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Archive of entries posted on October 2008

A Seventeenth Amendment Issue in Alaska

           Following Senator Stevens’s conviction yesterday, the Anchorage Daily News has spotlighted an interesting issue that would arise in the event Stevens were to resign.  Evidently the Alaska Legislature passed a law in 2004 which allowed the Governor to make a temporary appointment to fill a Senate vacancy pending a special election to fill the [...]

Senator Stevens and the Senate Ethics Committee

Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation poses the following questions: “The Alaska Daily News covers another aspect of the trial: what happens if Sen. Stevens is found guilty and then wins reelection? I have another question, what does the Senate Ethics Committee do if Sen. Stevens is acquitted?”  Lets begin with the easiest question:  if [...]

Gifts and Liabilities in the Stevens Jury Instructions

           My last post discussed how the Stevens jury may be confused about the definition of a “reportable liability.”  Today I will discuss a significant ambiguity in the jury instructions themselves.                         The instructions reflect the fact that Stevens is charged with failing to report both gifts and liabilities.  But nowhere do the instructions [...]

Stevens Jury Confused on Liability Issue

             According to The Hill, one of the questions asked by the Stevens jury this week involved the issue of reportable liabilities.  The jury’s note to the judge asked him to “please clarify the liability cost as it is not readily clear in the Senate regulations.”  It is interesting that the jury would be [...]

Stevens Jury Instructions

          For those interested in the Stevens case, the Anchorage Daily News has posted the jury instructions.               One issue that the jury instructions deal with is the relevance of public disclosure to the case.  As discussed by Taxpayers for Common Sense, the defense argued that the duty of disclosure to the public is irrelevant [...]

Renzi’s Speech or Debate Defense

              Congressman Rick Renzi, currently facing federal trial on corruption charges, moved this week to dismiss the indictment based on the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.  Renzi argues that the indictment is flawed because the grand jury relied on two types of information privileged under the Clause.  First, the grand jury relied [...]

DC Circuit Grants Stay in Miers Case

              The D.C. Circuit has at last ruled on the stay motion in the Miers case.  In a brief per curium opinion, the court grants the motion to stay and denies the motion for an expedited briefing schedule.  The court first holds that there is appellate jurisdiction, noting that the declaratory judgment that Miers [...]

GAO Audit of Lobbying Disclosure

GAO has released its audit of lobbying disclosure filings (Lobbying Disclosure: Observations on Lobbyists’ Compliance with New Disclosure Requirements).  The audit was required by the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA).  GAO randomly selected 100 lobbying disclosure reports and then asked the lobbyists to provide support for eight “key elements” of the [...]