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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.

May 10, 2019

Latest Developments: The United States District Court in South Dakota struck down a 2018 state constitutional amendment that prohibited contributions to ballot question committees from nonresidents, including businesses.  In SD Voice v. Noem, the court found that…

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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…

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April 26, 2019

Latest Developments: The Governor of Maryland approved B. 79, which requires that lobbyist registrations and reports be filed electronically. The Governor of Alabama signed B. 289, which creates an exception from the requirement that a person register as a lobbyist if the…

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April 19, 2019

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission staff has issued a draft opinion regarding the circumstances under which a political committee can receive contributions that consist of cryptocurrency mining operations.  The opinion is subject to public comment and review by…

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April 12, 2019

Latest Developments: The Governor of New Mexico signed B. 3, a campaign finance measure.  Among other things, the measure revises campaign finance reporting deadlines and reporting thresholds, and revises the dates when an election cycle begins and…

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April 5, 2019

Latest Developments:  The Governor of New Mexico signed the State Ethics Commission Act, S.B. 668.  The measure gives the new commission authority over the regulation of campaign finance and lobbyists, among other things.  The bill takes effect on…

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MARCH 29, 2019

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission met this week and considered an agenda laden with draft advisory opinions.  The Commission approved three opinions, including Opinion 2019-01 for It Starts Now, which permits a new form of funds that consist of earmarked funds solicited…

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MARCH 22, 2019

Latest Developments: S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals – update:  We previously reported that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Missouri’s requirement that all lobbyists register and report their activity even if not receiving compensation is…

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MARCH 15, 2019

Latest Developments: The Governor of Arkansas signed B. 256 (Act 342) to prohibit state constitutional officers and legislators from registering as a lobbyist in any jurisdiction while serving as an elected official in the state.  The measure takes effect 90…

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MARCH 8, 2019

Latest Developments: The Hawaii State Ethics Commission announced that its new Lobbying Electronic Filing System is now available.  The new system permits e-filing of lobbyist registrations and expenditure reports. The New York State Senate unanimously passed S 3167, which would ban procurement…

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