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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Conflict of Interest in government


A Conflict of Interest arises when a public official is called upon to make decisions related to matters in which the official has a personal interest. That interest can be personal or financial.

Exposing and preventing potential conflicts of interest is an important step in ensuring that decisions made by government officials are based on what is best for the public.

While conflicts of interest can take many forms, they are particularly prevalent in government hiring, procurement/contracting and campaign finance.

In hiring, nepotism and patronage present a conflict of interest. Hiring friends and family based on connection to power rather than their ability to perform the job not only undermines the public trust, but also leads to a work force that lacks the skills for the job. In government contracting, procurement standards that promote competitive bidding are vital to preventing bid-rigging and awarding contracts based on relationships. Financing campaigns can also present conflicts of interest in which public officials are more beholden to donors than to constituent.