Campaign Elections and Ethics

With direct campaigning and election experience, DPMC is uniquely qualified to provide both legal and practical guidance for compliance with campaign election and ethics laws. DPMC attorneys investigate and prosecute suspected violations of local ethics laws modeled after state law and defend enforcement determinations.

Representing numerous public entities and elected officials, DPMC attorneys handle all aspects of campaigning, election and ethics including:

  • Placement and evaluation of ballot measures
  • Limitations on the use of public resources for political activities
  • Compliance with disclosure and conflict laws under the California Political Reform Act
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest under the PRA, Government Code section 1090 and common law

DPMC provides AB1234 ethics training and is a member of the Counsel of Governmental Ethics Laws (“COGEL”) providing the firm with access to the latest developments in California as well as national ethics laws.

DPMC’s background and experience in ethics and training for elected officials is an invaluable resource for local elected officials.

Examples of client projects in Campaign/Ethics include:

  • Advise in the implementation of campaign contribution limits following allegations of pay to play culture.
  • Review, advise and revise election laws for Cities following the landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which precluded regulation of contributions to independent expenditure campaign committees, and McCutcheon v. FEC which prohibited campaign contribution aggregation rules.
  • Successfully represented multiple public officials before a local ethics commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission against allegations that they failed to comply with local and state lobbying and disclosure laws. As a result, the allegations were dropped.
  • Regularly advise the San Diego Ethics Commission in the revision of election and lobbying laws of the City of San Diego.
  • Provide legal review and assistance in more than 100 investigations into violations of lobbying, election, post-employment restrictions and conflict of interest laws.
  • Review and revise conflict of interest codes of numerous public entities.
  • Advise on placement of ballot measures on the ballot and compliance with state election laws.
  • Reviewed initiatives being circulated to determine legality. This strategy was desired above potential litigation/writs if/when the initiatives gained the required signatures to avoid litigation after passage. The initiatives then go to the voters with clearer language.
  • Proactively researched and published document during campaign season about the regulation of campaign signs on private, commercial and public property. This substantially reduced violations and complaints.
  • Successfully defended a writ for a judicial candidate based upon the ballot language such that this candidate was allowed  to maintain the description of “Sheriff’s legal advisor” on the ballot. (Kirvin v. Seiler, et al., San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00080202-CR-WM-CTL and Faigin v. Seiler, et al., San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00080225-CU-PT-CTL.)