HomeEssential Ethics / December 4, 2023

Essential Ethics

December 4, 2023

Latest Developments: 

  • The Michigan Bureau of Elections issued its annual update of thresholds under the state’s Lobby Registration Act. Among other things, lobby registration in required when compensation exceeds $775 in any 12-month period (up from $725), lobbyist employers must register when expenditures on lobbying exceed $3,075 in a 12-month period (or $775 to lobby a single official), and gift disclosure is required for expenditures over $76 in a month (up from $72).
  • The Texas Majority PAC withdrew its request for an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Commission (AO-2023-06). The FEC had prepared two different draft opinions, both of which concluded that the PAC’s paid canvassing program represented a coordinated communication and thus an in-kind contribution to any recipient candidate.


  • The Maine Ethics Commission announced that while a new lobby registration year has begun, registrations will not actually be accepted until their new registration website goes live in a few days.

In Case You Missed It

  • The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) fined a former state Assemblyman $100,000 for using campaign funds for personal use over the protests of his campaign manager. The Los Angeles Times reports on the details, which summarizes the FPPC’s evidence.
  • Revolving Door Brings Guilty Plea: The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a former Indiana legislator who voted for a casino proposal in exchange for a promise of future employment pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. The proposed employment carried an annual compensation of at least $350,000.
  • Revolving Door Brings Removal ProceedingsLouisville Public Media reports that the Louisville Metro Council will hold removal proceedings for a council member who “negotiated a job with a nonprofit while supporting their bid for a major grant.”
  • PAC Fined but Moves Money: According to MSN/The Chicago Tribune, a PAC “emptied its bank account just weeks after being notified it faced one of the largest state election fines ever for failing to timely disclose millions of dollars it spent until after last November’s election.”
  • Discount Gun Offer Requires Lobby Registration: The Indianapolis Star/Yahoo News relays that the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission fined an Indiana gunmaker $4,500 for failing to register as a lobbyist and report activity in a timely manner after he testified before the legislature and simultaneously offered AK-15 rifles to legislators at half price.
  • Phantom Money?News Channel 5 Nashville reports on a congressman who claims to have loaned $320,000 to his campaign but apparently doesn’t even have a personal savings account.