HomeEssential Ethics / June 24th, 2022

Essential Ethics

June 24th, 2022

Latest Developments:

  • The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, in ACLU of Florida v. Byrd, permanently enjoined provisions of Florida’s SB 1890. That bill, passed last year, purported to limit contributions to ballot measures to $3,000 per person.  A measure passed this year, HB 921, sought to limit the application of the $3,000 cap to nonresidents.  The Court found that both measures violated the First Amendment, citing Citizens Against Rent Control/Coal. for Fair Hous. v. City of Berkeley.  The ACLU issued a statement saying, among other things, “We are grateful that the state lost in its attempt to eradicate citizens’ initiatives from Florida.”
  • The New York Independent Review Committee for Nominations to the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying In Government (“IRC”) issued its Procedures for the evaluation of nominees to the new commission. The committee is composed of a group of New York law school deans, who are tasked with vetting candidates to serve on the state’s new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (CELIG).  In announcing the procedures, the committee noted that “JCOPE sunsets and the new Commission takes effect on July 8, 2022.”

In Case You Missed It:

  • Campaign Finance Review: The Coalition for Integrity issued its State Campaign Finance Index 2022, which “analyzes the (campaign finance) laws of 50 states and the District of Columbia” and the agencies that enforce those laws.  The Index examines “the millions of dollars flowing to state level campaigns.”  The report considers “whether these agencies have investigative and enforcement authority, as well as laws that contain prohibitions on campaign coordination, limits on campaign contribution and disclosure of those contributions, requirements for transparency of funding of independent expenditures and political advertisements, and the availability of campaign finance information.”   Washington State, California, and Maine came out at the top;  Utah, South Dakota, and Indiana were ranked at the bottom.
  • Contributors BewarePolitico reports on the indictment of Andrew Gillum, former Mayor of Tallahassee and a one-time candidate for Governor.  The charges allege that Gillum “illegally solicited campaign contributions between 2016 and 2019 and promised political favors in return for the financial support.”  The article points out that federal agents apparently asked a Gillum aide about other donors, including “a founder and chief investment officer of a Connecticut-based hedge fund and major national Democratic donor.”
  • Reform on Hold: Following the Mayor’s resignation amid a federal corruption investigation, the Voice of OC reports that “Anaheim City Council members deadlocked on a campaign finance reform in an effort to lessen special interests’ influence on policy decisions… After a majority of the council debated the issue for hours – over the course of two city council meetings this month – council members deadlocked 3-3 late Tuesday night over an ordinance that would’ve required a 72-hour reporting window for all campaign contributions of $250 or more, along with mandatory recusal periods.”
  • Lobby Activity in 2021: Open Secrets issued a report on state and federal lobbying for calendar year 2021.  One conclusion of the report is not a surprise: “Lobbying spending continues to grow at both the state and federal levels…”  The report also contains a detailed analysis of spending by the pharmaceutical industry.