Senate Adopts New Rules of Ethical Conduct

Regulations set clear policies and penalties for improper activities

The Senate today unanimously adopted a set of Rules of Ethical Conduct co-sponsored by Senator Elder Vogel (R-47) designed to make the division between legislative and campaign work clear, to provide annual ethics training, and to establish strong penalties for violations.

Under the new Senate Rules of Ethical Conduct, annual training will be provided to all senators and all Senate employees related to the Senate Rules of Ethical Conduct, the Ethics Act, and the Lobbyist Disclosure Act.

The Rules of Ethical Conduct also include the following provisions:

  • No Senate employee may conduct any campaign activity on Senate work time.
  • No campaign activity may be conducted in a Senate office or with Senate resources.
  • The solicitation or receipt of campaign contributions on Senate work time or with Senate resources is prohibited.
  • No Senate employee may serve as an officer on a campaign committee or a campaign finance committee on behalf of any Senator or Senate candidate.
  • No Senate employee may be required to perform campaign activities or to make campaign contributions.
  • No Senate employee may be required to perform any non-work-related task.
  • Senate mailing lists and email lists may only be used for legislative purposes, and cannot be sold or given to any other entity, including campaigns.
  • Clarifies that Senate employees who are responsible for taking or recommending official actions are required to file Financial Interest Statements with the Secretary of the Senate.
  • No Senate-funded newsletter may be sent within 60 days of an election.

Any alleged violations of the Senate Rules of Ethical Conduct would first be investigated by the Secretary of the Senate. If a more detailed investigation is warranted and the subject of the report is a senator, the matter will be referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Official Conduct. If the subject of the report is an employee, an independent party will conduct the investigation.

Penalties for violations by an employee can range from a warning to termination of employment, depending on the circumstances. Penalties for violations by a senator can range from a warning to requiring restitution and any other sanction provided for under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

CONTACT: Joe Weidner
(717) 787-3076

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