making local government more ethical

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Disclosure

Robert Wechsler
Hiding a conflict of interest can lead to much worse problems than appearing before an ethics commission and getting your hand slapped, or even getting slapped with a fine. A criminal case in Winston-Salem, NC this week shows how bad things can get.

According to an article in today's Winston-Salem ...
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
Thumbs up for the Virginia House of Delegates General Laws Committee. According to an editorial in today's Charlottesville Daily Progress, this House committee greatly improved a Senate bill on disclosure of conflicts of...
Robert Wechsler
One of my pet peeves is that many if not most local government ethics codes limit the definition of "conflict of interest" to situations where an official's interest involves money. But there are many personal interests that create a conflict, even though no money is involved.

I learned this several years ago, before I was involved in government ethics work, when I made a motion to censure the first selectman in my town. He refused to allow my motion to be heard, and I...
Robert Wechsler
Gifts to local governments have become an issue recently in Sacramento, CA and Richland Hills, TX. I wrote about various aspects of this issue over two years ago. It's time to raise it with respect to concrete examples.

Basically, gifts to local governments by businesses and individuals with a business relationship to the local government carry a strong appearance of impropriety. However, they are generally not dealt...
Robert Wechsler
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It's refreshing to feel good after reading a mayor's statement in response to a warrant for his arrest. According to an article in today's Hartford Courant, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez...

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