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Robert Wechsler
The ethics war in San Diego is heating up. It has escalated from elected officials pointing out problems they have with the city's ethics commission to the future existence of the EC. The latest battle presents an excellent window into the mindset of those who oppose government ethics, especially, in this case, the enforcement of campaign finance rules.

Robert Wechsler
The Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court this week says that, for the purpose of First Amendment free speech rights in a political context, corporations are persons. Until now, they were considered fictional persons, since they lack such things as arms, brains, and the right to vote.

Will the majority's conclusions affect conflicts of interest law? Here's a...
Robert Wechsler
It's not an unfamiliar story. Council candidates promise ethics reform. They are elected, and actually fulfill their promises with a proposed ethics ordinance. But there's not really much to the proposed ethics ordinance, and there's no enforcement mechanism.

This is what is happening in Yorba Linda (pop. 71,000), just outside Anaheim. The...
Robert Wechsler
Worth taking a look at is the work of California Watch in disclosing the use of county party committees to launder campaign contributions far over the legal limits.

The nonpartisan good government organization presents the data in three different forms:

Robert Wechsler
Who expects a wonderful local government ethics surprise to come from New Jersey? Check out the Department of State's Pay-to-Play Ordinances page, which provides links, county by county, of municipal ordinances placing a limited contribution ban on those entering into municipal contracts.

The ordinances are based on a model...
Robert Wechsler
It's only a month ago that a federal court in California rejected a PAC's attempt to prevent the Los Angeles ethics commission from enforcing contribution limits in the city's ethics laws. And yet, according to an article in the San...