HomeEssential Ethics / August 7, 2023

Essential Ethics

August 7, 2023

Latest Developments: 

  • Louisiana Gift Limit Increase: The Louisiana Board of Ethics published a final rule which increases the state limit for “food, drink, or refreshments” to $77 at a single event. The increase from $70 applies retroactively from July 1, 2023.
  • Illinois Bans Contributions from Red Light Camera Industry: Governor Pritzker signed B. 3903 which “Prohibits any contractor that provides equipment and services for automated law enforcement, automated speed enforcement, or automated railroad grade crossing enforcement systems to municipalities or counties, as well as any political action committee created by such a contractor, from making a campaign contribution to any political committee established to promote the candidacy of a candidate or public official.” The measure also includes revolving-door restrictions and takes effect immediately.

In Case You Missed It:

  • New York Ethics in Limbo: Politico Pro reports on “how New York’s new ethics agency [Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG)] is different than JCOPE.” In sum, “extraordinarily quiet.”  The article points out that “COELIG is statutorily required to release an annual report no later than April 1st every year. JCOPE usually got the report in the first half of April. COELIG is currently aiming to release it by September.” In addition, “At the one-year mark, COELIG has also yet to take a single enforcement action.”
  • Hawaii Fundraiser Ban Falls Flat: In 2022 the Hawaii legislature passed SB 555, which banned campaign fundraisers “during any regular session or special session of the legislature.” But, as reported by the Honolulu Civil Beat, the bill “did not halt the flow of campaign donations to many state senators and representatives.” According to the article, a “review of the latest campaign finance disclosures, which were due late Monday, illustrates that major special interests continue to give generously to lawmakers, especially those who wield a lot of power.”
  • California Fair Political Practices Commission Outnumbered: Capitol Weekly points out that the sheer number of persons regulated and filings received by the California FPPC is overwhelming for the agency’s 90 employees. The article quotes the Chair of the Commission: “Our staff is probably never going to keep pace with the number of complaints it receives.”
  • Anaheim Corruption DetailedThe Los Angeles Times describes the contents of an Anaheim City investigative report which “found a ‘potential criminal conspiracy’ regarding $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds and alleged the city’s former mayor and the ex-head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce participated in ‘influence peddling.’” The article also notes that “Among a litany of other ethically or legally concerning situations set out in the report… is allegedly rampant unreported lobbying.” Cal Matters notes that “Anaheim joins a long list of corruption-plagued cities in Southern California.”
  • No Conflict Here: According to the Topeka Capital-Journal as reported on Yahoo, “A top economic development employee at the Kansas Department of Commerce bid on and won a $180,000 a year contract to consult for the agency. State officials maintain there was no conflict of interest in awarding the consulting contract to Paul Hughes, whose contract went into effect two and a half weeks before he left his government job.” The employee was the sole bidder.