HomeEssential Ethics / May 3, 2019

Essential Ethics

May 3, 2019

Latest Developments:

  • The Governor of Maine approved B. 29, which bars legislators from registering as compensated lobbyists for one year after their term of office ends.  The measure applies beginning with the next legislature.
  • Maryland has followed a trend of requiring lobbyists, among others with special access to the state legislative complex, to complete sexual harassment prevention training. The Governor signed HB 679 on April 30, which requires this training.
  • The Governor of California announced the appointment of Richard Miadich as Chair of the California FPPC.  Miadich, according to the Los Angeles Times, is a political ally who co-chaired the successful Proposition 64 campaign, which legalized recreational marijuana in California.  Miadich has been the managing partner of a political law firm in Sacramento.

In Case You Missed It:

  • Challenging Pay-to-Play Restrictions:  A Fort Wayne, Indiana, contractor and his wife are suing the city claiming that they shouldn’t have to choose between business and political activism.  Under city law, the couple lose their ability to obtain city contracts if they contribute more than $2,000 to a candidate with the authority to award the contract.  The Journal Gazette reports that the couple believe that the “ordinance to curb so-called pay-to-play practices violates their rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.”
  • Show-Me The Money:  Following our report a few weeks ago that federal agents had served search warrants in an apparent pay-to-play investigation in which contracts were linked to contributions, the Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the St. Louis County Executive has been indicted on charges of theft of honest services.  His is accused of accepting bribes in a pay-to-play “scheme.”  Following indictment, he resigned his post and surrendered his law license.
  • When the Fox Guards the Henhouse:  The former Illinois Inspector General lamented that the ethics system in Illinois is broken.  In an op-ed piece for the Chicago Tribune, the ex-watchdog says the system is broken. In a separate article about the op-ed, the Tribune reports that the Inspector General cannot perform basic functions of her job because the position is subordinate to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is made up entirely of members of the State Legislature who have inherent conflicts of interest.
  • Good for me, but not for thee:  Real Clear Politics reports on the dilemma of certain candidates who, on the campaign stump, excoriate so-called “dark money” from corporate and union backed political non-profits, yet in practice depend on such spending. Largely, these candidates seem content to let organizations spend this type of money on their behalf.