One of the hallmarks of a healthy democracy is the commitment of those in and working with government to uphold that public service is a public trust. Often faced with unique and difficult ethical questions, public servants should be able to rely on clear ethical standards and laws to uphold standards of integrity and ensure that the public can have complete confidence in government.
CLC hosted a call on government ethics to highlight our work and solutions in the issue area. The call included expert analysis of the current state of government ethics at the federal, state, and local levels, and recommendations on how each level of government can work to strengthen ethics programs across the country.
Ethics programs, particularly those in government, often rely on a set of norms to guide those in and involved with government. These norms also help maintain public trust to reassure the public that those in service put ethical principles above private gain. But what happens when these norms are tested? Or brazenly ignored?
The recent increase in the number of affluent elected officials and appointees, in addition to the continued growth of money in politics has exposed how vulnerable our system really is. The previously understood adherence to ethical norms is no longer par for the course. This new era has presented all levels of with new ethics challenges, highlighting the need to ensure that public officials have clear ethical guidelines and laws in place to help them navigate potential conflicts and hold them accountable when they break public trust.