Compliance Notes - Vol. 2, Issue 49
RECENT LOBBYING, ETHICS & CAMPAIGN FINANCE UPDATES
We read the news, cut through the noise and provide you the notes.
Welcome to Compliance Notes from Nossaman’s Government Relations & Regulation Group – a periodic digest of the headlines, statutory and regulatory changes and court cases involving campaign finance, lobbying compliance, election law and government ethics issues at the federal, state and local level.
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Campaign Finance & Lobbying Compliance
This year, the number of public companies that disclosed or prohibited political spending hit a record high. According to the report from the Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, companies, on average, are more transparent about their political activity than last year. Further, an annual ranking report found that companies that ban or disclose political spending increased from 332 companies to 370 companies. (Lorraine Woellert, Politico)
Florida: Lawmakers in the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee approved two proposed bills to restrict public officials from lobbying after they leave office. The first measure would extend the time lawmakers and state agency heads must wait after leaving office before lobbying legislators and other elected officials and would prohibit public officials from lobbying government agencies or the legislature while in office. The second measure imposes similar prohibitions on former judges and justices. (Renzo Downey, Florida Politics)
South Carolina: Findings from the South Carolina Ethics Commission revealed that gubernatorial candidate Phil Noble violated state law by spending thousands of campaign dollars on personal expenses, including streaming platform subscriptions, clothing and gourmet snacks. In addition, the Commission also discovered that Noble failed to file three campaign disclosure reports. (Caitlin Byrd, The State (Columbia, S.C.))
Elections, Legislation & Government Ethics
Minnesota: Minnesota's Supreme Court heard a challenge to the state's procedures for restoring voting rights to people on parole or probation. The case could determine whether continuing to disenfranchise such voters violates Minnesota's constitution. The court's decision would impact 50,000 Minnesotans with active felony records. (Brian Bakst, MPR News)
Philadelphia: The president of Philadelphia's City Council, Darrell L. Clarke, proposed changes to the city's ethics rule to impose new reporting requirements when council members abstain from votes. The proposed rule would require council members to provide written notice, within five days after the legislation is introduced, of recusal from votes and conflicts of interest related to financial interests. (Laura McCrystal, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Wisconsin: The Ethics Board for Madison unanimously agreed to dismiss a complaint filed by developer Terrence Wall against the City Assessor, Michelle Drea, accusing her of attempting to influence the Board of Review by distributing candy to members before a hearing on Wall's objections to assessments of his two properties. Wall argued that state ethics law and related city ordinances prohibit providing "anything of value" to members; however, the Ethics Board decided that candy, or a bowl of candy, would not carry such influence to change members' minds. (Logan Wroge, Wisconsin State Journal)