An excerpt of Dentons’ Political Law Playbook.
New State Law Could Curb Pay to Play Politics in Orange County & California – As we recently detailed, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that dramatically expands the scope of the Golden State’s already comprehensive pay-to-play framework. The new law increases the contribution prohibition period for covered business entities and individuals from three to 12 months following the conclusion of a proceeding before an agency, and it also removes the exception for elected officials of local agencies. Now, groups such as city councils, school boards, councils, and boards of supervisors will be subject to pay to play restrictions. The law, which goes into effect January 2023, passed on a bipartisan basis in California in the wake of a range of corruption scandals across the state involving local elected officials.
New Details Show Sprawling Web Of Corruption In Southern California Cannabis Licensing – Multiple pay-to-play schemes in cannabis licensing were uncovered last month in Southern California, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The reporting by the Los Angeles Times led to a formal request to California Attorney General Rob Bonta to create a task force that would investigate and prosecute illegal activity tied to the award of cannabis licenses. Among the elected officials accused of impropriety in current reporting are Baldwin Park City Councilmember Ricardo Pacheco, who admitted to soliciting $150,000 in campaign contributions from a local cannabis distributor in exchange for distribution rights, and former San Bernadino County Planning Commissioner Gabriel Chavez, who purportedly funneled bribes from the cannabis industry to Pacheco. Both officials recently entered into plea agreements with federal prosecutors.
New Pay-to-Play Laws Recommended by Hawai`i Standards Commission – Last month Hawai`i’s Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct recommended that legislators update state pay-to-play laws to ban government contractors from making campaign contributions while actively working on a contract. The Commission’s recommendations would also extend the proposed political contribution prohibition to state and county grantees who receive funds through legislative appropriations. The Commission’s proposal will be considered by state lawmakers during the 2023 legislative session and closely monitored by the Playbook and the Dentons Pay to Play Law Blog.
About the Political Law Playbook
Dentons’ Political Law Playbook is a monthly update on the most important developments in the areas of political law, government ethics, campaign finance, lobbying and election law. Each edition of Political Law Playbook will cast a spotlight on the unique issues at the intersection of law, policy and politics and give you a window into how the Dentons Political Law, Ethics and Disclosure team can help you navigate the compliance challenges you face.