ETHICAL CAMPAIGNING

The time is always 
right to do what is right.
-Martin Luther King
The time is always 
right to do what is right.
-Martin Luther King

​What candidate does not think that she is an ethical person? But that may not translate to knowing how to run an ethical campaign.

If a candidate can think ahead concerning what some pitfalls may be, she can more readily identify ethical issues, and thereby run a truly ethical campaign.

1

DON'T ATTACK YOUR 

OPPONENT PERSONALLY

We all are familiar with Michelle Obama saying, “When they go low, we go high." And, do you remember when Senator McCain was told by a supporter that she did not trust Obama because he was an Arab? The Senator replied, “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with him on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

2

STICK TO THE ISSUES

Joe Simitian has said that before issuing any public communication, first ask yourself:

            a) Is it true?

            b) Is it fair?

            c) Is it relevant?

3

DON'T CONDONE

WHISPER CAMPAIGNS

If you have something to say, say it publicly so your opponent can respond.

4

RENOUNCE UNETHICAL ATTACKS BY OTHERS ON YOUR BEHALF

5

MAKE ETHICAL CAMPAIGN PROMISES THAT ARE REALISTIC AND TRANSPARENT

6

MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE FROM DONORS AND MANAGE DONOR EXPECTATIONS IN FUNDRAISING

7

CREATE AND EXECUTE A CAMPAIGN CODE OF CONDUCT AND PUBLICIZE YOUR COMMITMENT TO ETHICS

*This article is based upon Campaign Ethics, by  Hana Callaghan - 

available for free download from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Be creative, be sensitive and
keep your campaign team in
the loop about what you are
doing, what you are not doing,
and why.
EXAMPLE OF A FRIENDLY FUNDRAISING DISCLAIMER

Dear Friend,

We are grateful to you for your contribution!  By contributing you have joined your neighbors and friends who believe that together we can bring about a better future for our children. Your generous contribution will help pay for the campaign-related expenses necessary for our success on election day. Of course, no outcome is guaranteed, nor is greater access or influence promised as a result of a political contribution. What I do promise is to always use my best judgment to take actions that further the common good. 

Thank you for your belief in me. 

CALIFORNIA CODE OF
FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

There are basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play which every candidate for public office in the State of California has a moral obligation to observe and uphold in order that, after vigorously contested but fairly conducted campaigns, our citizens may exercise their constitutional right to a free and untrammeled choice and the will of the people may be fully and clearly expressed on the issues.

 

THEREFORE:

(1) I SHALL CONDUCT my campaign openly and publicly, discussing the issues as I see them, presenting my record and policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the record and policies of my opponents or political parties that merit this criticism

(2)  I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his or her personal or family life.

(3) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice based on a candidate's actual or perceived race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, age, sexual orientation, sex, including gender identity, or any other characteristic set forth in Section 12940 of the Government Code, or association with another person who has any of the actual or perceived characteristics set forth in Section 12940 of the Government Code.

(4) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical practice that tends to corrupt or undermine our American system of free elections, or that hampers or prevents the full and free expression of the will of the voters including acts intended to hinder or prevent any eligible person from registering to vote, enrolling to vote, or voting.

(5)  I SHALL NOT coerce election help or campaign contributions for myself or for any other candidate from my employees.

(6) I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support deriving from any individual or group that resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent, to the methods and tactics that I condemn.  I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections.

(7)  I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified American voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process.

 

I, the undersigned, candidate for election to public office in the State of California or treasurer or chairperson of a committee making any independent expenditures, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to conduct my campaign in accordance with the above principles and practices.

© 2020 by WIRE for Women

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