HomeEssential Ethics / July 29, 2022

Essential Ethics

July 29, 2022

Latest Developments:

  • The Federal Elections Commission met on July 28th. Among its notable action items was an advice letter concerning the often-nebulous regulations governing so-called nonconnected committees. The question involved whether the inclusion of two Members of Congress on the board of Hispanic Leadership Trust (HLT) rendered the HLT a leadership PAC or otherwise affiliated HLT with those two Members’ leadership PACs.  There was also an inquiry as to whether any of HLT’s “bylaw provisions governing its officers’ fundraising activities would allow it to remain unaffiliated with those officers’ leadership PACs.” The Commission concluded that “HLT would not be a leadership PAC” under those conditions, “assuming that no Member of Congress or current candidate for federal office represents more than 33% of the seats required for a quorum of HLT’s board of directors.”
  • The Alabama Secretary of State Office issued several clarifications regarding its 2022 Federal PAC reporting requirements. Most importantly, the “updated guidelines provide that all PACs that raise or spend money to influence an election for a state or local office, including federal PACs… must [still] register and file” with the state.


Basics of the Federal Election Campaign Act 2022:   The Pracitising Law Institute (PLI) will conduct, in just one hour, a briefing of federal candidate and PAC campaign law, as regulated by the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). It is available in-person and online. Featuring Nielsen Merksamer’s Jason Kaune! You may register here.

In Case You Missed It:

  • Keeping the Lights on in the Sunshine State: The Orlando Sentinel reports on an unfolding scandal involving Florida Power and Light (FPL), the nation’s largest electricity provider. Regarding one state legislator who proposed a bill that would affect FPL’s profits, a leaked email quoted the CEO directing his vice presidents “to make his life a living hell…. seriously.” Soon after, an affiliated consulting firm recruited a candidate with the same last name to challenge the legislator and split the vote in his primary. The legislator lost and the stealth “candidate later admitted he was bribed to run.” According to the Sentinel, the incident is one of many which “illustrates the political obstacles policymakers and experts face as they attempt to cut climate pollution from the power sector…[and exposes] decades of extensive influence-peddling on behalf of utility clients.”
  • Public Financing No More on Long Island:  Local media reports that the Suffolk County (New York ) legislature overrode the county executive’s veto of that jurisdiction’s public campaign financing system approved last month. The County executive called it “a step backwards,” citing the potential to exclude disadvantaged groups and to create conflicts of interest. Legislatures in favor of repeal claimed that they “would rather use the program’s $2.6 million on public safety” and that potential conflicts with campaign contributors could be resolved by recusals on a case-by-case basis.
  • Beaver State Updates: The Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC) released its quarterly newsletter, highlighting their conflict of interest and gift policies. Among its pertinent updates is news of the resignation of Robert Johnson, a commissioner who only joined the OGEC in 2021. His departure was precipitated by his election as a judge last month. While “OGEC Commissioners are allowed to serve on multiple boards or agencies…they cannot be a part of both the Judicial and Executive branches of government at the same time.”