HomeEssential Ethics / July 1, 2022

Essential Ethics

July 1, 2022

Latest Developments:

  • The State of Tennessee will begin implementing Public Chapter 1087 which imposes, beginning July 1st, “changes…for existing and new political action committees (PACs), candidates, and organizations tax-exempt under the IRS as 501(c)(4),(5), and (6)” with multiple effective dates until January, 2023. As JD Supra reports, the changes effective this month, include requiring “new multicandidate PACs, before conducting any financial activities…[to] certify the names and addresses of all officers and persons who ‘directly control campaign expenditures.’ Existing PACs must make the same certifications by January 31, 2023. Changes in officer makeup must be reported no later than thirty days after the change.”
  • The United States Department of Justice “presented a new policy at a Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association event that requires chief compliance officers (CCO) to certify that compliance programs have been ‘reasonably designed to prevent anti-corruption violations.’” As the National Law Review reports, the policy stems from a recent settlement of case involving a mining giant “after it pleaded guilty to bribery and market manipulation charges…[and] is meant to ensure that CCOs stay in the loop on potential company violations” which included Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.  Still, concerns have been raised as to the exposure these officers may face to personal liability and that it may “undermine their authority by opening CCOs to internal pressure to execute a certification.”

In Case You Missed It:

  • Los Angeles Saga Continues: The Journal Record reports that a Los Angeles developer was found guilty of bribery, obstruction of justice, and wire fraud, gifting $500,000 to a city councilman and his assistant for special preferences. The case involved the developer seeking “help in resolving a labor issue involving [the developer’s] company’s planned construction of a large commercial and condominium complex in the city’s burgeoning downtown district. At the time, [the city councilman] chaired the city’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee.” The developer could face up to 30 years in prison and the company may have a fine imposed as high as $1.5 million.
  • Anaheim Slammed: An Orange County, California grand jury heavily criticized the City of Anaheim, already ensnarled in a multi-layered scandal centered on its former mayor, for the process by which the Major League Baseball stadium was approved. As the Los Angles Times details, the grand jury said in its report that, “[t]he city council majority’s inappropriate handling of the stadium property transactions betrayed its constituents…demonstrat[ing] a persistent lack of transparency and rushed decision-making … exacerbating distrust by the public, state and local government officials, and even some members of its own city council.” Still, the city manager and mayor pro tem continue to back the stadium deal and maintain that their proceedings were transparent and in good faith, notwithstanding the previous mayor’s alleged improprieties.
  • Campaign Finance Reform on the Aloha Islands: We reported in recent weeks about state-level efforts to enact tougher government ethics regulations in the wake of high-profile arrests of officials for corruption. Now, the Honolulu Civil Beat details considerations the state is making regarding “a handful of measures aimed at tightening campaign finance laws and reducing the influence of money in politics.” This week, the Campaign Spending Commission proposed several reforms to the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct. Among the most notable was to close “a loophole in the law still allows employees and officers of those companies [with government contracts] to continue making political donations.” An additional proposal “would put an end to a practice by state lawmakers that exploits a legal loophole allowing them to funnel campaign funds to their colleagues. [in which] some, particularly those with large war chests, often buy tickets to their colleagues’ fundraisers to get around the prohibition.”