HomeEssential Ethics / MAY 11, 2018

Essential Ethics

MAY 11, 2018

The California Fair Political Practices Commission meets next Thursday, May 17 to take up its regular agenda.  Among the interesting bits before the Commission:

  • Staff has written a memo explaining that Commissioners are not entitled to minimum wage for their Commission activities.  Staff has indicated that it will send its analysis to the Attorney General if the Commission wishes to pursue an Attorney General opinion.
  • Staff is recommending that the Commission formally support SB 1239 (Hertzberg) which would further the efforts to have all campaign filings completed electronically, rather than on paper.  The bill deletes monetary thresholds, thereby requiring all fillings to be made electronically, and makes various technical and clean-up changes.
  • The Executive Director has announced that, “(f)or personal reasons, General Counsel, Jack Woodside is returning to a Staff Counsel position in the Legal Division. Assistant General Counsel, Brian Lau, will be serving as Acting General Counsel.”  A process will be determined as to how to search for a new General Counsel.

The San Francisco Ethics Commission held a special meeting on May 7.

  • New Commissioner:  Kevin Ryan, who resigned after less than a month on the Commission, was replaced by retired Deputy City Attorney Noreen Ambrose.  Ms. Ambrose, in her capacity with the City Attorney’s Office, served variously as General Counsel to the S.F. Port Commission and the S.F. Public Utilities Commission.
  • The Commission adopted the May 3 version of proposed amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.  Those changes generally pertain to additional requirements imposed on candidates, but also require the Commission to create a webpage for each election specifically disclosing/tracing independent expenditures in support or opposition to candidates.  The measure goes back to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.

In case you missed it:

  • The Albany Times Union reports that New York State’s recently passed lobby regulations already may be facing a challenge.   A compliance lawyer says he “plans to file an Article 78 proceeding seeking to overturn them.”  The regulations will require increased disclosure, which has ruffled some feathers.
  • The New York Times Magazine has a fascinating article about corruption around the world.  According to the Times, the trend is that “(c)orruption is being exposed, denounced and prosecuted more vigorously, and at higher levels, than ever.”  Will ethics and compliance with ethical standards take root around the world?  We observe a rise in efforts of U.S. companies that are active internationally seeking to uphold ethical norms.  The Times notes that “The goal is to build ‘systems of integrity’ throughout society.”