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Pennsylvania Association for Government Relations

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Guidelines for Professional Conduct

The Pennsylvania Association for Government Relations believes that effective government depends on the greatest possible participation of those being governed. At the state level, such participation focuses on the legislative and executive branches where professional and citizen lobbyists drawn from every major discipline represent literally every segment of society and every sector of the economy.

The Association further believes that the heavy responsibility of the professional lobbyist, functioning in the eye of public opinion, requires standards of ethical behavior beyond those generally accepted by a free and moral society.

The Association therefore, offers the following guidelines which it urges be observed by its members and all those whose professional objectives are to influence state public policy decisions.

  • It is the system of representative government we enjoy that makes possible the practice of lobbying. The professional lobbyist, while keeping the interest of employer or client in a position of primacy, will temper the advocacy role with proper consideration for the general public interest.

  • The professional lobbyist will protect confidences not only those of the employer or client, and also those of elected and appointed officials of government and professional colleagues.

  • The professional lobbyist will always deal in accurate, current and factual information, whether it is being reported to the employer or client, government officials, the media or professional colleagues, and will not engage in misrepresentation of any nature.

  • The professional lobbyist will acquire enough knowledge of public issues to be able to fairly present all points of view.

  • The professional lobbyist will avoid conflicts of interest, not only with the interests of the employer or client, but also those of colleagues pursuing the same or similar objectives, and where conflict is unavoidable, will communicate the facts fully and freely to those affected.

  • The professional lobbyist will comply with the laws and regulations governing lobbying, as well as the standards of conduct applying to officials and staff of the General Assembly and the Executive Branch, and will strive to go one step further and function in a manner that goes beyond these official enactments and promulgations.

  • The personal conduct of the professional lobbyist should not bring discredit to the profession, government, or individual colleagues.

  • The professional lobbyist will refrain from any form of discrimination which is legally proscribed or simply generally recognized as such.

  • The priority goal of the professional lobbyist should be to increase public understanding of the process. This objective should be pursued in every possible way - public appearances, media contracts, articles in company and other publications, and contacts in the normal course of everyday life.

  • The professional lobbyist should constantly strive to upgrade the necessary skills by every means available, continuing formal education, attendance at meetings and seminars, and participation in ad hoc groups with like-minded colleagues.
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