WHY AN ETHICS COMMITTEE?
Encore post from 10/5/2021
ETHICS AND STANDARDS (Republican Party Platform)
“We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption.”
The UTGOP does not operate under a Code of Ethics or have an Ethics Committee. The following is a proposal I put together as an SCC sub-committee Chair to address this omission in our governing documents. It fell on deaf ears!
The purpose of an Ethics Committee is to enforce all the governing rules of the Party equally among its members.
It is fundamental to the success of our republican system of government that all candidates, elected officials, party members and party leaders at all levels of government be independent and impartial, place the public interest above any private interest, and not give any appearance of impropriety. To that end, it is the policy of the Utah Republican Party, and the Utah Republican State Central Committee, to take a leading role in promoting the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and transparency in government.
The hallmark of this Code of Ethics is the simple truth that the public interest is and must be supreme for those who hold positions of public trust...
Given the SCC’s responsibility as the governing body of the UTGOP, it is imperative that the SCC, in the course of executing its constitutional duties, have a way to investigate improper behavior among its members. I recommend we establish an Ethics Committee to do this. Without an Ethics Committee and a Code of Conduct, it is impossible to hold members accountable for their unethical behavior. Davis County is a perfect example. They have guidelines to prosecute unethical behavior…however they do not have a code of ethics to define what is unethical behavior. So, it is a he said/she said exercise…and it doesn’t work.
According to Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised, “In most societies it is understood that members are required to be of honorable charter and reputation…an organization or assembly has the ultimate right to make and enforce its own rules, and to require that its members refrain from conduct injurious to the organization or its purposes.”
Therefore, in order to insure “due process,” a method for determining what constitutes unethical behavior must be in place PRIOR to adjudicating any ethics issues of its members or the accepted standard of “due process” may never be perceived as objective.
General Responsibilities of the Utah Republican Party: A Party Leader shall:
The State Party Chairman and Officers of the Utah Republican Party shall:
The State Committeemen, State Committeewomen, and County Chairmen shall:
The County Republican Executive and Central Committees, Employees and any organization or entity chartered by URP shall:
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
The Ethics Committee of the Utah Republican Party shall provide a method for members of the State Executive Committee, its officers, County Republican Executive Committees, employees of the URP, and any organization or entity chartered by URP to voluntarily disclose perceived, potential, or actual conflicts of interest. This method of disclosure shall be made known by the Ethics Committee to all concerned within twenty (20) days of the State Party Chairman taking office.
Waiver of Conflicts of Interest
This Code recognizes that not all circumstances represent an actual conflict of interest such that a party leader’s personal interests would be in conflict with his/her duties and obligations to the Utah Republican Party. In such situations, an officer, State Committeeman or Committeewoman, County Chairman, County Republican Executive Committee member, URP employee, or any organization or entity chartered by URP may voluntarily disclose a perceived, potential, or actual conflict of interest and petition the Ethics Committee for a waiver of said conflict. Upon a vote of the Ethics Committee, the decision shall be submitted to the Executive Committee of the Utah Republican Party for final approval or disapproval.
Proposed New Section (5) to Article VI of The UTGOP Constitution – Ethics Committee
5. Ethics Committee, to review disclosure statements of members, approve waivers and investigate all complaints of the character of any of its members and establish appropriate discipline. The State Central Committee shall elect, from among its members, seven (7) voting members in good standing, for a term not to exceed two years and for not more than one term in any four-year period, to form the Ethics Committee. State Party Officers, Party personnel, Party staff or any elected official may not serve on the Ethics Committee.
Proposed Utah Republican Party State Central Committee's Code of Ethics
Prologue: Ethics, Integrity, and Transparency in Government
It is fundamental to the success of our republican system of government that all candidates, elected officials, and party leaders at all levels of government be independent and impartial, place the public interest above any private interest, and not give any appearance of impropriety. To that end, it is the policy of the Utah Republican Party, and the Utah Republican State Central Committee, to take a leading role in promoting the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and transparency in government.
Consistent with that policy, the State Central Committee hereby adopts the following Code of Ethics, which establishes rules to ensure that Members of the Party and State Central Committee promote trust in government and public officials. The hallmark of this Code of Ethics is the simple truth that the public interest is and must be supreme for those who hold positions of public trust. The spirit and intent of the Code is to ensure that those who serve as State Central Committee Members do so for the sole benefit of the Republican Party and the general public, without any suggestion of service to promote their private interests.
This Code of Ethics shall apply to all members of the Utah Republican Party including all elected and appointed State Central Committee Members and Officers, the State Chairman, State Vice Chairman, State Secretary and State Treasurer, Executive Director, Legal Counsel, Parliamentarian and the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman. The Ethics Code shall not apply to Advisory Members or appointed members of Committees and Task Forces who are not otherwise State Party or Central Committee Members.
To implement the Code of Ethics, all Members of the State Central Committee will be required to disclose their financial interests and obligations and to submit to the Ethics Committee (as defined in Article One below) regular and timely updates to their disclosure statements.
By means of these reporting requirements and other provisions, the Code is designed to ensure that State Central Committee Members avoid activity that presents any actual or apparent conflict of interest with their responsibilities as State Central Committee Members. In addition, the Code of Ethics forbids Committee Members from seeking or accepting for themselves or family members any special consideration or special benefits that relate in any manner to their positions as State Central Committee Members. Finally, this Code of Ethics signifies that Members take seriously their responsibility to the public and other Members of the Central Committee to comply with all State Central Committee rules, policies and the law.
By means of this Code of Ethics, the Utah Republican Party and its Central Committee commit to furthering good government and holding party officials accountable to the highest ethical standards.
The purpose of the Code of Ethics of the Utah Republican Party (hereinafter URP) is to serve as a standard of conduct for Party leaders including but not limited to the State Party Chairman, Officers of the State Party, State Committeemen, State Committeewomen, County Chairmen, County Republican Executive Committees, employees of the State Party, and any organization or entity chartered by URP. This Code sets forth standards of ethical behavior for Party leaders in conducting the affairs of the Utah Republican Party.
The Code of Ethics also incorporates standards of ethical behavior governing the personal behavior of Party leaders as it relates to achieving the objectives of the Utah Republican Party. The paramount principle upon which this Code rests is personal responsibility.
Embraced within the standard of responsibility is the notion that the State Party Chairman, Officers, State Committeemen, State Committeewomen, County Chairmen, County Republican Executive Committees, Party Personnel and employees of the URP, and any organization or entity chartered by URP must manage and direct the operations of the Republican Party with integrity.
All who are governed by this Code must direct and lead the Party in an appropriate manner and employ ethical methods to achieve the Party’s overall mission and objectives.
ARTICLE I - Disclosure of Sources of Income and Potential Conflicts
Section 1: Mandatory Annual Disclosure Statement.
Central Committee Members shall annually file on a prescribed form, within 30 days after being elected or appointed, and annually on or before May 1 thereafter, a disclosure statement setting forth the information specified below relating to the Member’s financial activity and employment for the preceding calendar year, including the financial activity and employment of the Member’s spouse, and dependent children if the Member had actual control over such activity. Prior to April 1 of each year, the Executive Director shall notify all current State Central Committee Members of their duty to file annual disclosure statements on or before May 1st. If there is a change in any information required to be reported pursuant to this Article, the Member must amend the disclosure statement within six months from any such change.
The disclosure statements shall be reviewed by the “Ethics Committee.” The Ethics Committee shall consist of seven (7) voting members in good standing for a term not to exceed two years and for not more than one term in any four-year period. State Party Officers, Party personnel, Party staff or any elected official may not serve on the Ethics Committee. Members of the Ethics Committee shall maintain strict confidentiality with respect to the disclosure statements and the information contained therein.
Section 2: Content of Disclosure Statement.
The disclosure statement shall include:
ARTICLE II - Avoidance of Actual or Apparent Conflicts of Interest
Section 1: Disclosure with Respect to Publicly-Acquired Property.
If a Member or his or her spouse, or dependent children, if the Member had actual control over such activity, has a legal or equitable interest in real or personal property that is to be acquired with public funds, the member shall disclose such interest in writing at least 30 days before the date on which the property is to be purchased or condemned.
Section 2: Disclosure with Respect to Businesses, Contracts, or Property.
If a Central Committee Member or his or her spouse, or dependent children, if the Member had actual control over such activity, has a substantial interest in a business, contract, property or other entity on which a special economic effect, as distinguished from an effect on the public at large, would be conferred by a vote or decision of the Central Committee, the Member shall promptly disclose to the Chairman such interest in writing before the vote or decision concerning the business, contract or property is to take place. The Central Committee Member may not participate in the consideration of the matter and shall be recused from any vote or decision on the matter.
Section 3: Appearance of Impropriety.
A Member and his or her first degree relatives should avoid accepting any economic opportunity or gift and a Member should avoid participating in any vote or decision of the State Central Committee that could be perceived to impact that Member’s independence of judgment, or that presents any actual or apparent conflict of interest with that Member’s responsibilities as a State Central Committee Member.
ARTICLE III- Ban on Special Consideration and Special Benefits
Section 1: Accepting Benefits
No State Central Committee Member of the Central Committee or his or her first degree relatives shall solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit as consideration for any official decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion.
Section 2: Nepotism
No State Central Committee Member or his or her first degree relative shall be appointed, elected, or hired for State Central Committee business. This provision shall not prevent the retention or advancement of any person who has been continuously employed in his or her position for at least 30 days prior to the election or appointment of a Member or Officer related to such person; provided, however, that the Member or Officer related to that person shall not participate in any deliberation, voting or appointment process relating to that person.
Section 3: Confidential Information
A Member shall not use confidential information for the purpose of acquiring or helping another acquire a pecuniary interest in any property, transaction, or enterprise that might be affected by confidential information, or speculate or aid another in speculating on the basis of confidential information. Furthermore, a Member shall not disclose confidential information, including Party matters discussed at closed meetings, information that is intended for a limited group, including but not limited to Voter Vault, or any other information obtained by a Member in the course of State Central Committee business that a Member should reasonably expect is intended to be confidential.
ARTICLE IV - General Prohibitions and Guidelines
Section 1: On time/off time
A Member employed by federal, state or local government shall scrupulously adhere to the legal prohibitions against engaging in political activity during compensated time, other than time off.
Section 2: Follow the LawA Member shall not engage in any activity or transaction that at the time of the activity is prohibited by any law. Any person who has been convicted by a court of record for the commission of a crime, or is reprimanded or suspended by their respective professional or trade association, or is appealing any decision of the same, shall be ineligible to provide services for the UTGOP, unless and until judicial, executive or respective professional or trade association proceedings result in the reinstatement of the person to good standing or the presumption of innocence.
Section 3: Seek Advice
Any doubt as to the propriety of any course of action relating to this Code of Ethics or State Central Committee duties should be discussed with a member of the Ethics Committee.
Section 4: Ethics Review
Any question of interpretation of the provisions of this Code shall be resolved by the Ethics Review Committee in closed session, after thorough review of the pertinent disclosure statements and any other investigation that is warranted in the circumstances.
Article V – Enforcement
Section 1: Responsibility
Responsibility for adherence to this Code and to all requirements of the law related to public service rests with the person to whom the Code and law apply.
Section 2: Notice
When the Ethics Review Committee becomes aware that any Member is or may be in noncompliance with any of the provisions of this Code of Ethics, the Ethics Review Committee will request the Member to remedy the noncompliance forthwith. If after such request by the Ethics Review Committee, a member refuses to comply with any of the provisions of this Code, the Ethics Review Committee will refer the matter to a closed session of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may vote to request that the Member resign from the State Central Committee and, after such vote, will notify the State Central Committee and the appropriate Congressional Committee that the Member is not in compliance and has been asked to resign from the State Central Committee.
Section 3: Expectations of Privacy
The identity of any individual providing information or reporting any possible noncompliance with this Ethics Code to the Ethics Review Committee shall be kept confidential and may not be disclosed without the consent of the individual. Furthermore, any deliberations of the Ethics Review Committee and the Executive Committee pursuant to this Ethics Code shall remain confidential unless and until the Executive Committee votes to request the resignation of a Member as provided for in Section 2 above.
Section 4: No Retaliation
The Party values the help of members who identify potential problems that the Party needs to address. Any retaliation against a member who raises an issue honestly is a violation of the Code. That a member has raised a concern honestly, or participated in an investigation, cannot be the basis for any adverse action, including separation, demotion, suspension, loss of benefits, threats, harassment or discrimination.
If you know someone who has raised a concern or provided information in an investigation, you should continue to treat the person with courtesy and respect. If you believe someone has retaliated against you, report the matter to the Ethics Committee immediately.
Section 5: Making False Accusations
The Party will protect any member who raises a concern honestly, but it is a violation of the Code to knowingly make a false accusation, lie to investigators, or interfere or refuse to cooperate with a Code investigation. Honest reporting does not mean that you have to be right when you raise a concern; you just have to believe that the information you are providing is accurate.
ARTICLE VI – Definitions
The definitions as set forth in this Code are meant to provide a framework for understanding and enforcement of the provisions set forth herein. As used in this Code the following terms are defined as follows:
“Integrity” – means the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness.
“Moral Principle” – means the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group.
“Ethics” - means a set of standards of conduct that guide decisions and actions of individuals within an organization with reference to right and wrong.
“Confidential” - means any information, documents, and communications to which the Member has access in his or her official capacity and which has not been made public or may not be made public.
“Conflict of Interest” - means a circumstance where a person’s personal or business interests give the perception of, and/or potentially conflict with that person’s obligation(s) to URP such that it may interfere with his or her exercise of judgment and duties to URP.
“Benefit” - means anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary or economic gain or pecuniary or economic advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary has a direct and substantial interest.
“Contract” -means any lease, claim, account or demand against or agreement with any person, whether express or implied, executed or executory, verbal or in writing.
“Decision” - means the exercise of discretion by a member and/or the Central Committee.
“Economic opportunity” - means any purchase, sale, lease, contract, option, or other transaction or arrangement involving property or services wherein a member may gain an economic benefit.
“Employment” - means any rendering of services for pay, or anything of value.
“Gift” - means any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value, including honoraria for speaking engagements.
“Lobbyist” - means any person required to be registered under “An Act concerning lobbying and providing a penalty for violation thereof.”
“Participate” - means to take part in official acts or actions or proceedings as a Member of the State Central Committee through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, investigation, the rendering of advice or the failure to act or perform a duty.
“Person” - means an individual, business, labor organization, representative fiduciary, trust or association.
“First-degree relation” - means an individual's spouse, parents and children, as well as the spouse of each of these relatives.
“State Central Committee Member” - means each elected and appointed State Central Committee Member and Officer, including, but not limited to, ex-officio Members, the Deputy Members, the State Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Co-Chairman (if any), the Executive Director, and the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman, but does not include Advisory Members or appointed members of Committees and Task Forces who are not otherwise State Central Committee Members.
“Member” – means any member of the Republican Party of Utah including Precinct officers, County officers, State officers, employees, party personnel, etc.
“A substantial interest” - means any economic interest of a member if:
“Transaction” - means the conduct of any activity that results in or may result in an official act or action of the State Central Committee
“Disclosure” - means to notify formally the appropriate committee or duly authorized officer or agent of the Utah Republican Party of a perceived, potential, or actual conflict of interest or breach of ethical standards as set forth in this Code.
“Duty of Loyalty” - means that individuals must put the interests of the Utah Republican Party, above all self-interest. Specifically, and by way of example, no Party leader is permitted to profit personally or compete with the interests of the Party.
“Duty of Responsibility” - means that officers and Party leaders must exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence in every activity in which the business of URP is conducted. Good faith and honesty are major tests in determining whether reasonable care has been exercised.
“Party Leader” - means a person who holds a position within the Utah Republican Party, either by appointment or election as contemplated under the Party’s Constitution, By-Laws, or Utah Statutes.
“Waiver”- means a decision by an authority within the Party organization or duly authorized officers to permit a person to whom this Code applies to continue participation in or employment with the Party after disclosure of an actual or perceived conflict of interest. The decision to waive the Party’s conflict of interest rules shall be made after full disclosure of the information and the judgment of the committee or duly authorized officer that the risks to the Party are either non-existent or do not pose circumstances of sufficient severity to warrant removal of the person or other action.
APPENDIX A - Oath of Party Loyalty and Ethical Conduct
Utah Republican Party
Oath of Office and Ethical Conduct
I, ___________________________, hereby swear or affirm that during my term of office:
Printed Name: ________________________________
APPENDIX B - How the SCC Ethics Committee Might Work Under Roberts Rules of Order
These considerations are significant and recommended by our official governing rules in Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
The Ethics Committee will be a standing committee of the SCC.
“Once the committee is established, it will investigate the matter and report to the society. This report need not go into details but should contain its recommendations as to what action the society should take, and should usually close with resolutions covering the case, so that there is no need for anyone to offer any additional resolutions upon it.”
“The ordinary resolutions, where the member is recommended to be expelled, are (1) to fix the time to which the society shall adjourn; and (2) to instruct the clerk to cite the member to appear before the society at this adjourned meeting to show cause why he should not be expelled, upon the following charges which should then be given.”
“After charges are preferred against a member, and the assembly has ordered that he be cited to appear for trial, he is theoretically under arrest, and is deprived of all the rights of membership until his case is disposed of. Without his consent no member should be tried at the same meeting at which the charges are preferred, excepting when the charges relate to something done at that meeting.”
“The clerk should send the accused a written notice to appear before the society at the time appointed and should at the same time furnish him with a copy of the charges. A failure to obey the summons is generally cause enough for summary expulsion.”
“At the appointed meeting what may be called the trial takes place. Frequently the only evidence required against the member is the report of the committee. After it has been read and any additional evidence offered that the committee may see fit to introduce, the accused should be allowed to make an explanation and introduce witnesses, if he so desires.”
“Either party should be allowed to cross-examine the other’s witnesses and introduce rebutting testimony. When the evidence is all in, the accused should retire from the room, and the society deliberate upon the question, and finally act by a vote upon the question of expulsion, or other punishment proposed.”
“No member should be expelled by less than a two-thirds vote, a quorum voting. The vote should be by ballot, except by general consent.”
“If the trial is liable to be long and troublesome, or of a very delicate nature, the member is frequently cited to appear before a committee, instead of the society, for trial. In this case the committee reports to the society the result of its trial of the case, with resolutions covering the punishment which it recommends the society to adopt. When the committee’s report is read, the accused should be permitted to make his statement of the case, the committee being allowed to reply. The accused then retires from the room, and the society acts upon the resolutions submitted by the committee. The members of the committee should vote upon the case the same as other members.”
“If the accused wishes counsel at his trial, it is usual to allow it, provided the counsel is a member of the society in good standing. Should the counsel be guilty of improper conduct during the trial, the society can refuse to hear him, and can also punish him.”
“It is the duty of the chairman to call the committee together, but, if he is absent, or neglects or declines to call a meeting of the committee, it is the duty of the committee to meet on the call of any two of its members.
“Members of the society have a right to appear at the committee meetings and present their views on the subject before it at such reasonable times as, upon request, the committee may appoint. But during the deliberations of the committee no one has a right to be present, except members of the committee. The rules of the assembly, as far as possible, apply to the committee, but motions to close or limit debate are not allowed, and there is no limit to the number of times a member may speak, and unless the committee is very large, it is not necessary for anyone to rise and address the chair before making a motion or speaking, nor does the chairman rise to put the question, nor does he leave the chair to speak or make motions, nor are motions seconded. These formalities are unnecessary because the committee is so small, but, unless agreed to by general consent, all questions must be put to vote.”
“When committees are appointed to investigate, or to report upon, certain matters, the report should close with, or be accompanied by formal resolutions covering all recommendations, so that when their report is made no motion is necessary except to adopt the resolutions.
“If the report is written in this form, “Your committee are of the opinion that Mr. A’s bill should be paid,” there might be some doubt as to the effect of the adoption of the recommendation or the report. The report should close with a recommendation that the following order be adopted: “Ordered, That the treasurer pay Mr. A’s bill for $10.15.” If a report recommends that charges be preferred against Mr. B, it should close with recommending the adoption of resolutions, which should be written out, providing for holding an adjourned meeting, and for citing the member to appear at the adjourned meeting for trial on charges that must be specified. These should be prepared by the committee and submitted as a part of their report. The committee should never leave to others the responsibility of preparing resolutions to carry out their recommendations. They should consider this as one of their most important duties.”
“In the latter case the chairman states he is instructed by the committee to submit and to move the adoption of the resolutions. The report of the majority is the report of the committee and should never be referred to as the majority report.”
“If the minority submit a report, (or more properly, their “views,”) it may commence thus: The undersigned, a minority of the committee appointed, etc., not agreeing with the majority, desire to express their views in the case. After the committee’s report has been read and the motion to adopt has been made and the question stated, it is usual to allow the minority to present their views, but if any one objects to its reception the chair should put the question to vote on its being received. It requires a majority vote to receive it, the question being undebatable. When the minority report is read it is for information, and it cannot be acted upon except by a motion to substitute it for the report of the committee. Whether the views of the minority are read or not, anyone can move to substitute the resolutions they recommend for those recommended by the committee. Where the minority cannot agree, each member may submit his views separately. In some cases, a member agrees to the report with a single exception, in which case instead of submitting his views separately, after all have signed who agree to the report he may write that he agrees to the report except the part which he specifies, and then sign the statement.”
“A committee, except a committee of the whole, can appoint a sub-committee which reports to the committee, and never to the assembly. This sub-committee must consist of members of the committee, except in cases where the committee is appointed to take action that requires the assistance of others, as to decide for holding a bazaar. In such a case it is best to appoint the committee with power to appoint such subcommittees as are required; or, as is frequently done, to appoint the committee “with power,” which means with power to take all the steps necessary to carry out its instructions. A committee has no power to punish its members for disorderly conduct, its recourse being to report the facts to the assembly. No allusion can be made in the assembly to what has occurred during the deliberations of the committee, unless it is by a report of the committee or by general consent. When a special committee is through with the business assigned it, a motion is made for the committee to “rise” (which is equivalent to the motion to adjourn without day), and that the chairman (or some member who is more familiar with the subject) make its report to the assembly. A special committee ceases to exist as soon as the assembly receives its report.”
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