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Robert Wechsler
An interesting question arises from a big investigative article in yesterday's Miami Herald:  is it unethical for a mayor and his wife to be part of a shadow banking network in their city?

The city is Hialeah, the second largest in Miami-Dade County. The shadow banking network...
Robert Wechsler
Here are three interesting conflict of interest case studies from Tuesday's news.

Conflicts That Make You Act Differently, and Imaginative Resolutions
According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily Breeze, a former Los Angeles airport attorney, who reviewed the paperwork submitted by four companies bidding on concessions at the airport, is married to an attorney who works for a law firm...
Robert Wechsler
Chinese walls, that is, ways to separate an official from a matter as to which he has a conflict, are a perfect way to appear to be responsibly handling a series of possible conflicts, but are these walls great or are they window dressing? And even if the walls truly work, are they enough to deal responsibly with a series of possible conflicts?

I wrote a blog post on Chinese walls back...
Robert Wechsler
According to an Associated Press article yesterday, a New York City school principal "didn't think there was a conflict of interest because there was no exchange of money."

According to an article in the Salmon Arm (B.C.) Observer yesterday, a town councillor...
Robert Wechsler
One group of individuals with a great deal of power in local government is not covered by local ethics codes or the other aspects of local ethics programs. That group consists of officers of local political parties.

Sometimes a party chair is the most powerful individual in the city or county, the individual who selects candidates and, if an elected official is disloyal, throws party support to another candidate in the next primary. In other situations, the party chair is the...
Robert Wechsler
Two days ago, I wrote about a Louisiana lawyer-legislator who is arguing that disclosure rules should not apply to lawyers, because the practice of law is regulated by the state supreme court. The story behind an indictment in New Jersey this week makes a strong argument for applying disclosure rules to lawyers, as they are in California and North Carolina, only...

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