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Interactive Online Ethics Course for State Officials

Due to current budget constraints we are unable to update the interactive course at this time. A summary of information in the interactive course that is no longer accurate is listed below. You will be required to acknowledge that you understand this information before you can proceed to the interactive course. Please be advised that these changes are reflected in the Non-Interactive Course.

Gift Limit Increase

The gift limit in the Political Reform Act was $390 when this training module was created so the text and examples in the training reflect this limit. The current gift limit is $440 which will remain in effect until December 31, 2014.

FPPC Reporting and Disqualification Provision Changes

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has changed the following reporting and disqualification provisions:

  1. Receipt of transportation or lodging in connection with making a speech, serving on a panel, or giving a seminar within California:

    Previously, travel expenses and necessary lodging for a speech or presentation in California were exempt from the gift limit and did not invoke reporting or disqualification. Under current law, transportation provided within the United States (including within California) that is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental purpose, or to an issue of public policy, in connection with an event in which the official gives a speech, participates in a panel or seminar, or provides a similar service generally is exempt from the gift limit.

    Additional Information

    Lodging and subsistence provided as part of the travel are also exempt from the gift limit if limited to the day before, the day of, and the day after the speech. Although not subject to the limit, these payments are reportable by the official and can subject the official to disqualification. The gift guide, pdf from the FPPC provides a more detailed discussion of these rules.

  2. Receipt of tickets for a political or 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraiser:

    Previously, tickets provided by any source to political or nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization fundraisers were exempt from the gift limit and did not invoke reporting or disqualification. Under current law, up to two tickets given to an official and used by that official and a guest to attend a California political committee’s fundraiser, a fundraiser for a similar federal or non-California state political committee, or a fundraiser conducted by a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization are exempt from the gift limit, reporting, and disqualification provisions, so long as the tickets are provided by the political committee or 501(c)(3) organization holding the fundraiser.

    Additional Information

    The value of tickets to other nonprofit, tax-exempt organization fundraisers is the face value minus the value of any donations stated on the ticket; where there is no ticket or no such donation is set forth, the value is the pro rata share of the cost of food, beverage, or other tangible benefits provided to attendees at the event. The gift guide, pdf from the FPPC provides a more detailed discussion of these rules.

You should disregard contradictory material in the interactive training course, including the hypothetical example related to Linda making a speech.

Please note:
  • Newer versions of Java (January 2014 or later) are no longer compatible with the Interactive Course.
  • Visit Verify Java Version to determine which Java version is installed. If it is Java 7 Update 51 or greater, your browser may not be able to take the Interactive course.

  • The interactive course is best viewed at screen resolution 800 x 600,
  • requires Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer version 7.0 or higher,
  • and is best supported by Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 5.0 Update 12.
  • To view “pop ups” such as the certificate of completion, turn off pop-up blocker prior to launching the course.
  • Troubleshooting Tips for Interactive Training Course are available if you have any problems viewing the interactive course.

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