making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler

Updates: November 28, 2009 (see below, with December 23 correction)

When a local government official co-owns a company, is it enough to create a separate company owned solely by another co-owner to do business with the official's city?

According to an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate, this has become an issue in Lofourche Parish. The parish sheriff co-owns an ignition interlock device...
Robert Wechsler
An article on the Texas Watchdog website focuses on a serious loophole in the Texas gift disclosure policy, which applies to local government officials. Section 176.003(a-1) of the Local Government Code (Title 5, Subchapter C) states:
    A local government officer is not required to file a...
Robert Wechsler
It's always nice to see politicians provide evidence for the argument that ethics self-regulation doesn't work, but it's rare for it to happen in so public a way as occurred yesterday. According to an article in Roll Call, Rep. John Carter (R-TX), "the point man for Republicans seeking to strip Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) of his gavel," did not disclose large profits from a sale of Exxon stock, even after...
Robert Wechsler
Quote after Quote in Paris
Earlier this month the French president's son supplied me with a quote of the day. Now he has announced he will not pursue a job his father used to have, and he has supplied me with another quote of the day:
    If the question you are asking me is, ‘Did you talk to the president about [the government job]?’ No. Did I talk about that with my father? Yes.
In addition, the current...
Robert Wechsler
Is political deal-making a government ethics violation? This is a tough area. Government ethics is about the conflict of personal and public interests. Political interests are generally left out of the equation unless non-political benefits are involved. In politics, you are allowed to put your personal interests first, at least until you win.

According to an article in yesterday's Atlanta ...
Robert Wechsler
 A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about how several government officials in Wausau mishandled a conflict situation involving the purchase of property fixed up with an interest-free loan from HUD. Yesterday's The State of South Carolina covers two other HUD loan conflict situations in Columbia, which are...

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