When almost three-quarters of those voting on the constitutional amendment creating an independent ethics commission signaled their approval for the commission this fall, we bet they wanted the commission to be adequately funded!
The legislative session is a week away!
To date, no ethics commission enabling legislation has been pre-filed. (You can check the legislative website here to see what has been filed. Right from the home page you can enter keywords, bill numbers or see the complete list of 2019 legislation.)
The City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission published a “Strategic Plan and Performance Measurements” document in 2017.
Here’s what it provides as mission and activities:
The Public Ethics Commission (PEC) ensures compliance with the City of Oakland’s government ethics, campaign finance, transparency, and lobbyist registration laws that aim to promote fairness, openness, honesty, and integrity in city government.
Lead/Collaborate – Lead by example and facilitate City policy, management, and technological changes to further the PEC’s mission.
Educate/Engage – Provide education, advice, technical assistance, and formal legal opinions to promote awareness and understanding of the city’s campaign finance, ethics, and transparency laws.
Disclose/Illuminate – Facilitate accurate, effective, and accessible disclosure of government integrity data, such as campaign finance reporting, conflicts of interest/gifts reports, and lobbyist activities, all of which help the public and PEC staff monitor filings, view information,
and detect inconsistencies or noncompliance.
Detect/Deter – Conduct investigations and audits to monitor compliance with the laws within the PEC’s jurisdiction.
Prosecute – Obtain compliance and impose fines or penalties for violations of the laws within the PEC’s jurisdiction through administrative or civil remedies.”
Sound good? Anything you would add or take away for our new independent ethics commission?
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With pre-filing of legislation underway since mid-December, it’s just a matter of time before ethics commission enabling legislation is introduced by a member of the legislature. NMEW participated in the Ethics Commission Working Group, with fellow advocacy groups, business leaders, journalists, private citizens, government officials, and legislators. Together, we crafted a draft bill, 75 or 80% of which is agreed-upon material. For the remaining percentage, we set out choices, involving jurisdiction, the powers of the commission and executive director, etc. Now, it is up to individual legislators to make choices and introduce bills in alignment with their values and beliefs.