making local government more ethical

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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...
Robert Wechsler
"You can buy Supreme Court races" under the current system, said Rep. Pedro Colón (D-Milwaukee). "The sign is outside: 'This court is for sale.'" (from an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week)

Nobody wants this to be said, at least nobody but four of the seven Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, according to...
Robert Wechsler
In a recent blog post on the new Michigan Model Local Government Ethics Ordinance, I noted in passing that the model wrongfully made divulging confidential information a violation even when it benefits no one, and that this is not a government ethics issue.

This same issue arose this week in Bainbridge Island (WA), according to...