There is a
front-page article in the New York Times today about
the recent increase in lobbying and entertaining state attorneys
general (AGs), as well as in campaign contributions from businesses
who have a financial interest in decisions that these AGs make,
especially with respect to suits they file on behalf of consumers.
Does the "broken windows" theory, as first stated in a
1982 Atlantic essay by George L. Kelling and James Q.
Wilson, apply to government ethics? The theory says that, if small
things like broken windows are ignored, people will think that no
one cares and, therefore, they will break more windows and move on
to more serious misconduct. It's about setting norms and sending
Gretchen Morgenson's investigative piece in yesterday's New York Times
is extremely disturbing. According to her research, local and state government
pension funds have taken huge risks, and then allowed them to be
hidden from the public, by signing agreements with private equity
firms that make their terms confidential, including (1) their high fees and...
According to an
editorial in the Orange County (CA) Register this week,
Orange County citizens will soon vote on an initiative that would
make their county the second one to turn its campaign finance
program over to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission
(FPPC). But the initiative's wording calls the FPPC "the ethics commission,"
which causes confusion, because many in the county...
In the last few years, one of the biggest topics in the general area
of government ethics, including campaign finance, lobbying, and
transparency, has been the effect of huge campaign contributions by
corporations and billionaires, which has become increasingly doable pursuant
to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
These decisions do not appear to have had as much effect at the
local level as at the national and state levels. I did do...