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Robert Wechsler's blog

Robert Wechsler
After ten years of blogging and book and model code writing, having completed my book on local lobbying oversight and accomplished my writing goals at City Ethics, I have decided to bring an end to my work on local government ethics in my role as Director of Research.

My greatest regrets are:

1. There appears to be no one to continue my work. No young person has shown...
Robert Wechsler
A front-page article in Monday's New York Times quotes Prayuth Chan-ocha, the general who currently rules Thailand, and who declared a net worth of $4 million (nearly half in cash) on an annual army salary of $40,000, as saying in a televised speech, "Do not judge people based on your perceptions."

This seems laughable but, unfortunately, it is not. Every day in the United States hundreds, if not thousands, of local government officials say that some situation only presents...
Robert Wechsler
At last, I have put up online a final version of what has turned out to be a separate book, The Regulation of Local Lobbying. This free 342-page resource has three parts. The first part explains what local lobbying is, how it differs from lobbying at the state and, especially, the federal levels, and the special characteristics of procurement and land us lobbying. It considers the public's view of lobbying, the...
Robert Wechsler
One of the news media's biggest problems is failing to look at the big picture and, instead, focusing on specific events and issues. This is especially true when it comes to government ethics, where the news media generally considers, and calls for, ethics reforms on a piecemeal basis.

An article on the Innovateli website yesterday shows that this same limited vision applies when a government ethics reform involves the...
Robert Wechsler
When gifts from lobbyists to government officials are discussed, what they consist of is usually money (including campaign contributions), meals, trips, and services. A pending Missouri House bill  (2059; attached, see below) seeks to extend the definition of reportable "gift" from lobbyists in this context to include:

sexual relations between a registered lobbyist and a member of the general assembly or his or her staff. Relations between married persons or between persons...
Robert Wechsler
A couple of weeks ago, in a City and State column, veteran NYC reporter Wayne Barrett hit the nail on the head regarding the responsibility for failures to deal responsibly with conflicts of interest, specifically with respect to the conviction of former state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat: