HomeEssential Ethics / March 5, 2024

Essential Ethics

March 5, 2024

 Latest Developments:

  • The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission issued an announcement that it resolved several ethics cases, which include the imposition of fines of $7,500 and $5,000 against two individuals who failed to file lobby reports.
  • Oklahoma to Consider Foreign Contribution Ban: According to the Yahoo News (from The Oklahoman), HB 3815, which would ban foreign contributions to ballot measures, will be considered by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, at its request, for promulgation as a commission rule. Ethics Commission rules have the force of statutes in the state.
  • The United States Department of Justice announced that, after three days of testimony in his trial, former Illinois State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann abruptly pleaded guilty. He was accused of misusing over $550,000 of campaign funds, money laundering, and tax evasion.


  • The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics will hold its C., Maryland and Virginia Compliance and Ethics Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 8. Nielsen Merksamer’s Evann Whitelam and Jason Kaune will speak on the topic of “Beware Government Officials Bearing (and Receiving and Soliciting) Gifts: Evolving Law, Expectations and Transparency.” For information and registration, click here.

In Case You Missed It:

  • Good Reason for Counsel Beforehand: The Associated Press reports that the Wisconsin Ethics Commission referred a Trump fundraising committee and a state lawmaker to prosecutors for felony violations of campaign finance law. In an effort to unseat the current Assembly Speaker, the parties allegedly schemed to evade state fundraising limits. The local party Chair opined that the earmarked contributions were not illegal.  The former local party Treasurer is quoted as saying, “It was after the fact that we were like, this sounds like money laundering to me. Did we just screw up really bad?”
  • Permissible Lobbyist Contributions: The Los Angeles Times notes that California law prohibiting lobbyist contributions to state officials does not reach federal elections; the Times gleaned its information about lobbyist contributions to those state officials who are federal candidates from public reports filed by the campaigns.
  • Maine “Special Funds”: CentralMaine.com explains how leadership PACs, with no limits, differ from candidate committees that do have contribution limits. A restriction on contributions to leadership PACs from businesses and industry groups that took effect on January 1, 2023, was struck down by the courts.
  • Missouri Speaker in Trouble: The Missouri Independent reports about how the stellar career of the Speaker of the Missouri House is being negatively impacted by ethics allegations, including his urging of a particular no-bid contract.
  • Never Too Young to Start Contributing: An Arizona congressional candidate’s three elementary school age children have each contributed the maximum amount permitted under federal law to his campaign. According to MSN (from AZ Central), a campaign finance expert for Public Citizen called the contributions “‘strange’ but likely legal.”