Jim’s Handy Resource Guide

Published: June 11, 2010

By Jim Lichtman
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From time to time, I’ve been asked about ethics resources and there are quite a few good ones out there.

The Ethics Resource Center “is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, dedicated to independent research that advances high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions.”

The ERC focuses its research in the areas of character education, federal policy, national surveys, and responsible governance.  The group produces ethics toolkits, publications, articles and webcasts.

“Founded in 1990, The Institute for Global Ethics is an independent, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethical action in a global context. Our challenge is to explore the global common ground of values, elevate awareness of ethics, provide practical tools for making ethical decisions, and encourage moral actions based on those decisions.”

Founder and President Rushworth Kidder is an award-winning former columnist for The Christian Science Monitor and the author of several ethics-related books.

The Institute’s weekly newsletter highlights and discusses ethical issues of the past week.  Taking a global approach, a division within the organization “serves the ethical cultural needs of governments in the U.S. and around the world.”

Kidder’s books as well as the weekly newsletter are resources that I frequently use.

The Center for Public Integrity is located in Washington, DC and bills itself as “dedicated to producing original investigative journalism about significant public issues to make institutional power more transparent and accountable.”

Founded in 1989 by investigative reporter Charles Lewis, an 11-year veteran that included producing for the CBS News magazine 60 Minutes, Lewis was frustrated by the fact that there was a lack of investigation focusing on corruption in Washington.

The Center has conducted investigations into the environment, public health, public accountability, federal and state lobbying, war profiteering, and financial disclosure, all of which have a public integrity component. Some of the Center’s most notable investigations were a result of information passed on by whistleblowers.”

Among its investigative books, The Buying of the President 2004:  Who’s Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers – and What They Expect in Return (2004); The Corruption Notebooks: 25 Investigative Journalists Report on Abuses of Power in Their Home Country (2004); and Networks of Influence: The Political Power of the Communications Industry (2005).

I referenced two stories from one of The Center’s earlier books,The Buying of the Congress (1998), in my own book, What Do You Stand For? – Stories About Principles that Matter.   

(I guess you can tell I’m a little partial toward The Center’swork.)

It’s important to point out that The Center receives its funding from a variety of philanthropic groups, foundations and private donors (of which I am one), and does not accept anonymous donations, government grants and does not lobby, promote or endorse any legislation, policy, political party, or organization.

The goal in all their investigations is to remain completely impartial and objective in reporting any and all wrong-doing or unethical behavior.

Finally, I’ve spoken about Politifact.com a number of times in referencing their debunking of a number of factually inaccurate statements made by politicians, pundits and the latest and fastest culprit, chain e-mails that contain the directive: “Forward this to everyone you know.”

A 2009 Pulitzer Prize recipient, “PolitiFact is a project of theSt. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters and editors from the Times fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups and rate them on our Truth-O-Meter. We’re also tracking more than 500 of Barack Obama’s campaign promises and are rating their progress on our new Obameter.”

“I want you to hold our government accountable,” President Obama said. “I want you to hold me accountable.”

And they do!


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