DC Dialogue: A Conversation about Ethics and Campaigns (AC Members Only)
It seems almost weekly we read about a legislator getting into some type of ethical trouble. A leader accepts box seat tickets to the Super Bowl. A committee chair moves a bill out of her committee less than 24 hours after an expensive dinner with a representative of the company benefitting from the legislation. A candidate for the legislature accepts a questionable contribution. Seldom do these legislators act alone - as they say, it takes two to tango and often the dance partners are lobbyists. They are the ones asked to provide the tickets, the meals and the campaign contributions.
On May 7, more than two dozen lobbyists from across the country met in Washington for our DC Dialogue to discuss the ethical challenges they face every day. Led by an expert faculty of scholars, attorneys and experienced lobbyists, we examined the increasing complexity of political campaigns, the growing pressure on PAC's to contribute and the ever-changing regulations regarding what legislators can and cannot accept.
Professor Paul Herrnson and Sheila Krumholz from the Center for Responsive Politics explained just how prevalent money has become in politics while attorney Bob Bauer and consultant Nola Werren explained the complexity of campaign regulations across the country. Three practicing lobbyists offered tips on being an ethical and effective advocate, while former campaign operative Rich Juliano explained how poor judgment, justifications and seemingly harmless steps led to a felony conviction.
Participants left the meeting with a better understanding of the increasingly visible world in which they work and with concrete steps they can take to make sure they don't end up on the front page of the local newspaper!
Below are links to the presentations by our program faculty:
The View from the Legal Perspective by Nola Werren, Esq.
Political Spending 2014 by the Numbers by Sheila Krumholz, The Center for Responsive Politics
The Inns and Outs of Campaign Finance by Paul S. Herrnson, University of Connecticut