychecks.

That $11,400 debt has been paid, Stringfellow said.
                        Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

                               March 26, 2011 Saturday
                                    Online Edition

HOSPITAL DISTRICT JUST ONE OF MEGA-LOBBYIST RON BOOK'S MANY,
MANY CLIENTS

Ron Book, known to most in the political, governmental and legal worlds as "Ronnie,"
is one of Florida's most prominent lobbyists.

The Plantation resident's firm has offices in Aventura and Tallahassee.

The North Broward Hospital District, which operates under the brand name Broward
Health, hired recently hired him under a $114,000 contract.

Below, on the continuation, is the list of almost 70 clients he's registered to lobby on
behalf of in the Florida Legislature. At times, they have opposing agendas.

Anchor Towing, Inc 12555 Biscayne Blvd PMB 455 North Miami, FL 33138

Ashbritt 408 S Andrews Ave Ste 103 Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Assurance Financial Partners, LLC 2901 SW 149th Ave Ste 140 Miramar, FL 33027

AT&T 150 S Monroe St Ste 400 Tallahassee, FL 32301

AutoNation, Inc   450 E Las Olas Blvd 12th Floor Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301

Bail Agents Independent League of Florida 424 S Congress Ave West Palm Beach, FL

Best Buddies International 100 SE 2nd St Ste 2200 Miami, FL 33131

Biscayne Bay Pilots 2911 Port Blvd Miami, FL 33132

Brevard County 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way C301 Viera, FL 32940

Broward County 115 S Andrews Ave Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301

Broward County Clerk of Courts 201 SE 6th St Ft Lauderdale, FL 33301

Carlisle Development Group 2950 SW 27th Ave Ste 200 Miami, FL 33133

Children's Home Society 1485 S Semoran Blvd Ste 1448 Winter Park, FL 32792

City of Aventura 19200 W Country Club Dr Aventura, FL 33180

City of Cooper City 9090 SW 50th Place Cooper City, FL 33329-0910

City of Lauderdale Lakes 4300 NW 36 St Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33319

City of Miami 3500 Pan American Dr Miami, FL 33130
City of North Miami 776 NE 125th St North Miami, FL 33161

City of North Miami Beach 17011 NE 19th Ave North Miami Beach, FL 33162

City of Palm Bay 120 Malabar Rd Palm Bay, FL 32907

City of Pinellas Park 5141 78th Ave Pinellas Park, FL 33781

City of Riviera Beach 600 W Blue Heron Blvd Riviera Beach, FL 33404

City of South Bay 335 SW 2nd Ave South Bay, FL 33493

City of Sunny Isles Beach 18070 Collins Ave Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

City of Sunrise 777 Sawgrass Corporate Pky Sunrise, FL 33325

City of Tallahassee 300 S Adams St Tallahassee, FL 32301

City of Tamarac 7525 NW 88 Ave Tamarac, FL 33321

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Inc 3440 Hollywood Blvd Ste 100
Hollywood, FL 33021

Driver's Rights Inc 2298 S Dixie Hwy Miami, FL 33133

Florida Apartment Association 1133 W Morse Blvd Ste 201 Winter Park, FL 32789

Florida Association of Forensic Professionals 14000 E Palomino Dr Southwest
Ranches, FL 33330

Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Inc 2475 Apalachee Pky Ste 205
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Florida Distillers 530 N Dakota Ave Lake Alfred, FL 33850

Florida Heart Research Institute 4770 Biscayne Blvd Ste 500 Miami, FL 33137

Florida Power & Light Company 215 S Monroe St Ste 810 Tallahassee, FL 32301

Florida Regional Councils Association 18851 NE 29th Ave Ste 1010 Aventura, FL
33180

GEO Group, Inc, The 621 NW 53rd St Ste 700 Boca Raton, FL 33487

Grant Street Group 1800 Allegheny Bldg 429 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Health Choice Network 9064 NW 13 Terrace Miami, FL 33172

Interior Design Associations Foundation 250 Royal Ct Delray Beach, FL 33444

Miami Beach Community Health Center 710 Alton Rd Miami Beach, FL 33139

Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis Lois Pope Life Center 1095 NW 14th
Terrace Miami, FL 33136

Miami-Dade County 111 NW 1st St Ste 1032 Miami, FL 33128

Miami-Dade County Public Schools 1450 NE 2 Ave Miami, FL 33132

Mount Sinai Medical Center 4300 Alton Rd Miami, FL 33140

Museum of Discovery & Science 401 SW 2nd St Ft Lauderdale, FL 33312

Neptune Wholesale, Inc 768 E Dania Beach Blvd Dania, FL 33004

New Horizons Community Mental Health Center, Inc 1313 NW 36th St Ste 400
Miami, FL 33142

North Broward Hospital District 303 SE 17th St Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316

Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc Rohde Bldg 401 NW 2nd Ave S-212 Miami, FL
33128

Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners 315 Court St Clearwater, FL 33756

Public Health Trust-Jackson Memorial Hospital 1611 NW 12th Ave Miami, FL 33136

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic Florida 6704 SW 80th St Miami, FL 33143

Republic Services, Inc 751 NW 31st Ave Ft Lauderdale, FL 33311

South Broward Hospital District 1131 N 35th Ave Hollywood, FL 33021

Spectrum Programs & Miami Behavioral Health Center 11031 NE 6th Ave Miami, FL
33161

Sun Life Stadium 2269 Dan Marino Blvd Miami Gardens, FL 33056

Teva Pharmaceuticals, USA 444 N Capitol St NW Ste 399 Rogers, AR 72758

University Area Community Development Corporation 14013 N 22nd St Tampa, FL
33613

University of Miami Ashe Administration Bldg Rm 230 Coral Gables, FL 33146

Vehicle Production Group 1425 Brickell Ave Ste 54-E Miami, FL 33133

Village of Bal Harbour 655 96th St Bal Harbour, FL 33154

Village of Palmetto Bay 8950 SW 152nd St Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

Village of Royal Palm Beach Royal Palm Beach Blvd Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411

Vitas Healthcare Corporation 100 S Biscayne Blvd 15th Floor Miami, FL 33132-2304

West Flagler Kennel Club, Inc 401 NW 38th Ct Miami, FL 33126
Westchester General Hospital 2500 SW 75 Ave Miami, FL 33155

White Rock Quarries 101 Sansbury's Way West Palm Beach, FL 33411

								
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