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Campaign Finance

Robert Wechsler
Ethics Code Amendment Without a Scandal
Sometimes conflict situations, when they are handled responsibly, lead to changes in an ethics code. This happened recently in Prince William County, Virginia, according to an article on the website.

A county supervisor wanted to give $100,000 of his discretionary funds to his...
Robert Wechsler
Luis Toro, director of Colorado Watch, wrote an interesting Huffington Post post yesterday about ethics issues relating to Colorado's public trustee system.

Public trustees (one per county) oversee the foreclosure system in the state. They work things out between lenders and homeowners. Most of them are elected county treasurers, and ten of them are appointed by the...
Robert Wechsler
A Complex School Board Conflict Situation
Should someone closely associated with an organization that has been awarded a sizeable preschool contract be prevented from sitting on a school board when the contract was not with the school board? That is one of the questions raised by an article this week in the Connecticut Post. The Bridgeport, CT school...
Robert Wechsler
Update: July 27, 2012 (see below)
According to an article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the Philadelphia ethics board's decision that a law firm can provide unpaid legal services to a mayoral candidate only to extent of contribution limits. However, the Supreme Court left the door...
Robert Wechsler
Talk about independent expenditures usually refers to such expenditures in support, or more often in opposition to, federal candidates. At the local level, the major independent expenditures tend to come from unions, both public service unions and construction unions. There are also cases where independent expenditures come from contractors and others seeking direct benefits from the candidates they support or oppose. This can look very much like a payoff for favors done and/or for future...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in yesterday's Washington Post, new allegations have been made of a "shadow campaign" by which the District of Columbia's largest contractor (in contract dollars) supported the current mayor's 2010 campaign to the tune of about 650,000 unreported dollars. The money was allegedly spent on all the...