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Misuse of Office/Special

Robert Wechsler
Although citizen participation is not part of government ethics, it's important to keep reminding ourselves that it is central to government ethics, because it is a principal goal of government ethics programs.

Officials' ethical misconduct undermines citizen trust and participation, but there are also other obstacles that get in the way. One of these is the lack of opportunity to express opinions in public forums at a time when input can make a difference. This post will look at...
Robert Wechsler
Sometimes Withdrawal and Formal Processes Are Not Enough
It never looks good when a high-level elected official gets a job with the government while in office or soon after leaving office. It looks like he got the job because of his influence and relationships with those who made the decision.

According to an article in the Observer-Reporter, the North...
Robert Wechsler
Mike DeBonis's article in the Washington Post last week describes an operatic ethics matter, with several twists and complications, with dramatic cries of innocence mixed with scathing accusations of guilt. The article is certainly more exciting than this blog post...
Robert Wechsler
What role does humor play in a government ethics program? It looks like this is the principal issue in a Broome County, NY ethics case. According to an article put up yesterday afternoon on the Gannett Pressconnects website, the chair of the opposing party's county committee has written a letter to the county ethics board regarding the...
Robert Wechsler
This is the last of four blog posts on Florida Senate Bill 606 (attached; see below), one of the worst ethics reform bills I have ever read.

The Florida League of Cities was deeply involved in drafting these supposed ethics reforms, which I criticize in my last three blog posts. The question needs to be asked:  Was the League acting for its members as officials representing the public interest or as...
Robert Wechsler
Some jurisdictions have an ethics provision entitled Prestige of Office that, among other things, limits work that officials can do outside of government. Here is the language that the Baltimore school district uses (this is essentially the same as the city government's Prestige of Office provision, but with the addition of the phrase "public position," which turns it into a basic misuse of office provision):
An official may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public...