Top 10 Red Flags for Spotting Potential Political Law Violations - State and Federal Communications

February 14, 2014  •  

Top 10 Red Flags for Spotting Potential Political Law Violations

Red Flag

In December, the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) met in Quebec for a great conference about issues confronting the states. Jennie Skelton from Nielsen Merksamer chaired a panel discussing political law violations –specifically these top 10 ways of spotting them.


10. Possessive and Overly Controlling of Work: Official or employee seems possessive and overly controlling of his or her work and related issues.
9. Too Good to be True: Those who produce independent campaign materials, which are strikingly similar to candidate materials or those who amaze by claiming to get things done at superhuman speed, obtaining investment returns well above the norm, or achieve great success where others have failed are in some cases lying.
8. Asking for Trouble: Any enterprise lacking reasonable controls to ensure honesty will be defrauded sooner or later.
7. Married to the Mob: Official or employee has close relationships with contractors and/or developers.
6. Every Day is Friday the 13th: People who frequently explain promises not being kept, money disappearing, or property getting lost as being the result of extraordinary misfortune are sometimes covering up their own misdeeds.
5. All in the Family: Family members are employed by or paid by vendors, contractors, and/or developers or family members are employed by or paid by the state, county, or city.
4. The Robert Syndrome–Bullying or Intimidation: Official or employee bullies or intimidates staff and has an attitude of invincibility and/or superiority.
3. It Just Doesn’t Make Sense: People engaging in fraudulent activity often engage in a scheme that appears out of the norm or cover up their misdeeds with a cover story that contains factual inaccuracies or gaps in logic.
2. Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Individual appears to live beyond his or her means, when he or she may not have a job or has a low paying job while financial disclosure shows no real source of income.
1. Extraordinary Ineptness, Particularly at Recordkeeping: People who claim they haven’t been able to keep up with transactions they are responsible for, keep track of finances in their care, or produce clear records documenting what they have been doing are in some cases just covering up misdeeds.

Interesting, aren’t they? This session was filled to capacity with the FEC’s Ellen Weintraub joining me on the stairs. Sometimes we believe no one is looking when, in fact, our actions are very visible.

Until next month, only keep up with the Kardashians on E! Network.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

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