making local government more ethical

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States and Municipal Ethics

Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Washington Post, two weeks ago, a public campaign financing bill (attached; see below) was introduced, cosponsored by all council members of Montgomery County, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC with about one million inhabitants, home to...
Robert Wechsler
Here is a concrete example of the problem of allowing local government attorneys to provide ethics advice that protects local officials, a problem that Florida state senator Jeff Clemens and the Florida League of Cities want to harden into state law in SB 606 (see my recent blog post for a discussion of the problem).

According to...
Robert Wechsler
After ripping apart one Florida ethics "reform" bill, it's nice to be able to say that Florida's legislative leaders are planning to do some good things this year. According to an Integrity Florida press release today, the senate and house leaders have committed themselves to do the following:...
Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest problems in government ethics is determining whether ethics reforms "work." A well written article in the Advocate looked at Louisiana's ethics enforcement since the reforms instituted by Gov. Jindal became applicable in 2009. Louisiana's ethics program has jurisdiction over local officials.

One of the two biggest changes was to bring in a board of retired...
Robert Wechsler
Update: January 22, 2014 (see below)

Yesterday, the Broward Bulldog, in Broward County, FL (home of Ft. Lauderdale), published an excellent investigative report on the lack of lobbying laws in Florida's 992 independent special districts, which together spend many billions of dollars of taxpayer money every year...
Robert Wechsler
Here is the story of a good settlement reached in an Ohio ethics proceeding involving a council member from a very small city. According to a recent article in the Canton Rep, the council member voted on an addendum to the lease of a golf course despite the fact that he lived on adjoining property. He admitted to having violated the state's conflict of interest provision, but the state ethics...

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