Hana Callaghan harnessed that optimism—that we can do better—in her new book, Voting for Ethics, now available for free download from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. The non-partisan, how-to guide helps voters in identifying the hallmarks of an ethical candidate for public office—from president of the United States to city council—in order to cast a more informed vote.
Callaghan completed the book just before she died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism in January 2020. Prior to her passing, she was appointed director of the Government Ethics Program at the Markkula Center in 2014 following a long career in law, public service, and government, serving as campaign manager for former Congressman Tom Campbell of California in his 2010 bid for U.S. Senate.
In the preface for Callaghan’s book, Senior Director Ann Skeet of Leadership Ethics writes of her colleague and friend, “[Hana] chose to make campaign ethics the centerpiece of her work. In spite of all the data provided to the voting public to the contrary, Hana believed we could return to a time when the character of a candidate was a critical factor in electability when campaigns were run with honor and focused on the future a candidate was trying to shape, rather than by trading barbs on the campaign trail and getting mired in the past.”
Whereas Callaghan’s previous book, Campaign Ethics: A Field Guide, piloted the candidates themselves on running honorable political campaigns, Voting for Ethics focuses on the voter. At the start of each of the seven chapters, she asks voters a question about any given candidate: Does the candidate take the high road? Are the candidate’s political communications ethical? Does the candidate raise money the right way? She then lays out examples of political red flags and oft-used dirty tricks, provides real-life instances of unethical conduct from campaigns past, and ends with interactive case studies and prompts.