HomeEssential Ethics / September 15, 2022

Essential Ethics

September 15, 2022

Latest Developments:

  • The United States Department of Justice indicted a Hawaii businessman developer as well the Maui County official he allegedly bribed with over $2 million in exchange for favoritism with government contracts. The DOJ contends that the official “accepted bribes… comprised of cash, bank deposits, casino chips, travel benefits, and/or other gifts…in exchange for [his] agreement, in his official capacity as a Maui County official…to steer and award over $19 million dollars in sole source contracts and purchase orders to [the developer’s] company.” The Washington Post and Maui Now provide more details.
  • The City of Anaheim, California approved new lobbyist regulations which seek to address many of the issues that enabled the ongoing scandal surrounding its former mayor and a Major League Baseball team. Among the changes include making it a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by jail time, to report false information or omit information on a lobbyist report. The Orange County Register details more in its coverage.


Nielsen Merksamer invites you to join our PLI Post-Conference Briefing. We will share the top take-aways from the conference to help guide your campaign finance, lobbying disclosure and government ethics compliance programs in the year ahead. We will provide topics and ask for your feedback in emails leading to our workshop. For more information, please contact agibbons@nmgovlaw.com for details and RSVP.

The full PLI conference can be viewed on-demand here

In Case You Missed It:

  • Will the FEC let a PAC be a PAC? Politico reports that a political action committee seeking to cajole Florida Governor Ron DeSantis into a 2024 presidential run faces an uncertain future before the Federal Elections Commission. Earlier this year, the PAC asked the FEC to approve its plan to give its list of supporters to the governor for free and the Commission, this week, appears to have deadlocked, “vot[ing]… to reject a draft advisory opinion that would have explicitly” permitted this gift. Still, it “split 3-3 along partisan lines on another draft advisory opinion that says the PAC cannot provide the names and contact information to DeSantis at any point.” The PAC argues that a list of supporters does not have the same value as a list of donors and Politico reports that the FEC may address the issue in a future opinion.
  •  Direct Democracy Discouraged: Politico reports on a trend of increasing GOP efforts to curtail ballot initiatives in certain states. The move come in the wake of recent progressive wins in which “initiatives have been used to legalize marijuana, expand Medicaid, create independent redistricting commissions and raise the minimum wage.” This year, Arizona is poised to raise its threshold for tax related matters to 60% and Arkansas is seeking to “apply [a 60% threshold] to constitutional amendments and citizen-initiated state statutes on any subject matter.” Recently, Florida limited ballot initiative fundraising, Nebraska tightened regulations on signature gathering, and half a dozen other states are considering tighter restrictions on their respective initiative processes.