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Ethics Officers

Robert Wechsler
According to the Atlanta ethics office's fall newsletter, the Atlanta Board of Ethics reached a settlement with a council member who sought reimbursement from the city for costs related to her campaign newsletter, including payments to campaign workers who distributed it door-to-door in her district just before the 2009 election. She agreed to a fine of $1,500, plus...
Robert Wechsler
An Ethics Matters newsletter from the Atlanta ethics officer is always a valuable occasion for those interested in local government ethics. The fall newsletter is no exception (to subscribe, e-mail [email protected]). This is the first of two blog posts about matters raised in the fall newsletter.
Robert Wechsler
Two days ago, I wrote about a Louisiana lawyer-legislator who is arguing that disclosure rules should not apply to lawyers, because the practice of law is regulated by the state supreme court. The story behind an indictment in New Jersey this week makes a strong argument for applying disclosure rules to lawyers, as they are in California and North Carolina, only...
Robert Wechsler
Recusal is a two-part process. First, the official discloses his interest in a matter that has or will come before his board or agency. Then, the official does not participate in that matter.

In Tucson, this process was distorted by the involvement of a board attorney. According to an article in Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star, the chair and vice-...
Robert Wechsler
It's important to be careful when it comes to conflicts of interest, but it's also important not to be too careful. When you're too careful, you send the wrong message to members of the community and you miseducate them about government ethics.

This is what happened this week in my own town of North Haven, Connecticut. According to an article in the July 16 North Haven Citizen, the first...
Robert Wechsler
There is nothing more important in local government ethics than timely, independent, professional ethics advice. And there is no bigger problem in local government ethics than poor ethics advice, especially that given by local government attorneys who (1) do not have a full understanding of government ethics, especially the fact that its rules are minimum requirements, which means that a strict interpretation of the language is inappropriate in providing ethics advice, (2) are political...