making local government more ethical

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Post-Employment/Revolving Door

Robert Wechsler
Do Chinese walls (that is, mechanisms that separate someone from information or involvement in a matter) work in conflict situations in government? And what considerations determine whether they work or not?

One consideration is whether, even with the Chinese wall, there is still an appearance of a conflict. Another consideration is whether the individual will still have access to the information or still be...
Robert Wechsler

New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has an ongoing problem confusing his job as mayor, his ownership of a big media company, and his philanthropic activities. One of the symptoms of this problem is the unusual revolving door he provides for some of his closest advisers.

Robert Wechsler
(In a debate about a revolving door provision, also known as a "cooling off period")

"You do not take pizza from the oven and put it straight in your mouth. I believe that we should not take our legislative service and put it right in our own mouth."

—Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (from an article in the Columbia Missourian...
Robert Wechsler
Your big brother is a powerful member of city council, and you're just a deputy city clerk. There's got to be more than this! So you retire, take your pension of $68,000, and run for state representative, with all the support your brother and his friends can provide, adding another $86,000 in salary and the prospect of a second government pension. Not bad.

But not enough. You set up a lobbying firm, "to help businesses engage" with the city, and you let your partner engage with the...
Robert Wechsler
In three cities this week, top officials showed the ability to get away with unethical behavior, but not the ability to distinguish law from ethics.

Robert Wechsler
In August, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted a former state representative a temporary restraining order with respect to a state revolving door provision that prohibits state representatives from representing anyone other than a state political subdivision before the state legislature for one year after leaving office.