Public Officials

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California Case Allowing Denial Of FOIA Request For Public Communications On Private Electronic Devices Instructive For Illinois...

While California and Illinois do not share the same weather, they seem to be similar in at least one aspect: Their court decisions support denial of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for most communications by public...more

Communications Between Public Officials Using Private Cell Phones or Email Accounts Are Not Public Records Requiring Public Access

City of San Jose v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (Ted Smith, Real Party) - Sixth District Court of Appeal, Action # H039498 (Filed Mar. 27, 2014) 2014 WL 1254821 ____Cal.App.4th____ - The California...more

Communications From Officials' Private Cell Phones and E-Mail Not Subject to Public Records Act

Public Agencies are Free to Adopt Their Own Policies Regarding Access to Private Communications on Public Issues - A California Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that public agencies are not required to disclose...more

Deemed Public Officials: A Potential Risk for US Companies in Japan

Japan is one of the lower-risk countries for US companies in terms of compliance issues involving bribery and corruption. Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index places Japan 18th out of 177...more

South Carolina Legislative Update - March 3, 2014

The Senate gave third reading to H. 3945 late Thursday. The latest version of the ethics reform legislation provides for public officials to disclose sources of income, defines “consultants” and requires reporting and...more

Weekly Recap Ethics News and Trends – March 3, 2014

Public servants with the utmost integrity also need to be aware of what is happening ethically around the state. In today’s climate, every public agency’s image is impacted by the missteps or misconduct of others. Below...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: Looking Back 50 Years At 'N.Y. Times v Sullivan' and the Civil Rights Movement

I recently attended the annual ABA Forum on Communications Law, which included an informative panel discussion marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in N.Y. Times v Sullivan. While we are...more

What If Toronto’s Mayor Served In Ohio?

These are interesting times in Toronto. Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack and drinking himself into a stupor, has made sexual remarks and knocked over a female coworker. But little can be done because Ford has not...more

Weekly Recap Ethics News and Trends – February 17, 2014

Public servants with the utmost integrity also need to be aware of what is happening ethically around the state. In today’s climate, every public agency’s image is impacted by the missteps or misconduct of others. Below...more

'Honest Services' Statute

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell may not have violated any Virginia statutes, yet he and his wife both face criminal prosecution under the federal “Honest Services” statute On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, former...more

Best Practices For Compliance With SB 751 - Practical Tips for Publicly Reporting on Legislative Body Actions Taken and Votes or...

California Senate Bill 751, which went into effect January 1, requires the legislative body of a local agency to publicly report any action taken and the vote or abstention on that action of each member present. This new law...more

Charges Against Former Virginia Governor McDonnell Brought on by Whistleblower

The media coverage of this week’s announcement that federal prosecutors have charged former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, with illegally accepting gifts from a wealthy Richmond area businessman...more

Private E-Mail and Public Officials: What's a Public Document?

The "Bridgegate" scandal in New Jersey involving an investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures has included many instances of Governor Chris Christie's top officials utilizing their own Gmail, Yahoo, or...more

What's New for 2014 – FPPC Revises Treatment of Travel Payments to Public Agencies

A payment for a public official's travel will generally be a gift to the official under the Political Reform Act ("PRA"), subject to the annual $440 gift limit1, and reportable on the official's Statement of Economic...more

Financial Services Quarterly Report - Fourth Quarter 2013: Political Intelligence Firms – Insider Trading and Enforcement Shifts...

Insider trading remains a top priority for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DoJ). In fiscal year 2012, the SEC filed 58 enforcement actions against 131 individuals and entities and the...more

Public Officials, Financial Disclosure And A New Era Of Liability

The Securities and Exchange Commission is making it clear: Government leaders who issue misleading financial information are putting themselves at risk. Several recent actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission...more

Ethics Laws and the Importance of Transparency for Public Officials [Video]

Matthew "Mal" Richardson, who serves as city attorney of Stanton and assistant city attorney of Lake Forest, talks about the Brown Act, ethics training for public officials and other important laws and regulations that ensure...more

New California Law Authorizes FPPC to Provide Advice or Opinions, Investigate and Enforce Violations of Government Code Section...

AB 1090 Will Take Effect January 1, 2014 - AB 1090, signed by Governor Brown this week, authorizes the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to investigate or initiate an administrative or civil action (including...more

Data Not Used by Port Agent in Performance of His Official Duty is Not a Public Record

A shipping association submitted a public records request for a pilot log from the port agent of the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun (“Board”). The port agent, who is a...more

Minnesota Political Law Guidelines Updated

Table of Contents: Lobbyist Registration; Lobbyist Report and Record Keeping; Corporate Political Activity; Gifts To Public Officials Prohibited; Issues In Communicating With Public Officials; Employment Law Issues;...more

If The Whistle Sounds, Is a Penalty Coming? - Alberta's New Whistleblower Legislation

Introduction - On June 1, 2013, Alberta’s first ever Whistleblower legislation came into effect. The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act is intended to protect employees in the public sector who...more

Illinois Appellate Court Narrows Attorney General's FOIA Opinion on Communications on Elected Officials' Private Devices

On July 16, 2013, the Appellate Court of Illinois for the Fourth District issued an opinion in City of Champaign v. Madigan, 2013 IL App (4th) 120662, that upheld the Illinois Attorney General's (AG) binding opinion (Public...more

Illinois Not Liable for Elected Officials' Attorney Fees for Intentional, Willful or Wanton Misconduct

Does the State of Illinois have to pay elected officials' attorney fees when the underlying complaint alleges that the official committed "intentional, willful or wanton misconduct"? Earlier this month, a unanimous Illinois...more

SEC Warns Public Officials About Potential Liability

The SEC instituted a settled cease-and-desist proceeding against the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for its violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5. ...more

BB&K Police Chief Bulletin: Public Records - Public Records Act May Require Disclosure of Content Stored on Personal Devices of...

Overview: A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge recently ruled that the California Public Records Act (PRA) required government agencies to disclose communications relayed through the privately-owned personal devices of...more

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