making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
A situation in the city of Alameda, CA once again points out that government officials dealing with the possibly unethical conduct of other government officials is not a good thing.

According to an article today in the San Francisco Chronicle, the city of Alameda asked the city's outside counsel to investigate whether a council member had disclosed confidential...
Robert Wechsler

Things are moving along well with the Palm Beach County ethics initiative, which I've written about in earlier blog posts (1  2). An inspector general, selected by the ethics commission and two state government attorneys, started work on June 28,...
Robert Wechsler
On Independence Day weekend, it's worth remembering that independence does not come cheap, and that there are some things that are more important than independence.

One of those things is the public trust. There is a serious cost to our society when government officials place their independence from ethics enforcement above the public trust, that is, when government officials insist on legislative immunity. And there is a cost to officials, too:  their trial not by a neutral body in...
Robert Wechsler
Time Limitations on Ethics Proceedings in Louisiana, and Why They're Bad
The Louisiana ethics board handles ethics, disclosure, campaign finance, and lobbying for the state and for the state's local governments. It is, like all ethics agencies, understaffed, underfunded, and overstretched. So according to an article in Monday's Baton Rouge ...
Robert Wechsler
The confidentiality, or transparency, of local government ethics complaints and proceedings is a funny topic. Most of the time, government officials want as much confidentiality as possible. They don't want ethical issues concerning them to be mentioned in public.

But there are times when they want to be able to blast those who file complaints against them, and then they favor transparency. In other words, which side they're on does not involve policy, but their self-interest. It's...
Robert Wechsler
You be the judge. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a board member of a Georgia-based insurance company set up ten PACs in Alabama that together gave $120,000 — ten times the legal limit — to a candidate for Georgia insurance commissioner. A complaint was filed with the state ethics commission (not only is there a...