Monday evening, I learned about the serious consequences that
can result from not giving ethics commission members a clear
understanding of what government ethics is, and what it is not.
The occasion was the consideration by the Democracy Fund board, which
oversees the public campaign financing program in New Haven, of a
possible violation of the program's ordinance and regulations.
I am the Democracy Fund Administrator. Focused on the topics before the
board, I never stepped back and gave board members a clear idea of
where their program stands in the world of government ethics and what
government ethics means, what its goals are, what its boundaries are,
etc. I thought it would be enough to understand the role of a public
campaign financing program. It is not.