lobbying

Trump-Russia collusion: What the Mueller report says — and doesn’t say
Mueller found ‘evidence of numerous links’ between campaign and Russians but not enough to support conspiracy

Pages of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was printed out by staff in the House Judiciary Committee's hearing room on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III uncovered “evidence of numerous links” between Donald Trump campaign officials and individuals with or claiming ties to the Russian government, according to a redacted version of his final report released by the Justice Department on Thursday.

But Mueller declined to charge any of those campaign officials under conspiracy, coordination, or campaign finance laws for their contacts with Russians, because the evidence didn’t reach a prosecutable threshold.

Bernhardt’s office acknowledges meetings left off schedule
Interior also confirms secretary’s staff regularly overwrites his personal itinerary

House Democrats have said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt could be running afoul of federal records laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department has acknowledged that Secretary David Bernhardt’s staff intentionally left controversial meetings with representatives of fossil fuel, timber and water interests off his public calendar, citing “internal protocol” governing his schedules.

The department also confirmed that Bernhardt used a personal itinerary kept on a single Google document that was regularly overwritten by his scheduling staff and said he is still doing so as House Democrats probe whether the practice adheres to federal records laws.

Interior Secretary Bernhardt under investigation by inspector general
Democrats and watchdog groups have alleged ‘potential conflicts of interest and other violations’

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate last week by a vote of 56-41. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, is under investigation by his agency’s inspector general over “potential conflicts of interest and other violations,” an agency official said Monday.

In an April 15 letter to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, Interior Department deputy inspector general Mary Kendall said her office opened an investigation into Bernhardt following at least seven complaints from Democratic lawmakers and independent watchdogs alleging the conflicts and other violations.

This mysterious 2012 super PAC donor may finally be revealed
The case dates to a $1.71 million donation to a super PAC supporting Missouri candidate Todd Akin

The Federal Election Commission headquarters located at 1050 First St. NE on Friday Sept. 21, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Federal Election Commission may unmask the identities of a mystery political donor and trust, known only in public documents as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, a federal appeals court said Friday.

The case stretches back to an October 2012 $1.71 million donation that ultimately went to a super PAC that at the time supported Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully against Democrat and then-Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin was widely criticized for saying women who are victims of “legitimate rape” were unlikely to become pregnant.

Thanks to Mueller, foreign agents come under greater scrutiny
New focus on the influence business is no ‘flash in the pan’

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn filed a retroactive foreign agent registration after leaving the White House and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file photo)

The special counsel’s nearly two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections may have let the president himself mostly off the hook, but one sector emerged positively scathed: international lobbying.

Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation resulted in the convictions of onetime lobbyists, of course, but more consequentially, it put an unprecedented glare on the sometimes shadowy foreign influence campaigns that play out on U.S. soil — and the disclosure rules of those engagements.

Violence Against Women Act clears House
Measure includes firearms restrictions and expansion of transgender rights

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lone Republican co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of 33 Republicans to support the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Thursday to renew the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, but the proposal stoked contention over provisions restricting gun rights and expanding rights for transgender individuals.

Lawmakers voted 263-158 to pass the measure, which highlighted divisions within the Republican caucus. While the bill does have one Republican co-sponsor, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, other House Republicans objected to new provisions included in the VAWA reauthorization measure. In all, 33 Republicans voted for the measure, and one, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, voted present.

Opioid maker Mallinckrodt to support lobbying disclosure

Mallinckrodt is backing an investor group's push to disclose its lobbying. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mallinckrodt Plc, a major manufacturer of generic opioids, is backing an investor’s request it disclose its lobbying spending and plans to issue a report, according to a shareholder coalition pressing drug companies to improve oversight in light of the opioid epidemic and confirmed by the company’s proxy statement released Wednesday. 

The Staines-upon-Thames, England-based company told members of Investors for Opioid Accountability, who together manage $3.4 trillion in assets, it would recommend stockholders vote in favor of the group’s lobbying disclosure proposal, said co-leader Donna Meyer and Katie McCloskey, director of social responsibility for IOA member United Church Funds, lead filer of the request.

Gaetz is trying to sell AOC on a ‘Green Real Deal’ but progressives aren’t buying it
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions helped draft the proposal

Rep. Matt Gaetz, F-Fla., conducts a news conference at the House Triangle to unveil climate change legislation the Green Real Deal, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced the Green Real Deal on Wednesday, a competing resolution to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, a sign the ambitious plan to combat climate change championed by the Democratic star has convinced some in the Republican Caucus of the need for a conservative counterproposal.

“History will judge harshly my colleagues who deny the science of climate change, and similarly those Democrats who would use climate change as an excuse to regulate the American experience out of existence,” the Florida Republican said at a news conference outside the Capitol.

By striking at Obamacare, Trump could unravel his own drug pricing proposal
Move could undermine White House messaging on the rising cost of medicines

President Donald Trump outlines his plan to lower the price of prescription drugs during a speech in the White House Rose Garden in May 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By backing the wholesale repeal of the 2010 health care law, President Donald Trump could unravel his own plan on prescription drug prices and undermine his messaging on an important issue ahead of the 2020 election: the climbing cost of medicines.

Less than two weeks before the midterm elections last year, Trump delivered a proposal to rein in the costs of outpatient drugs by pegging them to the lower prices paid by foreign countries.

Offshore drilling may be oily albatross for Trump’s pick to head Interior
Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of oil spills

A worker arrives at the Department of Interior on January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Interior Department, former energy lobbyist David Bernhardt, will almost certainly be advanced by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which holds his confirmation hearing Thursday morning.

However, just days after the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Bernhardt’s nomination may face opposition in the Senate from coastal Republicans wary of similar disasters playing out in their states.