The term “ethics” is used quite often when referring to the process of influencing governmental decision making. Unfortunately, it is usually used in a less than flattering way to point out ethical deficiencies in those inside and outside of government. What does the term “ethics” mean to you? To us, at Smith, Bryan and Myers, it means understanding the difference between right and wrong, while being honest, compassionate and loyal.
We believe in carefully monitoring our own beliefs and conduct to be certain that we and the clients we represent live up to ethical standards. For too long now in the political process the end seems to justify the means in the minds of many. No one will fight harder for a client than us; that said, we are going to fight hard and fight fair. Once the process is over, we will be proud of the results and of how we and our clients conducted ourselves. To that end, one of our partners helped to draft the first set of ethical conduct standards approved by the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. While these standards ultimately did not go as far as we recommended, they remain in place to this day. Additionally, because of our reputation for integrity and strong ethical standards, we have been selected for membership in the National Association of State Lobbyists. We participate in annual ethics training through this organization and comply with their rigorous code of ethics, which can be found at www.statelobbyists.org/CodeofEthics.aspx.
Is there a place in advocacy for ethics? At SBM, we certainly strongly believe that there is and we intend to meet the highest ethical standards in the lobbying profession in Florida.