The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (Cogel) is a North American professional association that brings together individuals, agencies and organizations responsible for or concerned about governmental ethics, elections, financing campaigns, the regulation of lobbying, and regulations in the field of public hearings and reporting.
Cogel members benefit from a privileged information exchange network allowing them to stay informed of key developments and trends related to governmental ethics, elections, financing campaigns and lobbying.
Cogel offers various services to its members, including a subscription to its quarterly newsletter The Guardian, access to a research service, a library and a document lending service (documents produced by members).
Cogel began its activities in 1974 in the United States. The Directeur général des élections du Québec has been a member of Cogel since 1981 and hosted the 1987 annual conference. Over the years, members of his staff have served as Steering Committee members.
The annual conference is held once a year and deals with subjects associated with ethics, lobbyism and electoral processes. The conferences also allow members to meet with their counterparts and to forge ties with them.
The creation of the Cogel International Fund (CIF) followed the holding in Québec City of the annual conference of Cogel in 1987. This conference had generated profits and the Directeur général des élections du Québec took steps to set up a fund to facilitate the participation of international speakers. (list of speakers invited by the fund).
The fund finally came into existence at the end of 1991. It is legally constituted, has its own by-laws, its head office is located in Québec City and the fund is deposited in a Québec financial institution. Ever since the creation of the fund, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec has been its president.
The main activity of the fund consists of using the interest generated by the investment of the principal to offset the transportation and accommodation expenses of one or more international speakers at Cogel’s annual conference. The balance sheet is also tabled at this conference, along with a written report.