When the economy is booming, local government
corruption feeds off the sale of government land, development
projects, and construction contracts. When the economy is doing
poorly, there is usually less money floating around to fund
corruption. But in bad times, local governments are willing to
accept the help of companies and nonprofits, which might have (or appear to have) their
own interests at stake in what they fund for local governments.
This leads to another set of problems.
An example of the sort of thing that might happen can be found in a
complaint that was filed with Philadelphia's ethics board
yesterday by a group called Parents United for Public Education and
the local NAACP branch. The complaint alleges that a foundation not
only funded, but also entered into a separate contract with, a
consulting firm hired by the city to make recommendations to its school
district regarding issues ranging from financial planning to charter