making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Indefinite benefits, like indirect benefits, are often not dealt with by ethics codes, and this means that they can cause confusion and controversy. This is one reason I tend to speak in terms of "possible conflicts," because possible conflicts based on indefinite benefits can be just as injurious to the public trust as certain conflicts based on certain benefits.

In the current situation in Cincinnati, it is not certain whether the streetcar project will benefit the council member'...
Robert Wechsler
A government official's relationships -- to family, employer, business -- are very important to determining whether conflicts exist. Both the type and the directness of each relationship are also important.

Here again are the basic facts of the situation in Cincinnati that I will be using to touch on a variety of issues (see the previous blog post for a list of...
Robert Wechsler
There is a situation involving a Cincinnati council member that touches on many important government ethics issues, which I will deal with it in multiple blog posts over the next couple of days. In this post, I will set out the basic facts and the issues.

The council member works for a development company owned by his father and his uncle, but has no ownership interest in the firm. The firm owns or has development rights to nine properties within three blocks of a proposed streetcar...
Robert Wechsler
A capable individual decides to run for city council against an incumbent who has been on the council since long before the mayor got involved in politics (in other words, the incumbent owes nothing to the mayor and is in no way under the mayor's control). The mayor asks a former mayor to try to convince the candidate to drop out of the race, and allows the former mayor to offer the candidate an unpaid position on a city commission.

This is...
Robert Wechsler
While I was away on vacation, the new, quasi-independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was in the news a lot.

Going Outside of Congress
First, it did something that made it appear more than the paper tiger I called it a year ago. According to a New York Times editorial last week, when the OCE's investigation of contributions to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an iLind.net blog post this week, the chair of the Honolulu Ethics Commission resigned on April 22. Although his letter of resignation provides no cause for the resignation, the chair apparently said that he had been asked to assist a mayoral...

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