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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 31, 2023

Latest Developments: In June, A California Superior Court refused to enjoin the state’s recent expansion of state pay-to-play laws to cover local officials. The court’s decision is now final; no appeal was filed. The court reasoned that “The United…

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July 24, 2023

Latest Developments: New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) Delays Acting on Public Comments Regarding Training for Lobbyists: During its open meeting on July 19, 2023, COELIG’s Education Committee presented staff responses to public comments about…

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July 18, 2023

Latest Developments: Hawaii Prohibits Lobbyist Campaign Contributions and Expenditures: Hawaii SB 1493 was signed into law and effective immediately, it prohibits, during any legislative session and the five days before and after each session, lobbyist contributions and expenditures,…

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July 12, 2023

Latest Developments: Minnesota Chamber Challenges State’s Foreign-Influence Ban in Federal Court: MPR News reports that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit in federal court, which seeks to block enforcement of the state’s law that imposes…

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July 5, 2023

Latest Developments: U.S. Senate Passes Bills Requiring Lobbyists Registered Under the LDA To Disclose Foreign Ownership or Influence: The United States Senate recently passed two bills that would require lobbyists, registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act…

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June 26, 2023

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) Votes Against Requesting Public Comment on Use of AI in Campaign Ads: At its open meeting on June 22, 2023, the FEC discussed a petition requesting guidance that the prohibition on…

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June 19, 2023

Latest Developments: The State of California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Adopted SB 1439 Regulations: On June 15, 2023, the FPPC held a meeting to adopt final regulations on the application of SB 1439, which expanded the reach…

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May 31, 2023

Latest Developments: California SB 1439 Withstands Initial Legal Challenge: In the lawsuit filed by a coalition seeking to invalidate SB 1439 on the grounds that expanding California pay-to-play rules violates both the California Constitution and the…

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May 22, 2023

Latest Developments: The State of Washington Will Require More Disclosures From Grassroots Campaigns: Washington enacted HB 1317, and effective July 23, 2023, the new law expands the definition of a “sponsor” of a grassroots lobbying campaign, adjusts…

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May 17, 2023

Latest Developments: Minnesota Enacts Voter Registration, Election and Campaign Finance Reform: On May 5, 2023, the Governor of Minnesota signed HF 3 into law, which includes provisions for automatic voter registration and the criminalization of knowingly spreading certain…

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