Government Ethics: Conflicts of Interest, Lobbying and Campaign Finance

Section 1, Spring 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 10/16
Credits: 3

Course Description

There is increasing public concern about government officials’ conflicts of interest, and about lobbying and campaign finance, particularly at the state level, where legislators generally are part-time. This seminar provides opportunities for students to obtain a practical, working knowledge of the rules and practices in these three areas, and to identify and evaluate various policy choices and potential reforms to address these challenging issues. Should the remedy for a legislator’s potential conflict of interests, for example, be disqualification from participation in the consideration of a measure, or merely a requirement to disclose the conflict, leaving it to the electorate to decide at the ballot box whether a person has engaged in inappropriate conduct? Or should there be civil penalties, or even fines and imprisonment? Should the rules cover appearances of conflicts, or be limited to actual conflicts? And how should conflicts involving administrative officials be addressed? Similar issues will be explored with regard to the laws governing lobbying and campaign finance, through discussions and the use of student-led subcommittees. Conflicts of interest, lobbying, and campaign finance are of great importance to the fabric of our society. It is becoming increasingly difficult for clients to conduct business with government officials and agencies without their counsel having a reasonably sophisticated grasp of the rules and practices in these three areas.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None
Final Exam Notes:


Written Work Product
Written Work Product: In addition to completing reading assignments for the weekly classes, students will be required to submit a substantial research paper via EXPO by noon (EST) on the last day of the Spring examination period, and to submit 1-2 amendments to draft bills offered by the instructors three times during the semester (directly to instructors).

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes: Any enrolled student who is not able to attend the first class must contact one of the instructors prior to that first class or he or she will be dropped from the roll. The credits in this course will be counted toward a student's 6-credit Professional Skills graduation requirement. A student enrolled in this course who has already met the Prof. Skills requirement may submit a Writing Requirement Intent Form (signed by one instructor) by the deadline identified in the Enrollment Deadlines on LawWeb. Retroactive exceptions will not be granted.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: