In California, state and federal laws create a complex set of requirements laws that guide elected officials and agency staff in their service to their communities.
As extensive and complex as these laws are, it is important to remember ethics laws only constitute minimum standards for officials’ conduct. The law is a floor for public official conduct, not a ceiling: just because a particular course of action is legal does not mean it is ethical.
In monarchies, public officials receive special privileges as a result of their positions. By contrast, the virtue of a democracy is that leaders understand those they govern because leaders do not enjoy special privileges
A number of laws limit “perks” enjoyed by public servants. These restrict the income they make, what uses can be made of public resources and receipt of gifts and other gestures.