The big news in local government ethics yesterday was the
publication of the final report of Quebec's Charbonneau Commission,
which investigated bid rigging in the Montreal area, involving not
only government officials and contractors, but also the Mafia and
Hells Angels (see my
2012 blog post on the investigation).
Seattle's public campaign financing Initiative
I-122 passed easily on Tuesday. It should prove to be an
excellent experiment in campaign finance vouchers, an idea that has
been batted about at the federal level, as well.
Here's how it works. Each election cycle (two years) the city's
ethics commission will mail four $25 vouchers to each registered
voter, to be given, if they choose, to any...
Considering that it reflects a typical approach to lobbying, it is
valuable to look at the language of a resolution to improve
Austin's lobbying oversight program (attached; see below). It is
also valuable to consider the opposition to this resolution by a
coalition of local architects, engineers, and contractors, according
article in the Austin Monitor this week. ...
David A. Marcello, the Executive Director of the Public Law Center
at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, has been keeping
close tabs on New Orleans' troubled ethics program. In 2011, he
published a report on how Hurricane Katrina (2005) led New
Orleans' officials to turn a moribund ethics program into one...
Last month, Jonathan Rauch published a sincere and well-written defense of political machines, entitled "Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy" (Brooking Institution Press; available free as a PDF or e-book). Although the essay scarcely mentions conflicts of interest, gifts, nepotism, and the like, and it makes no mention at all of conflicts of...