making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Can they convict him simply for failing to disclose information when he had no duty to disclose? No Alaska law required it, and there's no federal statute that requires it, so what did he do wrong?

— Donald Ayer, attorney for former Alaska state representative Bruce Weyhrauch (December 2009) (taken from an article on the ktuu.com website). Weyhrauch is accused of having taken a job with an...
Robert Wechsler
In my recent blog post on Maricopa County, I referred to the problem of harassment and intimidation by government officials against other government officials and employees. I have also referred in the past to the even more serious problem of harassment, intimidation, and ad hominem attacks by government officials against citizens. There is a new sort of fear...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Providence Journal, a Rhode Island state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he falsified documents to get mortgages and an auto loan worth more than $1.5 million. This same senator sponsored an unsuccessful resolution to let the legislature regulate its own ethics....
Robert Wechsler
What do the BP oil spill and local government ethics have in common? Kenneth Feinberg.

This week, Feinberg was chosen to work out the BP oil spill claims, and today he is expected to be hired to work out the claims against Maricopa County, home of Phoenix, based on charges of harassment and abuse of power against sheriff Joe Arpaio and former county attorney...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics commission leaders are falling like flies in Hawaii. I recently wrote about Honolulu's EC chair resigning in order to be involved in a mayoral candidate's campaign (he had already been involved in other campaigns). And last Wednesday, the state EC fired its long-time director, according to...
Robert Wechsler
It's a good thing, especially in this age of fiscal austerity, when a local government affair, such as a retirement party, is not paid for out of public funds. But retirement parties, within reason, are part of any organization's calendar. Better they be reasonable and paid for by taxpayers than the alternative.

That alternative is having local government affairs paid for by those doing business with the agency, as appears to have happened in Atlanta, according to...

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