making local government more ethical

Save time and effort

by reading our introduction to local government ethics or using the City Ethics Model Code. Also check out our top ten lists of books, or movies.

Open Source Tools



A review of the various products of Carla's network fellowship at the Safra Center for Ethics @ Harvard University.

Review our Publications

We now have several publications available in various digital formats, including all major e-Reader formats! Please go HERE to view.

Session Materials

Session Notes for recent presentations by Carla Miller. e.g. #UNRIG 2018

Robert Wechsler
The big news in local government ethics yesterday was the publication of the final report of Quebec's Charbonneau Commission, which investigated bid rigging in the Montreal area, involving not only government officials and contractors, but also the Mafia and Hells Angels (see my 2012 blog post on the investigation).

The bad news is that...
Robert Wechsler
A Portland, OR mayoral candidate made an interesting pledge in September, according to an article in the Portland Tribune:

I will not permit any individual who was a paid member of my campaign or my mayoral staff to lobby me or my office on behalf of a private entity. This prohibition will extend through my full four-year term...
Robert Wechsler
“If you hold a tiger by the tail, you have a difficult choice to make: Do you let go or not? It’s not a good thing to alienate any legislative leader.”

—Richard Runes, lobbyist for Glenwood Management, a large New York state real estate developer that allegedly gave tax work to a law firm that then made undisclosed payments to the state's Assembly Speaker, who had allegedly recommended the law firm. The quote refers to continuing the use of this law firm, knowing that if it...
Robert Wechsler
“I think people should know right from wrong, and if folks are going to do something they’re not supposed to, they’re going to do it. If people are calling up commissioners at night on their personal cellphones, I have no idea about it. … If I knew something was going on, I would go directly to (County Attorney) David Escamilla.”
—Travis County, TX (Austin) Purchasing Agent Cyd Grimes. Travis County has no lobbying law.

“[El Paso County's lobbying law] puts ethical...
Robert Wechsler
Several of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct toward them have filed defamation suits, based on his conduct and, especially, on the conduct of his attorneys, who not only stated Cosby's denial of sexual misconduct, but also went on the attack against the accusing women.

This situation reminds me of what sometimes happens when government officials are accused of ethical misconduct. They and their attorneys do not stop at denials. They insist that they are the...
Robert Wechsler
In some counties, when a company seeks small-business or women- or minority-owned business designation for a county contract, this designation also applies to the municipalities within the county. Why can't the same sort of thing apply to lobbying? Tampa council member Lisa Montelione has asked this question, according to a September Tampa Bay Times...

Pages