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Essential Ethics

Essential Ethics is Nielsen Merksamer’s popular weekly newsletter focused on developments in campaign finance, lobby disclosure, and government ethics laws across the nation. View our latest and archived posts below.

October 16, 2023

Latest Developments: California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 29, which authorizes the Fair Political Practices Commission to establish and administer an education program as an alternative to an administrative proceeding for low-level violators, much like traffic school. The eligibility requirements…

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October 9, 2023

Latest Developments: North Carolina House Bill 259 became law without the Governor’s signature. The 635-page law is primarily an appropriations bill but contains two important changes for lobbyists. First, it doubles registration fees for lobbyists and lobbyist employers from $250…

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October 3, 2023

Latest Developments: The Indiana Supreme Court, in Indiana Right to Life Victory Fund v. Morales, upheld the state’s ban on corporate contributions to Super PACs earmarked for independent campaign-related expenditures. Procedurally, the court answered a certified question…

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September 26, 2023

Latest Developments: The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a former U.S. Ambassador was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and fined $93,350 for lobbying in violation of revolving door restrictions and failure to disclose gifts received while in office. The…

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September 18, 2023

Latest Developments: The Governor of California signed AB 421, which revises referendum procedures, including changes to the way a measure is described on the ballot, permitting withdrawal of a measure similar to the process for withdrawing…

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September 12, 2023

Latest Developments: The San Jose, California, City Council adopted changes to the city’s ethics laws that includes eliminating penalties for filing late lobbying disclosures and reducing revolving door restrictions from two years to one year. San Jose Spotlight explains that among the…

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September 7, 2023

Latest Developments: The Governor of California signed SB 678, which requires “a person who is paid by a committee to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure on an internet website, web application, or digital application……

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August 28, 2023

Latest Developments: New Colorado Regulations: The Colorado Department of State adopted amendments to its campaign finance regulations. “This included establishing reporting requirements for independent expenditures, direct ballot measure expenditures, and earmarked contributions and expenditures; (and) detailing when an organization meets…

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August 17, 2023

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) Will Request Public Comment on Use of AI in Campaign Ads and Refrains From Advising on Whether a Leadership PAC Can Set Up Additional Accounts for Independent Expenditures: At…

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August 7, 2023

Latest Developments:  Louisiana Gift Limit Increase: The Louisiana Board of Ethics published a final rule which increases the state limit for “food, drink, or refreshments” to $77 at a single event. The increase from $70 applies retroactively from July 1,…

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