Posts Tagged ‘lobbyists’

New at Point of Law

Things you’re missing if you’re not following my other site:

“British Government Pays Lobbyists to Lobby It on Climate Change”

It’s wonderfully circular, and not all that different in practice from the “advocacy” and “law reform” funding that has at various times been doled out by our own federal and state governments through legal services, community action and public health programs, tobacco settlement kitties, and so forth. [Iain Murray, CEI “Open Market”]

March 22 roundup

  • No back-alley bikini lines: New Jersey consumer affairs director rejects proposed ban on Brazilian waxing [Asbury Park Press, JammieWearingFool, Jaira Lima and protest site, Popehat, News12 video] Florida, however, won’t let you get a fish-nibble pedicure [WWSB]
  • Kids doing well in homeschool but divorcing dad disapproves, judge says they must be sent to public [WRAL, Volokh]
  • Al Franken comes out for loser-pays in litigation (well, in this case at least) [MSNBC “First Read”]
  • U.K.: “A man who tried to kill himself has won £90,000 in damages from the hospital which saved his life but hurt his arm in the process” [Telegraph]
  • Life in places without the First Amendment: “Australia’s Vast, Scattershot Censorship Blacklist Revealed” [Slashdot, Volokh, Popehat]; British Telecom passes all internet traffic through “‘Cleanfeed” filters to identify (inter alia) racist content [Glasgow Herald]
  • More on that suit by expelled student against Miss Porter’s School; “Oprichniki” said to be not identical to Keepers of Tradition [NYTimes; our December coverage]
  • “Why We Need Cop Cameras” [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune] Shopkeepers terrorized in Philadelphia: “The thugs had badges.” [Ken at Popehat]
  • Counting former lobbyists in Obama Administration? Don’t forget Kathleen Sebelius [Jeff Emanuel, RedState]
  • Wisconsin: “$50,000 claim filed over girl’s time-out in school” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

March 1 roundup

  • Oregon Supreme Court plays chicken with SCOTUS over $79.5 million punitive damages award in Williams v. Philip Morris case. [Sebok @ Findlaw; Krauss @ IBD; POL Feb. 1]
  • Speaking of punitive damages, I did a podcast on Exxon Shipping v. Baker. I can’t bear to listen to it, so let me know how I did. [Frank @ Fed Soc]
  • Arkansas case alleged legal sale of pseudoephedrine was “nuisance” because meth-makers would buy it; case dismissed. [Beck/Herrmann]. This is why I’ve stockpiled Sudafed.
  • Lawyers advertise for refinery explosion victims before fire goes out. [Hou Chron/TLR]
  • Connecticut Supreme Court: cat-attack victim can sue without showing past history of violence by animal. [On Point] Looking forward to comments from all the anti-reformers who claim to oppose reform because they’re against the abrogation of the common law.
  • Op-ed on the Great White fire deep pockets phenomenon. [SE Texas Record; earlier: Feb. 2]
  • “FISA lawsuits come from Twilight Zone.” [Hillyer @ Examiner]
  • Legislative action on various medical malpractice tweaking in Colorado, Hawaii, and Wyoming. [TortsProf]
  • Request for unemployment benefits: why fire me just because I asked staffers for a prostitute? [Des Moines Register]
  • “So much for seduction and romance; bring in the MBAs and lawyers.” [Mac Donald @ City Journal; contra Belle Lettre; contra contra Dank]
  • Where is the Canadian Brandeis standing up for free speech? [Kay @ National Post]
  • In defense of lobbying. [Krauthammer @ WaPo]

Assignment Desk: Alliance for a New America, Rachel Mellon, Alexander Forger, and John Edwards

The Alliance for a New America is an “independent” campaign organization running television ads in Iowa on behalf of John Edwards—whose ability to spend money himself in Iowa is restricted because he is taking taxpayer money as campaign funds (all while bashing other candidates for taking money from “lobbyists”, even as he takes millions from trial lawyers and his finance chair is the former head of lobbying group ATLA).

Via Kaus, though Paul Krugman calls the Alliance for a New America a “labor 527”, it turns out that a third of its money comes from Rachel Mellon, of the Mellon family fortune. (Though one wonders why Krugman is willing to defend the 527 as a labor 527. It’s not like SEIU, which also heavily funds the Alliance for a New America, doesn’t lobby the government for special-interest legislation. If, as Edwards says, lobbyists are bad, they don’t suddenly become good because you agree with them. And if lobbyists you do agree with are good, then why isn’t the issue the underlying policy proposal rather than the fact of the lobbying, as Edwards tries to demagogue?)

Here’s the thing: Mellon is 96 years old. There are certainly competent 96-year-olds out there, and it’s possible that Mellon really likes John Edwards. But what we do know is that a New York trust attorney who holds the power of attorney for Mellon and the Mellon-related LLC that is fronting the money is a big fund-raiser for Edwards. Does Mellon know that she’s funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to John Edwards through her attorney through multiple 527s? Or is there something else going on? One expects Obama to complain:

According to the available records, which go back to 1980, she has never donated to a political candidate until a contribution was made in her name to John Edwards this year. Mellon’s involvement in the decision to donate to the Edwards campaign is unknown. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Alexander Forger, who has power for attorney for Mrs. Mellon, is a major supporter of John Edwards’ candidacy. Crain’s Business Journal reported in February that Forger and “a group of prominent New York lawyers” hosted a fund-raiser for Edwards at Essex House — the Central Park South address where his office is located. Forger has also personally donated $4,600 to Edwards’ campaign, according to FEC records. This is not the first time Forger has used Oak Springs Farms to support Edwards; in 2006, he made a $250,000 contribution to Edwards’ One America 527 group.

And even Daily Kos is asking questions.

(If there is something fishy, it wouldn’t be the first time lawyers have engaged in campaign finance shenanigans for John Edwards. See the case of Tab Turner. There’s the pending Fieger indictment, though Edwards and Fieger profess innocence. And Edwards still hasn’t returned all of the Milberg Weiss money, despite several guilty pleas and a pending indictment.)

Speaking of Edwards and demagoguery: he’s dropped references to the Mellons from his stump talks.

Rielle Hunter and John Edwards

Who is the “formerly hard-partying girl who claims that she found enlightenment” who met John Edwards in a bar and was paid six digits by the campaign to make videos of him that “lingers over the former senator’s behind as he tucks a starched white shirt into his pants,” and why is the campaign suddenly hiding the webvideos she made of Edwards on questionable legal grounds? Mickey Kaus is curious after reading this Sam Stein post. Separately, Garance Franke-Ruta notes the irony of Edwards stumping the SEIU for votes and donations on the leftist union’s “Lobby Day.” For other Edwards campaign shenanigans on Overlawyered, see Sep. 19.

Update, July 22: new revelations about Edwards and Hunter?

Update, August 13: Where did Andrew Young get his money?

(For continuing Rielle Hunter scandal coverage, see our Rielle Hunter tag.)

Assignment Desk: Edwards, Obama, and lobbyist money

At YearlyKos, John Edwards and Barack Obama sought to distinguish themselves from Hillary Clinton by saying they didn’t take money from registered lobbyists, and Clinton was booed for defending herself. (Also: Franke-Ruta.)

I found this curious: after all, Obama and Edwards showed up at the national convention of the lobbying group for the trial lawyers, the former Association of Trial Lawyers of America (who now call themselves the American Association of Justice). There, they gave speeches (as did Clinton, Biden, and Richardson). A look at the largest donors for Obama and especially Edwards shows a disproportionate number of active members of that lobbying group. Indeed, John Edwards’s finance chairman is Fred Baron, the former president of ATLA. If Obama and Edwards want voters to believe that Clinton is influenced by lobbyist money, what should we think about these two candidates’ debts to trial lawyers? Are we to believe that the critical difference is the lobbyist registration papers, at which point money becomes tainted and dirty? Are any reporters going to ask that hard question, or will they let the two candidates demagogue from the high ground as they take millions from the most pernicious special interest group in America?