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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.

AUGUST 24, 2018

Latest Developments: The Governor of New York signed SB 4761, which bans the use of placement agents, including registered lobbyists, who seek to obtain investments by the New York State Common Retirement Fund.  The bill takes effect immediately. The…

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AUGUST 17, 2018

Latest Developments: A United States District Court Judge in Wyoming found the state’s ban on campaign robocalls to be unconstitutional.  According to Government.com, the ban on political calls was far more restrictive than the limits on commercial robocalls. …

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AUGUST 10, 2018

Latest Developments: A federal District Court Judge in Washington, D.C. issued a 113-page opinion invalidating a 38-year old Federal Election Commission regulation that required any person’s federal Independent Expenditure Report to only disclose contributors to the ad addressed by that report….

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AUGUST 3, 2018

Latest Developments: The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) met on July 31.  The Commission highlighted its efforts to educate the public on the new lobby regulations that take effect on January 1.  The…

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JULY 27, 2018

Latest Developments: The Governor of Montana has filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service seeking to block the revenue procedure that eliminates the reporting of the identity of contributors to politically active…

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JULY 20, 2018

Latest Developments: The United States Treasury Department announced that it will no longer require the names and addresses of donors to be included on Schedule B, which is filed with IRS Form 990, for any nonprofit other…

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JULY 13, 2018

Latest Developments: Sexual Harassment Developments: In Maine, SB 695 was enacted. It requires Legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists to attend and complete a course of in- person education and training regarding harassment, including sexual harassment, at…

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JULY 6, 2018

Latest Developments: The California Fair Political Practices Enforcement Review Task Force meets next Wednesday, June 11.  The Commission created the task force to obtain input from the regulated community and other interested parties regarding creating/revising the…

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JUNE 29, 2018

Latest Developments: California Governor Jerry Brown appointed a new Chair of the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission last Friday.  According to the Sacramento Bee, Alice T. Germond joins the Commission after a lengthy political career that includes serving as…

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JUNE 22, 2018

Latest Developments: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission raised lobby registration fees by $100 to $250, beginning July 1.  According to The Oklahoman, the increase follows a dispute with the state’s legislature which gave the commission no general fund monies for support for…

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