August 23, 2018 •

Los Angeles Ethics Commission Delays Developer Pay-to-Play Decision

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission deferred a decision on a bill to ban political donations from real estate developers. Rather than vote down the proposal, commissioners plan to define the scope of coverage for individuals seeking council approval for […]

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission deferred a decision on a bill to ban political donations from real estate developers.

Rather than vote down the proposal, commissioners plan to define the scope of coverage for individuals seeking council approval for new developments. They may also choose to explore an alternative option.

They could require elected officials to recuse themselves from development proposal decisions if they have received contributions from the involved developers.

Commission President Serena Oberstein is concerned a ban on developer contributions would lead to money being funneled through independent expenditure committees.

She also questions whether direct contributions actually lead to corruption.

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August 10, 2018 •

California FPPC to Consider Use of Cryptocurrency for Campaign Purposes

The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering changes to state campaign finance regulations. The commission was asked to consider the permissible use of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, for campaign contributions and expenditures. Though similar to cash, such currency is not […]

The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering changes to state campaign finance regulations.

The commission was asked to consider the permissible use of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, for campaign contributions and expenditures. Though similar to cash, such currency is not issued by a governmental entity.

Issues expected to be discussed at a public hearing include banning the use of cryptocurrency for campaign purposes, limiting cryptocurrency contributions to the amount of contributions received in cash, requiring cryptocurrency contributions to be converted to cash, permitting committees to establish separate cryptocurrency accounts, or permitting cryptocurrency contributions as in-kind contributions without regard to cash limits.

A public hearing will be held September 20, 2018; written comments should be received by September 18.

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August 7, 2018 •

Lawsuit Filed to Remove Issue from Missouri Ballot

A lawsuit has been filed to remove a referendum from the Missouri ballot. On August 2, Sec. of State Jay Ashcroft certified an ethics initiative for the November general election ballot. The proposal would limit legislative gifts from lobbyists, reduce […]

A lawsuit has been filed to remove a referendum from the Missouri ballot. On August 2, Sec. of State Jay Ashcroft certified an ethics initiative for the November general election ballot.

The proposal would limit legislative gifts from lobbyists, reduce campaign contribution limits for legislative candidates, create a two-year waiting period for public officials seeking to become lobbyists, and establish new procedures for redistricting.

The lawsuit claims the proposed referendum violates a provision of the Missouri Constitution limiting ballot measures to a single subject.

Combining multiple subjects in a single ballot measure can force voters to vote for a matter they do not support just to enact a proposal they do support.

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August 1, 2018 •

Akron, Ohio Mayor Attempting to Change Primary Election Date

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan plans to collect signatures in a citywide petition to move Akron’s primary elections from September to May. City Council previously proposed putting the issue on the November ballot, but the legislation stalled. Local primary elections in […]

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan plans to collect signatures in a citywide petition to move Akron’s primary elections from September to May.

City Council previously proposed putting the issue on the November ballot, but the legislation stalled. Local primary elections in Ohio are held in May unless a charter provides otherwise.

Summit County is one of only three Ohio counties holding municipal primary elections in September. Moving the Akron primary to May would save the city money while increasing voter turnout.

Five other Summit County cities are also considering the election date change.

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July 16, 2018 •

Hawaii Senate Confirms Judicial Nominees

The 29th Hawaii State Legislature adjourned its first special session on Tuesday, July 10. Lawmakers convened the two-day session to confirm Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald’s judicial nominations for various district courts. The Senate confirmed Kenneth J. Shimozono, Mahilani E.K. Hiatt, […]

The 29th Hawaii State Legislature adjourned its first special session on Tuesday, July 10.

Lawmakers convened the two-day session to confirm Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald’s judicial nominations for various district courts.

The Senate confirmed Kenneth J. Shimozono, Mahilani E.K. Hiatt, and Wendy M. Deweese for six-year terms on the District Family Court of the First Circuit.

Kristine Y. Yoo was confirmed to a six-year term on the District Court of the First Circuit.

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July 11, 2018 •

Colorado Lobbyist Rule Amendments In Effect

Colorado lobbyist rule changes were effective June 30. Much of the changes involve recodification to ensure uniform and proper administration and implementation of state law. Such changes clarify professional lobbyist and lobbyist firm registration and disclosure requirements as well as […]

Colorado lobbyist rule changes were effective June 30. Much of the changes involve recodification to ensure uniform and proper administration and implementation of state law.

Such changes clarify professional lobbyist and lobbyist firm registration and disclosure requirements as well as add or amend several lobbying definitions.

Effective January 1, 2019, a professional lobbyist must also log by date all position changes (monitoring, oppose, or support) on a bill and must file a monthly log contemporaneously with each monthly disclosure statement.

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June 28, 2018 •

Oklahoma Ethics Commission Sues for More Funding

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission filed suit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the court to require the Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin to increase the agency’s funding. Lawmakers refused to provide the commission with any money from the […]

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission filed suit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the court to require the Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin to increase the agency’s funding.

Lawmakers refused to provide the commission with any money from the state’s general revenue fund, leaving it with insufficient funding to complete its constitutional duties.

Earlier this month, the commission increased registration fees for lobbyists and political committees in an effort to increase revenue. Despite doing so, the fiscal year appropriation remains insufficient by more than $2 million.

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June 25, 2018 •

San Francisco Amends Campaign Finance and Conflict of Interest Provisions

Legislation amending San Francisco’s Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code takes effect next week. Ordinance No. 129-18 is effective June 30, though most of its provisions are not operative until January 1, 2019. The ordinance extends the restriction period for contractor […]

Legislation amending San Francisco’s Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code takes effect next week. Ordinance No. 129-18 is effective June 30, though most of its provisions are not operative until January 1, 2019.

The ordinance extends the restriction period for contractor contributions from six to 12 months following contract approval. It also requires interested parties making a behested payment or payments of $10,000 or more to file a disclosure within 30 days.

Other changes include, but are not limited to, additional disclosure requirements for contributions from business entities and for bundled campaign contributions, as well as an additional pre-election statement for committees.

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June 20, 2018 •

Missouri Lawmaker Resigns After Greitens Investigation Ends

The Missouri House of Representatives announced the resignation of Republican Rep. Shawn Rhoads. The resignation was effective Monday afternoon. Rhoads, who served on the special committee investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens, did not cite a reason for his resignation. Greitens […]

The Missouri House of Representatives announced the resignation of Republican Rep. Shawn Rhoads. The resignation was effective Monday afternoon.

Rhoads, who served on the special committee investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens, did not cite a reason for his resignation.

Greitens resigned June 1 and the investigation officially ended June 11 upon the adjournment of the special legislative session.

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June 20, 2018 •

Colorado Secretary of State Amends Campaign Finance Rules

The Colorado secretary of state adopted new campaign finance rules today in response to a federal court ruling issued last week. Judge Raymond Moore struck down provisions of state law allowing private citizens to file complaints. Until the ruling, all […]

The Colorado secretary of state adopted new campaign finance rules today in response to a federal court ruling issued last week.

Judge Raymond Moore struck down provisions of state law allowing private citizens to file complaints. Until the ruling, all complaints received a hearing without review for merit.

New enforcement mechanisms provide for initial review of complaints and an opportunity to cure violations prior to investigation and enforcement.

Substantive requirements of state campaign finance law were not affected.

Pictured: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams

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June 11, 2018 •

Oklahoma Ethics Commission Raises Registration Fees

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission voted Friday to increase lobbying and campaign finance fees to avoid a potential financial crisis. Because the Legislature refused to give the agency any money from the general revenue fund, the commission could run out of […]

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission voted Friday to increase lobbying and campaign finance fees to avoid a potential financial crisis.

Because the Legislature refused to give the agency any money from the general revenue fund, the commission could run out of money next fiscal year.

In the past, the commission was given an appropriation to use for operational expenses. It then used the money generated from fees to fund ethics investigations.

This year; however, the Legislature instructed the agency to use fees as its sole source of funding.

Commissioners claim lawmakers failed to fund the agency in retaliation for imposing strict ethics rules. The commission is expected to file suit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court to address the lack of funding.

All registration fees will increase $100 effective July 1.

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June 6, 2018 •

South Carolina Lawmaker Resigns After Entering Guilty Plea

State Sen. John Courson resigned from the South Carolina Legislature on Monday, June 4, after pleading guilty to willful misconduct and agreeing to cooperate with ongoing ethics investigations. Courson, a former Senate president pro tempore who served 33 years in […]

State Sen. John Courson resigned from the South Carolina Legislature on Monday, June 4, after pleading guilty to willful misconduct and agreeing to cooperate with ongoing ethics investigations.

Courson, a former Senate president pro tempore who served 33 years in the state Legislature, was indicted last year on multiple corruption charges stemming from his conversion of campaign money for personal use.

A special election will be called to fill the District 20 seat.

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June 4, 2018 •

Illinois Legislature Adjourns Spring Session

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Thursday, May 31. Prior to adjournment, lawmakers passed a $38.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year. Legislators also approved a bill with a series of ethics reforms related to complaints […]

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Thursday, May 31. Prior to adjournment, lawmakers passed a $38.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

Legislators also approved a bill with a series of ethics reforms related to complaints filed, investigated, or pending with the state’s inspectors general. The position of the legislative inspector general (LIG) will be a full-time permanent post, rather than the temporary special position it is now.

While the changes are a step in the right direction, many argue the reforms do not go far enough in making the complaint process more responsive. Critics are pushing for the LIG to be a completely independent position.

Currently, the LIG cannot investigate an ethics complaint made against legislators or legislative staff unless or until it receives permission from the Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan panel of legislators.

The annual six-day veto session for the 100th General Assembly convenes November 13.

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May 30, 2018 •

Missouri Governor Announces Resignation

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has announced his resignation amid potential impeachment proceedings. Greitens was indicted in February on a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from an affair; he was charged with another felony in April related to the improper […]

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has announced his resignation amid potential impeachment proceedings. Greitens was indicted in February on a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from an affair; he was charged with another felony in April related to the improper use of a nonprofit donor list to raise money for his 2016 political campaign. After he refused to step down, the Missouri Legislature convened a special session this month to consider possible impeachment proceedings.

Though he admitted to the affair, Greitens has consistently denied any criminal misconduct. His resignation is effective Friday, June 1.

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