making local government more ethical

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Ethics Environments

Robert Wechsler
It's valuable to put government ethics in the larger context of the use of public office for private purposes that does not involve a financial benefit for anyone. In other words, much of politics is personal. A review in this weekend's New York Times Book Review got me thinking about this. The book, by Seth Rosenfeld, is entitled...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in last week's Economist, last year 22 local councils in Italy were disbanded and taken over by the national government due to alleged infiltration by organized crime. This is an extreme way to deal with a poor local government ethics environment. But it's a very difficult problem for a local government to deal with.

What about over here? According to...
Robert Wechsler
A front-page article in yesterday's New York Times provides an excellent portrait of a government official who, although doing much good work, made it all about himself and those with whom he has special relationships. Although his misconduct caught up with him only when it took the form of the alleged sexual harassment of his...
Robert Wechsler

Corruption and American Politics, an essay collection edited by Michael A. Genovese and Victoria A. Farrar-Myers (Cambria, 2011), has some excellent essays, especially those that deal with institutional corruption. The only serious criticism I have of the book is its price: $30 in both paperback and e-book formats.

Michael A. Genovese's introduction focuses...
Robert Wechsler
A big controversy surrounding the race for mayor of Honolulu is focused on the state's pay-to-play culture of the past, and what pay to play actually is. The reason for this is that a former Hawaii governor is running for mayor, and he is being supported by Bob Watada, a former state Campaign Spending Commission executive director who is known for bringing the state's pay-to-play culture to its knees during his 1994-2005 term in office.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Times of Trenton yesterday, the FBI raided the homes of Trenton's mayor, as well as the homes of his brother and a major campaign contributor.

For those interested in government ethics, the best thing about the raid is...