making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Update: November 20, 2009 (see below)

The latest news from the federal trial of former New York state senate majority leader Joseph Bruno's is sadly not surprising. According to an Associated Press article yesterday, former senate legal counsel told Bruno to hand-deliver his financial disclosure forms so that there would not be any problems with federal mail...
Robert Wechsler
One can learn a lot about local government (and judicial) ethics by listening to local officials talk about a conflict situation they're in. Here's one from Dallas County,  where the district attorney's wife is a political consultant for the campaigns of seven judges before whom the D.A.'s office practices.

According to an article in today's Dallas ...
Robert Wechsler
Since my exchange with an attorney for the Michigan Townships Association in June, I've been wondering about the inherent conflicts involved in local government associations. The bottom line is, Is there any relationship between who sits on the boards of such associations and laws such as the new Michigan...
Robert Wechsler
The mayor of Baltimore is on trial for stealing $1,500 in gift cards, allegedly intended for poor Baltimore residents. A letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun proposes a better approach than a trial costing hundreds of thousands of dollars:

    ... It is a shame that the people who really needed the gift card money, especially in this depressed...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics is a funny thing. So is character. If you violate a law, you're unethical beyond redeem, and your character is worthless. It's so worthless, that you have no right to talk about ethics or character, even though you've been through the ethics grinder and have thought about it far more than the average person.

This is the situation that faces Eliot Spitzer. Nearly every article about a lecture he gave on Friday at Harvard's Safra Foundation Center for Ethics focused on whether...
Robert Wechsler
I recently critiqued the new Michigan model local government ethics ordinance. Mark Liss, a council member in Michigan alerted me (and the world in his blog) to the new model's similarities with the...