Sunday, November 18, 2007


Days before a recent citywide election in Boston, an incumbent city councilor accused a rival candidate of sending voters anonymous literature questioning the councilor's commitment to the position he held. The fliers documented how the incumbent allegedly had been looking for other positions while in office.

After being accused in print by a columnist for The Boston Herald, the challenger acknowledged that he was indeed responsible for the anonymous fliers. (See Unsigned fliers muddy today's race for council.)

If the accusations were true and if the anonymous mailings did not break any laws, was there anything wrong in the rival candidate making the accusations anonymously?

Post your thoughts here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below. Please include your name, hometown, and state, province, or country. Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column. Or e-mail your comments to me at

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2007 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if the rival candidate lacked the spine to make the accusation openly, he lacks the character for public office. That flaw, of course, doesn’t necessarily make him any worse than the incumbent. It is Boston, after all. (Just kidding.)


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trust anyone who made anonymous comments -- it's deceptive. Did he win?