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2009

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  1. 2009

  2. Running an Ethical Election Presented by Marion County Clerk Beth White Legal & Ethics Conference December 1, 2009

  3. Five Criteria • Respect the law • Be non-partisan and neutral • Be transparent • Be accurate • Serve the voters * taken from a Fact Sheet compiled by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (“IDEA”; www.idea.int); the Fact Sheet references an excerpt from the Administration and Cost of Elections Web site (“ACE”; www.aceproject.org) Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  4. Respect the Law • Hire special counsel • Use Office of Corporation Counsel • Seek advice from Indiana Election Division • Keep current with legal issues and changes in election law Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  5. Be Non-Partisan & Neutral • Send regular email communication to MCEB members • Disclose relationships that could lead to conflicts of interest • Consistent application of the rules • State law contemplates “bi-partisan,” “non-partisan” can be more complicated Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  6. Be Transparent • MCEB meetings open to the public • Aired on public access television • Post minutes and agenda on Web site • Post election results in real time online • Keep lines of communication open between MCEB and political parties Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  7. Be Transparent • Made local campaign finance filings available online • Developing an enhanced voter information portal • Provide polling location, current elected officials, candidates for election cycle and sample ballots • Work to respond to constituent and public information requests in a timely manner Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  8. Be Accurate • Work closely with election services vendor – make sure equipment is in good working order • Use experienced bi-partisan teams to canvass results of election • Absentee ballot court order Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  9. Serve the Voters • Voter Outreach • Taped infomercials for public access TV • Regularly attend community events to register voters • Launched yVote! in 2008 • Engage voters with disabilities to serve as poll workers and to go to the polls on Election Day • Presence at various community events Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  10. Serve the Voters • Satellite Voting • Additional sites for early voting • November 2008: 2 sites + Clerk’s Office • More than 73,000 people voted early • More than 93,000 people voted absentee in total • November 2009: 3 sites + Clerk’s Office • More than 5,100 people voted early • More than 8,100 people voted absentee in total Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  11. Serve the Voters Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  12. Serve the Voters • Neighborhood Based Voting Ward 28; Precinct 9 Marion County Warren Township Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  13. Serve the Voters • Vote Centers? • Legislation expires 12/10 • Legislature looking to expand • Tippecanoe, Wayne & Cass counties are pilot counties • Controversial in certain areas • Used in other states Marion County Clerk Beth White 12/01/09 Legal & Ethics Conference

  14. Questions? Presented by Marion County Clerk Beth White Legal & Ethics Conference December 1, 2009

  15. Ethics in Ohio and Neighboring States David Freel Executive DirectorOhio Ethics Commission

  16. Ohio Ethics Commission Ethics in Ohio and Neighboring States – Public Duties/Public Responsibilities David E. Freel Executive Director

  17. Columbus Dispatch July 3, 2002 Used with Permission

  18. This culture began at the top. Ebbers created the pressure that led to fraud. He demanded the results he had promised, and he appeared to scorn the procedure (and people) that should have been a check on misreporting.

  19. When efforts were made to establish a corporate Code of Conduct, Ebbers reportedly described it as a ‘colossal waste of time.’ He showed little respect for the role lawyers played with respect to corporate governance matters within the Company.

  20. While we have heard numerous accounts of Ebbers’ demand for results – on occasion emotional, insulting, and with express reference to the personal financial harm he faced if the stock price declined – we have heard none in which he demanded or rewarded ethical business practices. Special Investigative Committee Report, WorldCom Board of Directors, 3/31/2003

  21. John J. FaheyFormer Federal Prosecutor People at the top are not going to be able to just blame the underlings when a fraud occurs. The person at the top is responsible and has to take responsibility. Ebbers didn’t do anything much different than an ethically challenged CEO would do. With him, for the jury, it really does seem to be the position that matters. Referring to the conviction on March 15, 2005, of former WorldCom Chairman Bernard Ebbers, The New York Times, March 16, 2005

  22. James Madison “No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.”

  23. Ohio Ethics Law • 1974 Ethics Law Governing All Public Servants • Financial Disclosure to increase transparency • Conflicts of Interest Laws – with criminal sanction • Processes of Advice, Disclosure, Education, and Investigation • Uniformity of State-Wide Legal Standard, but overseen within the Three Branches of Government • Ohio Ethics Commission • Oversight of all but Legislators, Judges – est. 590,000 – in public service throughout Ohio • Separate Legislative and Judicial Committee Processes

  24. The Ohio Ethics Commission • Independent, Bipartisan, 6-Member Commission • Academic, Legal, Corporate, Faith-Based Leaders • Cannot be a Lobbyist or serve in any other state position requiring disclosure • Elect own Chair and Vice-Chair • Appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate • Serve staggered, six-year terms • Appoint Executive Director • Manages staff of 21 • Administers Advisory, Education, Financial Disclosure, Investigative, and Legislative Recommendation Authority

  25. Ohio Ethics Law – Who is Governed? • All public officials and employees • State officials • Local officials • Public employees • Whether full or part-time • Public college and university employees • In some instances, “agents” or others “performing ad hoc a governmental function” • And, those who do business with public officials and employees

  26. Ohio Ethics Law: Four General Components • Prohibitions on Conflicts of Interest • Direct and Definite Financial, Fiduciary, Family, or Business Associate Interests • Supplemental Compensation for Public Role • Bar on Honoraria • Public Contract Restrictions • Any Purchase or Acquisition of Goods or Services • Sale of Goods to other Public Agencies • Post Employment / Representation Limits • So-called “Revolving Door” • Restrictions on Confidential Information • Processes of Assistance

  27. Public Contracts • Purchase / acquisition of public property or goods • Equipment purchases • Office supply purchases • Purchase / acquisition of public services • Personal services contracts • Employment • Grants and loans • Abatements and service agreements • Design, construction, repair, maintenance of public property • Investments

  28. Public Contract Restrictions on Investments • R.C. 2921.42 (A)(2) prohibits public officials from securing, or authorizing the securing, of investments of public funds in: • Share • Bond • Mortgage • Other Security • When official, member of his family, or business associate: • Has interest • Is underwriter • Receives brokerage, origination or servicing fees

  29. Ohio’s Ethics Law does not oversee: • Lobbying • Campaign Finance and Elections • Public records • Open Meetings • Compatibility (Dual public positions) • Civil service • Profession of Law • Personal behavior

  30. Samuel JohnsonBritish author and critic (1709-1784) “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless. Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”

  31. Advice • Respond to Requests for Advice before Acting • Immunity Provided to Requesters Who Are Forthright in Facts and Comply with Advice • Issue opinions applying law • 255 requests closed in 2008 • Most recent on Stimulus (ARRA) funds • Annual 3,000+ telephone calls for guidance by three attorneys • Requests and responses are public • Consultation and Guidance Provided Based Upon Prior Precedent and Case Law

  32. C.S. Lewis “Most people don’t need to be taught. They need to be reminded.”

  33. Education • Provide Education Sessions on Ethics Law • State officials and local officials • Public employees • Private and Non-Profit Sectors • General public • Provided 241 Sessions in 2008 • 18,000+ attendees • Issue Informational Materials • Educational DVD • General Information Memos • Web Site: www.ethics.ohio.gov

  34. Former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants…”

  35. Financial Disclosure • Two-fold Purpose: • Reminds filers of potential conflicts of interest • Informs public of potential conflicts of interest • Uncompensated Board and Commission Members’ Financial Disclosure Forms (FDS) • Confidential, but subject to specific review

  36. Most elected state and local officials Candidates for those offices High-ranking state officials and employees Listing of sources of year’s finances and real property Reminds official (and informs public) of potential conflicts of interest Average of 11,000 annual filers 11,442 in 2008 1387 different agencies Financial Disclosure Statements

  37. Michael Josephson “Self-interest has a powerful tendency to disable our objectivity and befuddle our ability to live up to moral principles.”

  38. Investigation • Investigate alleged violations of Ethics Law • 544 allegations,168 active investigations in 2008 • Confidential criminal investigation - subpoena authority • Recent examples: • 2005-2009 Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) • 14 of 19 convicted of Ethics Law violations • Public and private sector persons • 2008-2009 Former Attorney General’s Senior Staff • Former Director of Administration – Theft in office, improper compensation • Multiple state and local officials, board members, public employees, and private sector persons • 32 at various stages of prosecutorial review in 2008 • Staff have served as Special Prosecutors in 24 cases • Refer cases for Criminal Prosecution • Alternative dispute resolution for less serious violations

  39. Legislative Recommendations • Recommend legislation related to: • Ethics • Conflicts of interest • Financial disclosure • Examples: • S.B. 219 – Stat. of Limitations Uniformity (2008) • S.B. 289 – Void Public Contract’s (2007) • S.B. 133 – Public Pension Reform (2004) • S.B. 286 – Higher Education Entrepreneurship (2000)

  40. Mandated Awareness of Ohio’s Ethics Law • Copy of Ethics Law • Required by law • All public officials and employees • Within 15 days of: • Hire • Election • Appointment

  41. Indiana and Other Ethics Jurisdictions • Indiana • Significant similarities and differences • Neighboring States • West Virginia • Kentucky • Illinois • Pennsylvania • Michigan • Wisconsin • Nationally – 40+ states – Colorado recently • Local and Regional Growth • Canada – Use of Provincial Ethics Officers • Internationally – Recent JLS experience in Jordan • Good Resource – COGEL – www.cogel.org

  42. Michael Josephson “We judge ourselves by our intention, but we are judged by our last worst act.”

  43. Ohio’s Ethics Law The Ohio Ethics Commission 8 East Long Street 10th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone:(614) 466-7090 Fax:(614) 466-8368 Website: www.ethics.ohio.gov

  44. 2009

  45. Ethics 101: Interpreting the Code of Ethics State Ethics Commission Clare Nuechterlein Jim Clevenger Priscilla KeithBob Jamison

  46. The Key to Accessing Government:A Discussion with Indiana’s Public Access Counselor Andrew Kossack

  47. Indiana’s Public Access Laws Andrew J. Kossack Indiana Public Access Counselor 2009 Legal Ethics Conference December 1, 2009

  48. Open Door Law The Open Door Law • The full text of the Open Door Law (“ODL”) can be found at Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-1 et seq. • What does the ODL require? • “[A]ll meetings of the governing bodies of public agencies must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them.” I.C. § 5-14-1.5-3(a). • The ODL also requires 48-hour advanced notice of meetings. I.C. § 5-14-1.5-5.

  49. Open Door Law What is a Meeting? • A gathering of a majority of the governing body for the purpose of taking official action upon public business. I.C. § 5-14-1.5-2(c).

  50. Open Door Law What is NOT a Meeting? • Any social or chance gathering not intended to avoid this chapter; • any on-site inspection of any project, program or facilities of applicants for assistance; • traveling to and attending meetings of organizations devoted to the betterment of government • a caucus;