IntegrityWorks
IntegrityWorks

Resources

Boards & Commissions Members

I want to volunteer, or raise funds for, for the campaign of a candidate for local, state, or federal office

As a City official, decisions you make or actions you take must be unaffected by any political consideration or pressure. To ensure that you are not subject to pressure to campaign for or otherwise support a particular political candidate or party (sometimes known as “macing,”), Section 10-107 of the City Charter limits political activity by non-elected City officials and employees. This prohibition applies to members of some but not all, boards. In an opinion issued in December, 2007, the Ethics Board determined that boards and commissions that exercise the power of the City are subject to Section 10-107. Check here to read that opinion. The Ethics Board also issued Regulation 8 on March 28, 2011, further interpreting the requirements and prohibitions found in Section 10-107 of the City Charter. If your board, commission, or task force was created after December 2007, contact the Ethics Board to see if the Charter’s prohibition on political activity applies to you.

Whether or not your board, commission, or task force is subject to the Charter’s prohibition on political activity, please remember that the City’s resources may be used only for City business and not for political purposes. Therefore:

  • You may not use City property – such as computers or BlackBerries or fax machines or copiers – to transmit political opinions or commentary or messages supporting or opposing a political candidate or party. If you receive a communication through City property soliciting support for a candidate, you may not use that City computer, BlackBerry, telephone, or fax to respond. Instead, if you wish further information about a candidate, you must seek information using non-City property, such as a personal computer or telephone.
  • You may not display political signs, stickers, banners, or any other political items in a City workplace.

If you serve on a board or commission to which the prohibition on political activity applies, you also may not:

  • solicit votes or funds for candidates or parties
  • wear campaign buttons or post political signs or placards
  • distribute campaign literature or circulate political petitions
  • publish a letter or article in support of or against a political party or candidate host, sponsor, arrange,distribute tickets to, or address a political function 
  • transport voters to the polls on behalf of a party or candidate
  • participate in a party’s voter registration campaign
  • be a member of a political committee or club (including serving as committeeperson or ward leader).

Please refer to Regulation 8 available on the Board of Ethics website for more information.

The City Charter does not restrict all political activities. You may:

  • privately express your opinion about any political candidate
  • sign any petition
  • attend a political meeting or fundraiser as a spectator
  • vote
  • make voluntary political contributions (unless you’re a uniformed or investigatory employee of the Police Department, in which case you may not do so).

The State’s election code (25 P.S. § 2672) also prohibits you from serving as an election officer (judge of elections or minority or majority inspector). You may, however, work through the Committee of Seventy as a non-partisan volunteer at the polls on election day to answer voters’ questions and resolve problems.

Again, if you have any questions about political activity restrictions, contact the Ethics Board.

How Do I Handle...

IntegrityWorks offers guidance for commonly asked questions described below. These are not the only situations in which ethics rules would apply; they are simply the most common ones. Other guidance may be added to this site as situations warrant.

These are general guidelines. Because each situation presents its own set of facts, this general guidance isn’t advice on which you can legally rely. If you want to be absolutely sure that your conduct complies with applicable ethics laws, you should seek advice before taking action.