Scholarly discourse on political ethics and the ethical dilemmas encountered by political practitioners seldom connect. The objective of Drawing the Line is to apply ethical principles, reasoning, and judgment to the problems that are encountered by legislators in the fifty states.
Legislative bodies have rarely been held in as low esteem as they are today, in part because the integrity of members and of the process is under severe challenge. Legislatures have responded to criticism from the media and the public with law and regulation, but they have yet to take ethics seriously enough.
Alan Rosenthal, who has worked with over thirty state legislatures and written previously about the institution and the process, argues that appearance as a standard is weighed too heavily in the deliberation over ethics, while the legislator’s responsibility to the legislature and to the legislative process is weighed too lightly. Separate chapters explore conflicts of interest, relationships with lobbyists, and campaign finance, offering recommendations for reform. Other chapters examine the responsibilities of the legislature for managing its own affairs and promoting ethical conduct among its members.
About the Author