Codes of Ethics

This page is intended to provide organizations or individuals seeking to create codes of ethics  for their own organization with several examples from across the government ethics spectrum as a starting point to build their own.

An ethics code can be defined as a clear, concise, comprehensive, and accessible document that provides ethical guidance for such issues as: as conflicts of interest, withdrawal from participation due to conflicts, misuse of office resources and confidential information, gifts restrictions, lobbying registration and disclosure, moonlighting, subordinates, certain kinds of political activity, and certain post-employment activities.

  • International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
    The principles outlined in the ICMA Code of Ethics and enforced by the Rules of Procedure govern the conduct of every member of ICMA.
  • National Association of Counties (NACo)
    The Code of Ethics for County Officials has been created by and for elected county officials. However, these principles apply to the day to day conduct of both elected and appointed officials and employees of county government. NACo recognizes that this Code of Ethics should serve as a valuable reference guide for all those in whom the public has placed its trust.
  • Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff
    The Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff is intended to guide the conduct of legislative staff as they serve state legislatures, state legislators and the public. It was developed by legislative staff working under the auspices of the National Conference of State Legislatures and reflects the views of legislative staff from across the United States.
  • United States House of Representatives Ethics Manual
    A manual published by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct with the intent to educate and train House of Representative employees to conform their conduct to the high ethical standards they must meet.
  • United States Senate Ethics Manual
    This manual’s purpose is to explain the application of the Senate’s Code of Official Conduct and related ethics laws, and to describe the operation and role of the Committee. The intent is to provide a ‘‘single source’’ of information about ethics-related provisions of the U. S. Constitution, Federal statutes, and Senate Rules which regulate the operation of a Senate office and the conduct of Senate Members, officers, and employees.
  • Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch
    To ensure that every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, each employee of the execuative branch shall respect and adhere to the principles of ethical conduct set forth in this set of standards, as well as the implementing standards and in supplemental agency regulations.
  • The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Code of Ethics
    Since 1984, ASPA has promoted a commitment to high standards of ethical practice by public servants. The Code of Ethics presents the key principles that public servants should advance, and its educational and review activities support the ethical behavior of members and hold them accountable for adhering to these principles. In its current strategic plan, ASPA’s first goal is to ”advocate strong, effective and ethical public governance.”
  • AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
    The AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct offers help for certified planners (members of the American Institute of Certified Planners) as they negotiate the tough ethical and moral dilemmas they sometimes face.