HomeEssential Ethics / JULY 6, 2018

Essential Ethics

JULY 6, 2018

Latest Developments:

The California Fair Political Practices Enforcement Review Task Force meets next Wednesday, June 11.  The Commission created the task force to obtain input from the regulated community and other interested parties regarding creating/revising the commission’s enforcement manual.  The agenda includes organizational activities such as selecting a leader and establishing goals.

The Missouri Ethics Commission issued two new regulations that contain (1) clarifications on when an out-of-state committee, including a federal PAC, must register and (2) related definitions. The regulations take effect on August 8, 2018, in time for the General Election Cycle.

In case you missed it:

  • The New York Times traces the Supreme Court’s view of the First Amendment over the last few decades, from the days of Earl Warren to the Roberts court. The most recent incarnation of the court is skeptical about any government effort to regulate speech.  Decisions from Buckley v. Valeo to Citizen’s United to this year’s decisions regarding speech about abortion and union dues show the court’s evolving view of the First Amendment.
  • Google isn’t that tech savvy: Google says it lacks the capability to comply with new Maryland requirements for disclosure of online advertisements, according to the Baltimore Sun.  The new law requires disclosure of who is paying for political ads and how much they are paying.  In the absence of the ability to comply, Google indicates that it will stop selling political ads for Maryland state and local races.
  • Ann Ravel, former Chair of the Federal Election Commission is now on the staff of Maplight, which is known for its online research tools regarding the influence of money on political decisions. According to Maplight, “She will develop a robust, evidence-based policy platform to address deceptive politics and strategically advance solutions that safeguard our political system.”
  • A reporter for TV Station WRAL Raleigh, in North Carolina tracked down dark money spending on TV ads, Facebook ads, and mailers in North Carolina campaigns. According the report, the common element behind the various groups with different names is a single Democratic political law attorney, Michael Weisel.
  • The Texas Statesman reports that the Texas Ethics Commission fined a consultant for creating a deceptive website to attack a candidate. Mike Lewis, a candidate for County Chair of the Democratic Party created a website called LewisforChair.com.  According to the Commission , the consultant created a website called Lewis4Chair that redirected users to TheRealMikeLewis.com.  The consultant violated a Texas statute that prohibits entering into a contract to publish a campaign communication from a source other than its true source with intent to injure a candidate and was fined $1,500.