making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Update: March 19, 2011 (see below)

Last December I wrote a long blog post about the pay-to-play culture of Prince George's County, Maryland. The new county executive and the county's state representatives appear to have been working hard to make changes to end this pay-to-play culture, although you wouldn't know it from...
Robert Wechsler
You know you're doing a pretty poor job with government ethics when a grand jury recommends that you be all but abolished. This is the case with the Broward County School Board, according to a report published on Frday. It concludes, on p. 48:
    Unfortunately based on the history of this Board as an institution, we have no confIdence in their ability to...
Robert Wechsler
More Costs of Not Having an Ethics Program
Local officials are always complaining about the cost of an ethics program, but not having an ethics program can be expensive and extremely disruptive, and seem downright unfair.

Robert Wechsler
Update: February 10, 2011 (see below)

Trenton's city attorney and mayor have been going through an elaborate dance in the last week, since the city attorney decided to void a contract between the city and a law firm that made a large contribution to a PAC that supported the new mayor's candidacy. The city attorney's decision was made pursuant to a 2006 Trenton pay-to-...
Robert Wechsler
According to an op-ed piece by a county commissioner from Collier County, Florida (in the Naples Daily News), two interesting twists on the gift to an official's favorite charity gambit occurred recently. Gifts to officials' favorite charities are a common way to get around pay-to-play laws. Here is what...
Robert Wechsler
In a Pay to Play Law Blog response to my recent blog post on a discussion that had appeared in the Pay to Play Law Blog, the argument is made that pay-to-play laws that go beyond disclosure, such as prohibiting campaign contributions from government contractors, set up a slippery slope toward the undermining of constitutional rights and toward higher compliance costs...