“Interesting City Lobbyist/County Election Board Member Conflict”

City Ethics:

When a lawyer decides to represent a private client, she does not give up her right to vote or petition governments on her own behalf. But what about when a lawyer decides to represent a public client, especially as a lobbyist? Does such a lawyer give up her right to vote on issues relating to the city government (assuming she sits on another government’s board) or petition a government on behalf of her own beliefs?

These questions arise from a case in Cincinnati, where a city lobbyist also sat on the county elections board. According to an article this week on cincinnati.com, the city government strongly opposes moving an early-voting site out of the city’s downtown, but the lobbyist supports the move. The mayor asked the lobbyist to withdraw by abstaining from the elections board vote. Instead, the lobbyist withdrew from his lobbying contract, which had paid him nearly $9,000 a month.


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