HomeEssential Ethics / March 19, 2024

Essential Ethics

March 19, 2024

Latest Developments: 

  • The Oregon Legislature approved HB. 4024, which would impose campaign contribution limits in one of the few remaining states that has no limits. The bill establishes these limits, beginning January 1, 2027, requires related reporting beginning in 2028. Local governments may establish lower contribution limits. The measure goes to Governor Kotek, who is expected to sign the measure.
  • New Fair Political Practices Commission Chair: Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of Adam E. Silver as the new FPPC Chair. Current Chair Miadich will remain on the commission until after the commission’s March 21, 2024, meeting. Chair Silver will take office on April 15, 2024. Silver currently serves as the Chief Counsel for the Assembly Ethics Committee.
  • The United States District Court for the District of Maine issued an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of Question 2, a ballot measure from the November election, which banned contributions from foreign governments and entities in state elections.
  • The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama enjoined the enforcement of certain reporting provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act (commonly called “FinCEN”). The court found the act unconstitutional because it is not within the exercise of Congress’ enumerated powers. The United States Treasury Department announced that “Other than the particular individuals and entities subject to the court’s injunction, …reporting companies are still required to comply with the law…”
  • Voters in San Francisco approved Proposition D, which, among other things, expands who is a “restricted source” for purposes of gift limitations and expands anti-bribery provisions.
  • The Federal Election Commission is seeking comments on the use of segregated accounts by national party committees. The action is in response to two petitions filed with the commission seeking new regulations.
  • The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission proposed extensive amendments to its regulations, which among other things, would increase contribution limits, lower reporting thresholds, require late contribution reports and regulate housekeeping accounts. The commission is seeking comments on the regulations and will hold a hearing in April.


  • New Jersey Business Entity (BE) Annual Statement: Insider NJ reminds us that, based on changes made last year, pay-to-play disclosure reporting will be different this year. Ask a Nielsen Merksamer Political Reporting Specialist if you have any questions.
  • Impacts of Trump v. Anderson: A bipartisan panel of scholars and election lawyers, moderated by Nielsen Merksamer’s Jason Kaune, discuss “Trump v. Anderson in Practice: The Facts, The Law and What Comes Next” on an American Bar Association (ABA) CLE this Friday at 9 am Eastern. Register here.

In Case You Missed It

  • New FARA Regulations ComingThe Hill discloses that the Department of Justice filed a notice of intention to prescribe rules governing the Foreign Agents Registration Act, apparently to be published in April.
  • Maine Measure to Limit PAC Contributions Heads to Ballot: A measure to limit contributions to political action committees to $5,000 per calendar year, including from individuals and businesses, appears headed to the November Ballot. The Portland Press-Herald reports that Secretary of State Shenna Bellows announced that the proponents had submitted enough signatures to qualify.
  • Judicial Disclosure Highlighted: Fix the Court looked at court disclosure requirements, reviewed information from the actual disclosures, and graded the 50 states on their performance in judicial economic interest transparency.
  • Congress Ponders Charity Contribution BanHR 7319, the End Zuckerbucks Act of 2024, would ban IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations from providing direct funding to election organizations.
  • Menendez Associate Pleads GuiltyCNN reports that businessman implicated with Senator Bob Menendez has pleaded guilty to seven charges related to the bribery scheme and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • Phantom Super PAC PleaPolitico reports that a Pennsylvania man who raised $4.8 million for a fake PAC, Americans for Progress, pleaded guilty to two charges and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
  • F. Public Works Scandal Sentence: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a San Francisco restauranteur, who acted as a go-between accepting payments in a bribery scheme to benefit the former head of the Public Works Department, was sentenced to nine months in prison.
  • Unlimited Contributions Persist in California: The Voice of OC describes the Orange County Board of Education as the “Wild West” of campaign finance. Despite contribution limits for state, city, and county candidates, candidates for the Orange County Board of Education have no limits.
  • Wichita, Kansas Reverses Ban on Corporate Contributions: The Wichita Eagle reports that the city council lifted a ban on corporate contributions, but will require that the name of the principal owner of the company be reported by the recipient candidate.