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Campaign Finance

Robert Wechsler
Once again, an elected official in the national eye took an opportunity to teach the public about government ethics and used it solely to distort government ethics and defend himself.

The official is Texas Governor Rick Perry who, according to an article in yesterday's New York Daily News, was...
Robert Wechsler
Trust in government is a requirement for participation in government, what the authors of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life refer to as "civic membership." This is strongest...
Robert Wechsler

How you present an ethics provision can make all the difference. Take a pay-to-play ordinance proposed in Fort Wayne, which would limit the amount of contributions and gifts that can be given to city officials by an individual or entity if it wants to have a no-bid contract with the city.

Robert Wechsler

My last post about Dennis F. Thompson's book Ethics in Congress: From Individual to Institutional Corruption is a miscellany of interesting quotes and valuable ideas.

Study on the Effect of Allegations on Voting:  "Campaign and conflict of interest violations produced losses [for those accused of these violations] on the order of 1% of the expected...
Robert Wechsler
A very lengthy article in yesterday's News Journal looks at the history of relations between Delaware legislators and Christopher Tigani, formerly the top executive with Delaware's top liquor distributor. The article provides an instructive look at corporate and personal influence.

The story is summed up in a former state senator's...
Robert Wechsler
It is sometimes hard to see what campaign finance has to do with government ethics, that is, conflicts of interest. Campaign finance involves candidates getting elected, while conflicts of interest have to do with decisions made by elected officials. What they have in common is that both areas are intended to help officials act for the public interest rather than their own.

Two recent judicial decisions show how far campaign finance law has been moving away from government ethics...