Ethics

I. APPOINTMENT POLICY

A. League members are encouraged to serve on governmental boards and commissions, and in other appointed positions. The  Board may recommend League members and others for appointment. The Board will, where time permits, publicize      vacancies to members statewide.

B. Policies regarding appointments differ for members in general and those members who are visible in the community as League leaders (e.g., usually Board members or those who hold an "off-board" portfolio). In some appointments it is clear that a member is representing the League. In other instances, the appointees' opinions are personal and do not represent those of any organization.

C. The following policies apply to those who represent LWVMD on a board or commission, or in another organization:

1. League leaders who are invited to accept an appointment on a state board or commission, or to another position, and who will represent the LWVMD should notify the Board so that all understand the responsibilities of the position and LWVMD's requirements.

2. It is important that the League and the appointing authority know when a League member speaks for LWVMD, and when she/he speaks for her/himself.

3. League members who officially represent LWVMD must reflect League positions and disassociate themselves from those that are contrary to them. She/he must also make periodic reports to the Board. 

D. The League should maintain a list of members who officially represent the League and request authorities to contact LWVMD before re-appointing them.

E. The Board does not have to be notified of invitations or appointments to local boards and commissions, or other positions. The member should however, inform the LL board, and the same guidelines as above can be applied.

F. Social and Other Media. A Board member shall not indicate her/his political affiliations or candidate preferences at any level of government in the media, including on social networking sites or other public venues that also prominently identify her/him as a member of the LWVMD/EF Board.

II. COALITION PARTICIPATION

A. LWVMD may join coalitions of organizations that have legislative action objectives supportable under LWVUS and/or LWVMD positions. On occasion, LWVMD may wish to organize a coalition to gain support for a League action item. Coalitions may be continuing or may be organized for a one-time purpose, such as sponsoring a conference.

B. Where both LWVMD and LLs belong to the same statewide coalition, there may be occasions when it is necessary to know who represents LWVMD. As a general rule, the person representing the LWVMD should be considered the spokesperson for LWVMD on state government action items; the LLs should be spokespersons on issues at the local government level.

C. If LWVMD is a member of a coalition, it may be represented in testimony before legislative bodies by the chair or some other member speaking for the coalition. That does not preclude the LWVMD from testifying on its own behalf. No statement may be made by the coalition as representing the LWVMD unless the statement is consistent with League positions. It is the responsibility of the LWVMD representative on the coalition to review the statement in advance to assure consistency with LWVMD positions. Coalition statements going beyond League positions may be published if it is specifically stated that LWVMD has not taken a position on the particular item.

D. Coalition leaders should be made aware of League policies at the outset. The Board will review participation in the coalition annually. If League goals diverge from those of the coalition, the LWVMD will consider withdrawing its participation.

E. In determining whether to join a coalition, the Board will consider the following questions:

1. Why should the League join or initiate a coalition?

2. Will the coalition be nonpartisan or support or oppose particular candidates?

3. Will the coalition be focused on a well-defined goal?

4. What will be expected of the League? Can the League meet those expectations?

5. Does the League have an experienced, knowledgeable member willing to be active in the coalition and to keep the     Board informed?

6. How likely is there to be a conflict with any League position?

7. Can enforceable ground rules be worked out?

8. Are coalition lines of communication clearly defined?

9. Will coalition membership increase or reduce the amount of money and time originally budgeted by the League?

10. What are the long-term and short-term advantages or disadvantages to the League of participation in the coalition?

11. Will it extend LWVMD's reach to more people or to a wider variety of groups?

12. Will the issue addressed by the coalition be divisive on an area or statewide basis?

13. Is there disagreement among LLs on support of the issue?

14. Is it to be an ad hoc or ongoing group?

III. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

A. Serving on Boards. Board members may serve on other boards. However, if a conflict arises between the two entities, it should be brought to the attention of the LWVMD Board.

B. Lobbying. Board members shall not lobby for a position in opposition to or in conflict with a League position.

C. Employment. If a potential conflict of interest arises from employment, it should be brought to the attention of the Board.

D. Stipends. Board members may not accept stipends or grants for League projects while sitting on the policy-making board that is responsible for awarding the grant.

E. Honoraria. Board members may accept honoraria on behalf of the LWVMD.

IV. NONPARTISANSHIP

A. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization whose purpose is to promote informed and active participation in government. As an organization, the League does not support or oppose candidates for public office, but acts only on those issues chosen by the membership for advocacy.

B. The League believes that political parties are essential to the American system of government and that participation is beneficial to the political parties and to the system. Consequently, the League encourages its members as individuals to be active in the political process, including supporting candidates for public office and in seeking election to public office, partisan or non-partisan.

C. The purpose of this policy is to assure the credibility of LWVMD as a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate or any political party. Only to the extent that the public and its elected officials are convinced of the League's genuine nonpartisanship will the League be able to render effective voter service activities and gain a wide base of support for its positions on governmental issues.

V. POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST

A. Elected Office. Board members shall not run for nor hold any partisan public elective office.

B. Political Party Office. Board members who represent the League before the public or hold voter service portfolios shall not serve in any position in a political party.

C. Campaign Contributions. Board members, except the LWVMD President and the LWVMD Voter Service Director, may attend fundraising events and make campaign contributions.

D. Political Campaigns. Board members may not chair or administer fundraising or campaigns for political parties or political candidates, partisan or nonpartisan.

E. Social and Other Media. A Board member shall not indicate her/his political affiliations or candidate preferences at any level of government in the media (including on social networking sites or other public venues) that also prominently identify her/him as a member of the LWVMD Board.

F. Petitions. Board members may sign petitions.

G. Spouses and Relatives. The political activity of a spouse or relative of a board member should be considered separate and distinct from the action of the Board member.

H. Additional Clarification. Board members shall present questions about specific situations to the LWVMD Board where the foregoing policies do not resolve the question.