HomeEssential Ethics / January 13, 2023

Essential Ethics

January 13, 2023

Latest Developments:

  • The Washington (State) Public Disclosure Commission published proposed changes to various campaign contribution limits and reporting thresholds, based on inflation. The Commission will hold a hearing on January 26 to consider adoption of a regulation to encompass these changes. Among the many changes, state office candidate limits would increase from $2,000 to $2,331 per election, and legislative candidate limits would increase from $1,000 to $1,165 per election.
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Court, in DiMasi v. Secretary of the Commonwealth, determined that the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives is not disqualified from registering as a lobbyist due to federal felony convictions for corruption in office. The court found that the state’s automatic disqualification statute specifically applies to felony convictions under state law and does not apply to analogous federal law.

In Case You Missed It:

  • San Jose Lobbyist Opaque ReportsSan Jose Spotlight describes how lobbyists are skirting transparency requirements Specifically, a “review of 2022 lobbying disclosure reports show how some lobbyists failed to divulge details of their meetings. While some provide a blanket statement about who they work for, others simply leave the field blank.” The city’s law requires that lobbyists “submit weekly reports and disclose details, including who their client is, who they meet with, how they communicate and, most importantly, the topic being discussed.”
  • Seattle Restricts Voucher ProgramReal Change News describes the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission’s changes to Settle’s public financing programs, which “allocates four $25 vouchers to eligible Seattle residents who can donate them to (city) candidates…” The change prohibits campaign staff from collecting replacement forms from residents who have lost their original vouchers. The article notes that “these changes were made following an influx of accusations of ‘voucher harvesting’ by campaigns.”