HomeEssential Ethics / November 11, 2022

Essential Ethics

November 11, 2022

Latest Developments: 

  • Voters in Arizona Approved Proposition 211, which requires disclosure of total campaign media spending or acceptance of in-kind contributions, in an election cycle if $50,000 or more is spent in statewide campaigns, or more than $25,000 other campaigns, with certain exceptions. Entities must disclose donors of $5,000 or more and must provide certain notice to donors. The full text of the measure may be found in the Arizona 2022 General Election Publicity Pamphlet.
  • Michigan Voters Passed Proposition 1, which imposes 12-year term limits and requires constitutional officers and legislators to file disclosure reports. Those reports include, among other things, disclosure of gifts and travel reimbursements received from lobbyists and lobbyist employers and disclosure of charitable contributions made by lobbyists and lobbyist employers at the behest of the official. The first disclosure statement is due April 15, 2024 and contemplates enabling legislation before December 31, 2023. 
  • Voters also Passed Term Limits in North Dakota in Constitutional Measure 1, which imposes an 8-year limit on legislators and a two-term limit on the Governor. The measure takes effect January 1, 2023. 
  • The Voters of Portland, Maine amended the city’s charter by approving Ballot Question 3 and Ballot Question 8. Ballot Question 8 requires the city council to establish an ethics commission and requires the council, upon recommendation of the ethics commission, to establish a code of ethics. Question 3 concerns campaign finance and includes provisions that prohibit corporate contributions to candidates, limit contributions from entities substantially under foreign influence and require that contributions be reported to the city clerk.


Hearing on the Timing of California’s Expanded Local Pay to Play Law: The California Fair Political Practices Commission will consider a staff memorandum at a hearing on November 18 that will ask for direction in applying the state’s expansion of a law that triggers disqualification for contributions over $250 and extends a ban of making contributions under SB 1439Staff takes the position that the law should reach back to contributions made in 2022. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Steve Glazer, the author of the bill, said SB 1439 “‘may be one of the most significant reforms of the last 50 years.’”

The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) meets in Montreal, Canada December 4 to 7, 2022. The conference focuses on developments in five disciplines: campaign finance, lobbying, ethics, elections, and freedom of information. Interested persons can register here. Nielsen Merksamer’s Jason Kaune leads the session on developments in campaign finance litigation.

In Case You Missed It: 

  • New Federal Rule on Internet Communication Disclaimers Proposed: The Federal Election Commission will consider a proposed rule on internet communication disclaimers. The commission indicates that it intends to implement changes “in light of technological advances since the Commission last 10 revised its rules governing internet disclaimers in 2006, and to address questions from the public 11 about the application of those rules to internet communications.” Axios explains the genesis of the rule and the resulting intrigue.
  • Failure to Disclose Lawsuit: The New Mexico Ethics Commission announced that it filed a lawsuit against an organization that failed disclose to the commission that the organization “spent thousands of dollars on text message advertising campaigns seeking to influence the outcome of a New Mexico ballot question…”
  • Fine for Late FilingThe Oregonian reports that the Oregon State Elections Divisions will fine the National Rifle Association for failing to timely file a donation to oppose an Oregon gun control ballot measure. The NRA will be fined one-half percent of the contribution amount per day for the 64 days that the report was late (i.e., 32%). The NRA did not provide any comment on the late filing.
  • Coordination LawsuitOpen Secrets discloses that the Ready for Ron hybrid PAC sued the Federal Election Commission over a rule that limits the PAC’s ability to share a list of supporters, including contact information. “At the heart of the lawsuit is whether that list – something campaigns typically spend a lot of money compiling – is political speech or an in-kind contribution.”