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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.

April 29th, 2022

Latest Developments: The United States Supreme Court has declined, without comment, to hear a challenge to Rhode Island’s campaign finance reporting requirements. The state “requires independent expenditure groups to disclose all donors giving at least $1,000 and for…

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April 22nd, 2022

Latest Developments: The Governor of Maine signed P. 619, which permits businesses to “contribute the paid staff time of its employees and independent contractors to establish the committee and to provide fundraising and administrative services directly to…

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April 15th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Governor of New York signed A 9006, a budget bill that replaces New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics with the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. (See Part QQ of the bill, beginning…

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April 8th, 2022

Latest Developments: The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report to congressional committees regarding compliance with lobby reporting requirements. The report found that “most lobbyists provided documentation for key elements of their disclosure reports to demonstrate compliance with the Lobbying…

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April 1st, 2022

Latest Developments: A Federal Grand Jury in Tennessee saw top state lawmakers, including the current state-House speaker, testify this week amidst a years-long “investigation [of]…a case involving the creation of a political vendor that gave kickbacks to…

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March 25th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Oregon Supreme Court issued a ruling in Ofsink v. Fagan, turning down an appeal asking the “Secretary of State to withdraw her orders that disqualified their  initiative  petitions  from  appearing  on the November 2022 general…

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March 18th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Governor of Wyoming signed SB 80, which requires “all campaigns and political action committees to file an itemized statement of contributions and expenditures,” not just those that expend funds during the reporting period, and increases the…

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March 11th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Wyoming Legislature approved and sent to the Governor HB 49, which requires corporations and other entities that spend $1,000 or more on independent expenditures or electioneering communications to register and file reports of their activity….

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March 4th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Alaska Public Offices Commission has advised us that, “In light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Thompson v. Hebdon, APOC staff issued a draft advisory opinion concerning contribution limits. Staff recommended that the…

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February 25th, 2022

Latest Developments: The Iowa Ethics Commission issued Advisory Opinion 2022-01 permitting campaign contributions in cryptocurrency, and declaring that those contributions are to be reported as “in-kind contributions.” The currency is valued at the time of liquidation.  Committees are…

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