HomeEssential Ethics / November 21, 2023

Essential Ethics

November 21, 2023

Latest Developments:

  • The United States Supreme Court adopted a Code of Conduct for Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Code was issued to “dispel this misunderstanding” that the Justices were unrestricted by any ethics rules. The Washington Post details the process and what was left out. 
  • Voters in Maine approved Question 2 on the November 7th Ballot, which bans foreign governments-and entities that they own, control, or influence-from making campaign contributions or financing electioneering communications. Maine Public explains the details.
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced that he issued Executive Order 2023-29, creating a Campaign Finance and Election Threats Task Force “to rigorously assess campaign finance, scrutinize foreign investment, and combat foreign interference in Oklahoma elections.” Among the areas of inquiry assigned to the task force is “Identifying any campaign finance loopholes that need to be closed…”
  • The Anaheim City Council approved a new policy to require posting the calendars of city public officials, including the Mayor, City Council Members, and City Managers. The requirement covers “all non-internal city-related appointments, calls and meetings with members of the public, businesses, developers, union representatives, consultants, and lobbyists.”
  • A U.S. District Court judge, in The Buckeye Institute v. Internal Revenue Service, denied the IRS’ motion for summary judgment in a case that involves donor disclosure. The Institute explains that, after it was subjected to an IRS audit, it is concerned that its donors, if disclosed, may be subjected to “retaliatory individual audits” and thus it seeks a judgment prohibiting the IRS from collecting donor information. 


  • New E-filing System in Georgia: E-filing is increasingly popular and changing the way lobbyists register and file reports. The latest example is Georgia’s new e-filing system for the 2024 registration period.
  • Random Lobby Audits: A minority of states randomly select lobbyists for audits each year. Connecticut has released its list of 30 filers. The audited filers were selected from a pool of all lobbyist employers that were registered from January 2021 through December 2023.  

In Case You Missed It:

  • Arizona Disclosure Laws Challenged: The Arizona Capitol Times reports that two groups are challenging the provisions of Proposition 211, passed in 2022, which require disclosure of the origin of the donations when a person or entity spends more than $50,000 on a statewide campaign.
  • New York Mayor InvestigationABC News reports on the continuing investigation of NYC Mayor Eric Adams and allegations that contributions may have been made by straw donors from Turkey.
  • Mayor of Chicago Scrutinized for Pay-to-Play: The Chicago Sun Times reports that the Mayor took contributions from city contractors, and is now returning them, as it was an “oversight.”
  • Kentucky Governor Investigation: The Kentucky Lantern describes the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s investigation into excess donations made by the Mayor of London (Kentucky) to Governor Beshear.
  • Oakland, California Struggles with DisclosureOaklandside reports on the Oakland Ethics Commission’s inability to figure out which public officials have or have not filed their Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest), which provides transparency to the public with respect to the financial interests of those public officials.
  • Hollywood Contributions Reopen: The Los Angeles Times predicts an expected spike in Hollywood contributions now that both the writers’ and actors’ strikes are over.