HomeEssential Ethics / AUGUST 17, 2018

Essential Ethics

AUGUST 17, 2018

Latest Developments:

A United States District Court Judge in Wyoming found the state’s ban on campaign robocalls to be unconstitutional.  According to Government.comthe ban on political calls was far more restrictive than the limits on commercial robocalls.  In Victory Processing LLC. v. Wyoming Attorney General, the plaintiffs asserted that the robocalls ban violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission met on Thursday, August 16.  The Commission announced that its phone lines would be open longer hours beginning September 1, and running through Election Day. (Temporary hours: Mon.-Tue. 9 – 12; Wed.-Thurs. 1 – 4 [Usual hours are Mon.-Thurs. 9-11:30 a.m.])  The Commission also adopted updated campaign manuals and forms, with changes reflecting new legislation.

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission meets next Tuesday, August 21.  The Commission’s agenda includes possible action on proposed campaign finance changes.


Our annual Essential Ethics Workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 5 at the University Club in Washington, D.C. from 12:30 – 2 p.m.  We’ll be discussing new developments in political law, sharing experiences and best practices for responding to lobby audits, and discussing the potential changes to the Supreme Court’s campaign finance precedent in light of the upcoming appointment of a new Justice.   This event is free and open to all clients.  Contact Donna Flanagan for more information.

In case you missed it:

  • New “Disclosure” SubterfugesPolitico reports that the newest method to avoid donor disclosure is timing formation of committees so close to an election that the first donor disclosure reports are due after the election.  Another method is to borrow the money to make expenditures and collect donations later to avoid donor disclosure on pre-election reports.
  • It’s an election year, and California’s campaign watchdogs are busy fighting among themselves,” according to the Sacramento Bee.  The Bee has a review of the various commissioners’ shenanigans over the past year, from their successful efforts to increase their pay to “self-indulgent” review and revision of internal operations.
  • Atlanta Lobby Ordinance Introduced: The Atlanta Daily World reports that the City of Atlanta is considering requiring all lobbyists to register.  The proposal would cover lobbying pertaining to legislation, contracts, and zoning matters.  The move follows a widening corruption investigation by federal prosecutors who are looking into payments to city employees who steered contracts to vendors who paid them, as reported by the Charlotte Observer.
  • Trump Discounts Raise Ethics Issues: Politico reports that President Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf club is offering merchandise discounts to individuals who sport Secret Service pins that identify them as administration staffers.  Unless the discount is available to all employees, it would appear to be a gift, subject to federal gift limitations, according to sources quoted in the article.