making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Most of the Illinois Reform Commission's report, which was published yesterday, has little to do with local government ethics, but there is enough overlap to make it worth skimming through. The IRC was charged with recommending changes in the state's ethics and campaign finance programs.

Of special interest is the section entitled Inspiring Better Government (p. 73...
Robert Wechsler
One of the principal reasons I have focused my energies on local government ethics is that most people learn their government ethics at the local level. What they see people doing on councils and zoning boards, they do on state legislatures and commissions, and then again at the federal level.

But things go the other way, as well. Disdain for government ethics at the state level can affect the ethics environments of that state's local governments. This appears to be happening in...
Robert Wechsler
There are two interesting developments going on in Texas right now, and two bills that will be heard in committee today.

One involves a request to the state legislature by El Paso County to allow local governments to give their ethics commissions teeth (they now can only censure).

Robert Wechsler
The controversy surrounding the New York State pension fund returned to the front page of the New York Times today. The players are former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, his political adviser Hank Morris, and pension fund investment officer David Loglisci.

The occasion is the indictment by the state attorney general of Morris and Loglisci, along with charges brought by the SEC. The...
Robert Wechsler
Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, testifying to the Illinois legislature's Joint Committee on Government Reform this week (Illinois is one of five states with no limits on campaign contributions; it requires only disclosure. It is also a leading state in prosecutions of government officials, both local and state):

"[T]his committee heard...
Robert Wechsler
Politics may be local for politicians, but is it for citizens? The 2009 Joyce Foundation Illinois Survey shows that in January the people of Illinois were more concerned about corruption in government than about the economy. Last January only 49% of those polled were extremely concerned about corruption; now 61% are (and 50% are extremely concerned about the economy, as opposed to 45% the year before).