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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Campaign Questionnaires

Pledges and endorsements

Hana Callaghan

You are running for office in a three way race. One of your opponents has just announced that she will not sign any pledges or answer any questionnaires propounded by special interest groups because to do so will tie her hands later and leave her without the benefit of hearing from all sides of a legislative issue. She calls upon all candidates in the race to do the same. A prerequisite to receiving endorsements from a number of these special interest groups is to first answer their questionnaires. The other candidate in the race is answering as many questionnaires as he can and is racking up endorsements. You decide to answer the questionnaires.

What should candidates do about pledges and questionnaires?

Hana Callaghan, director of Government Ethics for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, wrote this case for her online course, How to Run an Ethical Political Campaign—and Win.

Jan 25, 2016
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