The haste of the Texas Democrat, the generosity of Madeleine Albright

Welcome to the Checks & Imbalances newsletter. Today, we look at a congressman in a hurry to join a law and lobbying firm, as well as the campaign contributions of a former secretary of state.

Texas Democrat Filemon Vela, who has previously said he will not seek re-election, will resign from Congress early

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) plans to announce in the coming weeks that he will resign early from Congress to begin work at the law and lobbying firm Akin Gump, the congressman tells Checks & Imbalances . Thursday.

In January, Vela, who had previously said he would not seek re-election, informed the House Ethics Committee that following his “negotiation or agreement regarding future employment” he recused himself from any questions. regarding Akin Gump.

The five-term lawmaker confirmed he would join the firm full-time to practice law in his public policy practice. Before formally announcing his resignation, Vela said he wanted to see what the Senate would do with a bill he sponsored to transfer ownership of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park to Texas, which the House voted against. adopted earlier this month.

“The time has come, with only nine months left in the term,” Vela said. “I’m just ready to go.”

Vela said if one of the reasons he chose Akin Gump was “deep Texas history,” he would be based out of his DC offices.

Earlier this year, Akin Gump announced that he had hired Vela’s chief of staff. “Akin Gump is lucky to have him,” Vela said in the company’s press release about the hiring.


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In case you missed it

“Virginia Thomas urged the White House leader to continue his tireless efforts to void the 2020 election, per the texts,” reported the Washington Post Friday. From Forbes Monday: “Ginni Thomas donated $15,000 to GOP campaigns, including Trump’s.”


Pelosi exercises Tesla stock options to buy $2 million worth of stock

“In a regulatory filing released Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) disclosed that her financial husband purchased more than $2 million worth of Tesla stock last week,” Jonathan Ponciano reports for Forbes:

Buoyed by a broader market rally on Tuesday, Tesla shares have soared about 10% since buying Pelosi, including 8% on Tuesday alone; however, the stock is still down almost 19% from the all-time high reached in November. This isn’t the first high-priced options bet Pelosi has placed on big tech stocks: Last year, Paul Pelosi reportedly won around $5 million on options contracts tied to Alphabet shares.


Continuous irresolution

Updates on previous Checks & Imbalances reports

Closing arguments began Thursday in the government’s case accusing Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) of lying to the FBI, KETV reported. Fortenberry denied the charges, and his defense reportedly centered on a claim that he did not hear a phone call clearly. His campaign reported spending $158,000 on legal fees last year. Fortenberry also launched a legal expense trust in August.

*****

In December, the Congressional Ethics Office voted unanimously to dismiss allegations that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) failed to include required information about her book contract in her annual disclosures, in a statement released Tuesday. In September, his agent said Omar hadn’t made any money from the leaked book.

*****

Former President Donald Trump rescinded his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Ala.) Senate campaign, saying Brooks would “wake up” by not pushing to overturn the 2020 election results. Brooks’ campaign spent $25,000 at Trump’s Palm Beach club in the second quarter of 2021, Brooks said through a spokesperson that he wanted to “raise funds at Mar-a-Lago as often as possible.” His campaign, however, has not reported any disbursements at a Trump property since.

One of Brooks’ opponents, Mike Durant, met with Trump this week at Mar-a-Lago, the New York Times reported.


whoops

On Wednesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Senate campaign amended its 2021 year-end report after the Federal Election Commission sought clarification on seven issues. Among these issues are possible over-contributions, donations from LLCs, contributions from a conduit, and the lack of description of detailed disbursements. The FEC has not yet processed the modified file. Schmitt’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry.


Intriguing investments

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made $395,000 in political donations between 1978 and 2021, according to FEC records. His largest donation, $7,500, came in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton. Albright died Wednesday at the age of 84.


Asset Tracking

Former national security adviser and current conspiracy peddler Michael Flynn is co-hosting a fundraiser for Floridian Darlene Swaffar’s congressional campaign in Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. Tickets start at $1,000.

  • “Trump is guilty of ‘numerous’ crimes, says prosecutor who resigned” (New York Times)
  • “Trump campaign ordered to pay $350,000 for trying to enforce ‘unenforceable’ nondisclosure agreement” (BuzzFeed News)
  • “Trump sues Hillary Clinton, DNC and others, alleging conspiracy to link his campaign to Russia” (CNN)
  • “Donald Trump Jr. launches news aggregation app” (Axios)

Editor’s Choice

  • “Mini-Benioff makes his mega-game” (Puck)
  • “Henry Cuellar becomes latest Democrat to distance himself from Koch Industries over company’s ties to Russia” (CNBC)
  • “Ted Cruz’s latest troll? Turning his campaign into a super PAC” (The Daily Beast)
  • “The Russian oligarch made political contributions to Senator Schumer and the oligarch’s associates spent millions on American influence” (Open Secrets)
  • “Facebook ranks first in House Big Tech spending in 2021” (LegiStorm)
  • “Donors outside Wyoming make up majority of Rep. Liz Cheney’s record fundraising in 2022 election cycle” (OpenSecrets)
  • “More than 100 House Republicans co-host fundraiser for Cheney’s challenger” (Politico)
  • “GOP Representative John Rutherford of Florida Bought Raytheon Stock the Same Day Russia Invaded Ukraine” (Insider)
  • “Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois violated a conflict of interest law with late disclosures of stock trades. His office blames a missed mouse click. (initiated)
  • “GOP hopeful Katie Arrington says SC’s Nancy Mace used taxpayer money to campaign. Has she?” (state)
  • “Don’t Say Roe” (Center for Media and Democracy)
  • “These six companies are funding an attack on reproductive rights in six states” (Popular Information)
  • “Tennessee House Speaker, other lawmakers subpoenaed by federal grand jury” (News 5 Nashville)

In conclusion

« United States National Park

Oh don’t leave me alone here by the campfire

United States National Park

I don’t want to die alone by the campfire”

– The Drums, “National Park of the United States”

About Kristina McManus

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