Tennessee Lobbyists Association Standard of Conduct
Advocacy is an integral part of the democratic process. It is a constitutionally guaranteed right providing for “the right of citizens to petition the government for redress of their grievances.” Public officials are continuously making public policy decisions that affect the vital interests of individuals, corporations, associations, labor organizations, religious groups, charitable institutions and other entities. Public officials need factual and timely information from affected interests and to know such interests’ views to make
informed policy judgments. In exercising their right to influence public policy, these interests often employ representatives (lobbyists) to monitor the legislative, regulatory and political environment and advocate for them. In Tennessee, hundreds of professional and volunteer lobbyists represent virtually every type of interest.
To help preserve and advance public trust and confidence in our democratic institutions and the public policy advocacy process, lobbyists have a strong obligation to act in the highest ethical and moral manner. The Tennessee Lobbyists Association, accordingly, has adopted this “Standard of Conduct” for its members and other lobbyists. All lobbyists are urged to comply with this Standard of Conduct. TLA members affirm their commitment to abide by this Standard.
- The lobbyist should provide accurate, current, and factual information, whether it is being reported to the employer or client, government officials, or colleagues, and will not engage in misrepresentation of any nature. The lobbyist has a responsibility to inform any public official of material changes in information they provide, should such changes make previously provided information inaccurate.
- The lobbyist should comply with the laws governing lobbying and should respect the standards of conduct applying to officials and staff of the General Assembly and the Executive Branch. The professional lobbyist should not knowingly participate in any activity that could place a public official in violation of any law or policy governing their conduct.
- The lobbyist should conduct lobbying activities in a fair and professional manner, treating others, both allies and adversaries, with respect and civility.
- The lobbyist should seek to avoid conflicts of interest and should not continue or undertake representations that may create conflicts of interest without the informed consent of the client or potential client involved.
- The lobbyist should vigorously and diligently advance and advocate the client’s or employer’s interests. The lobbyist should exercise loyalty to the client’s or employer’s interests through due diligence and best efforts towards their goals.
- The lobbyist should respect the confidential communications of the client or employer.
- The lobbyist should exhibit proper respect for the public officials and public institutions before which the lobbyist appears.
- The lobbyist should attempt to ensure better understanding and appreciation of the right of citizens to petition their government and for the redress of their grievances.
- The lobbyist should support and promote the profession of lobbying.