The ARRL Ethics and Elections Committee has recused a director for publishing a book that competes with ARRL publications, creating a conflict of interest. I find this strange as ARRL is a non-profit amateur radio advocacy organization, not a for-profit company driven by shareholders’ financial interests. I thought, perhaps naively, the goals of ARRL publications were to promote and enable the hobby, and not primarily be a line of business or product offering that competes in the marketplace.
I find the framing of this really troubling, with the “ongoing conflict of interest” being caused “through the creation and publication of a book which competes with one or more ARRL publications”. If the book was published in the public domain and available for free, it still would compete with ARRL publications, and arguably would still be considered an ethics violation, despite such publication being totally altruistic and compatible with ARRL’s mission of amateur radio advancement. Such competition could perhaps also be claimed for publishing a website of antenna designs, or volunteering for a non-ARRL VE organization.
There is a conflict of interest here, however it’s ARRL’s interest in publication offerings that is in conflict with its primary mission of advancing amateur radio.
This article was originally published on Radio Artisan.