making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
For those of you who are tired of talk about "witch hunts," this quote will be a great relief:
"I'm concerned about a zealous ethics staff chasing down rabbit holes when there is no rabbit."
These are the words of Adam Bonin, a Philadelphia election lawyer, as quoted...
Robert Wechsler
Intimidation is, I believe, the worst kind of ethical misconduct in government, because (1) it limits or changes participation of people in the democratic process, (2) it is emotionally damaging, and (3) it enables all sorts of ethical misconduct. Intimidation is a fundamental form of misuse of power and position. (For more about intimidation, see the section of my book on this topic...
Robert Wechsler

Read all about it! Local government ethics becomes a presidential campaign issue! Yes, you heard that right. According to CBS News, this very day presidential candidate Mitt Romney said "the person sitting across the table from [a teachers union] should not have received the largest campaign contribution from the teachers union themselves...
Robert Wechsler
In this year of endless talk about voter fraud, there is not all that much talk about one area of fraud that has actually been proven to exist, and to make a difference:  absentee ballot fraud. This kind of fraud even comes with its own profession, the absentee ballot broker (boletera in southern Florida).

Boleteras are hired by local campaigns to go into nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and sometimes homes to help people fill out absentee ballots. The question is, how...
Robert Wechsler
(Note: This post has been revised, based on a response from Steve Berlin, executive director of Chicago's ethics board. I had made the silly assumption that the underlined language in the ethics reform ordinance was new. It turns out that much of that language has been there for some time. So I've deleted some comments and made changes to others.)

Recently, the Chicago council passed a series of ethics reforms (attached; see below) in response to the first report of the city...
Robert Wechsler
A big controversy surrounding the race for mayor of Honolulu is focused on the state's pay-to-play culture of the past, and what pay to play actually is. The reason for this is that a former Hawaii governor is running for mayor, and he is being supported by Bob Watada, a former state Campaign Spending Commission executive director who is known for bringing the state's pay-to-play culture to its knees during his 1994-2005 term in office.

According to...