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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.

January 13, 2023

Latest Developments: The Washington (State) Public Disclosure Commission published proposed changes to various campaign contribution limits and reporting thresholds, based on inflation. The Commission will hold a hearing on January 26 to consider adoption of a regulation to encompass…

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January 6, 2023

Latest Developments: The Illinois State Board of Elections announced increased campaign contribution limits beginning January 1, 2023 (“2023 Contribution Limits”). Corporations may contribute up to $13,700 and individuals give up to $6,900 to a candidate per election cycle….

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December 30, 2022

Latest Developments: The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a denied a rehearing in CREW v. FEC, and the court decreed that “The Federal Election Commission’s decision to dismiss a complaint on…

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December 16, 2022

Latest Developments: The Alabama Ethics Commission issued the following statement: “The Alabama Ethics Commission voted today to increase the amount of what is considered [a] “de minimis” [gift] from $25.00 or less per occasion and an aggregate of…

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December 9, 2022

Latest Developments: The California Fair Political Practices Commission published a proposed opinion regarding a recently enacted bill (SB 1439), which prohibits local officials from taking part in a proceeding involving a license, permit, or other entitlement if certain campaign…

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December 2, 2022

Latest Developments: The Federal Election Commission adopted a final rule governing Internet Communications. ( 2011-02; [Version B.]) But Axios reports that, after proposing a “major digital ad transparency measure,” the Federal Election Commission removed the proposal from its agenda at a previous…

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November 25, 2022

Latest Developments: The California Fair Political Practices Commission formally adopted revised contribution limits and increased gift limits. For 2023-2024, the gift limit increases from $520 to $590.  Contribution limits for gubernatorial elections increase to $36,400 per person per election and legislative…

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November 11, 2022

Latest Developments:  Voters in Arizona Approved Proposition 211, which requires disclosure of total campaign media spending or acceptance of in-kind contributions, in an election cycle if $50,000 or more is spent in statewide campaigns, or more…

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November 4, 2022

Latest Developments: The District of Columbia’s Pay-to-Play Law Takes Effect November 9, 2022. The law was supposed to take effect November 2020, but it was paused for lack of funding.  The District’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget (at page 207)…

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October 28, 2022

Latest Developments:  A US Federal District Court in Illinois blocked two campaign finance reforms recently enacted in that state. The laws affected judicial elections, with one “prohibiting a judicial candidate from receiving contributions from any ‘out-of-state person’…[while…

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