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Contractors and Vendors

Robert Wechsler
Usually, in government ethics situations, local officials can get away with doing nothing, especially when the conflict isn't theirs. Few ethics codes have provisions prohibiting complicity in and requiring the reporting of others' ethics violations (see the City Ethics Model Code's provision for a provision that covers both).

That's why I found it refreshing to come across an old...
Robert Wechsler
Last month, I wrote about how the Green Bay ethics board hadn't met much more than the Packers had won Super Bowls. Well, now that the Packers have won another, it's time for the ethics board to meet again (the last time it met was in 1999).

One thing Green Bay and Pittsburgh officials have in common is their payment for face-value Super Bowl tickets. You may wonder what is...
Robert Wechsler
The U.S. is not the only country with a revolving-door problem. In Japan, the problem is deeply institutionalized. It is as much a part of the retirement system as pensions.

But the Japanese name for the revolving door shows that not only does the system work in a different manner than ours, but that the Japanese have a different opinion of the relative value of government and business. The name is amakudari, which means "descent from heaven," the way Shinto gods used to come...
Robert Wechsler
According to an op-ed piece by a county commissioner from Collier County, Florida (in the Naples Daily News), two interesting twists on the gift to an official's favorite charity gambit occurred recently. Gifts to officials' favorite charities are a common way to get around pay-to-play laws. Here is what...
Robert Wechsler
In a Pay to Play Law Blog response to my recent blog post on a discussion that had appeared in the Pay to Play Law Blog, the argument is made that pay-to-play laws that go beyond disclosure, such as prohibiting campaign contributions from government contractors, set up a slippery slope toward the undermining of constitutional rights and toward higher compliance costs...
Robert Wechsler
There are several problems with Houston's new ethics provisions, in addition to what I pointed out in my last blog post. Some of them are typical, some of them are unusual. The ethics reform ordinance is attached; see below; the old ethics ordinance can be found by clicking here and scrolling down on the left to Code of Ordinances Chapter 18).

Impropriety and...