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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 11, 2018

The California Fair Political Practices Commission meets next Thursday, May 17 to take up its regular agenda.  Among the interesting bits before the Commission: Staff has written a memo explaining that Commissioners are not entitled to minimum wage for their Commission…

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MAY 4, 2018

Latest Developments: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a three-paragraph Order on May 2, 2018, denied a petition for rehearing en banc in a case arising from a case that challenged Montana’s campaign contribution limits.  That case, Lair v….

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APRIL 27, 2018

Latest Developments: The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics met on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.  Among the items on the agenda was the Comprehensive Lobbying Regulations.  Following two years of drafts, discussion, debate, and interested persons meetings, the commission…

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APRIL 20, 2018

Latest Developments: In Kansas, the Governor signed S.B. 394, which adds additional lobbyist registration triggers and additional exceptions to lobbyist registration requirements.  The bill also includes new gift rules and disclosure requirements. The California Fair Political Practices…

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APRIL 13, 2018

Latest Developments: The FPPC has released its agenda for the meeting next week.  The April 19 meeting will include pre-notice discussion of regulations to implement the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Governance Committee and a review of the…

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APRIL 6, 2018

Latest Developments: The California Attorney General issued an opinion on April 3, 2018, that a city council member who is also an attorney may not advocate on behalf of a client’s interests that are adverse to the city’s…

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MARCH 30, 2018

Latest Developments: New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics met on March 27, 2018.  Staff demonstrated a new website that will become available to the public next week.  The staff has also issued a new Procurement Lobbying…

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MARCH 23, 2018

Latest Developments: Federal Budget:  House Bill 1625 has been approved by Congress signed by the President.  Buried within the bill are a few provisions that pertain to political activity: Section 125 (page 468) prohibits the IRS from finalizing a regulation that…

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MARCH 16, 2018

Latest Developments: Fair Political Practices Commission meets next Thursday, March 22, 2018.  Among the topics on the agenda for discussion: Regulations 19401(recordkeeping requirements for mass mailing and earmarked funds) and 18450 (definition of “advertisement” for disclosure purposes).  Both of…

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MARCH 9, 2018

Latest Developments: Oklahoma Ethics Commission meets today, Friday, March 9, 2018.  While we generally don’t monitor this commission closely, it’s worth noting that the meeting agenda includes a presentation by a current state legislator who is asking the…

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