“Everyday Ethics” is the Institute’s award-winning column. Every
two months, the Institute’s ethics program analyzes different
ethical dilemmas public officials are likely to face.
Some of these dilemmas have legal dimensions, some have ethical
dimensions and many are a combination of both. The column appears
in Western City
magazine, the monthly publication of one of the Institute’s
parent organizations, the League of California Cities.
This two-part article by Institute volunteer attorney Dan Purnell
explains what regulatory tools some local agencies have used to
create more transparency relating to efforts to persuade local
In general, the public is skeptical about people trying to curry
favor with public officials through gift-giving. To understand
the complex rules related to gifts, it’s helpful to first
understand the key principles on which the rules are based and
what the rules are intended to accomplish.
Although the Institute endeavors to help local officials
understand technical and legal concepts that apply to their
public service, these materials are not technical or legal
advice. Officials are encouraged to consult technical
experts, attorneys and/or relevant regulatory authorities for
up-to-date information and advice on specific situations.