making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
When I saw the headline from the Anchorage Daily News, "Palin Calls Blogger's Ethics Complaint Bogus," and saw that it had to do with clothing the governor wore, I thought I might write a piece about using ethics complaints for the purpose of political harassment. But when I read the article, I realized that the complaint was not frivolous, and that the governor's criticism of it was worthy of taking note...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics codes do not generally have rules about the involvement of spouses of government officials in citizen groups. But this can create serious appearance problems, as it has in St. Charles, Illinois, an hour west of Chicago, according to an article in yesterday's Chicago ...
Robert Wechsler
Last October, I wrote a blog entry about why parties should fight elections, not referee them. An indictment this month in Kentucky emphasizes the need for the election process to be taken out of the hands of those contending for the results of that process.

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
Update below (August 19, 2009)
Here's a recipe for conflicts of interest. Create a new kind of county commission to hand out grant money. Require that commission members include representatives from public and private agencies that handle the very services the grants are intended for. Stir until frothy.

What's amazing is that, according to
Robert Wechsler
Two months ago, I wrote a blog entry about the en masse resignation of the Jackson County (MO) ethics commission, and said that this was a sign that things were seriously wrong in that county. Little did I know.