HomeEssential Ethics / December 20, 2023

Essential Ethics

December 20, 2023

Latest Developments:

  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of bills that require the Governor, other statewide officers, legislators, and candidates for those offices, to file annual financial disclosure reports. One of the four bills, SB 613, requires that a public official’s disclosure include lobbyists’ gifts, travel payments, and behested contributions to charity. These measures take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourned, which occurred on November 14, 2023.
  • The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices issued increased campaign contribution limits for 2024-25, which are “applicable as of December 9, 2023.” The increased limits apply to individuals, PACs, and party committees; corporate contributions are prohibited.
  • The California Fair Political Practices Commission released its draft regulations to implement SB 29. The bill permits the commission to divert first time ethics offenders to an educational program, much like traffic school for minor traffic offenses. The program, “Political Reform Education Program” or “PREP”, was created “to allow for the education of Respondents who have little or no experience with the Political Reform Act and commit minor violations, in lieu of monetary penalties.”
  • New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed SB 4152, which would have required lobbyist registration and disclosure when lobbying for the nomination or confirmation of a person to state office.
  • Minnesota Ponders New Lobbyist Rules: The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board proposed rule language governing campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and audits, some of which it characterized as “potentially controversial.”

In Case You Missed It:

  • More on L.A. Mayor’s Ethics Changes: The Los Angeles Times explains the background behind the mayor’s recent Ethics Memos, which were included in the 12/4/23 blog.
  • Multiple Suits against Maine Foreign Influencing Limits: According to the Piscataquis Observer, two utilities and two press groups filed suits (See, for example, Versant Power et al v. Schneider et al) against the enforcement of Question 2, approved in November by the voters, which seeks to ban foreign governments and companies with five percent foreign government investment from influencing candidate or referendum elections in Maine.
  • Challenge to New Jersey Campaign Finance Revisions Tossed: com reports that a judge dismissed a suit challenging the constitutionality of a campaign finance reform that revised appointments to the Election Law Enforcement Commission and cut its statute of limitations from 10 years to two.
  • New Executive Director: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission appointed Lee Ann Bruce Boone as the new director for the commission. KOSU (NPR) has a bio.
  • Disney Gifts: Following an audit of Disney’s gift giving related to its oversight by the state, NBC News discloses the history of Disney’s extensive contributions and gifts to Florida public officials, PACs, parties, and links to the 72-page audit report.