Ethics commissions are often stuck with one or more ethics
provisions that they are know are, in some ways, irresponsible. They
can recommend amendments to the provisions, but the legislative body
is free to ignore such recommendations.
If this happens, an EC is not always powerless. It can often promulgate a
regulation that can interpret the language in a provision, or
provide exemptions, so that the provision is more responsible. The
Massachusetts EC, which has jurisdiction over local officials, has
done just this with a draft exemption (attached; see below) to a provision that
effectively makes it a violation to have a conflict of interest, including a pre-existing contract with the government.