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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.

July 26, 2019

Latest Developments: The Chicago City Council unanimously approved the new Mayor’s ethics reform proposal this week. While much of the ordinance is aimed at bolstering the powers of the Inspector General and tightening rules for city officers and employees,…

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July 19, 2019

Latest Developments: The Supreme Court of Washington State upheld the City of Seattle’s taxpayer-funded “Democracy Voucher Program” in which each registered voter receives a voucher that can be given to a qualified candidate to redeem.  Two taxpayers…

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July 12, 2019

Latest Developments: The Oregon Legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution 18, which places a measure on the November 2020 ballot that would permit the state and local governments to enact laws or ordinances to limit campaign contributions, require disclosure…

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June 28, 2019

Latest Developments: The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (NY JCOPE) met on Tuesday.  Commission staff announced that the deadline to file semi-annual lobbyist employer reports is extended to July 31, as a result of changes with the…

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June 21, 2019

Latest Developments: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision upholding the Security and Exchange Commission’s pay-to-play rule, which, among other things, limits the ability of investment advisors and brokers to make…

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June 14, 2019

Latest Developments: The Governor of Texas signed HB 2677. The bill, which takes effect September 27, 2019, restricts a person who has made specified contributions and expenditures from political funds from lobbying for two years from…

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June 7, 2019

Latest Developments: The United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Schickel v. Dilger, upheld Kentucky’s ethics laws, overturning a lower-court ruling.  The court upheld a ban on lobbyists’ contributions to legislators, a restriction on contributions to…

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May 31, 2019

Latest Developments: The Governor of Washington signed HB 1195, but vetoed parts of the measure.  The bill revises campaign finance statues by changing definitional  threshold for an independent expenditure to $1,000 or more, requiring e-filing, allowing commissioners…

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May 24, 2019

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission met this week.  The agenda included a discussion of pending opinions and an interpretive rule.  The Commission issued a final opinion to Defending Digital Campaigns, AO 2018-12, which allows cybersecurity services to be provided…

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May 17, 2019

Latest Developments: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in United States v. Singh, upheld the power of congress to prohibit campaign contributions from foreign nationals to state and local candidates.  In addition, the court found that the…

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