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Q: What is LeaderEthics?

A: LeaderEthics 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.

Q: What are the Key Principles of Ethical Leadership?

There are four Key Principles of Ethical Leadership. Ethical leaders are:

  1. Truthful
  2. Transparent with public information.
  3. Unifiers rather than dividers, and
  4. Willing to represent the collective interests of their constituency.

Q: How does it work?

A: The concept is designed to work at two levels. LeaderEthics is a statewide organization, comprised of local chapters throughout the state. Members join LeaderEthics 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: a "Green Light" and a "Red Flag". The information shared will be from recognized objective sources (voting records, Fact, PolitiFact, the Washington Post Fact Checker, Vote Smart and other reputable sources). Annually, LeaderEthics will conduct a statewide survey asking members to grade their level of confidence in 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. Meeting may be held virtually. 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.

Q: How much is the cost of membership?

A: Members will pay a modest annual fee ($25). Young Leaders (individuals aged 23 and younger) will pay a $10 annual fee. The membership fee will be applied to basic operations expenses only.

Q: Why should I want to become a member?

A: 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 polling on issues related to ethical leadership.

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 members will express their beliefs regarding the need for ethical leadership among elected officials...and their voice will be heard.

Q: Is LeaderEthics a Political Action Committee (PAC)?

A: LeaderEthic 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.

Q: May an individual “like” or “follow” LeaderEthics without becoming a member?

A: An individual may like or follow LeaderEthics on social media without becoming a member. Member receive "members only" correspondence and are eligible to participate in the annual polling and organizational planning. In addition, members will receive an ongoing invitation to participate in local chapter meetings and chapter-developed activities.

Q: What is the purpose of the local chapter?

A: 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:

Candidate Development

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 asks local chapters to develop a plan for promoting 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).

Community 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. Local chapters may embrace the development of a Community Information Coalition...a collaborative effort to build resilience to the effects of disinformation on the community.

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.

Q: Am I able to become a member of LeaderEthics if I am not a member of a local chapter?

A: 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 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.).

Q: How does the grading process work?

A: Occasionally, members may be invited to rate the performance of elected officials. 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 their level of confidence in the elected leader according to a guide based upon the Key Principles for Ethical Leaders. The Ethics Report will serve as a resource for members. Members are reminded to objectively rate their confidence-level in ethical leadership performance, and to not “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.

Q: Are there adequate available indicators to determine a "Green Light" and a "Red Flag"?

A: The monthly issue of The Ethics Report provides articles which describe actions of elected officials. An article may provide a "green light" for elected officials who are demonstrating by their actions a commitment for the four principles of ethical leadership. Likewise, officials who are acting in a manner that is counter to the four principles may receive a "red flag". The intent is to inform voters regarding the importance of ethical leadership. Articles in The Ethics Report are reviewed by a panel of Judges (three former judges) as an added check for objectivity prior to publishing the report.

Q: What is the position of LeaderEthics regarding elected officials who demonstrate poor performance in ethical leadership?

LeaderEthics believes in promoting the integrity of the American democracy. Consequently, it believes poor performing elected officials should not be supported by members for election or re-election. However, since LeaderEthics is not a PAC, it will not campaign for or against candidates for office.

Q: How will LeaderEthics guard against partisan or political manipulation of the grading process?

LeaderEthics is committed to ethical practices as an organization. Prospective members will commit to non-partisan engagement as a condition of membership. The LeaderEthics Board Policy allows the organization to disqualify or discontinue membership of an individual (or groups of individuals) that violate the terms of membership.

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