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Jurisdiction

Robert Wechsler
A recent Miami Herald article describes a case that embodies a number of important government ethics issues, including the conflict issues that involve local schools of higher education, gifts to officials' relatives and the officials' knowledge of them, an ethics program's jurisdiction over these relatives, and whether government attorneys should provide...
Robert Wechsler
In many jurisdictions, lawyers have sought to be excluded from ethics program jurisdiction, arguing that their conduct is regulated by their state's attorney disciplinary process. Recently, in Louisiana, other professionals have sought to be excluded from the state ethics program's jurisdiction (which includes local officials) pursuant to a different argument.

The issue is, When do employees of a private company become government employees for purposes of ethics program jurisdiction...
Robert Wechsler
There are two interesting wrinkles in the Forest Park, GA case I wrote about in the last blog post. According to an article in the Clayton News Daily last Friday, a former Forest Park public works director alleged in an ethics complaint that, in an e-...
Robert Wechsler
It is unethical for a local official to violate a law, especially the city or county charter. But such a violation is usually not a government ethics violation, because it has nothing to do with conflicts of interest. It may be a misuse of office, but it is not a misuse of office to benefit oneself, one's family, or one's business associates.

And yet some ethics codes contain a provision making a legal or charter violation an ethics violation. Here is one from Forest Park, GA, a...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Washington Post this week, the federal Office of Government Ethics has reminded agencies to tell their furloughed employees that "they remain employees of the Federal Government during furlough periods . . . It is particularly important for employees to understand that ethics provisions regarding...
Robert Wechsler
"It was like dandelions. You just accept them. They were there, something you've seen all your life."

Dandelions are a perfect metaphor for institutional corruption. In this case, the dandelions were extra payments (beyond those due to retirees) made by Detroit's two pension funds, to active employees (54%), retirees (14%), and the city itself (32%), the latter to lower annual contributions to the funds, according to...

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