January 10, 2019 •

Irvine Strengthens Restrictions on Lobbyists

Irvine City Council unanimously approved legislation to strengthen its conflict of interest policy this week. The bill adds a provision to contracts with the city that allows the city to cancel a contract and get reimbursed if a member of […]

Irvine City Council unanimously approved legislation to strengthen its conflict of interest policy this week.

The bill adds a provision to contracts with the city that allows the city to cancel a contract and get reimbursed if a member of council or an employee of the city lobbied on behalf of a contractor, paid or unpaid.

Councilwoman Christina Shea said she brought the item forward after she learned former Councilman Jeff Lalloway helped a Los Angeles-based firm with an Irvine office try to get a contract for the Anaheim streetcar project.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 19, 2018 •

FPPC Approves Cost of Living Adjustments for Gift Limits

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission approved proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020. The proposed regulations would […]

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission approved proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.

The proposed regulations would change the gift limit from $470 to $500 and make increases to campaign contribution limits for candidates.

Adjusted contribution limits for gubernatorial candidates would increase from $29,200 to $31,000.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 16, 2018 •

San Diego Council to Close Confidential Document Loophole

The city council of San Diego voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance providing tighter restrictions on the handling of confidential documents by council members. Following a breach and subsequent criminal probe for information provided to investors by a council member […]

The city council of San Diego voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance providing tighter restrictions on the handling of confidential documents by council members.

Following a breach and subsequent criminal probe for information provided to investors by a council member last year, the council voted to close the loophole allowing disclosure if done as a necessary function of official duties.

In addition, new language in the code now makes it illegal for lobbyists who may receive confidential documents from using or disclosing them in any way.

Lobbyists are also prohibited from disseminating a confidential document through intermediaries, such as a spouse or a cousin.

Penalties for lobbyists who illegally review or disseminate confidential documents include potential misdemeanor charges and the possibility of being sued by the city for damages.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 7, 2018 •

San Diego Passes Restrictions on City Officials

City of San Diego voters approved Measure L to limit lobbying and campaign activities of elected city officers. The measure increases the restriction on lobbying by former city officials from one to two years. The measure also eliminates the city […]

City of San Diego voters approved Measure L to limit lobbying and campaign activities of elected city officers.

The measure increases the restriction on lobbying by former city officials from one to two years.

The measure also eliminates the city elective officer exception to receiving honoraria prohibited by state law.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 7, 2018 •

Long Beach California Votes to Create an Ethics Commission

The City of Long Beach, California voted to establish a city ethics commission. Measure CCC creates an independent ethics commission charged with administering and implementing rules concerning campaign financing, lobbying, conflicts of interest and governmental ethics. The commission will also […]

The City of Long Beach, California voted to establish a city ethics commission.

Measure CCC creates an independent ethics commission charged with administering and implementing rules concerning campaign financing, lobbying, conflicts of interest and governmental ethics.

The commission will also develop an educational program for candidates and lobbyists with the city.

The city’s agreement with the Fair Political Practices Commission to assist in the enforcement of local ethics laws remains in place.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 2, 2018 •

Ethics Ballot Measure up for Vote in Long Beach, California

The city of Long Beach, California has a measure to amend the city’s charter on Tuesday’s ballot. Measure CCC seeks to create an independent ethics commission charged with administering and implementing rules concerning campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest and […]

The city of Long Beach, California has a measure to amend the city’s charter on Tuesday’s ballot.

Measure CCC seeks to create an independent ethics commission charged with administering and implementing rules concerning campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest and governmental ethics.

Critics of the measure argue that the mayor and auditor’s appointment privilege signifies that the commission would not be sufficiently independent.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 3, 2018 •

California’s FPPC Considers Biennial Cost of Living Adjustment for Campaign Contribution Limits

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will consider proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2020. The proposed […]

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will consider proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2020.

The proposed regulations would change the gift limit from $470 to $500 and make increases to campaign contribution limits for candidates. Adjusted contribution limits for gubernatorial candidates would increase from $29,200 to $31,000 per person.

The FPPC is accepting written comments on the proposals until November 13, 2018.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 2, 2018 •

California Training for Lobbyists Will Now Include Policies Against Sexual Harassment

On September 30, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring lobbyists to complete training on sexual harassment in connection with lobbying activities. Assembly Bill 2055 adds a component to training already required for lobbyists registered with the state and […]

On September 30, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring lobbyists to complete training on sexual harassment in connection with lobbying activities.

Assembly Bill 2055 adds a component to training already required for lobbyists registered with the state and conducted by the ethics committees in both houses of the California Legislature.

The lobbyist training course now must include “information on each house of the Legislature’s policies against harassment, including sexual harassment, in connection with lobbying activities.”

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 1, 2018 •

California Governor Signs “Social Media DISCLOSE Act”

On September 26, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill concerning political advertising in social media. Assembly Bill 2188, the “Social Media DISCLOSE Act”, requires disclosure for advertisements made “via a form of electronic media that allows users to engage […]

On September 26, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill concerning political advertising in social media. Assembly Bill 2188, the “Social Media DISCLOSE Act”, requires disclosure for advertisements made “via a form of electronic media that allows users to engage in discourse and post content, or any other type of social media”, and is paid for by a political party or a candidate-controlled committee.

The disclosure obligations fall on both the registered political parties and committees and on the “online platforms.” The online platform must maintain and make available for online public inspection a digital copy of a political advertisement, the number of impressions generated from the ad, information regarding the total amount spent on the advertisements, and other relevant information.

The bill defines an online platform as a “public-facing Internet Web site, web application, or digital application, including a social network, ad network, or search engine, that sells advertisements directly to advertisers. A public-facing Internet Web site, web application, or digital application is not an online platform for purposes of this [Act] to the extent that it displays advertisements that are sold directly to advertisers through another online platform.” The online platforms will be required to include with each political advertisement a disclosure of who funded the ad or a hyperlink to a website containing the required disclosures.

The bill takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

September 27, 2018 •

Los Angeles Unified School District to Hold Special Election

The Los Angeles Unified School District will hold a special election on March 5, 2019, to fill the vacancy for the Board of Education’s District 5 seat. The seat was vacated earlier this year by Ref Rodriguez, who is currently […]

The Los Angeles Unified School District will hold a special election on March 5, 2019, to fill the vacancy for the Board of Education’s District 5 seat.

The seat was vacated earlier this year by Ref Rodriguez, who is currently facing felony and misdemeanor charges related to an alleged money laundering scheme.

A special runoff election will be held on May 14, 2019, if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 24, 2018 •

California Bans Cryptocurrency Campaign Contributions

On September 20, the Fair Political Practices Commission prohibited the use of cryptocurrency in political contributions in California. The FPPC stated the anonymity of these donations would make it difficult to discern who is attempting to influence elections. This is […]

On September 20, the Fair Political Practices Commission prohibited the use of cryptocurrency in political contributions in California.

The FPPC stated the anonymity of these donations would make it difficult to discern who is attempting to influence elections.

This is contrary to the position the Federal Election Commission took in 2014, which said cryptocurrencies are in-kind property and federal candidates could accept them as a form of contribution under certain conditions.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 18, 2018 •

Oakland to Launch Campaign Finance App for November Election

The Oakland Public Ethics Commission and OpenOakland, a civic technology group, have jointly released a new version of their web tool, Open Disclosure, to track political contributions in Oakland elections. The corresponding app, to be released on September 25, will […]

The Oakland Public Ethics Commission and OpenOakland, a civic technology group, have jointly released a new version of their web tool, Open Disclosure, to track political contributions in Oakland elections.

The corresponding app, to be released on September 25, will show the source and spending of campaign funds for both Oakland city candidates and ballot measure committees.

In addition to displaying sources of contributions, the new release will also include data on spending by independent expenditures.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 17, 2018 •

California Legislature Sends “Social Media DISCLOSE Act” to Governor

On September 12, California Gov. Jerry Brown was presented with a bill concerning political advertising in social media. Assembly Bill 2188, the “Social Media DISCLOSE Act”, requires disclosure for advertisements made “via a form of electronic media that allows users […]

On September 12, California Gov. Jerry Brown was presented with a bill concerning political advertising in social media.

Assembly Bill 2188, the “Social Media DISCLOSE Act”, requires disclosure for advertisements made “via a form of electronic media that allows users to engage in discourse and post content, or any other type of social media”, and is paid for by a political party or a candidate-controlled committee. The disclosure obligations fall on both the registered political parties and committees and on the “online platforms.”

The online platform must maintain and make available for online public inspection a digital copy of a political advertisement, the number of impressions generated from the ad, information regarding the total amount spent on the advertisements, and other relevant information.

The bill defines an online platform as a “public-facing Internet Web site, web application, or digital application, including a social network, ad network, or search engine, that sells advertisements directly to advertisers. A public-facing Internet Web site, web application, or digital application is not an online platform for purposes of this [Act] to the extent that it displays advertisements that are sold directly to advertisers through another online platform.” The online platforms will be required to include with each political advertisement a disclosure of who funded the ad or a hyperlink to a website containing the required disclosures.

If signed by the governor, the bill takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

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.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close