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VAAC Ethical Guidelines

The New York City Campaign Finance Board (Board) expects that the members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC) will conduct themselves according to the guidelines below. In establishing these guidelines, the Board recognizes that some VAAC members may be subject to additional professional codes, such as the Lawyer’s Code of Professional Responsibility, and to the requirements of New York City Charter Chapters 46 and 68. To give greatest effect to VAAC’s mandate as a non-partisan entity and to avoid any appearance of partisanship, to operate without regard to party affiliation or relationship to any candidate or appointing authority, and to deflect external partisan pressures, these Ethical Guidelines establish standards of behavior that go beyond legal and professional obligations.

Definitions

  • “Family member” means parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, or the spouse or domestic partner of any of these persons.
  • “Gift” shall have the same meaning as the term “valuable gift,” as used in New York City Charter § 2605(b)(5) and defined by rule of the Conflicts of Interest Board (53 RCNY § 1-01).
  • “Interest” means an ownership interest in an entity or a position with an entity.

General Guidelines

No member of VAAC shall accept or agree to accept any gift from any person or entity whose interests might reasonably be expected to be affected by the work of VAAC. VAAC members must report, as soon as reasonably possible, any such gift or any offer to make such gift, to the Executive Director of the Board.

Political Conduct

No member of VAAC, other than the public advocate, shall serve as an officer of a political party, or be a candidate, or participate in any capacity in a campaign by a candidate for nomination for election or election to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or member of the City Council. In addition, no member of VAAC, other than the public advocate, shall be a candidate or serve in a position of authority in a campaign for any other political office.

Disclosure

  1. VAAC members must inform the Board if:
    1. The member, his or her spouse or domestic partner, any family member, or any person residing in the member’s household has any interest in any private entity which has or seeks a partnership with VAAC.
    2. The member, his or her spouse, domestic partner, or child, or any person residing in the member’s household, currently holds or seeks any office or position, anywhere in the United States, in any government or political party, including member of a national or state committee of a political party, district leader, or chair or officer of a county committee or county executive committee of a political party; or any family member currently holds or seeks any such office or position in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.
    3. The member participates in any capacity in a campaign for any political office.
  2. Disclosure will be deemed made when given in writing to the Executive Director of the Board.
  3. All matters subject to disclosure will be filed in a manner to be established by the Ethical Guidelines Committee of the Board and shall be made available to the Chair of the Board and to such other Board members and staff as the Chair of the Board determines. Upon request, a disclosure submitted under this section shall be made available to members of VAAC and/or the general public, except insofar as disclosure would compromise the personal privacy of the individual(s) involved.

Confidentiality

VAAC members shall not disclose confidential information acquired during the course of their work at VAAC.

Exemptions

The Ethical Guidelines Committee, consisting of the Chair of the Board, a second Board member designated by theChair of the Board, and a staff member designated by the Chair of the Board, shall have the power to grant exemptions from provisions of these guidelines if in the judgment of the Ethical Guidelines Committee such exemptions will not compromise the work of the Board, and imposition of the provisions of these guidelines would otherwise pose an unreasonable hardship. A record shall be kept of any exemptions granted, the reasons therefor, and protective measures, if any, that the Ethical Guidelines Committee determines must be taken to ensure that the purposes of these guidelines are fulfilled.

May 5, 2015

Art Chang. Chair
John P. Avlon
Daniele Gerard
Joan P. Gibbs
Letitia James
Michael Ryan
Arnaldo Segarra
Mazeda A. Uddin