Dear Mr. Ethics,
My company regularly gives to a political action committee run by a construction association. The purpose of the PAC is to promote construction issues to our state legislature and governor. We always give in accord with the laws governing political contributions. The PAC association has asked us to host at our company facilities a political round table where construction industry and government elected officials will discuss construction issues in our state. The even would carry the PAC as the host and we are only supplying the location, food and drink. This is a good opportunity for us and the industry. I haven’t said yes to the request because something keeps nagging at me that this might not be the right thing to do. Can you give me some direction?
Regards, Politically Active
Donating to candidates and PAC’s is ethical and legal so long as all rules for doing so are followed. An engineering firm was recently forced to close its doors because it was found to have made its employees contribute to certain candidates. The firm then reimbursed its employees. A practice that was neither ethical nor legal. My concern regarding your opportunity is that if you bid public projects. If you do public work your hosting of the PAC event could be perceived as a violation of public bidding and contract award codes of conduct and law. It could be argued that you sought to deliberately influence public officials in order to get contracts. I would decline the offer for ethical concerns and possible exposure to legal action.
Regards, Mr. Ethics.