making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Last August, I wrote a blog post about the mayor of Tulsa accepting free legal services from an attorney who represented Tulsa in certain matters, that is, from a city contractor. The matter involved the council possibly filing charges against the mayor for allegedly lying about a federal police grant.

Due to poor language in the ethics code, and some poor interpretation, what is a fairly...
Robert Wechsler
"The appropriate authority" is a vague phrase to base a major ethics reform proposal on, but that is just what the District of Columbia's draft Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act of 2011 does.

Introduced Tuesday by the council chair, this act is neither comprehensive nor does it create the accountability that the name of the new ethics office, the Office of Government Accountability,...
Robert Wechsler
On December 6, according to an article on the Chicago Talks website, Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel promised that he would make many ethics reforms to “change the culture” of corruption and cronyism at City Hall.

Emanuel said he would require city employees to wait two years after leaving their city jobs before lobbying their former colleagues. He...
Robert Wechsler
Two months ago, a book was published called The Jersey Sting, by two Star-Ledger reporters, Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin. It provides the history of an enormous federal sting operation which led to the arrest of dozens of government officials, most of them from local governments, on July 23, 2009 (see...
Robert Wechsler
Needless to say, last week's oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Carrigan v. Nevada Commission on Ethics case, which I have been following over the past year, was the last oral argument of the term. Was this putting local government ethics in the caboose or saving the best for last?
Robert Wechsler
Kerry Cavanaugh, a Los Angeles Daily News columnist, got it wrong when she started a recent column, "Here's another reminder that politicians are not like you or me. If I get caught taking inappropriate gifts or violating the company's ethics policy, I might be fired, suspended without pay or forced to open my wallet to pay the penalty. If a politician gets caught breaking the rules on the job, he or she can...