What is LeaderEthics-Wisconsin?
LeaderEthics -Wisconsin is a non-partisan/non-profit organization dedicated to promoting integrity in the American Democracy through ethical leadership practices among elected officials. Ethical Leadership is not associated with any given political party, nor specific legislative policy.
What are the Key Principles of Ethical Leadership?
There are four Key Principles of Ethical Leadership. Ethical leaders are:
Honest and truthful
Transparent with public information.
Unifiers rather than dividers, and
Willing to represent the collective interests of their constituency.
How does it work?
The concept is designed to work at two levels. LeaderEthics-Wisconsin is a statewide organization, comprised of local chapters throughout the state. Members join LeaderEthics-Wisconsin by: a) completing an application, b) paying a membership fee and c) joining a local chapter.
Statewide: Members receive regular information (via the Ethics Report) about the ethical leadership performance of elected officials at the national and state level. The information will identify examples of ethical leadership and questionable performance: “Kudos” (a green light) and “Uh Ohs” (a red flag). The information shared will be from recognized objective sources (voting records, Fact Check.org, PolitiFact, the Washington Post Fact Checker and Vote Smart). Annually, LeaderEthics-Wisconsin will conduct a statewide survey asking members to grade the ethical leadership performance of elected officials. The grades will be compiled and shared with prospective voters via the media.
Local chapter: Members are invited to attend quarterly chapter meetings. Each meeting will: a) provide a welcome for new members and guests, b) hear a message from a speaker regarding leadership ethics and c) allow time for information sharing and dialogue. Local chapters are encouraged to support the development of emerging political leaders committed to ethics in leadership.
How much is the cost of membership?
Members will pay a modest annual fee ($25). The membership fee will be applied to basic operations expenses only.
Why should I want to become a member?
Organization-wide, members will receive monthly communications regarding the ethical leadership performance of national and state elected officials. Members are also eligible to participate in the annual grading survey.
Locally, members will be able to participate in quarterly chapter meetings. Members will also be able to participate in chapter-developed activities designed to encourage the development of next generation political candidates who are committed to ensuring ethical leadership practices.
Most importantly, LeaderEthics-Wisconsin members will express their beliefs regarding the need for ethical leadership among elected officials...and their voice will be heard.
Is LeaderEthics-Wisconsin a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
LeaderEthic-Wisconsin is a non-partisan 501c4 organization, not a Political Action Committee. It will not raise or spend funds in support of any political candidate or party. Funds raised through membership fees will be utilized for organizational operations expenses only. The organization has a governing board. The Board membership is comprised of recognized leaders, representing the spectrum of political views. The Board will develop policy and provide overall guidance to the LeaderEthics organization.
May an individual “like” or “follow” LeaderEthics-Wisconsin without becoming a member?
An individual may like or follow LeaderEthics-Wisconsin on social media without becoming a member. However, only members receive the monthly Ethics Report and are eligible to participate in the annual performance survey. In addition, members will receive an ongoing invitation to participate in local chapter meetings and chapter-developed activities.
What is the purpose of the local chapter?
The local chapter plays a key role. Next generation leaders are more likely to be developed at the local level. Moreover, healthy communities can serve as a foundation for ethical leaders. The local chapter has the following purpose:
A key focus of the local chapter is the development of candidates who actively support ethical leadership practices as a cornerstone to their candidacy. LeaderEthics-Wisconsin asks local chapters to develop a plan for Candidate Development. The plan should include a program to encourage new candidates to embrace LeaderEthics Principles, a format for dialog with experienced individuals, and the use of practical campaign tools (such as grassroots campaign development).
Local chapters should develop a plan for expanding community awareness. This plan can include developing programs with keynote speakers to discuss ethical leadership in practice. These speaker events are an opportunity to invite guest attendees.
Furthermore, local chapters may embrace plans to engage with local editorial boards, the social media, and the community at-large, Local Chapters may opt to develop a local performance grading survey for local officials.
Local chapters should develop a plan to encourage membership development as well as a plan to share information regarding membership-grading results for elected officials and candidates.
Am I able to become a member of LeaderEthics-Wisconsin if I am not a member of a local chapter?
It is recognized that individuals seeking membership may not have a chapter in their local community. In these cases, an individual may become a “member-at-large”. However, LeaderEthics-Wisconsin recognizes the important role of local involvement in developing emerging leaders. Furthermore, it is recognized that there is greater integrity to neighbor-to-neighbor dialogue, as opposed to the anonymity of the internet. Consequently, the LeaderEthics organization may apply stipulations to membership (such as periodic engagement in another chapter, online chapter membership, etc.).
How does the grading process work?
Members will electronically receive a survey on an annual basis. They will be asked to provide a grade (A, B, C, D or F) for national and state elected leaders that represent them in their home community. LeaderEthics-Wisconsin has the option of surveying performance for non-elected candidates in the annual survey. The local chapter has the option of providing a supplemental survey for local representatives. The members will be reminded that their grades should be based upon performance according to a guide based upon the Key Principles for Ethical Leaders. The monthly Ethics Report will serve as a resource for members. It is recognized that it is not possible to develop a completely objective grading system. Nonetheless, members are reminded not to “grade on the curve”. One of the greatest barriers to ethical leadership stems from embracing the belief that “everyone is doing it”. Ethical leaders do not accept this rationale. Rather they are focused on principles.
Are there adequate available indicators to determine “Kudos" (a green light) and “Uh Ohs” (a red flag)?
Fact Check.org, Politifact and the Washington Post Fact Checker can serve as a regular source of information. Vote Smart provides considerable information regarding voting records, rankings, and public information on elected officials. LeaderEthics-Wisconsin members will also have an opportunity to provide information. Member input will be particularly helpful in identifying anecdotal information at the local level.
What is the position of LeaderEthics-Wisconsin regarding elected officials who receive poor grades (D or F)?
LeaderEthics-Wisconsin believes in promoting the integrity of the American democracy. Consequently, it believes poor performing elected officials, as determined by the members of LeaderEthics-Wisconsin, should not be supported for re-election. This position will be communicated to the voters prior to the election. Since LeaderEthics-Wisconsin is not a PAC, it will use the media and voluntary communication methods in order to appeal to prospective voters.
How will LeaderEthics-Wisconsin guard against partisan or political manipulation of the grading process?
LeaderEthics-Wisconsin is committed to ethical practices as an organization. Prospective members will commit to non-partisan engagement as a condition of membership. The LeaderEthics-Wisconsin Board Policy will allow the organization to discontinue membership of an individuals, or groups of individuals, that violate the terms of membership.
For more information, please contact:
P.O. Box 371
La Crosse, WI 54602