The Code

Several years ago when I was completing my MBA my emphasis and focus was on developing a political consulting business. One of the resources I used and oftentimes like to revisit is the American Association of Political Consultants Code of Ethics. Every so often I like to review the nine points just to make sure I’m practicing the principles even though I’m not a member of the organizations. Instead of keeping that review to myself, I thought it might be a good idea to share it through the blog this time. Hopefully, I’m following these principles and if not, I’m sure one of you will let me know.

American Association of Political Consultants Code of Ethics:

  1. I will not indulge in any activity which would corrupt or degrade the practice of political consulting.
  2. I will treat my colleagues and clients with respect and never intentionally injure their professional or personal reputations.
  3. I will respect the confidence of my clients and not reveal confidential or privileged information obtained during our professional relationship.
  4. I will use no appeal to voters which is based on racism, sexism, religious intolerance or any form of unlawful discrimination and will condemn those who use such practices. In turn, I will work for equal voting rights and privileges for all citizens.
  5. I will refrain from false or misleading attacks on an opponent or member of his or her family and will do everything in my power to prevent others from using such tactics.
  6. I will document accurately and fully any criticism of an opponent or his or her record.
  7. I will be honest in my relationship with the news media and candidly answer questions when I have the authority to do so.
  8. I will use any funds I receive from my clients, or on behalf of my clients, only for those purposes invoiced in writing.
  9. I will not support any individual or organization which resorts to practices forbidden by this code.


  1. I'm In Trouble Now says

    Typical trade association rent-seeking. I object to One and would find Two impossible, especially because I’m also trying to be candid here. Three is okay, and Four is too restrictive. If an opponent were a witch, or an atheist, I’d let the voters know. Or too young or old, as in age discrimination. I do not believe in equal voting rights, because if I did I’d have to tear up the Constitution because the way people are elected to the US Senate is sooooo unequal. Not to mention the influence of parties and the electoral college. Five is fine, because I’m opposing someone for a reason and don’t need to make up one. Six, not sure what that means. Seven is a joke. No one in politics is, nor could ever be successfully, “candid” with the media all the time. Eight is an odd request, because if a corporation hires me to lobby and I take income from that and happen to donate to the campaign of an official I’m lobbying, I’m not going to actually itemize a charge to anyone for that. That would be a crime. Nine, well that’s just asking me to help blackball those who violate the Code, which takes us right back to One.

    On a lighter note, political consultants have little to go on but their reputations and record. It’s a little like the wild west, but with no Sheriff so the angry mob is the only way to run someone out of town.

    Come to think of it, this very post I’m making, anonymously, is it also not a violation of the code?

  2. Sounds like Mr. C.Q. is breaking the code. Maybe now Seel can accuse his own campaign advisor of being an Open Borders, Pro Illegal, Pro Abortion, Pro Amnesty kind of guy.

    Oh! Looks like Mr. C.Q. has to quit the Seel campaign. Read #9.

  3. renterjoed says

    I would guess that Nathan Sproul is doing the samething!!!

  4. GOP Spartan says

    To even consider abiding by this code, one must first have a sense of honor and a value system.

    That immediately eliminates Sproul so he can basically walk all over such a thing as this code and not bat an eye.

    Who is C.Q. ?

  5. SonoranSam says

    I don”t know of a single political consultant who hasn’t danced across every single one of those standards with hobnailed boots.

  6. Gotta agree with you Sam.

  7. I have to admit I was fairly astonished by “I’m in Trouble’s” criticism of the code. I am NOT a political consultant and but I have certainly seen my share. But to criticize this code as “rent seeking” seems aking to calling the “Ten Commandments” rent seeking. Even political consultants should understand that the ends do not justify the means. On the other hand, if you don’t want to do the “time”, don’t do the “crime.”

  8. Kralmajales says

    On “Im in Trouble”, I agree with Jack overall. A code such as this is a statement of ethics. I do agree with “Im in Trouble” in the sense that many ethical codes for professions tend to have language about protecting the profession first, though. Not critizing others in the profession can be also read as “not rat out an unethical member” even though they might be harming the profession or consumers. Generally codes like this one prevent my concern with other language, however, it is the grey area stuff that often has the “no ratting” as controlling authority.

  9. I'm In Trouble Now says

    Rent seeking has nothing to do with the stone tablets, it is what professions do for economic reasons. Just one example is Real Estate Agents having to get a state license, take continuing education courses, pay to take tests, and pay fees. Those are put into place by the industry to help the industry. It’s not to protect the public, it’s to create a barrier to competition, so ordinary citizens are prohibited from selling real estate. Agents, as a profession, are basically seeking “rent” payments or, loosely, keeping others off their profitable turf.

    Take a look at

    But DSW’s point is whether there is or can be a code for people in this “profession” and who’s going to write it. For him, he uses it as a guide for his conscience, and no one is going to have a problem with that. I’m just saying human nature is what it is.

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