HomeEssential Ethics / September 12, 2023

Essential Ethics

September 12, 2023

Latest Developments:

  • The San Jose, California, City Council adopted changes to the city’s ethics laws that includes eliminating penalties for filing late lobbying disclosures and reducing revolving door restrictions from two years to one year. San Jose Spotlight explains that among the reasons for the changes, the city clerk “said her office lacks staff to track the lobbying reports and enforce late fee collection…” 
  • An Austin, Texas, Campaign Finance Regulation Was Declared Unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court Judge. The Austin Monitor reports that the court ruled the “blackout periods” that prevented fundraising more than a year before an election violated the First Amendment. The case follows a similar one in 2016 that struck down Austin’s previous six-month fundraising limit. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that case.
  • Google to Require Disclosure if AI is Used in Political AdsGoogle announced that their Political Content Policy will be updated beginning in mid-November, requiring that all verified election advertisers “…must prominently disclose whether their ads contain synthetic content that inauthentically depicts real or realistic-looking people or events.” Politico reports that as campaigns increasingly explore the use of AI-tools, the Google policy change, which also applies to YouTube video ads, is the first of its kind among tech companies. The Federal Election Commission has called for public comment on the topic, while Congress is working on “comprehensive legislation to set guardrails on AI.”

In Case You Missed It:

  • What is an “Indirect” Interest in a Government Contract?: The South Dakota Searchlight describes the issues that arose when a state legislator accepted federal pandemic relief funds distributed by the state.
  • Gift of Air Travel Raises Ethics ChargeAudacy.com reports that the Louisiana Attorney General accepted a free flight to Hawaii to attend the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which has landed him and the aviation company that provided the flight in trouble with the state’s Board of Ethics.