HomeEssential Ethics / JULY 13, 2018

Essential Ethics

JULY 13, 2018

Latest Developments:

Sexual Harassment Developments: In Maine, SB 695 was enacted. It requires Legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists to attend and complete a course of in- person education and training regarding harassment, including sexual harassment, at the beginning of each regular session of the Legislature. It requires the Legislative Council to develop and implement the course. Rules and further instructions are pending.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission meets July 19. The commission is slated to further discuss appropriate questions for an AG Opinion regarding the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act that they agreed to request at the January 2018 meeting. Further, in keeping with a February 18th agreement, a task force is meeting to conduct a holistic review of the Enforcement Division’s practices and procedures. One of its purposes is to create a procedures manual that provides an overview of how an enforcement complaint is filed, opened, investigated and resolved. Our firm, among others, is represented on the task force.

In case you missed it:

  • What’s good for the goose…USA TODAY published a story in which they calculate that so-called “secret money” (or perhaps the more ominous and ubiquitous pejorative label “dark money”) has thus far funded more than 40% of outside congressional ads. The supposedly objective story appeared to convey a bias against this form of campaign finance, taking to task what are considered Republican friendly groups as being on the offensive while portraying Democratic friendly groups as merely spending this “secret money” as defensive measures.
  • Free Speech Can’t Catch a Break:  Only July 12, NPR reviewed “A Riveting Documentary [that] Sheds Light on ‘Dark Money.’” The similarly titled Dark Money film focuses on the ongoing campaign finance litigation in Montana and is directed by Kimberly Reed, a native of that state. The review agreed entirely with the film’s premise, that “invisible corporate shenanigans…threatens to sink our democracy outright,” employing dramatic language throughout, labeling the campaign finance issues an “assault on the American electoral and judicial process by corporations whose agenda is nothing less than the dismantling of government itself.” The melodrama reaches an apex when the reviewer describes Dark Money as “a hair-raisingly specific American tale of illicit power.”