HomeEssential Ethics / July 31, 2023

Essential Ethics

July 31, 2023

Latest Developments:

  • In June, A California Superior Court refused to enjoin the state’s recent expansion of state pay-to-play laws to cover local officials. The court’s decision is now final; no appeal was filed. The court reasoned that “The United States Supreme Court has recognized that preventing quid pro quo corruption or its appearance is a compelling state interest. Defendants have provided sufficient evidence that SB 1439 sought to address this corruption by eliminating an exception for local elected officials in the legislative history. They have also provided documents detailing the appearance of quid pro quo corruption the bill seeks to address. In addition, because the bill applies to only limited persons who have a direct financial interest in specific proceedings, the law is closely drawn to avoid abridgment of associational rights. It also provides remedies for violation of the contribution limits.” The court found that the measure “does not violate the First Amendment or Sections 2 and 3 of Article I of the California Constitution…”
  • The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board published a request for comments on a proposal to make extensive changes to its regulations on campaign finance, lobby regulation, and board audit procedures. The proposal would implement some new laws, clarify others, and place in regulations various subject matters of advisory opinions issued by the Commission, including a gift exception for gifts of informational material. Comments are due by September 22, 2023.
  • The Nevada Ethics Commission imposed a $20,000 fine on the Governor for “wearing his sheriff’s uniform and badge in campaign materials.” According to the Associated Press, the Governor violated “a law prohibiting candidates from using government resources for their personal campaigns…”

In Case You Missed It:

  • August Recess brings Vacation FundraisersBloomberg Government describes the annual tradition of lawmakers and lobbyists going “on the far-flung destination fundraising circuit – a sleep-away camp for lawmakers and their K Street benefactors.”  Disneyland and Rocky Mountain resorts, including Jackson Hole and The Broadmoor, are among the favored locations.
  • Former USC Dean Sentenced for Bribery: The Los Angeles Times reports that the former dean of the social work program at USC was sentenced to 18 months of home confinement, 3 years of probation, and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine for bribing a Los Angeles County Supervisor in connection with the renewal of a county contract.
  • Paying for a New Sports Stadium with LobbyistsTennessee Lookout poses the question: “What happens when a cash-poor billionaire wants a new sports stadium?” Their one-word answer: “Lobbying.” The article describes how the “family [who owns the team] turned to a strategy common for Tennessee businesses wanting help with a project. They hired a deep roster of lobbyists to persuade lawmakers to raise taxes and fund their proposal with public dollars…”