Ideally, the meeting of this ethical responsibility would be based solely on merit. It’s generally agreed this ideal is not the essence of the current system. Candidates require money to be elected. Legislators become aware of issues through donations to their campaign. Although influence is difficult to measure, donations could have an effect at all phases of the legislative process.9 Given what RheumPAC has been able to help accomplish, both donating and not donating have ethical pitfalls.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2015
Although the political system we have may not be ideal, it seems undeniable that professional organizations must “play the game”: They must contribute to candidates to gain access and to have a voice for issues too important to ignore. Regardless of how we choose to participate in legislative reform, we do have an ethical responsibility to our patients and profession to participate. R
Editor’s note: Comments or questions? Submit them to the Ethics Forum via e-mail at email@example.com.
1. St.Clair EW. Rheumatologists advance issues through advocacy. The Rheumatologist. 2015 May;9(5):11–12.
2. Harvey WF. Testimony—Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. 2014, June 12.
3. American College of Rheumatology: Profile for 2014 election cycle. OpenSecrets.org: Center for Responsive Politics. www.opensecrets.org/ orgs/summary.php?id=D000023939.
4. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Profile for 2014 election cycle. OpenSecrets.org: Center for Responsive Politics. www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary. php?id=D000064468.
5. American Academy of Family Physicians: Profile for 2014 election cycle. OpenSecrets. org: Center for Responsive Politics. www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary. php?id=D000023903.
6. American Academy of Family Physicians. FamMedPac. www.aafp.org/advocacy/donate/ fammedpac.html.
7. Worthing A. RheumPAC nuts & bolts. The Rheumatologist. 2015 May;9(5):20–22.
8. Opinion 9.012—Physicians’ political communications with patients and their families. AMA Code of Medical Ethics. 1999 June.
9. Powell LW. The influence of campaign contributions on legislative policy. The Forum. 2013 Oct;11(3):339–355.