We expect academic researchers who are in a position to influence public opinion to divulge possible conflicts of interest, especially direct financial ties to individuals or organizations that stand to gain from their influence.
Many professional groups, including the American Statistical Organization and the American Sociological Organization, have formulated official codes of ethics to describe, among other things, specific conditions under which conflicts of interest should be reported. Such codes do not carry the force of law, but they establish normative guidelines for withdrawal of professional respect.
The American Economic Association stands out for its lack of any official ethics code. Sadly, some of its members seem to be in dire need of one.