(1) Stimson’s Ethics Framework[i]
- Code of Ethics
- Role of Governance to Ensure Ethical Behavior
- Financial Integrity
(2) Policies to Safeguard Stimson’s Independence[ii]
- Funding Policy
- Representing Stimson’s Independence to Donors in Contracts and Agreements
- Statement on Academic Integrity
- Conflict of Interest
- Lobbying and Other Legislative & Political Activities
The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center dedicated to enhancing global peace and economic prosperity by identifying pragmatic solutions to current and emerging global challenges.
We are practical in our approach and independent in our analysis. The integrity and independence of Stimson scholars and their research are fundamental to providing independent, pragmatic, and honest analysis and solutions. Therefore, Stimson does not represent any outside interests. Our Staff works with a broad array of stakeholders in U.S. and foreign governments, and in the public and private sectors. The Center does not take institutional positions or engage in political activity or lobbying.
Given Stimson’s value of transparency, Stimson’s Board of Directors is making the Center’s guidelines and policies on independence and integrity available to the public. We may periodically update these guidelines and policies for compliance reasons, but we nevertheless hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and integrity. Our policies are summarized here.
(1) Stimson’s Ethics Framework[i]
A. Code of Ethics:
The Stimson Center requires full compliance of all its employees and affiliates with all state and federal laws and adherence to high ethical standards and integrity to promote an ethical work environment and positive reputation of the Center. Failure to comply with the Code of Ethics is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Read our full Code of Ethics guidelines here.
B. Role of Governance in Ensuring Ethical Behavior:
Stimson is governed by an independent Board of Directors that serves as the arbiter of our ethics and compliance. The Board of Directors is responsible for reviewing and approving the organization’s mission and strategic direction, annual budget and key financial transactions, compensation practices, and fiscal and governance policies. The full Board meets three times each year, with intermittent committee meetings throughout the year.
C. Maintaining Financial Integrity
The Stimson Center has established policies and procedures for adequate staff training, management, and internal controls to ensure it adheres to the highest legal and ethical standards with regard to its financial management and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Our internal control policies and procedures are designed to prevent and detect error and fraud. The policies and procedures are documented and reviewed regularly to ensure their effectiveness.
Stimson maintains a set of accounting policies and procedures to ensure timely, accurate, and reliable financial reporting. Stimson records its transactions and presents its financial statements in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In addition, Stimson’s financial statements are audited annually by an independent external auditor who reports its findings directly to the Audit and Finance Committees of the Board of Directors.
(2) Policies to Safeguard Stimson’s Independence[ii]
The Stimson Center is a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank funded by research contracts, grants, and donations. Our funders are vital to sustaining the excellent, independent, and meaningful work of our experts. The individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies that contribute to Stimson provide those vital financial resources to support our wide range of research projects and allow us to continue our pursuit of pragmatic solutions to global security challenges. We believe that our greatest value to funders is the innovative high quality and independent research we produce. Scholars should do their work with neither fear nor favor toward Stimson funders. To further ensure academic independence, Stimson will not accept gifts from donors who seek to undermine the independence of its scholars’ research or otherwise to predetermine or influence recommendations.
A. Funding Policy:
The Stimson Center seeks funding from charitable foundations, governments, multilateral organizations, corporations and individuals to support the Center’s research projects. However, to ensure that such funding does not inhibit its effectiveness, final acceptance of such support is approved in accordance with the Center’s mission and the principle of academic independence, including full authority over its research projects and other organizational decisions. The Stimson Center does not accept offers of financial support that explicitly or implicitly compromise the Center’s full authority over institutional decisions or restricts scholars from promoting their research findings and recommendations.
Read our long-standing policy on funding here.
Stimson recognizes that as a research institution trying to educate government officials, the media, and the public at large on foreign policy issues, it has a responsibility to ensure that none of its work contains a conflict or bias by providing full transparency to the public. On an annual basis, Stimson provides a complete list of donors and funders for the most recent completed fiscal year. This list of donors and funders, that is published yearly, can be found in Stimson’s annual reports, as well as here.
B. Representing Stimson’s Independence to Donors in Contracts and Agreements:
Stimson both solicits financial support and receives offers of support from individual donors. While the Center engages its donors through a range of stewardship activities, donors do not have a role in shaping Stimson scholars’ research analyses or dictating their recommendations. Stimson also ensures that donors understand Stimson’s stance on lobbying and representation as a 501 (c)(3) and nonpartisan nonprofit, which is detailed more in a later section.
(3) Policies to Ensure Academic Integrity[iii]
A. Academic Integrity:
To promote high standards of professionalism and academic integrity and to maintain the quality of Stimson’s publications, all employees and affiliates are expected to adhere to the Center’s publication review standards and protocols regarding plagiarism and fabrication/falsification of information. Failure to comply with those standards and engaging in academic misconduct may result in disciplinary action and/or termination.
In addition, Stimson has an independent publication review process. All of the Stimson Center’s products are reviewed by internal and/or external experts for plagiarism and accuracy of information prior to publication.
Read more on our academic integrity policy here.
B. Conflict of Interest:
The Stimson Center monitors, manages, and minimizes all actual or perceived conflicts of interest in its substantive work and business practices. Stimson employees and affiliates are obligated to avoid and disclose ethical, legal, financial, or other potential conflicts of interest involving the Center.
Potential conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to: using Stimson’s position, relationships, or contacts to promote personal interests, or in a manner that may lead to financial or other benefits, or opportunity to influence the Center’s work/material for personal advantage.
To ensure that they are performing their employment responsibilities in the best interests of the Center, employees are required to inform their supervisor and the Director of Finance and Administration or the President, in writing, of all outside activities and commitments that may trigger a conflict or may be perceived as a conflict.
Read more on our conflict of interest policy here.
C. Lobbying and Other Legislative & Political Activities:
The Stimson Center’s nonpartisanship and 501(c)(3) charitable tax status forbids the organization from taking an institutional position for or against a political candidate or participating in any campaign for elected public office. The Center does not engage in lobbying activities beyond those, which may be permitted under its charitable status. Allowable lobbying activities may only be conducted with the expressed, written approval and full knowledge of the Center’s president. Allowable and authorized lobbying activities will be closely monitored by the Center’s president to ensure such activities do not jeopardize the Center’s operating status or community standing.
Employees and affiliates, or other sources performing work on behalf of the Stimson Center may elect to engage in political or legislative activities on her/his own cognizance, but only when not performing work for, or under the auspices of, the Stimson Center.
Employees or other sources performing work on behalf of the Stimson Center must publicly express that she/he is engaging in such activities as an individual citizen and not on behalf of the Stimson Center.
Read more on this policy here.